Our series on baby storytime continues! This week I’m sharing my favourite songs for getting caregivers and babies up and moving. Make sure to check out the other posts in this series before reading on.
- Welcoming Activities at Babytime
- Favourite Fingerplays and Tickles
- Favourite Lap Bounces
- Focus on Newborns
- Favourite Books for Baby Storytime
- Using Scarves and Egg Shakers with Babies
- Using a Parachute with Babies
- Putting it All Together: A Baby Storytime Program
I love to dance. I especially love dancing with a bunch of babies. Toward the end of my storytime I ask the caregivers to stand up with their babies and guide them through some of these songs. It’s usually the most fun part of babytime and the part where caregivers see the most smiles. One thing I’ve learned to do is give the caregivers a few minutes to stand up and get comfortably situated with their child. It’s easy to underestimate how much time it takes to stand up! I wait until everyone’s had a chance to get on both feet and get baby ready too.
Here are some of my favourite dancing songs to do at babytime:
I love songs that let caregivers personalize the words. For this one, I tell caregivers to sub out the name “Katie” for their baby’s name. I love that each verse lets us do something different – dance, tickle, and lift. Funny story – I completely forgot the tune to this song a few weeks ago and one of the moms said, “I think it’s to the tune of “Drunken Sailor.” Lo and behold, she was right! That’s not the tune we use in the video, but it works in a pinch.
I always feel like we’re pretending to throw our babies out the window when we sing this song, but it’s super easy for caregivers to learn. Some of the moms at my babytime have taken to swinging the babies in their arms for the first verse. Before we start singing, I match each baby with another baby and talk about how much babies love to look at human faces. It’s a great way to make a new friend! My friend Jamie taught me a third verse that goes, “Climb up and down the ladder” which is a great chance for babies to be lifted in the air.
Not every song has to have lifting in it. In fact, sometimes I think I forget how heavy those babies are! This is a great song to use for some general dancing and bouncing. I always sing it multiple times and sub out “Mama’s” for “”Papa’s,” “Auntie’s,” and “Grandpa’s” just to show how you can play with the words of a song to fit your family’s needs.
A Vancouver classic! We have a lot of elevators here. Most babies love to be lifted up and down, but one modification I suggest to caregivers is to simply move their arms up and down instead of their whole body.
In the video we show this as a scarf song, but it’s quickly become my second favourite elevator song to do with babies! For the first part we dance and bounce babies, and then caregivers lift babies up starting from the ground to above their heads. It is quite the arm workout!
This is a toddler favourite, but I started using it in baby storytime for two reasons. Firstly, I wanted the caregivers and kids to be familiar with some of the songs when they transition from babytime to toddler or family storytime. And we do this one every.single.week in family storytime. It’s also just a really fun dancing song! I encourage caregivers to crouch down with their baby when we count down and then jump up. It can also be used as a lifting song. Don’t forget to check out our extra verses.
I can barely make it through this one without laughing, but this is a super fun song to end babytime with. When we’re up and dancing, I have the caregivers either swing babies for the first part or lift babies, depending how many other lifting songs we’ve done. I always mention that popular music is still music – and babies will recognize the songs you love to sing and dance to. Sometimes we keep it going with, “If you liked it then you should of put a bib on it.”
There you have it! My favourite ways to boogie at babytime. What are your favourite storytime movement and dancing songs? Let me know in the comments!