Can you do what I do?

All of us are imitative beings (I see this in community dance), but children are especially imitative!

Whether it’s because of mirror neurons or limbic resonance or something else entirely, children are the greatest copiers! Let’s put this to use and have some fun!

One game you can try is simply called, Can you do what I do? The adult says, “Can you do what I do?” and the child says, “I can do what you do” (for the little ones, the adult says both parts). And then do something easy or tricky or silly. It can be a large movement or a small one. It can be clicking your tongue in a little rhythm. Or it can be spinning around, then falling down. It can be a dance move (tippy toes) or an athletic move (run in place) or a working move (chopping wood). You can switch who copies whom.

There are many variations on this idea through songs and games. For instance you can sing, “Go like this this this, little puppet little puppet, go like this this this, turn around and go away,” to the melody of the traditional French song Les Petites Marionnettes. You can move your hands in a variety of ways and let the children copy. The hands can turn around and go away between movements. 

About the Author

Kimberley Lewis

Kimberley is a birth-to-three teacher, consultant and writer. She received her master's degree in Waldorf Early Childhood Education from Antioch University New England in Keene, NH. She is a RIE® Associate and avid Pikler student. She has been teaching nursery, preschool, kindergarten and parent-child classes in Waldorf schools since 2007.

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