Body Bubbles

Children will explore basic movement concepts.

Lesson Objective

Children will learn about how to coordinate, move, and balance their bodies in open space.


What You'll Need

  • Large space – enough for children to move safely without touching each other
  • Audio device – for playing music
  • Hoops – 18" in diameter; 1 per child, plus 1 for each teacher
  • Music – any movement music (see Lesson Tips for suggestions)

What To Do

Note: Prior to start of the lesson, familiarize yourself with the movement directions in the lesson.

  1. Tell the children they will be exploring basic dance movements to music.
  2. Discuss with the children the important rules of dance lessons (see Lesson Tips).
  3. Introduce the concept of self-space (see Vocabulary).
  4. Lead the children in marking their self-space with a rhyme: Arms in front/Open wide/This is my self-space inside.
  5. Introduce the steps of the warm-up:
    • Breathing – take several deep breaths in and out slowly.
    • Touch – Using gentle energy, tap/tickle your skin all over the body (arms, shoulders, belly, legs, etc.).Then, using stronger energy, squeeze all over your body to wake up your skin and senses.
    • Get Moving – Do several movements that will get the blood flowing. Some examples might be jumping, running in place with high knees, swinging arms or kicking legs, and jumping with legs crossed and then open.
  6. Explain to the children that with the next set of movements, they will put a spark of energy into their heads and help it travel down through their bodies.
  7. Give the children the following non-locomotor directions as you perform each movement together:
    • Twist your head from side to side.
    • Raise your shoulders up and down.
    • Bend and straighten your arms.
    • Circle your wrists.
    • Wiggle your fingers, and then put the spark of energy into your back.
    • Bend your back forward and side to side.
    • Wiggle your hips around and around.
    • Bend and straighten your knees.
    • Circle your ankles.
    • Wiggle your toes inside of your shoes.
    • Reach and grab the energy from your feet and let it out into the air!
  8. Distribute the hoops, and have the children hold their hoops around their middles to represent their self-space bubble. Queue up the music selection that you chose for this activity.
  9. Tell the children that when the music plays, they will move through the empty spaces following your directions, in their own body bubble, without touching anyone else’s bubble. When the music stops, they should put their hoops down on the floor around them and freeze.
  10. Play the music, and call out locomotor movements such as walking, marching, galloping, tiptoeing, etc., moving with the children as they move throughout the space.
  11. When the music stops, choose one of the non-locomotor movements for the children to do within their hoop space.
  12. Continue changing movements throughout the musical number, and then wrap up the session with some cool-down movements. These can be any kind of slow, calming movements.

Guiding Student Inquiry

  • Explain what your self-space is.
  • Describe how you moved safely through the group space.
  • Describe the different movements you performed.
  • Explain the parts of your body you used to perform the movements.

Explore, Extend & Integrate

  • Play a freeze game by dividing the class into two groups. One group will be the audience and sit at the edge of the dance space. The other group will be the performers. The performers will hold the hoops and move through the space when the music is playing. When the music stops, the performers will freeze and put their hoops on the floor. The audience will focus their attention on the performance. After a few starts and stops, switch groups, and have the second group perform for the first group.
  • Use the hoops as a target for a bean bag toss game.
  • In the art center, use paint and gingerbread cookie cutters to make prints on paper. Then, use circle cookie cutters or recycled lids to represent self-space by stamping around the gingerbread bodies.

Check for Children’s Understanding

  • Could children explain the concept of self-space?
  • Could children describe moving through the group space safely as not touching anyone else’s bubble?
  • Could children describe the different movements?
  • Could children explain which parts of the body matched their movements?


Did You Know

Between 3 and 5 years of age, children begin to develop gross motor skills. These are the skills that use different parts of the body such as the arms, legs, hands, feet, head, and trunk. These skills are important to develop and practice because they are the basic foundation for more complex skills such as those used in sports and recreational activities. 

Learning to control the body helps children to develop an awareness of the space around them. The type of creative movement experienced in this activity is an introduction to defining and moving through one’s own self-space. Creative movement also encourages problem solving skills as children engage in the activity while moving through the group space safely. 

Vocabulary: Child-Friendly Definitions

  • self-space – the area of personal use immediately around a person’s body.
  • group space – the area for particular use by a set of people.
  • freeze – to stop or cease movement.
  • movement – a motion or way of moving.
  • non-locomotor movement – movement of one or more body parts without moving from one place to another. For example, swaying, bending, and twisting are non-locomotor movements.
  • locomotor movements – movements that cause a person to travel from one place to another. For example, walking, galloping, and tiptoeing are locomotor movements.

Lesson Tips

  • Musical selections can be found online. Search for Tiliboyo by Kronos Quartet or Siwa by Samite (Hoops); Rock ’n Stop ;by Eric Chappelle (Explore, Extend, & Integrate)Moon River by John Altman (Cool Down).
  • Important rules of dance lessons:
    1. Listen to the teacher; wait to move, and stop movement when the teacher tells you.
    2. Keep your body safe while moving.
    3. Stay in your own self-space.


  • From Head to Toe by Eric Carle
  • Color Dance by Ann Jonas
  • The Foot Book by Dr. Seuss
  • How Do You Wokka-Wokka? by Elizabeth Bluemle

Home School Resources

Home educators: use these printable lesson PDFs to teach this lesson to your home schoolers. They're available in English and Spanish.

Home/School Connections

Las Conexiones a la Casa

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Content Provided By

Common Core State Standards Initiative – These lessons are aligned with the Common Core State Standards ("CCSS"). The CCSS provide a consistent, clear understanding of the concepts and skills children are expected to learn and guide teachers to provide their students with opportunities to gain these important skills and foundational knowledge [1]. Visit the CCSS