Dance party “workout” for parents and toddlers

Amazon: Kids Dance Party (CD)We've already posted a hack about dancing with your kids as a way to get a workout, but I loved Emma's description (and the playlist!) so I figured it was worth an encore:

My son is two and a half, and I work full-time. Long story short, I find it really difficult to get to the gym or even out for a walk, particularly on Saturdays and Sundays, when I spend as much time with him as possible. (Obviously were I better at managing my time, I could figure out a way–but let's not get into that just now!)

I've found that turning on music and having a dance party is excellent for both of us. We both get some exercise, he becomes better with coordination and learns new ways to stretch and move, and I can work in a bunch of leg-lifts and whatnot.

As we're dancing, I point out different parts of the song (e.g., "Okay, the drums are coming in now!"), play air guitar with him, pick him up and twirl him around, that kind of thing. He incorporates his stuffed animals into the dancing, copies my moves, comes up with his own–heck, sometimes he just runs around the couch in circles. He's good for 4-5 songs, sometimes more; so you get 20-30 minutes' worth of workout.

This works even in a small space (my living room, for instance!) and I like to include a few silly songs in there to keep his interest. Here's a sample playlist:

  • All These Things That I've Done — The Killers
  • Second Chance — Liam Finn
  • Bold As Brass — Split Enz (lots of silly sounds in this one)
  • I Was Made to Love Her — Stevie Wonder
  • Across 110th Street — Bobby Womack

I hope this helps a few parents out there.

Does anyone else have a favorite dance-with-the-kids song?

Related: No time for exercise? You may already be exercising more than you think.


  1. anon says

    We do this every night after dinner with our two little ones. Favorites include: Little Richard’s Tutti Frutti, Devo’s Whip It, B-52’s Loveshack, and the reigning favorite which has TOTALLY inappropriate lyrics but the kids only pick up on the chorus lyrics: House of Pain’s Jump Around.

  2. says

    Since Abby (daughter, now 15 months) was up and moving, we’ve turned off the TV while she’s awake and have music running around the clock. I have a couple of mixes on an ipod that include really silly songs as well as really slow songs. We downloaded a TON of children’s music from Some of those are good, some are not. A few of them are great for just being silly before dinner!

  3. says

    My 15-month old LOVE “I Feel it All” by Feist. Every time it come up on the playlist he does his funky little head bob. That’s my cue to pick him up and then we boogie.

    My kid also seems to really love the White Stripes. I think it is the strong and easily discernible downbeat.

    Dancing with my little man is one of my very favorite things.

  4. Hayley says

    More Feist & White Stripes fans here! Selected tracks from The (English) Beat, Vampire Weekend, Wilco, De La Soul & Gorillaz are also house favorites… gotta watch those lyrics, though. Tiny C is waaaaay too verbal for his age (2.5), and is already singing along O_o

  5. says

    I love to dance with my girls. They love the slow songs (’cause they love to be “dipped”) and oldies. But my favorite is when have Grandma’s Riverdance cd. The flailing of feet simply must be seen (…there are no words).

    But the number one song is Walking on Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves. You simply cannot be still when that song comes on (Shout! is a close second).

  6. says

    My girls (3 & 5) LOVES dancing to ‘Dancing Queen’ and ‘Mama Mia’! They know all the words, too. I was surprised how they took to my faves – even current ones on the radio, as long as you can dance to it!

  7. JenN says

    Aerosmith’s “Walk this Way” inspires some truly unique moves as we follow the leader. Other favourites are Great Big Sea’s “Beat the Drum” and “When I am King.”
    Last week, my son (5) started singing “I kissed a girl, and I liked it.” I asked him who he kissed, and he answered “YOU!”