Reindeer Games: Whimsical Wheel of Wonder
We’re back again with our Reindeer Games Series and another super fun dance class activity for your littles: The Whimsical Wheel of Wonder! The focus of this magical winter activity is improvisation skills. Yes, the tiniest of dancers can practice improv, and honestly, they tend to be the most authentic with their movement choices because they are less inhibited than the older dancers. It’s such a fun treat to see their interpretation with a little guided instruction!
Using your Whimsical Wheel of Wonder (see below), have the dancers take turns spinning the wheel to see where it lands. The space where their spin lands on will guide them in their movement. We created fun wintry phrases that you can translate for them into the movement they do. This can be done in freestyle form all over the room, or in a more structured format, such as traveling across the floor, or even standing on a dance dot (or snowflake) center floor.
To create our Whimsical Wheel of Wonder, we started with an existing spinning wheel game we purchased at Hobby Lobby for around $25. We then decorated it in our own style and covered up most of the existing artwork with foam sheets cut to size and letter stickers. We used a paper plate in the center with star shapes cut out from sparkly paper to make it more whimsical! There are so many ways you create your own if you don’t want to purchase one. A simple search on Pinterest will launch you on a path of infinite spinning wheel options!
Here are just a few ideas for the movements to add to your Whimsical Wheel of Wonder, but you can modify these with anything that works best for you.
Floating Flurry: Float like a snow flurry ~ Guide them to floating around the room as light as they can on their feet as if they were a snow flurry falling from the sky. Use the words gentle, soft, float and fly.
Icicle Isolations: Isolate like an icicle ~ Explain what isolations are and guide them in isolating specific parts of their body. Ex: Head isolations, shoulder isolations, rib isolations, hip isolations, and so on. It’s important for dancers to understand how to find and isolate specific muscles and body parts, so why not start them early!? Use the phrase “sharp as an icicle.”
Melting Snowman: Melt like a snowman ~ This one seems obvious, but let them know they can melt in so many different ways. They can melt quickly, or slow. Start with arms high and gradually start melting down. Start with their head. Start from the bottom. They can melt as if they were on a hill and melt to one side. So. Many. Options. Use the word smooth.
Prancing Reindeer: Prance like a Reindeer ~ Deer are some of the most graceful animals and move so gently. Guide your dancers to prance their way around the room! This can mean small jogs with their knees coming up high. Staying light on their feet and quiet. Pointing their toes as they push through the floor each time they prance. They can decide where their arms should go…maybe on their head like antlers, or in front of their chest like paws? Let them get creative with their prancing choices. Use the words graceful, prance, feet, chin up, chest up, lift.
Glacier Glide: Glide like a Glacier ~ Just like a river of ice, direct your tiny dancers to glide across the floor like a glacier. They can follow each other in a path as if following an icy river. It’s important to remind them to slide through a nice deep pile and first position as they travel. This can be done to simple feel the floor, or you can add an arabesque to it, or a sauté arabesque. Also, it can be done in a parallel position while skipping, or bringing one foot up to passé. Use the words glide, smooth, plie, travel.
Blizzard Boogie: Boogie like a Blizzard ~ This can be your favorite form of “boogie,” but must represent a blustery blizzard. Maybe the twist? Sugars? Swirling arms over head while isolating ribs? Marching in place with big arms? Whatever it is, make it big! Use the words big, crazy, wild, boogie.
Snowflake Spaces: On our wheel, if it lands on one of the blue snowflakes, they can do the freestyle freeze. This is similar to the traditional freeze game where they can dance around the room however they want and when the music stops, they must freeze in their favorite pose.
BONUS: This type of wheel can be used year-round for other activities. Change the theme and wording to work for Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Summer Fun, or any other theme! The key is to create fun names for specific movement or steps. You can even use our 567cre8 cards on the wheel any time of the year to help with improv! This will keep things fun and help the kids remember their terminology!
For even more fun, make sure you check out our other two dance class activities in our Reindeer Games Series:
We still have one more fun Reindeer Game activity heading your way next week, so stay tuned!