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Month: August 2021

15 Singable Autumn Songs for Preschoolers

15 singable autumn songs for preschoolers and toddlers! Autumn is my favorite season and I have collected a nice repertoire of singable fall songs for preschoolers. In fact, I wrote a few of them and added familiar tunes to others. So this list may be different than many of the lists you will find online because some are original ideas. But I guarantee all are loved by parents and kid from my early childhood music classes. (And here is another list of imaginative fall songs for preschoolers if you are looking for more fall songs activities!)

What kind of autumn song should I teach preschoolers?

15 autumn songs for preschoolers

This blog post contains a list of text lyrics, song sheets, and videos to help you create music with toddlers and preschoolers. You will learn how to teach these autumn songs and rhymes for early years and preschool children. Included are musical fingerplays and songs about leaves, apples, spiders, scarecrows, pumpkins, squirrels and bunnies. These songs reinforce concepts preschoolers need to learn when they begin school like counting, colors, and developing large movement and fine motor skills.

I also wrote another blog post, “Imaginative Fall Songs for Preschoolers” that focuses on creativity, pretend play, and use of imagination. And a blog post, “Preschool Songs with Actions Boost Brain-Body Connection”. The songs in those posts are a great addition to this list!

What if I don’t know the songs?

Often the words repeat so they are easy to sing. Most melodies are familiar, but the ones you may not know I am including videos so you can learn them! You’ll enjoy singing these seasonal songs in September and October, and I will provide links that you can save on your playlist. Let’s make music together!

Autumn Songs for Preschoolers PDF Preview

Autumn songs for kids with printable resources.

Fall music is a great springboard for fall craft activities. Learning about the different shapes and colors of autumn leaves lends itself to many many toddler and preschool activities. Going outdoors and actually collecting falling leaves is so much fun for kids. Below I will share the songs I love sing during autumn. Teachers and parents love teaching these songs about the seasons.

Fall Songs about Leaves

Falling Leaves

falling leaves autumn song

Falling leaves

This version of Falling Leaves is sung to the tune of Jingle Bells. I like to sing this song with scarves so kids can move the scarf and imagine and the leaves are twirling in the air. If you can find an orange, yellow or red scarf all the better! When you sing “way up high” move the scarf up over your head. You can even stand on your tippy toes. When you sing “way down low” your scarf can touch the ground. Move your scarf fast and then slow (over exaggerate this!) when you get to “fast and slow”. At the very end blow a loud wind sound and you can even toss the scarf in the air, blow it and let it drift to the ground. Kids love this!

Leaves are Falling Down

leaves are falling down

Leaves are Falling Down

This is a song that I use as a little fingerplay song. “Leaves are falling down” I wiggle my fingers and hands, and make my arms go from high to low (just like when it rains in Itsy Bitsy Spider song). “Swoosh!” my arms swipe out and in. “Rake them” I hold both fists together like I am hold a rake. You can make this song fun by changing the tempo (speed). Start slow and each time you repeat the song, make it a little faster. Kids love to get silly with this!

Autumn Leaves are Falling Down

autumn leaves are falling

Autumn Leaves are Falling

“Autumn Leaves are Falling Down” is sung to the tune “London Bridges.” Again like the song “Leaves are Falling Down,” I will wiggle my fingers and hands, and make my arms go from high to low while I am singing the lyrics, “Autumn leaves are falling down, falling down, falling down.” We imagine we are raking leaves by putting our fists together and pretend we are holding a rake for the second verse.

I love to engage kids with their imagination. “What else can we do with the leaves?” I will ask. They may want to make a pile, jump in them, or bag them up. Creativity is so much fun. Let the kids create more verses to act out to this song!

Crunchy Leaves

crunchy leaves

Crunchy Leaves

I love the song Crunchy Leaves. It is sung to the tune “Hot Cross Buns”. This is a song I sing in every season because the words are so fun to change! On the download page I give you ideas for other words you can sing like, “pumpkin patch,” “falling leaves,” “coat and hat,” and “apple pie.” I have kids think of other autumn things that fit these three syllables. When they offer me suggestions, we check to see if it is three syllables. Sometimes they can hear that it is, or it isn’t. Really there are no bad suggestions, so longer syllable ideas we sing extra silly.

