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Groovin' to Kids' Exercise Music

Jump for joy with these selections and suggestions.

The “next big thing” in kids’ music should be exercise and activity music. Good music to move by gets kids and families to exercise together regularly. “The family that moves together grooves together.” Some wise musical choices can enhance your kid’s joy in movement while you rediscover your own.

CDs: Greg and Steve tell you what to expect with CD titles such as Ready…Set…MOVE and Kids in Action. Their infectious pop-flavored movement music earns a home in countless preschools, and I defy you not to follow instructions (backstroke, kick your knees up) on “Do the Butterfly” from their Grammy-nominated “Jumpin and Jammin.” This is workout music for the whole family with staying power and a sense of fun. www.gregandsteve.com

Website: Find one-stop shopping for good exercise CDs and DVDs on www.fitnessbeginnings.com. The emphasis is on joy of movement, with instructional DVDs ranging from jumping rope to hula and break dancing. Sensible directions include space for warming up and cooling down. Greg and Steve’s music is available here along with The Wiggles’ movement DVDs.

Local artist: Jersey-based Miss Amy’s “Penguin Dance” is a call and response rocker that orders kids and parents to “flap your wings like you’re trying to fly” along with other basic workout moves. The song is available on her Wide Wide World CD. Her commitment to fitness is outlined on her website, where you can look for the next appearance of her Big Kids Band Fitness Rock & Roll show, a live music event worth seeking. Also watch for a new fitness-centered CD due out later this year. www.fitnessbeginnings.comwww.fitnessbeginnings.com

Song: Baby boomers and Scouts remember ”Chicken Fat,” inspired by JFK’s 1961 call to physical fitness. Music Man composer Meredith Wilson and star Robert Preston created the hard-to-find original with its “76 Trombones” approach to working out. It’s worth a listen as a fun childhood curiosity once you get past flashbacks to gym class. http://boyscoutfun.org/chicken_fat.htm

Guidelines:
1. It’s not hard to find music and rhythms that will attract your young one. Remember, it’s all about the beat, and go from there.

2. Kids should listen to fitness music without headphones or earpads. The feeling you love of shutting out the world while you work out is not one you want to encourage in young folks who are still exploring the world.

3. Trust your own taste, and remember sharing your own enthusiasm and joy in movement is the most powerful teacher of all.

Kathy O’Connell is a contributing writer to MetroKids and host of the Peabody-award-winning Kids Corner, weekdays 7-8pm on WXPN 88.5 FM

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