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Simple Mexican Dance Steps for Children

by Karen LoBello, studioD

You don’t have to be a future “Dancing with the Stars” candidate to enjoy Mexican dance. Neither does your little one. Does he like to jump, clap and have a good time? Perfect. Just turn on some lively Mexican tunes and shout, “Olé!” Teach your tiny partner basic Mexican dance steps and he’ll be kicking up his heels in no time. Don colorful sombreros to amp up the fun.

Walk, Clap and Jump

Clapping and stomping to the beat of the music are at the heart of Mexican dances. Even if you don’t have the tunes on hand, you probably could knock out a decent humming rendition of the “Mexican Hat Dance.” “Da-dum, da-dum, da-dum.” Ring a bell? Jump in the air with your child three times and then give two short claps. Rest for four beats and start all over. This time, make a quarter-turn. When the music changes, hold hands and walk or skip in a circle.


La Raspa is a popular, traditional children’s dance in Mexico. If your little guy knows his heel from his toe, you’re halfway there. Teach him the “shuffle” step, which is used in La Raspa. He can put his hands on his hips or behind his back. First, he’ll push the right heel forward (keeping his toe pointed up) and jump on his left foot. Then he’ll switch and push the left heel forward, jumping on his right foot. Oh yeah, he’s dancing!

Elbow Turn

If she mastered the shuffle, she'll sail through the elbow turn. You and your little dancer link right elbows. Throw your left hand straight up in the air. Go ahead and shout out an “Olé!” Walk or skip to the right for eight beats. Stop and link left elbows. Move in the opposite direction for eight beats. Getting dizzy? Check out her smile. It’ll give you the energy to do the turns just one more time.

Macarena Arms

Everybody loves Macarena moves. After all, they motivate guests to hit the dance floor at wedding receptions. Your tiny tot wants to get in on the action too. Show her how to put her right arm straight out, palm down. Do the same with the left arm. Now have her turn the right palm over and the left palm over. Tell your child she’s going to give herself a hug: right hand to left shoulder and left hand to right shoulder. Next, touch the right pants pocket with the right hand and do the same with the left. That’s enough to make her look good on the dance floor. Whew! This one takes practice.

Mexican Hat Dance Moves

Your preschooler will feel like an authentic Mexican dancer when he gets this step down-pat. Tell him to put his feet together and fold his left arm across his belly. Here’s the tricky part: put the right elbow on the left hand and wave to the audience (his stuffed animals, maybe?) Now fold the right hand on the belly and place the left elbow on the right hand. Wave again. Switch arms one more time, then take a break. Now that calls for some serious applause from the proud mother.

About the Author

Karen LoBello is coauthor of “The Great PJ Elf Chase: A Christmas Eve Tradition.” She began writing in 2009, following a career as a Nevada teacher. LoBello holds a bachelor's degree in K-8 education, a secondary degree in early childhood education and a master's degree in computer education.

Photo Credits

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