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Alternate Activity 3: World Music Dance Party

Activity time: 12 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • World music CDs, tapes or MP3/iPod playlist and appropriate music player(s)
  • Optional: Newsprint, markers and tape

Preparation for Activity

  • Putumayo is a go-to world music resource, with tools for experiencing world music with children. Your local library is also likely to have many world music CDs. NOTE: While there is a genre called "world music," you might also include traditional folk tunes, particularly from countries where churches have partner relationships with Unitarian Universalist congregations in the U.S. or Canada .
  • Gather information about the music you will play. You might bring information from the Internet (or a laptop with Internet access) or CD cases. Or, write on newsprint the names of artists, songs and countries/cultures of origin for the music you will play and post it. You might also bring world music instruments to the session.
  • Identify a large, open space where children can dance and where the noise from a dance party will not bother others meeting nearby.

Description of Activity

Children experience the variety of the world's dance music and the commonality of joyful, expressive movement that all cultures share.

Play some music and talk about it, before inviting children to dance (once the dance party begins, it will be hard to stop for a discussion). Engage children to identify the instruments or languages they hear and speculate about the geographical and cultural origins of the tunes. If any children in the group have mentioned their connection to particular country or culture, point out any music you play from that country or culture.

Including All Participants

Do not make assumptions about country of origin, cultural affinity, or knowledge about a particular country or culture based on children's physical appearance or something you know about a family in your congregation. Children and their families are the best arbiters of their national and cultural identities.

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