Friday Five: 5 Music Videos for your next Family Dance Party

Every single night…I mean, most evenings…Ok, fine, so on nights we are miraculously home at a decent hour, we start the bedtime routine around 7:30.  Cora to the restroom. Hank to toy duty.  We trap Walt in something he shouldn’t hopefully can’t get out of, and we get pajamas and vitamins for the big two.  This is the beginning of the process.

Meagan and I have gotten a pretty good routine going over the last few years, and bed time really doesn’t involve that many tears or difficulties.  We are proud of and grateful for the calm. But in the last few months, the kids have added a new element that we never thought of…and it is really fun.

Several months back, we introduced the bigs to the wonder of Youtube on the TV.  They thought it lived on the tablet and only played music videos when we were cooking dinner or cleaning up the kitchen.  If Cora found herself in charge of the tablet, she knew how to navigate to those creepy videos of people opening SUPER ILLEGAL Kinder Surprise Eggs.  We’re not even linking to them, they’re so bizarre and the POWER they have over children is scary… Those videos were toddler crack, made her super weird and mean, so now we shut that down QUICK if it happens.  So the kids enjoy silly videos WE pick for them.

One evening around Christmas, I was playing seasonal music through a streaming device and Cora asked if we could watch a fun music video on the big TV.  Meagan keeps our kids in the know by introducing them to the wonders of OK GO videos so I fired one up and the rest is history.

We cleaned the living room and Cora used the space to dance as I “dj-ed” and picked more fun, upbeat songs for all of us to jam to. Now it is a part of almost every day’s bed time routine.

The positives are easy to see: they have to clean the living room to get to dance, they have to listen and comply with directions to get to pick more songs, and if you need a little help tuckering them out, this gets them moving! Initially there was some frustration as the dancing ended each night, but I helped that by transitioning us to the couch, turning off the lights, and listening to a few slow songs so the fun doesn’t just end right away.

Today’s five is a list of five of our favorite kid-friendly music videos that WON’T turn them into selfish toy zombies.  We go through plenty, but these five are the favorites – and even though it’s the same songs night after night, something about dancing around the living room with your kids in their pajamas is pretty fantastic.

Here they are presented in no particular order:

1) SEAGULLS! (Stop It Now)

This video hits all the high notes: it’s a Bad Lip Reading comedy video, it’s from Star Wars, and Meagan laughs hysterically at it every time it is on.

This was the video that helped cement the routine of bed time dance parties.  Hank  started learning the words so he could sing along and Cora asked to listen to it, “in her room like on a radio or phone or something.”

From the absurd lyrics to the hilarious editing, this one gets everyone moving and always ends with laughter and cries of, “Again! Again!”

2) Can’t Stop the Feeling – Justin Timberlake

A song from a movie the kids love (but haven’t ever actually seen) and sung by one of our favorite pop stars – this one is just pure fun.

Not hating on Trolls, but the video with ACTUAL people is the most fun. It is upbeat, full of bright colors, and joyous people dancing.  Nothing inappropriate or scary.  We laugh.  We try to copy the dances.  Hank always asks to know everyone’s name (which they conveniently list at the end). This is a nightly staple.

3) Imperial March – John Williams

Star Wars makes the list twice – and I’m not complaining — but this one is kind of funny.  It’s not a video.  It is just a picture of Darth Vader while the Imperial March plays. But guys, if I don’t play this video, Hank loses his mind.  Like have to end the dance party – do not pass GO,  do NOT collect $200 – just go immediately to bed crazy.  So we hear it nightly.

He asks for it every night as the FIRST song.  He calls it the, “Buh, Buh, Buh” song and he marches in a circle and declares whether he is working for or against the Emperor depending on how he’s feeling that evening.  Even Cora is down with this one – but she tries to turn the marching into some sort of competition to see who can do it better. I just CAN’T figure out which parent she got that from?!

4) Spoonful of Sugar – Julie Andrews

There are a myriad of Disney and family film songs that could fill this spot, but this cleaning up song from Mary Poppins continues to be asked for most often.  The mythos on this is so strong that recently when discussing Heaven with Meagan, Cora said she thinks Heaven is where, “No one is sick or feels bad…and you can snap your fingers to clean up your room.”  That is serious business.

All is magical and well in this song, except when I try to sing it in Andrews’s range and Cora has to keep saying, “Dad. Dad, stop it!”  I’m already embarrassing her!

5) Tacky – Weird Al

More bright colors. More joyous people dancing. Only this one has the added bonus of teaching the kids about Weird Al, parody, and the meaning of tacky.

Now anytime I do something Cora doesn’t like or she deems mildly embarrassing she  looks at me (with all the serious attitude her 17 4.5 year old self can muster) and says, “Dad…that’s tacky.”

This one also is almost always followed by the original song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams which is another great video full of more bright colors and joyous people dancing (catching the pattern?).

There are other videos that rotate through in the mix. Muppets, K-Pop, Pomplamoose, and other stuff we try to introduce the kids to.

Sometimes they fall in love with songs that we also really enjoy (Water Fountain – tUnE yArDs), and sadly sometimes they love things we meant to be ONE TIME jokes.  For example, Cora’s personal jam (we all have a “jam” according to Hank) is Rebecca Black’s Friday (I am NOT linking to that…), and now we listen to it every Friday night!

What videos do your kids love?  What jams does your family get down to?



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