The Land Of…


If you teach young children you know that opposites are the hot topic! The land dance is very popular with my 4’s and 5’s. It’s a wonderful improvisation exercise to explore opposite words. I first heard of a version of  lands in this book, but of course, I took it up a notch and my littles love it! Here’s what we did:

First divide the room in half, like the picture above (ignore the stars). Next talk about opposites with your students. Come up with about 3 good ones. My students came up with and always beg for:

Peanut Butter and Jelly – sticky peanut butter/wiggly jelly.

Happy and Sad – happy like it’s your birthday/sad like when a friend takes your toy.

Water and Ice – waves and dripping/glaciers, ice sculptures, melting.

(they also came up with the descriptions)

After you have decided on the lands, explain the rules. If I was explaining peanut butter and jelly it would sound like this —

“On this side of the line is peanut butter (actually stand there) and on this side is jelly. (Ask them to repeat it to you) You can cross the line whenever you choose and as many times as you want, but once you cross the line make sure you are dancing the movement in that land.”

I love this dance for a couple of reasons, but the biggest one being the power of choice. They get to choose when they cross the line and that gives them ownership over their movement and their dancing. It is also one of those dances that is great for the times your class has A TON of energy! I notice that when we start the lands, they are very focused and movement comes out of them like I have never seen before.

I always dance with them, but this dance I always look forward too! Try it! It’s so awesome! 🙂

Have you ever done the land dance? Or do you do something similar where your students get to choose where and how to move? I would love to hear!




  1. Do you always dance with your students? Are there any moments in class that you observe?

    1. Author

      Deanna, I usually just use something instrumental. I use something different every time since it’s an improve. But I think if you pick something smooth, and a little upbeat, it works with each of these ideas. I have been meaning to look for something for the water and ice one, like waves or water noises. Today we did bumpy land and smooth land!

  2. I love this idea so much! I tried it with my 4-5 year olds today and it was amazing! I usually dance with my kids, too; but today I had to stop and watch– their creativity really shone through in this exercise. We used Fast/Slow and High/Low for our Lands. 🙂

    1. Author

      Johanna! That’s wonderful! I’m so glad it worked for you! Sometimes just giving them a little more choice and freedom really pays off! 🙂

  3. Oh my gosh what a great idea! I’m going to use this for my yoga class. Peanut butter sticks together, so we can do eagle pose. For Jelly, we can wiggle! Do you know of a good picture book for opposites? I love love love this idea!

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