Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Summer Dance Party (AKA My Birthday Party)

Yesterday I had my Summer Dance Party, a program we all affectionately called "Laura's Birthday Party" around the office. It was super-fun! Because it was my birthday, I really wanted the program to go well and (selfishly, maybe) I really wanted to have fun too!

The program was exactly what it sounded like: a giant dance party. We played instruments, sang songs, and topped it all off with the parachute and a big ol' bag of balloons. The sign up was massive and the turn-out was too! There were 38 people there and every single one of them participated. You can't really ask for a better birthday program than that!

Here's my playlist:

(red = ipodblue = sing)

1. A New Way to Say Hello by Big Jeff
2. Jumping and Counting by Jim Gill
3. Aiken Drum by Little Genius (drums)
4. The Tempo Marches On by Jim Gill (drums + parade)
5. Rocketship Run by Laurie Berkner (rockets)
6. Bread & Butter (sticks) *
7. Whole Lotta Lovin’ by Fats Domino (sticks)
8. I Know a Chicken by Laurie Berkner (shakers + chicken puppet)
9. We’re Going to the Market by Kathy Reid-Naiman (shakers)
10. Hot Poppin’ Popcorn by The Wiggles (parachute + balloons)
11. If You’re Happy and You Know It Lift it High (parachute + balloons) **
12. The Balloon Game by Music For Little People Choir (balloons)
13. Sunglasses by Joanie Leeds And The Nightlights (sunglasses)
14. Oh Children Ring Your Bells by Kathy Reid-Naima (bells)
15. Happy Birthday ***
16. Blow A Kiss by Laurie Berkner

This was only my second time ever using balloons in a dance-type program and they worked really well. I used them in the center of the parachute instead of balls and then used them again with a song called The Balloon Game from an album called Birthday Party Singalong (coincidentally). They actually worked so well that I needed some casual bribery to get the kids to move on after the song was over. Good thing I was prepared with giveaways (in true birthday party fashion). I gave them these rainbow sunglasses from Oriental Trading to dance around with and take home and I and told them they could only receive them if they put their balloons down until the end of the program (but then they could keep those too).

Overall, the kids and parents were happy and smiling and having fun the entire 45 minutes I had them. And I was too! Score!

* This is Bread & Butter thanks to Jbrary (although I modified it a teeny bit):

** If You're Happy and You Know It Lift it High, is just a variation of regular If You're Happy and You Know It, but for the parachute. The next verses are: "If you're happy and you know it shake it fast," "If you're happy and you know it shake it slow," and last, "If you're happy and you know it get below," in which I encourage all of the kids to go under the parachute. This was awesome! And I had the words up on the board so all the parents could sing along.

*** My sneaky coworker and my sneakier boss alerted a few of the regular moms to the fact that it was my birthday and (I assume) suggested they sing to me. Whatever sneakiness happened--I'll never be sure--one of the moms lead the whole crew in a round of Happy Birthday and I just about melted into a pile of happy-yet-embarrassed mush on the floor. It was very sweet.

Have you ever seen a more excited and happy group of parachuters? 

What worked best and least (a two-in-one answer!): The parachute can get crazy! But I think it's always sooo worth it when it's a success. This time it was both crazy and a success. I've found, in the past, that the kids tend to get overly-psyched at just the sight of the parachute. So yesterday, when both the parachute and the balloons came out, they were even more psyched than the usual parachute-psyched. So it was kind of loony in the room, but it was such a happy loony! Also, it can be hard to coordinate such a large group in one, totally uniform activity. But then, during the periods of synchronized lifting and dropping that does work out, it's just the best thing! Everyone loves it and there's such a sense of teamwork. Nothing beats it.

And also: The last verse of If You're Happy and You Know It Lift it High, where we all sang "If you're happy and you know it get below," was an absolute success. When it doubt, have the kids get under the parachute. It's no-fail.

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