Because this song has a repeating short, short, long pattern I love to have kids bounce a stuffed animal on their lap while singing. It gives them the opportunity to move while singing, and you may have noticed… kids love to move!

The Leaves are Falling Down

leaves are falling down

The Leaves are Falling Down

The Leaves are Falling Down song is sung to the the tune, “The Farmer in the Dell.” There is a focus on color names: orange yellow red and brown. And also an add-on to this song with counting. We sing 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 going higher each time up the music scale. Then as we sing, “8 leaves falling, falling to the ground.” we are going back down the scale. I love to have kids visually see the music going higher and then lower using props. So having a cut out leaf or a scarf while singing this song is great!

A Scarecrow Song

Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes

scarecrow song

Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes

Well, this isn’t actually about a scarecrow. But we can imagine we are a big scarecrow in the garden frightening away the birds who want to eat the vegetables in the garden. You can even dress up like a scarecrow if you put on a plaid shirt and hat. Kids love moving to this song. Make sure they know where all the body parts are before you begin. And make sure to repeat this song many times, getting faster and faster and faster. Did I already mention (yes!) kids love to get silly with how fast they can sing and move.

Autumn Spider Songs

10 Little Spiders

10 little spiders

10 Little Spiders

“Ten Little Indians” is another one of my favorite melodies to re-use every season. We can have 10 little friend, 10 little cookies, 10 little apples, etc. What can your children come up with for autumn? Pumpkins, apples, costumes, black cats, and more. Getting kids input and encouraging their creativity makes singing and moving even more fun!

This song “10 Little Spiders” has a creative ending. You can change the last line of the song to have the spiders crawl on a body part: a leg, arm, head, chin, etc. This makes the song very fun. If your child is old enough you can use a spider stuffed animal, finger puppet, or even cut out a spider and see if they can find and touch it to the body parts you sing.

Itsy Bitsy Spider

itsy bitsy spider

Itsy Bitsy Spider

This classic song is probably one of the most popular children’s songs. Whenever I, as a teacher, decide I am tired of this song and take it out of my early childhood music class, I get those disappointed kids that mention at the very end of class that that was the one song they wanted to sing! So, while I may get tired of singing this song, kids don’t!

It’s also a favorite first piano song. Kids love to play songs they already know when they are learning to play an instrument. If you want to know 10 ways to get your child ready for piano lessons check out a few more of my blog posts for more information!

Fall Songs About Apples

Apple Tree Song

apple tree

Apple Tree Song

Apple Tree Song is sung to the tune, “Hush Little Baby.” Apple Tree can be sung over and over and each time you can change the number of apples on the tree. You can start from the number one and count going up. Or you can start at the number 10 and count going down. Older kids may also count by twos, fives, or tens.

Apple Pie Song

applie pie

Apple Pie Song

This song is similar to the “10 Little Spiders” song in that it uses the tune, “10 Little Indians.” Apple picking and apple orchard visits are a classic part of autumn, so it makes sense to have an apple pie counting song! You can think about other foods apples can be put into: cobbler, oatmeal, muffins, cereal, etc. Kids love to be a part of the creative process and think of some of the most amazing things!

Fall Songs About Pumpkins

When I think of autumn, I think of apples, sunflower, and PUMPKINS! There are lots of great songs about pumpkins. Many of the apple songs can also become pumpkin songs with a little twist of lyrics.

Five Little Pumpkins

five little pumpkins

Five Little Pumpkins

Five Little Pumpkins is a more difficult song for preschoolers to learn, because it has a lot of words! But wonderful education happens in this song, so it is worth singing!

