Monday, July 25, 2016

library dance parties for librarians who hate to dance

confession: i am a really bad dancer. 
seriously awful.
like Elaine on Seinfeld bad. 
always have been. 
it might be genetic.



note: this is NOT my motto


however, I really, really, REALLY wanted to try planning a dance party at my library, so i decided to give it a whirl anyway. I think it's good to try things outside of your comfort zone every once in a while. 

plus, I wanted to buy fun stuff for it. okay, okay! this was my main reason, i'm not afraid to admit it. i LOVE new props for storytime.

but as the date of our super duper dance party crept closer and closer, i grew more and more nervous. i tried not to let my anxiety show. i was really in a state of complete denial. what dance party?

the weekend before the party, my husband gently asked me, "so, are you actually going to dance at your dance party?" of course, i was. 

then, i started to sweat. thanks, honey!

the date finally arrived yesterday and it was actually a lot of fun so i wanted to share some of my thoughts here on my blog.

things to do before the dance party:

#1. find some staff members who love to dance (unlike yourself!): CHECK! 

luckily, i have the BEST boss ever and she is an amazing dancer. she was probably the one person who was even more excited about this program than I was. 
also, this way I got to be the DJ (mostly!)


#2. buy lots of cool props...

...because if people are distracted, they may not notice your awful dancing skills at first. RIGHT?!!!

we bought: an amazing disco light (from amazon) that synced to the beat of the music. the kids were totally blown away when they walked into our auditorium and saw the amazing light show!

we also bought tons of inflatable guitars and cute mini maracas to hand out. Very popular with the kids! we had colorful scarves already so those did not need to be purchased. 

I considered buying a bubble machine but worried about slippery tile floors so i stuck with my trusty, low tech  Bubble Spinner.

Glow in the dark bracelets, necklaces and/or sticks are also highly recommended. they looked so cool in the dark with the disco light!

giveaways: we grabbed a few library tees rolled up to pass around like hot potato which was super fun. Kind of like musical chairs -- but with less chance of tripping and hurting ourselves, lol!

also important: bottles of water -- for everyone!! you will be a sweaty mess at the end, i guarantee it!


#3. a playlist of awesome dance songs

our party was for all ages and focused on current/past hit songs. 

the crowd was much younger than I expected but some favorite songs were: Uptown Funk, Shut Up and Dance, & Shake It Off. We played What Do You Mean and Happy for the games of hot potato, which also gave everyone a chance to sit and relax for a few minutes. 

we tried YMCA, Electric Slide, Dollar Wine, & Cha Cha Slide which were super fun. some of the kids were a little young to keep up with these choreographed dances but we had fun anyway! next time, I would make up some super easy steps for the popular songs. Freeze dances were great.


#4. be prepared for ANYTHING! 

i was hoping at least some of the parents would join in the fun but they mostly sat in their chairs --  BOOOOOO! 

it was hard to wrangle the little ones into a circle or get everyone doing the same thing without the parental participation. maybe turning on the lights for our games of hot potato would help?

also, some children got pretty upset when they didn't win the tee shirt. 

the kids seemed to really need direction and wanted to follow the steps my boss was doing. we had planned to alternate some free dance songs into our playlist but everyone seemed a little lost without a leader showing them what to do.

i planned to do Splish Splash with bubbles, then end the program with Shout. No one knew Splish Splash at all and when Shout started, everyone was tired and the parents just refused to participate. so, learn from my mistakes and don't go on too long! 

we tried playing a couple of requests toward the end, but I feel like we had lost momentum at that point. bottom line: don't be afraid to skip something or change your plans during the party. you probably wouldn't continue with a book that no one was paying attention to during storytime; a dance party is no different.


All things considered, this was a super fun program and I will definitely try it again, possibly as part of our upcoming Noon Year's Eve Party for kids.

In the future, I would like to offer "Parachute Playtime" and "Movement & Music" programs with instruments and rhythm sticks for preschoolers. 

At my next dance party, i would consider limiting the age group to 3-5 yr olds, adding additional directed dance songs and calling it a Preschool Dance Party. The "all ages" part was fun though so I'm not sure about that yet.

Maybe, after a lot of practice and a few more dance parties under my belt, I'll be a librarian who loves to dance, too! we'll have to wait & see about that one...

1 comment:

  1. I had a similar experience doing a Family Fort Night at my library - the idea was for families to build blanket forts in the library together, but getting the caregivers to get involved was like pulling teeth! Thankfully the kids were more than happy to get involved, otherwise I would have been making forts by myself, ha!

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