• Cassie Smith, MT-BC

Top 10 Songs for Gross Motor Movement

Updated: Aug 12, 2019

Have you ever tried dancing without any music? Just a guess, but it probably wasn’t very fun or easy to do. Music is a motivator to get us moving! If you’re like me, I can’t help but move some part of my body when music is playing; whether it is bobbing my head, tapping my toes, or a good shoulder shimmy! Continue reading for my top 10 songs I like to use to practice gross motor movement!




1. Walk the line – Johnny Cash

A fun way to use this song is create a line for your child to walk on. You could put tape on the floor (if you’re inside) or find natural “lines” like sidewalk cracks (if you’re outside). You could get creative with sidewalk chalk and draw crazy lines to practice balance.


2. Walking on Sunshine – Katrina and the Waves

I just really like this song! It’s fun, upbeat, and talks about the sun (and walking)!


3. Airplane song – Laurie Berkner

I really like this song because it lets the kiddos get creative in thinking of places to go and choosing a movement when your “airplane lands”. Addressing multiple goal areas at once is always a win!

4. Hokey Pokey

Not only is this a classic movement song, but it also helps with body identification.



5. Row Your Boat

This is a great song to practice balance and trunk control. I’ve learned many variations for this song. You could stand or sit facing each other, holding hands, and rock back and forth to the beat to practice switching your body weight to each side. Another way is to sit facing each other with your legs stretched out and your feet touching. Now, hold hands and rock forwards and back like you’re rowing a boat.


6. The Ants Go Marching

This song is super easy to change the movement word. Some examples are: skipping, hopping, crawling, running, walking, or tip toeing.


7. Better When I’m Dancing

I really like how Rachel Rombach changed the words to this song, but if you don’t have her version Meghan Trainor’s original song works just as good! So hit play and see who can come up with the most creative dance moves!


8. Freeze Dance

This is super fun and easy to do with any song. Have your child dance when the music is playing and freeze when the music stops. Not only are you working on gross motor skills by dancing, but you’re practicing impulse control and following directions. I’ve suggested this song because it’s fun and who doesn’t like to move it move it?!?


9. Happy and You Know It

This is another classic. I really enjoy making my own versus to work on any goal area. Some examples are: If you’re happy and you know it jump up and down, If you’re happy and you know it skip all around, or If you’re happy and you know it touch your toes. You could also take it another step and change the emotion. An example would be if you’re mad and you know it stomp your feet or if you’re mad and you know it cross your arms.


10. Walking Walking – tune to “Are You Sleeping?”

This is another great song that addressed multiple goal areas at once. It’s fun because the lyrics tell you exactly what to do!



Now that you know our top 10 songs for motor skills, you’re ready to start dancing with your kiddos! Do you have any favorite movement songs? Share them with us!


To learn more about how music therapy can help your child develop their motor skills, visit our page at www.amusictherapy.com and schedule a free consultation with Noel Anderson, the director of Anderson Music Therapy Services.


Happy Dancing!

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