Help me set up a playlist for kid-friendly dance parties!
March 23, 2021 5:03 AM   Subscribe

We like to have a "party" for our kids (8 & 3) every now and then. This involves queueing up a bunch of Youtube music videos, playing them very loudly and letting the kids jump all over the living room for 45 minutes or so until they collapse in a puddle of sweat. The songs have to be fast, with strong rhythm, pumping, very energetic, generally in the pop/rock genre. My kids' absolute favorite song is "I Like To Move It" from Madagascar. They don't speak English, just a few words, so lyrics are generally not an issue, except audible swear words. (But we'd prefer no inappropriate chorus lines, so they don't memorize it and start running around screaming something that might offend English-speaking adults...) What are your suggestions for the playlist?

We're doing another party tomorrow and I'd be grateful for all your suggestions!
posted by gakiko to Media & Arts (34 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

How fun! My first thought was Happy by Pharrell Williams.
Also Can’t Stop The Feeling by Justin Timberlake.
Both are lively and catchy and both feature lots of different people dancing in all kinds of styles that you kids could imitate if they wanted to.
posted by bookmammal at 5:49 AM on March 23, 2021 [2 favorites]

OMG can't believe I forgot this one:

C & C Music Factory-Everybody Dance Now
posted by RobinofFrocksley at 5:55 AM on March 23, 2021 [4 favorites]

Shut Up And Dance.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:00 AM on March 23, 2021 [2 favorites]

What Does The Fox Say?
posted by Night_owl at 6:02 AM on March 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

Follow the leader by the Soca boys
posted by Ftsqg at 6:04 AM on March 23, 2021

Michael Franti "Say Hey I Love You" is stupid and delightful and repetitive with a driving beat, and the video is full of people dancing.

(My daughter is teaching in a second grade classroom In New Hampshire, and in the winter the kids have videos that they watch like recess, dancing and jumping next to their desk. I can ask her what their favorites are.)
posted by wenestvedt at 6:12 AM on March 23, 2021 [2 favorites]

This is a bit outside the box, but I was recently in a grocery store with my son and "Brown Eyed Girl" came on the radio, and we had a bit of a mini dance party in the aisles. The memorable part of the song is the "sha la la", although there is one NSFPreschool line about making love. Easily missed though.

In general, though, my go-tos for this are generally either 80s pop or oldies. My son and I just did another thing with "How Will I Know" by Whitney Houston and "Heaven is a Place on Earth" by Belinda Carlisle. Also good: "Walking on Sunshine" by Katrina and the Waves, "Genius of Love" by Tom Tom Club, etc. I really like "Safety Dance" by Men Without Hats, but my daughter is getting to the age where she's going to start asking questions about the lyrics.

I personally enjoy a lot of 90s pop too, but you're getting riskier there. We've done "Real Love" by Mary J Blige successfully a bunch of times, and I've played Mariah's "Fantasy" (the ODB remix) a couple of times. "Groove is in the Heart", stuff like that.

I grew up doing this sort of thing with my parents listening to music from their childhoods, and I keep doing that with my kids. A lot of Motown works well for this. "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" is a hit, "Louie Louie", that sort of thing.

I'd also throw in Will Smith's "Big Willie Style" album. It's very PG (remember the whole "Will Smith don't gotta cuss in his raps to sell records" thing?), and it's better than a lot of people give it credit for. It was written by Nas, and I really hope someone chuckles at the first part of this sentence.

For stuff targeted more directly toward kids, the Trolls soundtrack is... well, I've listened to it a lot. Good? Not sure. Listenable? Yes.
posted by kevinbelt at 6:15 AM on March 23, 2021 [3 favorites]

Jock Jams type music comes to mind. The link is to a playlist in Youtube, which is not an official "Jock Jams" list, but is in line with what I remember from going to hockey games in the mid-00s.

On edit -- the list I linked to includes The Bloodhound Gang's "Bad Touch" (ugggggh), so this list in particular may not be great, but looking at Jock Jams albums in general might give you some ideas.
posted by chiefthe at 6:21 AM on March 23, 2021 [2 favorites]

My daughter says the web site GoNoodle is what they use:

They want you to sign up as either a family or teacher, but here's one of the samples in the "family" section: Guacamole Activity. It's a video of people singing and dancing, talking about guacamole, and teaching how many days are in each month.

Bright colors, bouncy music, graphics flaying around, and people dancing. It could work for you!
posted by wenestvedt at 6:40 AM on March 23, 2021

And may I introduce you to Steve Songs? Samples page

Oh, the number of times we heard "Marvelous Day"... :7)
posted by wenestvedt at 6:42 AM on March 23, 2021

This is a bit outside the box, but I was recently in a grocery store with my son and "Brown Eyed Girl" came on the radio, and we had a bit of a mini dance party in the aisles. The memorable part of the song is the "sha la la", although there is one NSFPreschool line about making love.

There is a "radio-friendly" edit of the song that removes that line and repeats the "Laughin' and a-runnin'" line from earlier in the song instead.

If you're gonna add in some Irish folk and trad rock influences in, there's a whole other field with some other great options. One whole band to check out is Great Big Sea, who are tremendous fun; they've done some Celtic-folk influenced covers of rock songs, like Run Runaway or It's The End Of The World As We Know It, but they've also done some traditional Newfoundland songs like Lukey's Boat. (Fun fact - their cover of "End Of The World As We Know It" is shorter than REM's, largely because they sing it even faster than REM does.)

