Dancing Around the World

Updated: Dec 10, 2018


This storytime is about dancing and the different ways that people dance all over the world! The activities are best suited for bigger kids since it includes some geography and foreign language, but we did modify it to work with preschool age as well, using the first three books and the more elementary songs that I've included below.


Books That Will Make You Want to Dance!:

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Giraffes Can't Dance (Giles Andreae)

This book is about an awkward giraffe named Gerald who is dreading the animal dance party. A wise cricket teaches him that anything can be music. As you read, have the kids do some motions with you, like stretching their neck, buckling their knees, and playing a "violin."

Dance (Bill T. Jones & Susan Kuklin)

This quick book shows many photographs of a dancer stretching his body and performing different moves. As we flipped the pages, we tried to mimic the dancer's poses. The kids really loved this one (and they kept exclaiming "That is easy!," until they really tried it.)

Child's Play: Head, Shoulders, Knees, & Toes... (Cabeza, Hombros, Piernas, Pies...)

This little board book shows the English and Spanish to the popular song, Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes. I added this in last minute because I got a new storytime assistant who is working on teaching Spanish! He had the kids repeat the Spanish and touch the respective body part as he read. Then, we did the dance...

Follow-up Dance: Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes

We used this video, as it repeats the instructional part from the book. They do use rodillas instead of piernas for knees though... Also, it does get pretty fast, which made for a lot of giggles! :)


Felt Board Activity: Dancers Around the World

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I love these and I am planning on making more in the future, but you can find the first five on my TPT store. I showed the kids the dancers and demonstrated some of the dance moves, then we had to guess what country they came from. We then placed the dancers on the felt melt to show where they would live.


Spanish Colors Dance: Color Freeze!

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First, we went over the English colors and their Spanish names with the kids. This is a quick poster I made. You can also make a quick print-out using the free Spanish crayon clipart from my TPT. We went through each color and had the kids repeat the Spanish back to us (which they did surprisingly well with)! We then explained what a freeze dance is and had them note the colors they were wearing. We used this song:

When a color was called out, we also called out the Spanish and pointed at the correct color on the poster.


Reading Suggestions for Older Kids:

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Dancing in the Wings (Debbie Allen)

This is one I remember from my childhood! It is about a girl who feels left out at dance class, because she is bigger than the other kids. It is announced that some of the dancers will be able to perform at a festival in Washington D.C. The kids make fun of her for signing up to tryout, but it turns out her long legs are an asset!


Dance Me, Daddy (Cindy Morgan)

This sweet story is about a little girl and her father, who love to dance together! It is a tear-jerker because it shows her growing up (see her wedding day pictured above).


The Twelve Dancing Princesses (Rachel Isadora)

We will be including this book when we do this same storytime with our big kids later this week. This is the story of a traveling king who discovers the secret of the twelve beautiful princesses: Every night they leave their beds via a secret passage and so they can dance under the stars!


More Dance Suggestions:

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1. The Chicken Dance

2. Cha-Cha Slide (This was a hit with our kids!)

3. The Barnyard Dance (revisiting from our last storytime!)


We did not do a craft for this storytime, as we felt it would already be very busy with all the dancing. I recommend putting some dance-related books out for the kids to explore. We also had some world-themed puzzles for them to play with.