First of all this song teaches ordinal numbers. Ordinal numbers are first, second, third, fourth, fifth. I like to do a little piano teaching prep here, so I teach the kids to put up their thumb on first, pointer finger on second, middle finger for third, ring finger for fourth and pinky for fifth.

These are the finger numbers for teaching piano lessons so it is great prep to get kids used to identifying these ordinal numbers with the correct finger. Just by demonstrating it, kids catch on.

I like to sing “Five Little Pumpkins” to the tune, “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.”

Pumpkin Patch Song

pumpkin patch

Pumpkin Patch Song

I sing this song to the tune of “Shortenin’ Bread.” You can sing this song many times and each time you can change the word “loves” to something else. Some suggestions include: picks, eats, carves, bakes, etc. Again, getting kids thinking about what other ideas they can come up with is fun!

A Little Pumpkin with a Frown

a little pumpkin with a frown

A Little Pumpkin with a Frown

This is an original song. I wrote this song because kids don’t always feel happy. So it’s a great segue into talking about emotions and what we can do when we are not happy. How might you feel when you have a frown on your face? Why might you feel that way? What can you do about it? Equipping children with how to handle their emotions is very important. I look for opportunities to validate emotions and feelings, and let kids know that it is okay to feel those ways. The video below demonstrates how to sing this song,

Fall Animal Songs

Animals are busy busy busy in the fall. They are preparing for a long winter. Talking about what animals are doing to prepare for winter is a great springboard to thinking about animal activities and how animals might move. These ideas are great to incorporate into music and movement.

Grey Squirrel

grey squirrel

Grey Squirrel

Kids love the Grey Squirrel song because they love to swoosh the big bushy tail! I love to sing this song with a scarf and move the scarf like the squirrel’s tail. Identifying your nose and fingers that hold little acorns adds to the movement of this song.

My version is adapted from Leanne Guenther’s fall nursery rhyme. You can add more verses to this song by changing the lyrics “grey squirrel” to other family members, like papa squirrel, mama squirrel, baby squirrel, etc. You can also talk about other animals that have tails and make this an animal tail song.

Or you can make this a color song and make your squirrel brown, yellow, orange, red, etc.

Five Little Bunnies

five little bunnies

Five Little Bunnies

There are several melodies you can sing Five Little Bunnies to: Twinkle Twinkle, Paw-Paw-Patch tune, Row Row Row your Boat. This song lends itself to making up any kind of simple tune. The end of the song is fun. You can have children hop as long as you want and you can count how many hops they hop!

Printable Resource: Autumn Songs for Preschoolers

I love to have all my seasonal materials in one place. So I made up this song collection, printed it, and put a comb-binding on it. If you are interested in this pdf collection you can get it by subscribing to Music Time Kid Music Community below. I’d love to have you join us. I am constantly putting together more musical resources to help you have fun with your toddlers and preschoolers. Both parents and teachers find these games, songs, musical activities and other printables helpful! Join us today!

Autumn Songs for Kids

15 Easy to Sing Songs & Fingerplays

Get your Autumn Song PDF’s here!

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    Toddlers Music Classes with Beethoven!

    Toddlers music classes are full of laughter, fun, and discovery. I have created a music class with Beethoven, a fun loving, pancake eating sheepdog puppet, who sings, dances, and plays musical instruments. Kids love joining along and making music with him! Familiar music is also enriched with sounds of music from around the world. Beethoven will show you how to sing some songs while shaking a maraca and dancing to the music!

    FREE Early Childhood Music Classes

    Your preschooler will love this free 6 week early childhood music class. Together you’ll get to meet Beethoven, an adorable sheepdog who loves to sing, dance and play musical instruments! This online class is so much fun your kids will want to see it again and again! And, best of all… your kids will be learning so much as they participate.

    Parent child bonding opportunities are so important. They build strong relationships and trust. Early childhood music classes are the perfect opportunity for building strong parent child relationships.

    Why are there classes for toddlers?

    Babies and young kids by themselves are too young for a music class. But together with a caring adult, children of all ages are able to participate in music programs. Music helps children with cognitive development, language development, social development, and the development of physical skills. And while the development of children is essential, there are also benefits of music on kids’ health.