Another song to mention is the title cut off The Waterboys' Fisherman's Blues. Someone in here commented some years back that they noticed that kids got weirdly entranced by this song; I have a friend who runs a child care center, and she put it on once to distract a pair of three-year-old boys who were squabbling over something, and she said that within 20 seconds they were dancing together with arms around each other's shoulders in full bro-mode.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:43 AM on March 23, 2021 [4 favorites]

"Space Unicorn" - Parry Gripp and Brianne Drouhard

More generally, if you take an annual list of Billboard top dance club songs from Wikipedia and plug the titles into Youtube with the keywords remix or especially cardio or workout, you'll get some good high-energy options. Or just look up some cardio compilation albums. The lyrics of the songs they include are mostly friendly to general audiences--at least, easy to double check in a search.
posted by Wobbuffet at 6:57 AM on March 23, 2021

Walk the Dinosaur is a preschooler dance party song in our house.
posted by the_blizz at 6:59 AM on March 23, 2021 [2 favorites]

how can this list not have Prisencolinensinainciusol on it?

metafilter gets full credit for introducing me to this greatness.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 7:02 AM on March 23, 2021 [4 favorites]

Ozomatli has some kids music (under OzoKids or something like that); the best is Moose on the Loose (I don’t know how good this video is, we typically listen to the song.
posted by emkelley at 7:07 AM on March 23, 2021

My kids loved jumping on the bed over and over to U2's Beautiful Day. The chorus is pretty killer and it somehow connects with little kids.
posted by JoeZydeco at 7:32 AM on March 23, 2021

Jonathan Richman 'I'm a Little Airplane'
posted by readery at 7:52 AM on March 23, 2021

My children, 8 and 6, often request "Dance Party 2020" from YouTube. This is not a song but a mix that lasts for about an hour. Also a $15 LED dance light helps.
posted by bdc34 at 8:10 AM on March 23, 2021

"Jump" by the Pointer Sisters.
Also strongly second "Can't Stop The Feeling" by Justin Timberlake.
Would "Twist and Shout" by The Beatles be good? My son likes it.
Lots of Bruno Mars falls into this category (check lyrics)
posted by Bebo at 8:26 AM on March 23, 2021 [2 favorites]

The Fratellis have a few songs that would work well, like For The Girl.
Fitz & the Tantrums: Clap.
Blink 182: All the Small Things. (What's my age again would also be great, but the lyrics and video are probably too much for little ones!)
The whole album would be great, but start with Flogging Molly's Drunken Lullabies.
Uptown Funk (Kids Bop version)

if you make a spotify playlist of these, will you please share?
posted by hydra77 at 9:03 AM on March 23, 2021

Tunak Tunak Tun!
posted by ActionPopulated at 9:12 AM on March 23, 2021

Ca Plane Pour Moi by Plastic Bertrand

Fell in Love with a Girl by the White Stripes

My kids used to go wild for Sexx Laws by Beck at that age, but listen to it first & see if you find it age-appropriate

Smells Like Teen Spirit is perfect for this
posted by rd45 at 10:06 AM on March 23, 2021

Also - maybe not for the lyrical content but for the energy - Eve of Destruction as covered by the Dickies
posted by rd45 at 10:21 AM on March 23, 2021

I have several songs with this vibe on my treadmill playlist: Iko Iko by Zap Mama, Turn the Beat Around by Vicki Sue Robinson, Take Me I'm Yours by Squeeze, Pomp and Pride by Toots and the Maytals, Do You Love Me by The Contours, Good Timin' by Jimmy Jones, Angel of Harlem by U2, to name a few.
posted by FormerMermaid at 10:26 AM on March 23, 2021

70s glam rock might fit the bill, e.g:

Mud - Tiger Feet
The Sweet - Ballroom Blitz

Not glam rock but imo top danceable tunes:
Joan Jett - Love is All Around
Dead or Alive - You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)
Maitre Gazonga - Les Jaleux Saboteurs
posted by Lluvia at 10:36 AM on March 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

Also, Mr. Blue Sky by E.L.O. and I Can't Wait by Nu Shooz
posted by FormerMermaid at 10:48 AM on March 23, 2021


The 5 6 7 8's cover of Woo-Hoo!
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:40 AM on March 23, 2021 [2 favorites]

A-Punk by Vampire Weekend is my kids’ favourite in this genre. It is our soundtrack of choice for nerf gun fights.
posted by greycap at 12:07 PM on March 23, 2021

Want to dance to Rainbow Connection, but it's not fast enough for you? Me First and the Gimme Gimme's have the solution!

Third Wave Ska sounds like a good idea, too, like Save Ferris or The Mighty Mighty Bosstones.

And I would be remiss if I didn't strongly recommend my close personal friend.
posted by China Grover at 12:40 PM on March 23, 2021 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: For anyone looking for more ideas, some of our favorites are here: (and I already added some of yours :))

Thanks for all the suggestions so far!
posted by gakiko at 2:15 PM on March 23, 2021 [2 favorites]

posted by brujita at 4:29 PM on March 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

« Older Covid19 and friendships   |   NaPoWriMo online accountability groups? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.