Category Archives: Music

Toddler Songs

We had our first session of toddler class today, so it’s a good day to post a collection of some of our favorite group time songs, some of which we sang today:

Transition Songs

Clean Up Song. (from Barney) Video:
Clean up, clean up; Everybody everywhere; Clean up, clean up; Everybody do your share

Group Time: It’s Time to Come to Group Time, It’s Time to Come to Group Time, It’s Time to Come to Group Time, Tra La, Tra La, Tra Lee

Roll the Ball: I roll the ball to _. S/he rolls it back to me!

Lap Bounces

Pony Ride Rhyme
Riding on a pony downtown, (bounce child up and down your legs)
Better watch out or you might fall DOWN! (child falls between your legs)

Let’s go riding on an elevator, Let’s go riding on an elevator,
1st floor, 2nd floor, 3rd floor, 4th floor, 5th floor, (raise legs a little bit each time)
Down, down, down, down, down! (Child slides down legs)

Popcorn. Popcorn, popcorn in a pan, Shake it up, shake it up, Bam, bam, bam (video)

Finger Plays

Rain. (run your fingers down your child’s back, like raindrops)
Thunder. (gently “pound” on your child’s back)
Lighting. (use your finger tip to trace a lightning bolt on the child’s back)
Chills. (tickle your child’s neck)

Where is Thumbkin?
(Tune of Frere Jacques. The fingers on your hands “talk” to each other, one at a time. On “run and hide” put hands behind your back. Here’s a video.)
Where is Thumbkin, where is Thumbkin? Here I am! Here I am!
How are you today, sir? Very well I thank you.
Run away. Run away.
(Where is pointer? Where is tall man? Where is ring man? Where is pinky?)

Round and Round the Garden (rhyme) words and motions – we use variation 3
Round and Round the Garden, Goes the Teddy Bear, with a One Step, Two Step, Tickle You Under There.

Someone is Hiding – Peekaboo
Someone is hiding, hiding, hiding, someone is hiding, Who could it be? Peekaboo!

Someone is Hiding 2. (Tune of Frere Jacques)
Someone is hiding. Someone is Hiding. Who could if be? Who could it be? Now it’s time to come out, now it’s time to come out, peekaboo! peekaboo!

Shaker Songs

Shake and Stop. Oh you shake and you shake and you shake and you stop. (repeat 3x) Shake them up high, shake them down low, shake them on your tummy, and way down to your toes.

Shake your shaker (tune: London Bridge)
Shake your shaker near and far, near and far, near and far
Shake your shaker near and far, shake your shaker.
(Shake your shaker high and low… fast and slow)

Movement Songs

Ring Around the Rosielyrics and motions (kids over 2 or 3 can make one big circle. For younger toddlers, have them circle with just their parent, not the whole group)

Walk Bear: Take a little walk bear, walk bear, walk bear, take a little walk bear, walk bear walk. Take a little run bear…. Take a little wiggle bear…. Have a little hug bear…

Wave Your Hands. Wave your hands, way up high, wave them wave them to the sky. Bend down low, touch your toes. Clap your hands 1 – 2 – 3. Turn around, just like me!

Goodbye Songs

Preschool is Over.
Preschool is over, it’s time to say goodbye. You take your little hand, and you wave bye-bye. [then say: “bye bye preschool!”]

Teddy Bear Teddy Bearlyrics and motions (note: there are variations on these lyrics) Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear turn around, Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear touch the ground,
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear reach up high. Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear wave bye-bye.

More Resources

This post includes lots of links to where to find more great songs for toddlers. Also check out my posts on parachute play and stretchy band play and my lesson plans for a year’s worth of toddler story times.

Read more about why singing songs is great for kids’ brain development.

Great New Resource for Kids Songs

Let’s Play Music is a phenomenal resource!

The site is developed by Sara Mullett, who has 15 years of experience teaching kid’s music classes. There are over 150 songs on the site, and for each, she includes lyrics, sheet music, videos of her playing the tune on a xylophone, circle time ideas including puppets, movement games, etc.

You can also follow her page on Facebook at, where she shares her own posts and also puts links to other helpful resources on the web.

For my other favorite resources for kids songs, look here, and for links to lyrics for, and videos of, my favorite kids songs, look here.

Fun with Toddlers: Duck Theme

duckEach spring in our classroom, we have a spring theme with rain, raindrops and flowers, and on week 3 of the theme, the ducks appear! There are tons of great picture books about ducks, so in this post, I include lots of book recommendations and ideas for activities to accompany those books.

Songs to Sing

Five Little Ducks Went Out One Day

Five Little Ducks went out one day, over the hills and far away.
Mother Duck said, “Quack, Quack, Quack,” but only four little ducks came back.
Four little ducks went out one day… …but only three little ducks came back.
(Repeat counting down to “but no little ducks came back.”)
Sad mother duck went out one day, over the hills and far away
Mother Duck said, “Quack, Quack, Quack.” Five little ducks came running back.

Six Little Ducks that I Once Knew

Six little ducks that I once knew, Fat ones, skinny ones, fair ones too!
But the one little duck with the feather on her back,
She led the others with a quack quack quack.
Quack quack quack. Quack quack quack. She led the others with a quack quack quack.

Down to the river they would go, A wibble wobble, wibble wobble, to and fro.
But the one little duck with the feather on her back,
She led the others with a quack quack quack.
Quack quack quack. Quack quack quack. She led the others with a quack quack quack.

Duck Picture Books and Activities they Inspire

Five Little Ducks by Raffi. The words from the song (above) in a book with illustrations. And 10 Rubber Duckies by William Winburn. These are both countdown songs/stories, and they have a really great rhyme and rhythm – easy for kids to predict what will happen next and easy to memorize!