    Cognitive Development

    A definition of cognitive is 1 : of, relating to, being, or involving conscious intellectual activity (such as thinking, reasoning, or remembering) cognitive impairment.

    When kids learn how to sing fun songs, they are using a lot of intellectual brain activity. They are hearing a melody, rhythm, and words simultaneously. Those are a lot of skills to develop and utilize at the same time! And I think it is wonderful that children benefit from music in this way when it is also just good ole fun!

    Language Development

    Music encourages language development because most kids love to sing to music. While they may not know all the words to a song, they begin to vocalize what they can and then improvements are made over time. Engaging your child in musical activities is a wonderful springboard for your child’s language to develop.

    Social Development

    I love teaching music classes for babies and toddlers because it gives familes a chance to gather together in a group. But life has sure changed with the covid-19 pandemic. In-person, interactive classes have had to explore different ways to help parents and children learn how to make make music together. Personally I love the in-person classes for the personal contact, the family community that exists, the opportunity to create a learning experience for the youngest of age child.
    Online and video education is increasingly becoming popular. Parents are still seeking to have parent child bonding experiences that are fun, and discover how to use music to help their child grow developmentally.

    Motor Skill Development

    When young children begin to attend school, they are required to already know so many things. From the alphabet to counting to being able too hold a pencil or scissors. Both gross (large) and fine (small) motor skills are essential for the success of children in school. I believe the music classes for young kids play an important part of children’s ability to acquire these skills.

    For example, gross motor skills are developed as kids march or hop to the music. Dancing to music helps kids learn how to feel a steady beat or move to a specific rhythm pattern.

    Fine motor skills are practiced when a child plays a triangle (an instrument held suspended by a thread and struck with the other hand with a small metal stick).

    Music classes provide weekly opportunities for this kind of development. And school teachers are grateful to the parents who provide this kind of education and program to their children.

    Parents ask, “How do I teach my 2 year old music?”

    Sing on Non-sense Syllables

    When a child first begins to talk he/she says bah-bah-bah or dah, dah, dah. So it is natural for children to sing melodies with these non-sense syllables. It’s actually the building block to language development. Adults might feel silly singing songs with these syllables, but it makes it easy to play instruments, move to the beat, and learn how to sing without worrying about the words to a song. Even choirs vocalize on these basic syllables because it is easier to get a good sound from the voice!

    Play Rhythmic Instruments

    Music classes are not the only place kids can play musical instruments. When my kids were little I would pick up quality instruments from garage sales, online sales, thrift stores, or ask for them as gifts. I’m pretty picky about quality because it doesn’t take too much damage for a musical instrument to become dangerous if a bunch of small inner parts gets loose. So ask for great quality music instruments as gifts and build a little collection!

    Move to the music

    Toddlers and preschoolers learn best by moving. And music is the ideal platform for learning because who can resist music and movement? Music and movement are basically synonymous because who can listen to music without moving, right?!!! I feel so strongly that music and movement at the keys to learning that I am linking to several music and movement songs I have used over and over in my toddlers music classes.

    Use your child’s favorite stuffed animals

    You might be thinking, what!? Yes, stuffed animals are wonderful additions to the early childhood music experience. Most of the toddlers in my music class prefer to bounce their favorite stuffed animal on their lap to the beat of a song we are singing, than bounce on their parent’s lap. Bouncing and tapping are two ways kids learn how to feel a steady beat and that is very important in early childhood. Finding ways that makes this fun for kids helps build their rhythmic skills for future music making.

    Benefits of virtual music classes

    Offer support for child development

    As I mentioned earlier, Covid-19 has had an impact on family’s ability to gather into community to enjoy the social aspect of early childhood music classes. But there is still a demand for toddlers music classes. Parents are seeking the many advantages music offers to help prepare their children for school. So virtual classes for toddlers are now emerging.

