Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Lisa's Dance Party-the 2013 Edition

One of my favorite programs of the summer is our Dance Party.  It is popular and you can do it for as many or as few people as you want.  Plus, it is relatively easy to set up and there is no cost.  While I change the music up every year (I think that I have 8 Dance Party soundtracks now), you can keep it the same-the kids and the parents will still love it.  Our Dance Party programs run approximately 30 minutes.

Stuff to Consider Before You Start
  •  Room size-While we register 25 2-4 year olds for this program, there are never just 25 kids in the room.  You have to add in siblings, parents, grandparents, strollers, etc.  Our room holds 100 people and it is not uncommon to have 75+ people in the room for a Dance Party.
  • Control-How many kids can you realistically control?  With the open space and the music going, you have to have a way to maintain some sort of control.
  • Sound-How are you going to make the music heard?  We run ours through our AV system.  If you are using a cd player, the volume doesn't go as high.  You need to be able to be heard (to show kids what to do and to intercept problems).  Is your voice loud enough?  Do you need a mic?
  • Playlist-You will want a mixture of fast and slow songs.  If you have 5 jumping songs in a row, chaos will occur and you will never regain control.  Mix in some of your regular story time songs (young kids like to be in the "know").  I like to mix in action songs (pretend you are an octopus) with free dancing songs.  Also, why are you picking certain songs?  Are there ones that would be better to work on gross motor skills than others?
  • Props-Do your songs need props?  Do you have enough for everyone who attends?  Sometimes it is good to give big brothers & sisters the props too as they are good examples.  I like to have props that the kids can take home with them.  This helps them to pretend at home and shows parents how easy some of these things are.

Our three props-steering wheel, dino puppet, & animal shaker

We have a table by the door for each kid to pick out their own prop.  This avoids problem of having to pass out & collect the props between songs.  It also lets the kids be creative and use the props for actions other than what you intended them for.  Some will shake through the whole program and that is okay.

Summer 2013 Playlist
1.  Finger On Your Head by Michael & Jello on Monkey See, Monkey Do

2.  Drivin' In My Car by Ralph Covert on Ralph's World (story time song)
3.  The Dinosaur Dance by Dance-a-Lot Robot on Playhouse Disney: Let's Dance-while I didn't plan it for this song, the kiddos all grabbed their dinosaur puppets and pretended to be dinosaurs.
4.  Shake With You by Mr. Eric & Mr. Michael on Bouncy Blue (shaker song)
5.  Beep Beep by Mr. Eric and Mr. Michael on Bouncy Blue-I made steering wheels out of paper plates and clip art pasted on Cate's idea at Storytiming.
6.  Mr. Eric's Jumping Song by Mr. Eric & Mr. Michael on Outrageous Orange
7.  Balance Beam by Laurie Berkner on Rocketship Run-While I would love to own a balance beam at our library, there is no way I could store it.  You can make a fake on using masking tape on the floor (see below).  This song fascinates the kids and you will find them all following you on the "beam".  
8.  I Can Shake My Shaker Egg by Mr. Eric & Mr. Michael on Rockin' Red (shaker song)
9.  We Are the Dinosaurs by Laurie Berkner on The Best of the Laurie Berkner Band-I made a bunch of dinosaur props by copying the dino pattern on colored paper from The Mailbox Feb/March 2009 issue.  The sticks are foam sticks that I had leftover from some craft.
10.  If You're Happy & You Know It by Mr. Eric & Mr. Michael on Yummy Yellow
11.  The Night I Had a Dream by Laurie Berkner on Whaddaya Think of That?
12.  Do the Octopus by Dance-a-Lot Robot on Playhouse Disney: Let's Dance
13.  The Mack Chicken Dance by Greg & Steve on Big Fun

Balance beam made out of masking tape
While I do most of my dance parties in the summer, you don't have to limit them to summer reading.  I have been known to schedule them when we have long story time breaks as an easy way to bring the kids in.  For last year's Dance Party info, check here.  

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