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Music Activities for Kids: The Penguin Dance

Music and Movement for Kids | Gryphon House

What is it about penguins? Their black-and-white tuxedo elegance? Their charming waddle? Their exotic habitat in the South Pole? Whatever it is, the penguin seems to be a popular animal. This music and movement activity gives young children the opportunity to pretend to be these endearing creatures.

Do the penguin dance to the music of “The Syncopated Clock” by Leroy Anderson. (This piece is featured on the CD Kids Can Listen, Kids Can Move! by Lynn Kleiner. It is also available separately via online music-purchasing sites.) The music is meant to sound like a ticking clock, and it does, but it is also reminiscent of a penguin’s waddling gait.


Learning Benefits
Gross-motor skills (waddling, turning, flapping)
Imagination (pretending to be a penguin)
Improvisation and creative thinking
Social skills (sharing ideas and respecting those of others)


The Penguin Dance

  1. Start out waddling in place to the beat.
  2. After a while, lead the children in turning around (while still addling), jumping while flapping their flippers (also known as arms), swimming with their flippers, diving into the water (still standing), and catching a fish and eating it.
  3. You may add other movements or ask the children to think of some.
  4. Variation: When the children are familiar with this activity, they can take turns being the leader and choosing motions for the others to copy.


Music and Movement for Kids | Gryphon House


Need more active learning ideas for you classroom? Pre-order Shake, Rattle, and Roll or pick up a copy of 101 Rhythm Instrument Activities for Young Children today.

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