This fall I started a monthly program called Family Dance Party. Inspired by the success of my Silly Songs Dance Party over the summer, this program is all about movement and music. Here’s my rationale behind the program:
- Music programs promote our audio collection – both online streaming and Audio CDs – a part of our collection that is underused.
- Dancing is a great form of physical activity and appeals to the kids who struggle with being still for long amounts of time. It’s important to offer programs that target multiple different ways of learning.
- It’s intergenerational – little kids, big kids, aunts, uncles, grandparents – everyone is welcome!
- And pretty much every single reason listed in this article: The Importance of Music for Children (I never thought I’d link to a Barnes and Noble article but they really hit the nail on the head).
The program lasts for one hour and is a combination of free dance, guided dancing, and musical games. I hold the program in our meeting room and clear everything out except for a table with books and CDs and some chairs in case an adult needs to take a rest. Here’s what we got up to – some of it is the same as my Silly Songs Dance Party, but I’ve added lots of new stuff after listening to over 50 children’s music CDs.
Body Talk by Greg and Steve on Kids in Motion
This is a great song to begin with because it is slow paced and has the kids go through each of their body parts and warm them up.
Shake My Sillies Out by Raffi on More Singable Songs
Let’s All Dance by Will Stroet on Let’s All Dance
If you have never listened to Will Stroet’s music, stop everything and go listen. A fellow Vancouverite, he is an award-winning bilingual musician who is so flipping awesome. I love using this song because it has simple directions and it includes English, French, and Spanish.
Dance Break: Play Simon Says with Dance Moves
Be as ridiculous as possible. For example, I say things like, “Simon says do the worm” or “Simon says do the sprinkler.” I ask for a few kid volunteers to be Simon and their dance moves are usually LOL worthy.
I’m Gonna Catch You by The Laurie Berkner Band on The Best of the Laurie Berkner Band
What kid doesn’t like being chased? This can get kind of crazy with a large group, but so far it’s been a huge hit as has everything by Laurie Berkner.
I Wanna Dance by Will Stroet on Let’s All Dance
This song goes through a series of children’s names, giving them the chance to show off their dance moves. I just shout the names of the kids at my program and give them a chance to bust a move.
Jump Up! by The Imagination Movers on For Those About to Hop
A high energy, quick song with lots of jumping and turning around.
All the Fish by Caspar Babypants on I Found You
I like this song because each animal swims a different way and we pretend to be each one. We also make the bubbles pop over our heads, though I could definitely see using this song with a bubble wand or bubble gun.
Dance Break: Musical Chairs
I always have extra songs on my playlist that I use for this game. I love playing music from the 1950s and 1960s. Some of my favourites are “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “Rock Around the Clock,” and “Rockin’ Robbin.”
Jump Up, Turn Around by Jim Gill on Jim Gill Sings Moving Rhymes for Modern Times
At this point it’s nice to offer a more mellow song that lets you catch your breath. This tune has simple actions so all the kids have to do is follow along.
Time for some egg shakers! After passing out them out we do these three songs:
After we have sufficiently shaked, I play a series of free dance songs. People are free to take a break if they need to or grab one of the music themed books on display. I keep dancing with the kids who are still full of energy. Here are some of my go-to songs:
I Really Love to Dance by The Laurie Berkner Band on The Best of the Laurie Berkner Band
I Love It by Eric Litwin and Michael Levine on Rockin’ Red
Happy by Pharrell Williams on Girl
Horns to Toes by Adam Bryant and Sandra Boynton on Rhinoceros Tap
You Make Me Feel Like Dancing by The Wiggles on Hot Potatoes: The Best of the Wiggles
And that’s it! Right now the only prop I have is egg shakers, but as soon as I get scarves and rhythm sticks I will definitely be adding those into the mix.
Have you ever held a dance party at your library? Let me know your favourite songs to play!