Fatherly

The ‘Mirror Dance’ Game Keeps Kids From Turning The Living Room Into A Mosh Pit

What dad doesn’t love dancing with his kids? There’s no better way to teach them how to cut loose, forget their hangups, and to laugh as a family. The only problem with dancing as a home activity is that it often devolves into a pseudo-wrestling match where the kids just want to get tossed around and jig-act. The ‘Mirror Dance’ game prevents that by offering a little structure to the rug-cutting, while still keeping it plenty loose and fun. If you’re a skilled dancer — big ‘if’ there — you might even pass down a few moves to your little ones.

Prep Time: 30 seconds (to find the right song)
Entertainment Time: 24-30 minutes, or about eight songs. It will get old for everyone after this.
Energy Expended by Child: As much as the lead dancer chooses. The more physical the move, the more exhausted the kids.

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What You Need:

How to Play:
This is a game that is best done in a group of four or more, making it an excellent activity for a playdate or birthday party. It will work with just three too, though.

First, draw straws or select the oldest to go first (to set the pace and give ideas). Then ask them to request a song. Once the music kicks on, the leader starts to dance. Everyone else then follows their every move exactly, essentially playing the mirror game but instead of making the same faces, the kids mimic their arm, leg, and body motions. The dance moves can go from disco fingers to wriggling on the ground to doing a headstand. However, at any point during the song (like, say, when the kids are looking antsy), the lead dancer can yell “Free-For-All!” and everyone is essentially released to dance as they choose until the song is over.

After the song ends, pick the next lead dancer (or just go clockwise) and start again with a different tune. Go around the circle twice, so everyone gets two songs. It’s important to note, there are no winners or losers in ‘Mirror Dance’ — this is meant to be more of a bout of exercise than a game.

Wrap Up:
Dancing is a blast for kids, especially when their parents are participating. To make it more palatable for the older folks, a little structure goes a long way — extending your average home dance party to 20 or even 30 minutes. And do be sure and record it. There’s nothing better than a daddy-daughter dance video.