Monday, July 29, 2013

Just Dance

One video game program that is still going strong at our branch is Just Dance.  If I don't schedule it once every 6 months or so, the kids start asking when the next one will be.  I try to schedule them on school breaks, especially those where we don't have extra staff in the building, because it takes really little effort on my part to put the program on.

We do register for this program, because you don't want a lot of kids at it or they won't get their turns quick enough and they will get bored.  We register 20 kids ages 6-12 and know that some will show up.  As kids come into the program room, I put their name on a list.  This is their order for dancing.  It usually works out so I will have 4 groups of 4 kids (I have 4 controllers), which means that each kid dances every 10-15 minutes. 

To put on your own Just Dance program, you will need:
  • a video game system (we have a Wii)
  • as many controllers as possible (the Wii will run 4 controllers at a time)
  • Just Dance video game.  There are now MANY different versions of this game.  You can pick the newest, which many of the kids won't have, or you can go "retro" and pick one of the older or Greatest Hits versions.
  • a way to project your game.  Use what you have to make it as cool as possible.  You can use a television, but if you happen to have a LCD projector, speakers, and a screen, that is much cooler!
  • extra AA batteries for the controllers.  While we use rechargeable batteries in our controllers, at least one controller per program will lose its charge. 
Your job running the program is:
  • To help kids with the basics of the controller.  It helps if you show them how the game is played, that the hand movements are what run your score up, and how to select songs.
  • To announce each group of kids.  It helps if you know where controller 1 is and pass it to a different kid each time.  Otherwise you will hear complaints that certain kids didn't get a turn yet to choose a song. 
  • To break up any song arguments.  I announce at the beginning that if there are disagreements, then I will pick out the song and nobody wants that.  I have only had 1 disagreement in 4 years of doing this program.
  • To have patience.  It is possible that you will listen to One Direction for the entire program.  While they aren't my favorite, I am not picking out the songs.  As long as there are no arguments, let them do it.

Random fun moment:
At one of our programs, the kids didn't really care if they got the controllers.  They just wanted to dance.  While we still rotated the controllers, there was a giant dance party where all 20 kids did all of the moves.  Since that program, I do announce at the beginning that anybody can dance.  After all, I am not keeping track of the scores.

This is our program room.  I move all of the chairs to the side 
so we have the largest space possible to dance.

When the program starts, I turn off the lights so you can see the screen better.  I also put the controllers out on the floor as the kids come in so they can get a general idea of "space".  While they do tend to cluster together, at least they started off spread out.

This is our media cart.  On the top shelf we have our LCD projector and speakers.  You can also see the Wii sensor-you will want this in a place that all of the controllers can register.  The second shelf holds our Wii.

When not in use, our controllers sit on my desk charging.


  1. Lisa, I have been thinking about having this program during summer reading - a half hour for the 6 & younger crowd and a half hour for the 6-12 crowd. Not sure if I have all of the equipment to make it work (but I think I do). My idea was not to have kids use the controllers, but perhaps have a couple of teen volunteers use them and kind of lead everyone through the songs. I like the idea of using it for a program during school breaks. I need to set up the equipment & see if it works-technically, then give it a go! Thanks for the inspiration to get going with this.

    1. No problem. The only thing I would watch is which Just Dance game you use for the under 6 crowd. Personally, I would use one of the kids' versions or switch to Nickelodeon Dance (1 or 2). Honestly, they just love the dancing aspect so I think your idea would work. I have even had parents who want their own Just Dance program for exercise. :)


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