Tips for Making Music Playlists That Kids Will Love
If you’re like me then music is a HUGE part of your teaching, it’s a management strategy, it’s a way to motivate kids to keep moving and it’s just more fun to do anything with some tunes rockin in the background. I learned really quickly during my first year teaching that listening to jock jams on repeat can get old really quick, so I am always on the lookout for a new song to put on my playlist in the gym. (Check out the Shazaam App – for finding song titles when you hear them on the radio). My work day always goes better when I enjoy the music I’m listening to. Here are my TOP 7 tips for keeping your music fresh and updated.
- Always check lyrics before you play a song – you are responsible for what kids hear coming out of your stereo. Everyone has different opinions on what is appropriate and every school has different policies, but when comes down to it, you need to be able to defend the appropriateness of the songs you play and you can’t do that if you haven’t read the lyrics.
- Ask your kids – Pretty simple, you want to know what kids like, ask them what they are listening to, ask them what their favorite band is or what songs they really like. You could even have a “song request” box in your gym.
- Look at Billboard Top 40 Charts – Disclaimer: 75% of the popular songs will not be appropriate, but the other 25% are great and your kids will most likely know them and sing along.
- Kidz Bop – I personally don’t really love Kidz Bop, but I do use it as a source to find popular songs that kids might like and then I download the originals that are appropriate. If you enjoy the actual Kidz Bop albums this is a great resource for you.
- Recycle Playlists – I always date the playlists on my iPod, this is nice when you get tired of your current playlist, because you can just throw it back to a playlist from a year ago and listen to some old school tunes that you aren’t tired of hearing all day.
- Whenever Possible get themed music (christmas themed for the week before Christmas – Halloween Themed for the week before Halloween. Also if you are playing a game, for example during a game we play called Star Wars we always play music from the Star Wars soundtrack and kids go bananas for it.
- Get Edited or Instrumental Versions – There are some really awesome songs or dances that are not appropriate, but you can always look for an edited version, edit it yourself with a program like audacity, or just get the instrumental version (eg. I wanted to teach the Wobble to my kids, the song lyrics are inappropriate, so we just learned the dance steps and danced to the instrumental version of the song)
I update and mix up my playlists around every month or so, here is my current playlist:
- I Got You – Duke Dumont
- I’m on Top of the World – Imagine Dragons
- Best Day of My Life – American Authors
- Happy – Pharrell Williams
- Safe and Sound – Capital Cities
- Levels – Avicii
- Barbara Streisand – Duck Sauce
- The Harlem Shake
- Good Time – Owl City and Carly Rae Jaspen
- Sandstorm – Darude
- Keep Your Head Up – Andy Grammer
- Man in the Mirror – Michael Jackson
- Disclosure – Latch
- Replay – Zendaya
- Give Life Back to Music – Daft Punk
- To the Sky – Owl City
- 1901 – Phoenix
- Countin Stars – One Republic
- Classic – MKTO
- Doin it Right – Daft Punk
- Sweet Nothing – Calvin Harris
- Radar Detector – Xaphoon Jones
- Lungs – Chrvches
- Summer – Calvin Harris
- Falling – HAIM
Also, the Phys Ed guru Joey Feith (A PE teacher and blogger @www.thePhysicalEducator.com) has created a google doc where you can go and find songs, or add songs to the playlists. I will throw a disclaimer out there and remind you to check the lyrics before playing a song – there are some songs on the list that I’m not comfortable playing in my gym, but you can decide for yourself. You can take part in the action here: