Children love to dance. It's a perfect exercise activity for the toddler set, promoting fitness and coordination, and developing large motor skills. Plus, parents and other adults can easily participate alongside. A dance DVD is an excellent way to introduce your child to the joys of creative movement. They're usually short, focused and portray other children at varying skill levels enjoying themselves.
Dance instruction in jazz, ballet and tap can begin with kids as young as 3 years old, and a DVD can be a painless and cost-effective way to introduce the practice to your children. Instructor Rosemary Boross offers three half-hour lessons in "Baby Ballet," "Tot Tap" and "Junior Jazz" in the "Dancing for Kids" series, available both as separate discs and as a compilation. If you're not quite ready to commit to this level but still want to provide a basic introduction to dance as art rather than as simple creative movement, try "Time For Dancing," a 30-minute lesson taught to a custom child-friendly soundtrack, which is also available as a separate CD.
Dance as Exercise
If you're more interested in dance and creative movement from a fitness standpoint, try "Baby Dance" from Big Kids Productions. Perky instructor Ms. Teresa leads a group of young children through a 35-minute routine consisting of various short dance activities, using simple props such as a scarf, a cowboy hat and maracas to enhance the experience. For an educational spin on the subject, try "Dance With The Animals" from Rock'n'Learn. Toddlers and preschoolers can imitate animal movements set to a rocking soundtrack and learn animal biology basics at the same time.
Dance as Entertainment
Pop in one of these live-action DVDs for an instant party in your living room. The purpose here is simply creative movement in an enjoyable setting. Try any of the discs from Australian tot-rockers The Wiggles, which mix concert footage with silly skits set to song in "Wiggles Dance Party" and "You Make Me Feel Like Dancing." Like the Wiggles, the venerable children's show Sesame Street offers a wide range of dance DVDs. In "Get Up and Dance," Big Bird throws a dance party for his Teddy bear and invites various children in the neighborhood to join him. In "Zoe's Dance Moves," Sesame Street's favorite dancing Muppet gets to try out a range of dances from around the world. Children's Television Workshop also offers a three-DVD "Dance and Move" boxed set that includes "Zoe's Dance Moves, "Dance Along" and "Elmocize."
Dance and Classical Music
Dance and classical music go hand in hand, and a dance DVD set to classical music is a fine way to introduce both art forms at once. From HBO comes "Classical Baby Dance," part of its well-regarded "Classical Baby" series. The DVD features animated animal characters performing ballet-inspired choreography to classical music. Aspiring ballerinas may prefer "Prima Princessa: Swan Lake," which narrates a shortened production by the Paris Opera Ballet, interspersed with dance-along sections led by Prima Princessa and American School of Ballet students.