Modern Health for Modern Kids

by Kim T. Ha

I’m not a huge gym person and running sounds tedious to me. Dancing is my thing, and if you want to exercise with your kids then nothing gets them moving like a great song! Below are a number of my favorite movement-oriented children’s songs that I use time and time again in my classes at the library.

“Spaghetti Legs” by Jim Gill from Jim Gill Sings The Sneezing Song and Other Contagious Tunes.
What would happen if your legs were made of spaghetti? How about your arms or your neck? How would you move? This fun, bouncy song gives children a chance to wiggle individual body parts and then their entire bodies like noodles.

“Shake Your Sillies Out” by Raffi from Giggling & Laughing Silly Songs for Kids and More Singable Songs.
This is my favorite warm-up song for Pajama Time at the Elkridge Branch. When kids come in yawning and lethargic, nothing wakes them up like telling them: “clap your crazies outî and ìjump your jiggles out.” Running a little over one minute long, this is a perfect song for both you and your children to quickly wake up to before heading out the door in the morning as well.

“Knuckles Knees” by Jim Gill from Jim Gill Sings Do Re Mi On His Toe Leg Knee
This song is my favorite to use with kindergartners for their library visits and requires superb listening skills. Children are asked to put their knuckles to their knees, hips, legs, hair, among other body parts. Gill talks the kids through three different segments, each followed by a sped-up and sung version of the same movements. At the end, the kids are asked to tie all three segments together. What makes this song so challenging is that with each sped up segment, children are to start all the way at the beginning with the movements. Practice makes perfect in this case; I recommend that you familiarize yourself with the moves so that your kids can visually follow along if aurally isnít enough. Once kids master this song, you can have fun trying to perform the movements without the recording or even backwards!

ìChicken Fatî by Meredith Wilson from Chicken Fat and Five Minutes for Fitness
This funny song is one of my favorites to take out for our summer classes at Chick Fil-A. It’s over four minutes of band-style music to help “give that chicken fat back to the chicken.”  It makes marching, twisting, push-ups, jumping jacks, and arm circles oh so much fun. An enthusiastic, booming, sergeant-sounding voice leads kids through a training regiment that’s guaranteed to raise their heart rates. If your kids are hyper, I suggest this song to work out some of that energy.

“I Really Love to Dance” by Laurie Berkner from Buzz Buzz
Berkner is one of my favorite children’s musicians. She manages to make everything from cookie bakers to bumblebees sound so cool. It’s no surprise that she loves to dance as Berker’s songs usually inspire movement. In this song, Berkner encourages kids to dance and try out other movements such as spinning, walking backwards, and even air painting. Catchy guitar strumming and fiddling really make this a treat for those who really, no really, love to dance.

“Song About Slow, Song About Fast” by Hap Palmer from Walter the Waltzing Worm
For those who love freeze dances, this is an alternative take that tests one’s balance and listening skills. It’s not uncommon to see children fall over in their attempts to move extremely slow! It’s also rather fun for children to see how fast they can move. This song is also a great way to introduce children to the concept of opposites.

Kim Ha is the Children’s Instructor and Research Supervisor at the Elkridge Branch of the Howard County Library System.  She enjoys dancing, jewelry-making, photography and traveling. So far, her favorite destinations are Hawaii and Italy. She recently discovered the joys of yoga and stunt kite flying.



  1. Thanks for sharing the play list. These are awesome tracks and me and my students had a great dance on these tracks.

    • Kim T. Ha

      Glad to be of service “toddler dance classes nj”! Please stay tuned for more fun recommendations :)


  1. Modern Health For Modern Kids | Well and Wise - [...] I mentioned last month, I greatly enjoy dancing to music with kids. Not only can children’s music enhance physical …

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