Move 'N Groove Kids Go to the Zoo

Deborah Damast
Year Released: 2006

Categories: Children and Teens

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Deborah Damast is a dance instructor (I looked up her site, she is faculty member at NYU & has a MFA in dance education) leads this 21 min. workout that consists of bodyweight exercises for cardio & stretching. It’s mostly voice-over or Deborah cueing what will happen next or discussing a short animal fact. She is not performing any of the exercises, and only in the cool-down is she on set w/ the kids (checking on form). This video is created to get kids moving & w/ fun in mind w/ the visuals of animals (names & graphics displayed on screen, monkey character “Munki”) & different scenes (animal habitats) & the focus on animal-like movements, not structured drills or form perfection.

I think that the warm-up was the only part that need improvement, as Deborah does not give much instruction for some of the body position (ex. did not say: seated on heels, on all fours or face down) or the kids were not all performing a similar-looking exercise. And the rep numbers were low (only two), which does not seem like enough for kids to work with (seems rushed to me, but I appreciate that she is trying to go through the entire alphabet, and not a have long warm-up).

It’s geared towards children ages 2-7 years-old, but I don’t think that most 6+ would find it very interesting/engaging (basic exercises, maybe too simple for them). I have two children (age 5) w/ autism, and they really enjoy it because of the animals (they like visuals, movements & facts). One of the twins is not very coordinated, the other is very athletic/coordinated, and they both have fun w/ it (both can perform the exercises that they like). This is the first exercise video that they have liked & used consistently (ask for it, several times a day), Elmo/Sesame St. fitness video did not interest them. I was not really expecting them to like this video as much as they do. As they do like to copy some of the exercises in the fitness videos that I use, but not for 10-20 min (this video holds their attention).

Set: alternates between white walls & floor w/ colored dots on ground & floor, and the scenes for animal habitats (forest, polar region, grassland).

Cast: children (boys & girls, variety of ages), the kids demo all of the exercises and it’s nice to see all of their individual styles.

Intro by Deborah (30 sec.): recommends to have space to move about freely & discusses the movement patterns in the workout

Warm-up (2.5 min.) 2 reps for each letter/animal, pace moves quickly

Animal ABCs (floor exercises, body makes animal-like movements)

Alligator: arms clap in front of body
Bear stretch body arms up from seated position (on heels), then reverse.
Cat: arch back on all fours
Dog: panting mouth w/ doggy paddle arms
Elephant: arms form trunk for movement
Fish: seated on heels w/ bent arms to side, hands pulse/open to sides
Gorilla: pound chest w/ hands
Horse: kicks up from all fours
Iguana: stretch upper body w/ bent arms (cobra pose), lying face down
Jaguar: alternating stretching arms forward & legs back, on all fours (bird dog)
Kangaroo: jumps
Lion: lie on ground like a sleeping lion
Mouse: pretend to eat cheese (hands to mouth)
Newt: on all fours, alternate heads turns side-to-side
Ostrich: from all fours, place head on ground w/ bent arms
Penguin: rock body side to side, w/ arms to side
Quail: kneel (one foot & other knee on floor) w/ both arms extended in back of body
Rabbit: jumps from ground
Snake: lying face down, “slither” move body on floor
Turtle: on all fours, tuck head into body w/ bent elbows
Unicorn: on all fours, alternate one arm “horn” to the front
Vultures: seated on heels, flap arms “wings”
Whale: lying facedown, alternate arm extension (whale spout)
X-ray fish: seated on heels w/ bent arms to side, hands pulse/open to sides
Yaks: mountain climbers
Zebra: on all fours, pretend to drink water.

Workout (17 min.)

Train: kids form line to travel around room.

Seal: wave arms, diving motion w/ arms

Lion: stretch, run & jump/pounce on all fours & “pounce” jump forward

Penguin: rock body side to side w/ arms at side, forward, backwards, in a circle, dive on floor onto belly

Monkey: swing arms back & forth in standing position, “slide” (galloping around room), rolling on floor

Kangaroo: jump in zag zag, backwards, side to side, hopping on one foot, in a circle, turning, boxing (punches)

Zebra: galloping around room, in a circle, curvy pathway, drink water (), rolling on ground

Eagles: walk w/ “soaring” arms, run, run & leap w/ arms to side

Mix of arm & leg movements for two animals
Kanga-eagle: jump like kangaroo w/ eagle arms

Penga-lion: arms rock side-to-side w/ lion pounce

Snake-bra: gallop w/ legs w/ “slither ”arms make snake motion

Seal-aroo: jump w/ flapping arms

Search for Munki by focusing on different animals (animal movements)

Seal: flap arms, diving arms, waving, mimic balance ball on nose

Lion: stretch & pounce on all fours (alternating arms)

Penguins: rocking side to side


Eagles: eagle arms w/ body in circle> standing mountain climbers

Freeze Dance: freestyle dancing alternated w/ freezing body in place.

Cool-down (1.5 min.)

Alternate X shape w/ body, lying face up on floor & fetal position, both sides> stretch upper body up w/ bent arms, lying face down.

Instructor Comments:
Deborah has a pleasant personality, and provides encouraging comments & a good flow for a fun workout. I think she could have gave more form pointers, brief ones (sit on heels or lie face up or down), to make the movements easier to pick up or understand.