I am coordinating a party for 350 5th graders. It is a dance and I am looking for some kind of activity where they participate and have fun with a possible gift give away. I hope this will help to get them involved in the "dance" called a 5th grade party.
By Dawn from Nazareth, PA
Limbo! Have them participate as partners with a prize for the winning team.
Do a kids version of the cakewalk. Place pieces of paper in a circle on the floor, these are the steps. One child per paper. Put a different letter or a number on each step and put a duplicate on smaller papers to put in bowl. Kids walk around the circle while music is playing. When you stop the music, draw a paper from the bowl and whoever is standing on the matching number or letter is the winner.
Personally, I think 5th graders are too young for "pairing off" at a dance. But I think it's wonderful to teach them to dance. Maybe you could have several different types of dances taught to them. Such as the Virginia Reel, a simple square dance, swing, western line dance, clogging, maybe even some simple ballroom or social dance steps, etc. Choose a theme and go with it!
Just to clarify, a lot of 5th grade kids will dance in groups of all boys or all girls or a mixed group. If you don't put the expectation on them that this is going to be a "boyfriend/girlfriend" type of thing, you won't have that as an issue from most of them.
There are all sorts of games you can play at a dance. A Bingo dance is a good way to get started. You have one couple start (or for 350 make it a group of 5), and when you call BINGO, they go and get someone else up onto the floor; continue until everyone is dancing.
I agree about the limbo, only never mind competing as partners. You might have to have a couple of them going with this large crowd.
How about a hula hoop contest?
How about a spot dance? Everyone is up, and someone picks a spot (one of the chaperones). When the music stops, whoever is on the spot, is eliminated. Last group/couple/person on the floor is the winner.
Another game you might adapt was one we did as teens. When the music stopped, the boy would kneel on one knee, and the girl would sit on his knee. Last one down was eliminated. Last people on the floor get the prize.
And then there is the elimination dance where you call out an item of clothing or jewelery, and then everyone with that item has to leave the floor. Example: blue jeans, black socks, wearing a watch, wearing a shirt with words on it, and so on. One item at a time, based on what you see that the kids are wearing (if it is dress up dance, then blue jeans is no good, but black shoes might work). Whoever is left at the end is the winner.
Try teaching or doing if they already know, the macarena and bird dance! Kids love that kind of stuff too.
Oh, and glow sticks/rings that they can win or buy and wear are a big hit with this crowd. Lights dimmed, of course!
I agree with pattycares. These are 10 year olds, not 15 year olds. Pairing off, except for old time group things, is not proper. And for a school to be promoting it would get big questions raised with tax dollars, especially if something should go wrong.
Get an illusionist, not hypnotist (teasing about this is bullying and can be charged as such). Plenty of ideas--the cake walk is a hit at our church carnival with all ages, especially pre-puberty age. Pushing boys and girls at each other at this age will bring the understanding that those who are not forward are doing something wrong.
For safe ideas--consult your local public health department--their section for this age should be able to help with many ideas. Also, a local church youth director. Plenty of things that faith groups do that ARE COOL amongst the crowd and still safe.
Hard not to step over the line when you want it to be a success, been there--done that with grades 7-12. Found things for groups are the best--not to be paired off.
Line dancing! What a wonderful idea if some of the parents are involved. Or call a local club to see if any are interested, as it will take quite a few with these many kids! Also, I have seen Cuban dancing on TV which looks wonderful and there are some clubs across the USA, not sure if in your area or not.
I used to play and teach my daughter and friends to dance to records I loved, showed them how to twist, etc; they loved it and the music as well! Well, my daughter at first was embarrassed but her friends had so much fun she over came that and joined in. Most kids are just embarrassed as they don't know how to dance and think everyone is going to make fun of them if they do.
I showed my brother how to dance once by dragging him out on the dance floor. He said, "I don't know how to dance" (he was probably 28), and I said "nothing to it, no one is watching you anyways, just move like this." He started and once he had the swing, he has never stopped because he loves it so much!
Thank you everyone! Those are great ideas. We are not labeling this as a 5th grade dance, it is simply called a Holiday Party. We agree with the fact at this age a boy/girl dance is not the most appropriate label for their age group, we are trying to avoid anyone feeling uncomfortable. We do have a DJ and these ideas are very helpful. Have a WONDERFUL HOLIDAY!