Maypole Dancing

Maypole Dancing

My home daycare is Waldorf inspired and one of our spring traditions is Maypole dancing!  The smell of spring in the air, the warmth of the sun on our faces, the feel of the new grass under our toes and the sound of the kids giggling and laughing as we skip around the Maypole-beautiful moments.  Traditionally, children in a waldorf school learn how to dance in a pattern weaving around each other to create a braid in the ribbon.  I would suggest you only try this if you have older children (ages five and up).  The younger children (18 months to four years) enjoy skipping (galloping) around in the same direction.

To perform a weave, have the children face each other in pairs.  Half the kids will be skipping in one direction, the other half in the opposite direction. Appoint each child to start either “OVER” or “UNDER”.  Once the music starts, the children skip towards their partner and one holds their ribbon up and the partner ducks under it.  Then the child skips around the circle to the next person and it’s their turn to duck under the ribbon.  This continues around and around.  You will see a beautiful weave form in the ribbons.

It does take a bit of concentration at first and it helps to have the children say, “over, under, over, under, over” to themselves as they skip around.  Even if the weave has a few mistakes it’s lots of fun and something the children really enjoy.  Even the little ones love to get in on the action.

maypole smiles

Around the maypole they go, some skipping, some walking (some without a ribbon!).

maypole start

Around and around they go as we sing the Maypole song.  The ribbons wind around the pole until…

maypole wind up

…we stop and turn around.  Skipping in the opposite direction will unwind the ribbons.  Here is the song I like to sing as we dance.  It’s a traditional Maypole song and it’s easy to learn.  I also like it because you don’t need a Maypole.  In the past, I’ve also decorated an apple blossom branch with ribbons.  The children and I dance around a tree or shrub while each child gets a chance to dance holding the branch.

SONG- Here’s a branch of snowy May

Here’s a branch of snowy May,
a branch the fairies gave me.
Would you like to dance today,
with a branch the fairies gave me?
Dance away, dance away,
holding high the branch of May.
Dance away, dance away,
holding high the branch of May.


DIY Maypole

If you want to make your own Maypole, here is how my father and I made mine years ago. He took two pieces of wood and cut them into circles.  He drilled a hole in the bottom for a large screw.  This screw attaches the top ribbon section onto the pole.



I bought some brightly coloured ribbon from the fabric store and we stapled the ribbon to the bottom wooden circle.  The top circle was attached to the bottom circle with a screw.  This screw was hidden by attaching an ornamental piece on the top.


We used a hand railing for the pole and stuck it into an old sun umbrella stand.  I filled the umbrella stand with sand to create stability.  It works well and has lasted many years.  I take the top off the pole and base to store it when not in use.


I wish you fun and laughter as you welcome Spring with your daycare children!


  1. What happened to mayple dancing? I never see it these days, good to see it still exciting children and I love yout homemade one.

  2. I was just thinkig that I need a Maypole for next year! Thanks for sharing at Eco-Kids. Hope to see you there again!

  3. This is wonderful. Your child care center must be such a magical place!

    Thank you for visiting Waldorf Wednesday. Hope to see you back this week!

  4. Valerie Baadh Garrett says

    MayPole dancing, for young and old, should be encouraged every year! When I introduce it at Neighborhood PlayGarden, in San Francisco, I start with the beautifully dyed silk scarves the children know from dress-up and free play. I become the MayPole, kneeling in the center and holding a corner of each scarf. My help makes sure each child gets the other end, and we practice by singing and walking around the circle, just a little way until my arm, held high, is covered by the spiralling colors. Then, we unwind. After many practices, we “graduate” to the real ribbons on our practice pole, getting ready for May Fair.


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