Let's dance, children!
April 27, 2012 7:15 PM   Subscribe

Dancing with preschoolers! Song suggestions needed.

I teach early childhood special ed. Cute 3-5 year olds with a variety of needs! They are a fun (and challenging) group. On Thursdays, we dance. So far I've got some fun kid tunes in our playlist but I've also added in a few from my "adult" music library, such as "Move On Up" by Curtis Mayfield, Jackson 5's "ABC" and "It's All Right" by the Impressions. I'm clearly a soul fan!

I'm looking for more songs that are perhaps aimed at grown-ups but also work for a kid dance party (so no bad words, sexual innuendo, etc.) No need to stick to the soul genre.

The wee ones thank you!
posted by sucre to Media & Arts (25 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
Here are a few I've used -- all kid friendly:

Jai Ho (from Slumdog Millionaire)
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da - The Beatles
Twist And Shout - The Beatles
Rock Around The Clock - Bill Haley & His Comets
Jump, Jive An' Wai - The Brian Setzer Orchestra
The Twist - Chubby Checker
Johnny B. Goode - Chuck Berry
Do You Love Me (Single) - Contours
Kung Fu Fighting - Count Dee's Silver Disco Explosion
Espionage - Green Day
Walking On Sunshine - Katrina & The Waves
Footloose - Kenny Loggins
Dynamite - Kidz Bop Kids
Celebration - Kool & The Gang
The Loco-Motion - Little Eva
Born to Hand Jive - Sha-Na-Na
Hokey Pokey
YMCA - The Village People
A Fifth Of Beethoven - Walter Murphy
posted by BurntHombre at 7:25 PM on April 27, 2012

Best answer: Stevie Wonder's Superstition is a pretty good time with a toddler, older kids might enjoy it too.
posted by waterlily at 7:26 PM on April 27, 2012

Brown Girl in the Ring
Iko Iko
posted by asockpuppet at 7:45 PM on April 27, 2012

Dancing Queen - ABBA
All Star - Smash Mouth
Why Does the Sun Shine? by They Might Be Giants
Crocodile Rock - Elton John
posted by Night_owl at 7:56 PM on April 27, 2012

My preschooler loves Captain Bogg and Salty, a pirate band for kids.
posted by umbĂș at 7:59 PM on April 27, 2012

Anything by Mefi's own Caesar Babypants.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 8:03 PM on April 27, 2012

Best answer: Octopuses' Garden and Yellow Submarine are excellent kid songs. Very singable and danceable w/out being frantic.

For a slowdown song, "If I Had a Boat" by Lyle Lovett is a good one.

When I was a kid, my PE teacher used to break out "Popcorn" by a band called Hot Butter, from the 70s, a dancy instrumental synth number, on rainy days.

Which reminds me, we also used to do "square dances" to songs like Cotton Eyed Joe and Turkey in the Straw, which was pretty fun. Anyone can do si do.
posted by emjaybee at 8:10 PM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Who Says by Selena Gomez -- every 3 yr old I know knows all the words!
After the Rain by Little Dragon
Angel Eyes by Bombay Vikings
Boogie Wonderland
Canned Heat
posted by spunweb at 8:11 PM on April 27, 2012

Try VocabTunes or anything Motown.
posted by lotusmish at 8:51 PM on April 27, 2012

EveryDay People - Sly and the Family Stone
Brand New Key - Melanie
Joy to the World - Three Dog Night
posted by kitcat at 8:52 PM on April 27, 2012

Wooly Bully- Sam The Sham & The Pharohs
Purple People Eater- Sheb Wooley
Hot Potato
Monster Mash- Bobby "Boris" Pickett
Ghostbusters Theme- Ray Parker Jr.
The Lion Sleeps Tonight- The Tokens
Chicken Dance
Shout- The Isley Brothers
Splish Splash- Bobby Darin
Blue Suede Shoes- Elvis
posted by lemonwheel at 8:58 PM on April 27, 2012

Rockin' Robin (there's a well-known cover by Michael Jackson)
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 9:15 PM on April 27, 2012 [2 favorites]

Do Your Thing - Basement Jaxx (this song is THE definition of groovy, but words may not be preschool-friendly. If you could get an instrumental this will be your jam)
They Might Be Giants have family-friendly songs
posted by ichomp at 10:47 PM on April 27, 2012

Oh yes! And Stayin Alive - Bee Gee's obviously. You probably already have it, not sure if it's totally appropriate for preschoolers, but they will hear it eventually. You are only introducing them to a classic :-P
posted by ichomp at 11:05 PM on April 27, 2012

Rock Lobster!
posted by brujita at 1:07 AM on April 28, 2012

As not-their-target-market, I've enjoyed the Beethoven's Wig album. It's a collection of classical music. The first 11 songs have funny lyrics with the songs, and the lyrics are aimed at children. Then, the same 11 songs are played without the lyrics.

You can hear the Beethoven's Wig (5th Symphony) in this video to get an idea of the silly lyrics. The idea is, after being amused with the silly lyrics, kids will appreciate the more adult version (without lyrics).
posted by Houstonian at 4:41 AM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

When I taught preschool, I was surprised how much the kids loved many of the uptempo numbers from the musical "Ain't Misbehavin'." They asked for that CD over and over.

To the person who suggested Stevie Wonder's "Superstition-" as a data point, as a kid that song scared me because of the line, "... the devil's on his way." Just saying.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 5:32 AM on April 28, 2012

All Together Now (there's a Muppets cover, too)

There's a great, soul-y version of Old MacDonald on one of the Putamayo collections.

Hoodoo Voodoo/ Wilco
posted by TEA at 6:27 AM on April 28, 2012

My preschool creative dance instructor used to set us loose with a couple of the kid-friendly songs from Cats (the musical).
posted by scribbler at 7:46 AM on April 28, 2012

Best answer: La Bamba is a hit with the little ones with whom I work!
posted by knmr76 at 9:40 AM on April 28, 2012

Best answer: At the age of 3 or so, my boy would automatically bust a move whenever he heard "Help Me, Rhonda" by the Beach Boys. In fact, most of the early Beach Boys songs are short, sweet & highly danceable.
posted by ROTFL at 11:19 AM on April 28, 2012

I Wanna Be Like You - Big Bad Vodoo Daddy
Catch a Falling Star - Block
Nothing But Flowers - Talking Heads
River Deep, Mountain High - Erasure
Wake Me Up Before You Go, Go - Wham
Banana Pancakes - Jack Johnson
Let's Dance to Joy Division - The Wombats
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 3:58 PM on April 28, 2012

Response by poster: Woo hoo! Our Thursdays are going to be bonkers-fun. Thanks everyone!
posted by sucre at 2:44 PM on April 29, 2012

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