Feb 16, 2012

Children's Action Songs

Young children love to move to music, and when we sing children's song with action, we give them an opportunity to have some fun and develop gross motor skills. The important aspect of action songs, as the adult caregiver, is to move along with the song's lyrics too. There are CDs out there that will sing songs and instructions on how to move to the music, and classic songs that most adults can remember from their own childhood. The following article provides some less common children's action song with lyrics and online viewing suggestions.

Action Song Titled Johnny Hammers

This song works well with a group of preschool children or just one and is a song about a man who is hammering. Each time he brings out another hammer, the preschool or toddler can use another body part to hammer with. This song works well when extended with some additional details of the worker who takes breaks, such as "then he took a coffee break and had two jam filled doughnuts, but he still had work to do". Young children love when songs can tell a story. In addition, songs that tell stories can teach preschool children the story schema of beginning, middle and end.

Johnny hammers with one hammer, one hammer, one hammer

Johnny hammers with one hammer, then he works with two (child uses his one hand to hammer)

Johnny hammers with two hammers...(child uses second hand)

Johnny hammers with three hammers...(child uses one foot along with hands)

Johnny hammers with four hammers....(child uses second foot)

Johnny hammers with five hammers....(child uses his head along with hands and feet)

Then Johnny went to sleep.

Song Lyrics a Children's Song: Do As I am Doing

This song is a great song for listening skills and coordination. Lyrics can be created and actions added onto the basic song.


Do as I am doing (clap hands)

Follow follow me

Do as I doing

Follow follow me

Can you clap very slow

Can you clap very fast

Can you clap in the front

Can you clap in the back

Do as I am doing...

Another suggestion for this song is to sing, can you clap up high and can you clap down low.

Preschool Action Songs that are More like Chants

Even adults can be nervous singing, whether as teachers, parents, camp leaders and so on. The next three songs are fun, silly, and full of action. They can be chanted more than sung.

1. This song is definitely for children who are four and older. The children should be standing and marching to the beat with the following lyrics, which can be changed if desired.

Hi My Name is Joe:

Hi, my name is Joe, and I work in a button factory

I have a wife and two kids, and one day my boss came up to me

And said hey Joe, are you busy and I said no, so he said, push the buttons like this.(begin pushing one button with your hand, back and forth, repeat the chant with the following added actions: second hand, one foot, second foot, and head)

The song finishes with the words, " Yes, I am busy" or " I'm tired".

2. The next song or chant lends itself to silliness. The original lyrics have the worm eating family members, but another version it to have the worm eat through a great big pile of food, such as " I ate through five pizzas, two ice-cream cones and one piece of licorice" and then each time the chorus is sung, the food becomes increasingly more:

Herman the Worm

Sittin' on my fencepost, chewing my bubblegum (chew, chew, chew, chew)

Playin' with my yo-yo, wee-oo! wee-oo! (children pretend to throw the yo-yo out into the air)

When along came Herman the worm and he was this big (make a motion as if measuring a tiny worm) And I said: "Herman? What happened?" "I ate my Mother." ("oh", put hands to cheeks)

(repeat verse, with worm action getting larger and larger for each of the following lines:)

"I ate my Father." "I ate my Brother." "I ate my Sister." "I ate my Dog."

Then sing or chant the song again, and have the worm become small again, and to the question, "what happened?", the song ends with, " I burped. Excuse me".

3. Alice the Camel

Alice the Camel had ten humps (children can twist their bodies to the ground and then jump back up)

Alice the camel had ten humps

Alice the camel had ten humps

So, go Alice go,boom, boom, boom!

The following lyrics are sung with the number being counted down until there are no humps, and the song finishes with the words, "cause Alice is a horse, of course". If being sung with young ages, it is best to start the song at five humps.

As children's songs move through different communities, schools, homes and neighbourhoods, the style and words change. But, one thing remains, if actions songs are introduced with enthusiasm, they will be enjoyed by children of all ages.

This article, written by Christine Moore, was originally published by suite101.com

Feb 14, 2012

Open Them, Shut Them

 Recently,  I was visiting my sister's house, and she said, "oh I have a book for you!" She pulled out a book titled, "The Romper Room Book of Finger Plays and Rhymes". I laughed because I gave her that book. Several years ago, I was clearing out the basement storage area of the preschool I use to work at. The preschool is thirty years old, at least, and so there was quite a collection of old books down in the storage. When I found this particular book, I gave it to my sister for a baby shower present because we use to watch Romper Room WAY WAY back when. And, if anyone knows Romper Room, then you'll realize my sister is an older mom. (lol)  I barely remember the show, but my two older sisters do.  Anyway, I looked through the book again and found this extended version of the fingerplay song, "Open Them, Shut Them".

In case the lyrics cannot be viewed easily, here are the words

Open them, shut them, Open them, shut them,
Give a little clap!
Open them, shut them, open them, shut them,
Lay them in your lap.

Creep them, creep them,  creep them, creep them,
Way up to your chin.
Open up your little mouth,
But do not let them in.

Open them, shut them, open them, shut them,
To your shoulders fly.
Then like little birdies
Let them flutter to the sky.

Falling, falling, falling, falling,
Almost to the ground.
Quickly pick them up again,
And turn them round and round.

Faster, faster, faster, faster,
Slower, slower, slower, slower