Children love stories and reading books together is one of the best things you can do for development. Stories alone can be launch pads for improvisation and exploration of sounds and rhythms. So combining stories with Classical music and movement take all of these benefits to another level.
Listening to music alongside stories helps to set the mood rather like a good film soundtrack. Most of all, it is wonderful for imagination and inspiring creativity.
How to use this Classical music and movement with stories post
The links below take you to suggested books and a paired piece of music. Most of the tracks are Classical but in some cases other genres have slipped in! My favourite resources for researching classical music and movement activities are YouTube and Spotify because they suggest alternatives within genres.
Read the book together and then suggest that the children pretend to be one of the characters. You could ask them to imagine themselves in that different world. It’s a good idea to discuss the ideas together first to help them get started but they’ll soon catch on.
How to play the suggested tracks
People often ask what equipment I use for playing musical excerpts in music lessons. Of course if you have the original CDs you can play them using a remote for stopping and starting.
The easiest way is to use YouTube or Spotify on your phone or iPad and some bluetooth speakers. I’d recommend the Anker Soundcore for use in an average sized room. These JBL Flip 4 speakers pack a bit more of punch if you’re in a bigger space.
Bear Snores On
Bear Snores On is about a sleeping brown bear who snores on in his dark cave. While he is asleep he is gradually joined by other animals from the forest who come in to shelter. This one would be great to act out with the children pretending to be the different animals.
I’ve chosen Pachelbel’s Canon In D because it has a steady ostinato (a repetitive phrase) which is the same as the steady breathing of the sleeping bear.
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt is such a wonderful book and such brilliant inspiration for piggyback activities. Check out this post for lots of musical bear hunt ideas and activities inspired by the book.
If you’re heading off into the ‘imaginary’ woods the original Teddy Bears’ Picnic by Henry Hall is the perfect track to get the imaginations going!
How to Find Flower Fairies
There are so many wonderful stories about fairies and everyone will have their own favourite.
If you have a budding little fairy you can also check out our 5 Best Classical Music Tracks For Fairy Dancing!
The Very Busy Spider
The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle is a wonderful story about the industrious spider building her nest. The storybook itself is a sensory book, allowing kids to feel the pictures as well as see them.
For the imaginative movement, the children could pretend to be little spiders spinning webs while listening to Vivaldi’s Concerto for Four Harpsichords.
Buzzy The Bumblebee
Buzzy The Bumblebee is a book with beautiful images and a wonderful message about keeping a positive attitude. Children will love pretending to be buzzy bees to Rimsky Korsakov’s The Flight Of The Bumblebee.
In addition to listening to the music there are lots of wonderful animations for Flight of the Bumblebee which are excellent for older children.
If you’re planning a bumble bee theme, then do check out the Busy Bee Ring Game for more bumble bee related fun!
These three fishy tales are perfect to accompany The Aquarium from The Carnival of the Animals. Any of the books will do but all three is an added bonus. Very Fidgety Fish is an imaginative book that kids love to hear again and again. The Rainbow Fish is about a fish who finds happiness from sharing his shimmering scales with all of his friends. Finally Over In The Ocean is a lively rhyme with lots of verses and actions all about the different fish in the sea.
The Ugly Duckling
The Ugly Duckling has been a favourite for generations. Children love acting out the story of the duckling’s transformation into the beautiful swan. What could be more perfect classical track for this story than the The Swan from Carnival Of The Animals.
The Carnival of the Animals is a fantastic resource for helping kids to connect with classical music, it always gets them hooked!
If you’d like more musical activities for the rest of the piece, check out my Carnival Of The Animals Bundle for a complete set of printable teaching resources.
The Story of the Snow Children
The Story of the Snow Children is a wintery tale about a little girl who gets magically transported to the Snow Queen’s frozen kingdom. The Trepak from The Nutcracker Suite sets a suitably icy scene for children to become magical snow flakes in addition to setting a chilly mood.
These pieces delight with lots of sound effects and are also great for teaching children about the different variations between fast and slow. Whenever we want to pretend to be trains I always play either the old traditional Puffin Billy or if we fancy something with a bit of swing, Chatanooga Choo Choo by Glenn Miller.
The Story of the Orchestra
Finally, The Story of the Orchestra is just such a great resource for anyone wanting to introduce children to the world of Classical music. The book brings composers and instruments to life in a kid friendly way.