Blogger Sarah Bean Thompson

Dance Parties are Fun-and Important!

Yesterday I hosted a Bibliobop Dance Party at my library. I started Bibliobop (our baby/toddler/preschooler dance party) about four years ago. The program includes lots of music and movement, reading books about dancing and music and lots of fun. We use shaker eggs, instruments, parachutes, and scarves. Biblibop is hosted on Saturday mornings once every few months. This Fall, I also started a program called Preschool Wiggleworms, which is another music and movement program. The weekly programs are a bit more themed (we talk about certain types of dance or themes each week) but the general idea is similar to Biblibop. We dance, move, and have fun.

My mom is a music teacher, so I grew up surrounded by the arts. Singing and dancing were regular parts of my life. But the more I do these creative movement programs, the more I realize this is an aspect of early literacy that we really need to promote.

The more I host these creative movement programs, the more I am surprised by how many people don’t include music and movement in their daily lives. I think because I grew up with it’s second nature to me, but for so many people it’s not. At each of these programs, I have parents tell me “this is so great-we don’t do this at home!” When my son was born and I was singing to him as I changed his diaper, my mother-in-law said “that’s so neat how you sing to him all the time.” It wasn’t something she had thought about doing with a newborn. And I always have parents (and staff) who  say they don’t know how to sing, they aren’t good singers, they can’t dance. But we all know the kids don’t care!

We have so many great resources from books to CDs that can help parents host their own dance parties at home. When I host these programs, I try and focus on the Singing skill of Every Child Ready to Read and letting parents know why singing and dancing is so important. Singing helps us slow down, hear words in a new way, it grows vocabulary. Dancing helps kids move. As I write this, my 1-year-old son is dancing and singing around my living room with his dad to “Tooty-Ta”. His vocabulary has grown from listening to the song and he can recite the order of all the movements.

Even if you think you can’t sing or can’t dance, you can host a creative movement program. It’s lots of fun to put together and the kids and adults have a blast. Here are a few of my favorite songs and activities:

I Can Shake My Shaker Egg by The Learning Groove (shaker eggs)

The Apple Tree by Bari Koral Family Rock Band (scarves)

Happy by Jennifer Gasoi (scarves or parachute)

Country Classics Start and Stop by Hap Palmer (shakers or parachute)

The Freeze by Greg and Steve (it’s a classic must have!)

Bop Til You Drop by Greg and Steve

The Train Beat Song by The Sugar Free Allstars

Airband by The Pop Ups

Do you host creative movement programs at your library? How do you share the importance of singing and dancing with your patrons? Any favorite songs or activities?

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