|African Dancing and Drumming for Exercise © Katrena|
I particularly like the version of Funga from a group that I have met personally called The Healing Force. My kids participated in several drum circles with them, and they have sung Funga while playing the drums. We like to try some African dance moves to this welcoming song, which can set the tone that everyone is welcome to work out together. It can also be a great workout to pretend to play the drums along with the music. This song provides an opportunity to teach a little about African culture and instruments as well.
|Family Princess Dancing © Katrena|
My girls love Disney princesses and Put It Together from Cinderella II. This is an upbeat modern version of the traditional Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo reminiscent of the original Cinderella. It can be fun to be a princess for a moment and swirl around the room and imagine dancing with a prince (or princess). This is also a fun one for playing freeze dance, where everyone stops moving when you pause the music. I also like the original version and we have had lots of fun playing follow-the-leader while moving to the music. How exciting to see the kids following my every move when I don't even say a word!
|Move to the Beat - Photo by adrian 8_8 at Wikimedia Commons|
Lean On Me
Ah, now we're moving back in time a bit with Lean On Me. The lyrics on this one are particularly uplifting, and this song made it to The Rolling Stone's The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list. The slower beats per minute work well for adding squats and lunges if you want to go for a higher heart rate, or you might try a few simple hip hop or break dancing moves. Yep - I said break dancing, although I know that it's known as simply breaking today, but I come from that older era and fondly remember when my brother and his friends kept our basement floor well waxed because they wanted to be able to spin! We don't do the fancy moves these days, but adding something like a Top Rock in there can keep everyone's interest up and add a little challenge.
|Tinikling Dance for Kids and Adults - Photo by Nestor Cruz at |
Very few people have heard of this song, but my oldest daughter learned how to do tinikling last year, and I just had to add in a Philippine folk dance into the mix. Older kids may particularly like the challenge of learning how to do the dance with bamboo rods, but you can also get a good workout substituting bands or even dancing without any extra equipment. You can tap your legs twice and then clap once to get a similar sound to the sound of the rods with traditional tinikling. I've also seen tinikling choreography to other types of music. Trying tinikling and learning about the history of this dance has been a great learning experience for us.
|Monkey Song for Getting in Shape - Photo by Rob at |
How fun to move like a monkey! This song from Disney's The Jungle Book movie is one of my favorites for exercising. We do monkey arms out to the side by raising our elbows while alternating squats. We also do monkey arms to the front by alternating lifted arms. It is fun to pretend to play different instruments while moving the arms side-to-side or up and down – we might pretend to play a trumpet, saxophone, trombone, tuba, or any other instrument that comes to mind. I was called a monkey more than once as a child, so why not act a little like one with my own kids?
|Magic Carpet Ride Can be Fun to Imagine © Katrena|
My daughters suggested this one and at first, I wasn't so sure, but I quickly discovered that they were absolutely right on target with A Whole New World. It is a very soft and sweet song from Aladdin, yet there is something sort of magical about imagining flying on a magic carpet! This one works great for cooling down, practicing balance, or stretching. Even my youngest particularly likes the slow and simple moves that seem less intimidating than some of the ones with the faster beats.
I hope you will enjoy this list of songs and that it will inspire you to get fit together as a family! I also have a kids playlist #2 with more great songs that can get everyone up and moving. You might also want to check out my playlist that combines some newer and older tunes together and Katrena's Glow-in-the-Dark exercises and playlist for a cool and exciting fitness idea. See Fit Tips 4 Life for all of Katrena's fitness articles!