  • Sing the song, and act it out with rubber ducks or handmade puppets. These are great for learning to subtract and learning about zero.
  • You may also use foam numbers – put 5 numbers on the table (or on the wall of the tub). As each duck disappears, take away a number to see how many are left.

One Duck Stuck by Phyllis Root. (Be sure to get the full version, not the board book – it’s abridged, and you miss some of the great language.) Fabulous rhyming, rhythmic words. And a counting book. And lots of fun marshland creatures.

  • Dramatic play: make masks or finger puppets of the animals in the book. One child pretends to be the duck and says “Help, Help, who Can Help.” Other kids (or the parent if you’re playing this one-on-one at home) come to the rescue.
  • Sensory play in muddy muck: give child a bag of dirt (or collect dirt from yard). Spend time exploring the dirt, describing it, looking at it through a magnifying glass. Add a little water. Explore some more. Then add more water till you’ve got gooey mud. Get a toy duck stuck.
  • Find photos of real ducks, real marshes, and real marsh-land creatures.

10 Little Rubber Ducks by Eric Carle. Based on a real-life story of a shipping carton of rubber ducks that fell into the ocean. Ten ducks float off in separate directions and encounter a variety of sea life.

  • Art: Make 10 paper ducks. Label 1 – 10. Your child glues them to a blue paper ocean
  • Numbers: Collect 10 rubber ducks, or use paper ducks. Child rolls dice, counts the dots, puts that many ducks in the tub to show “how many fell into the ocean?”
  • Talk about ordinal numbers and directions: the first duck swam north, the second duck swam south, and so on. Play a game where your child goes in the direction you say: “the little duck swam left, the little duck swam right, the little duck went up the stairs.”

Have You Seen My Duckling? by Nancy Tafuri. A mother searches for her baby.

Little Quack by Lauren Thompson. A book about a duckling who overcomes his fear and learns to swim. It would be a great read in the weeks before starting swimming lessons!

Even more great picture books about ducks: 

More ideas (and source citations) at:

photo credit: shot_1305563005476 via photopin (license)

Great Resources for Songs for Kids

Each week in my class, we have a circle time where we sing lots of great songs that toddlers love. Here is my lesson plan for a full year’s worth of Circle Time for Toddlers.

Circle time is a lot of fun for the children in the room and for the parents, but beyond that, singing songs with your children helps your child to learn in many ways, and enhances your connections as a family. Singing builds:

  • Musical skills
  • Mathematical and spatial skills
  • Vocabulary
  • Memory
  • Connections to traditions
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Attachment

Learn more about music and development.

Here are a few of my favorite resources for kids’ songs:

The King County Library has produced videos of librarians singing LOTS (hundreds!) of classic children’s rhymes: If you’re trying to remember the tune of any childhood song, this is a great place to look!

Jbrary is a channel on YouTube featuring two children’s librarians singing songs, lap songs, and finger rhymes from library story times: I LOVE all their videos.

Nancy Stewart has gathered lyrics and made audio recordings (.mp3) of lots of traditional songs, including her Baker’s Dozen of songs every child should know and a collection of campfire songs: She also has lists of recommended books which include songs, or have rhythmic text that can be sung to children, to reinforce both music and early literacy skills:

Nancy Kopman has lots of great songs for toddler classes and preschools.

Let’s Play Music was developed by Sara Mullett, based on 15 years experience teaching kids’ music classes. It includes over 150 songs – each has lyrics, sheet music, a video of the tune being played on a xylophone, and activities / motions to go along with the song.

Math Songs:

Spanish Story-Times. This post includes links both to online story-times and lots of videos of children’s songs and rhymes in Spanish.

YouTube has a huge collection of animated videos featuring traditional and new children’s songs, in a wide range of languages. For example, not only would you find countless versions of the traditional alphabet song, plus many variations in melody (like ABC Rap), plus many elaborate alphabet songs (Animal Alphabet, Alexander Alligator, etc.), you can even find several different songs each dedicated to a single letter of the alphabet. (Even Q has 8 or more songs!)

As with everything on YouTube, the quality ranges tremendously, and there are some that are frankly inappropriate for children; however, it’s worth searching through and finding some of the great ones and setting up your own playlist. I will includes links to some good ones on my “favorite songs” page. Most kids love watching the videos along with the song, but if you’d rather not expose your child to videos, you can easily find a free program online which will allow you to convert videos into .mp3 audio files. (I use YTD Video downloader)

Music Connections offers some great posts on teaching rhythm and a steady beat to kids age birth to five: A Parent’s Guide to Beats and Rhythms, Developmental Progression of Steady Beat, and “Catching” a Steady Beat with Very Young Children.  This includes tips like: help your child experience steady beats by singing with them, dancing with them, or tapping on their knees in rhythm. When they’re doing repetitive movements, like tapping on something, sing or dance along in a steady rhythm that’s similar t o their rhythm. Have them walk or march to a beat.

Bounces, Lifts, Tickles and Rhymes for Baby. A nice collection from Storytime Shenanigans.

Click here for my favorite songs to sing with young children.


Here are some great videos and articles to check out about how children learn while playing, and how we can support them.

Play is Children’s Work: a brief YouTube video on the benefits of play.

Also, check out my post from October 9 for a link to Penn State’s handout on nurturing learning through music and play.

Supporting make-believe play: This is a great article that covers the benefits of imaginative play, gives concrete tips for make-believe games to play with different age groups, and gives tips for choosing pre-schools and children’s activities that encourage make-believe.

Ready to Learn: Dramatic Play. A YouTube video to learn more about dramatic play.

Ready to Learn: Singing Helps Children Learn. A brief video on the benefits of music. For lots more info on music and brain development, look here.