For kids: It's all about that coordination and development. Doing the Hand Jive makes you cross your limbs over the center line of your body. This might not seem like a big deal at first glance, but the more you practice moving your body in space, the more aware you are of it, and the better coordinated you will be! This is activity is mostly a gross motor activity because of the large sweeping arm movements. There is a bit of fine motor activity, such as making sure your fingers are flat or your thumbs are sticking out while doing certain moves.
Plus, it's like dancing, but we don't need to move our hands and feet at the same time! When I teach the Hand Jive, I like to use two different songs:
The first is "Willie and the Hand Jive" by Johnny Otis. I like this one because it's older and you can go slowly. Great for when you are starting out or teaching young ones.
The second is from the movie "Grease," "Born to Hand Jive" by Sha Na Na. I like this one because you can go slowly, or you can double time (go twice as fast) to the music.
Below is a video on how to do the Hand Jive. As we listen and go through the moves, I have found that saying "clap two, clap two, over two, over two, fists two, fists, two, thumb two, thumb two," helps until they get it.