    Teach parents how to work with their child

    I love recording these classes because I can reach more families. When I teach in person, I can only allow a limited number of parents and kids in my classroom. But with virtual learning, I can teach parents the activities that their child will benefit from and then you can continue on your own at home with your child’s favorite songs on your playlist.

    Accessing wonderful teachers throughout the country

    Another benefit is is accessing good teachers. I have been a teacher for over 30 years. And … because I have five kids of my own and 4 grandkids… I know good music! I am happy to help you discover the wonderful music of some of the great artists like Ella Jenkins, Raffi, Laurie Berkner, Elizabeth Mitchell, and more. I don’t know about you, but when I search for music on youtube, all I see is the cutesy, cheesy crap that I can’t listen to for more than about one minute. But great music… you will find me singing along all day with my grandkids!

    Drawbacks of virtual music classes

    Loss of opportunities for friendship and community

    Well, the main drawback of virtual classes is the loss of friendship and community. I have watched little kids become friends in music class and then they maintain that friendship for years. Something special happens in music class. Usually when I am teaching, I provide 15 minutes at the end of the class for children to explore a plethora of musical instruments. Parents can play with their child and also visit with other caregivers. This aspect is very important for child development.

    May encourage parents to be less engaged

    Virtual classes may tempt a caregiver to put a child in front of a screen and not participate with the child. The purpose of classes for babies and very young kids is to actually have the caregiver involved in the class. This is increasingly more important in a virtual setting. Through role modelling and demonstrating, the parent provides a wonderful foundation for learning.

    Benefits outweigh the drawbacks

    However, the musical benefits for child development are so very important that I think virtual classes are better than having no class at all. I believe a good early childhood music program will engage both the parent and child in an experience they can enjoy together.

    What classes are best for toddlers?

    So… what toddlers music classes are best? There are so many wonderful programs. I don’t believe there is only one superior curriculum. I would recommend you visit a few different classes join the one that your child enjoys and make sure the class also helps you learn! Parents who are taught along the way can then be a teacher at home. And I think this is important in life. Encouraging parents to learn and grow and equipping them to be a wonderful support and music teacher for their own children is a gift. So unfortunately I cannot really give you an answer here because every family is different.

    I am offering a free 6 week class!

    The good news is that I have released my first 6 week class for FREE! I’d love to have you join my class and check it out. If you don’t love it or haven’t benefited in any way, you aren’t out anything at all. But there is one catch! Please make sure you sit with your child and participate with him/her. I guarantee it will make a world of different and will be so much beneficial.

    All you have to do it join my music community below and you will have instant access to my early childhood music classes. These are activities I do with all my classes I teach locally, but am unable to do so currently do to Covid-19.

    I recommend having a couple basic instruments (or even safe plastic kitchen gadgets, a pot, a wooden spoon, etc.) and a scarf (could be a burp cloth, cloth diaper, or wash cloth). Most of all… have fun!

    FREE Toddlers Music Classes with Beethoven!

    Your toddler will love these early childhood music classes. You’ll get to meet Beethoven, an adorable, pancake-loving sheepdog who loves to sing, dance and play musical instruments! This online class is so much fun your toddler and preschooler will want to see it again and again! Get your free class today!

      We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at any time.

      Learning About Patterns is Easy with Music!

      As a piano teacher, I have discovered the secret to helping kids memorize music is in learning about the patterns in the music. Have you ever noticed kids who are not confident? Many times they approach learning bit by bit, one by one, random notes. But when kids begin to notice patterns in music, they take off at lightening speed and never slow down.

      What are the Early Math Skills?

      This article from the preschool plan it website states, “Children use math all day long! 

      During every activity from counting the steps they climb, to sorting blocks and stating “there are more red ones”, to separating the carnivores from the herbivores (for the dinosaurs’ own safety of course!), children are using math.

      Knowing the math skills your preschoolers are developing and should be developing will help you plan math across your curriculum and throughout your classroom.

      16 Basic Preschool Math Concepts

      16 of the basic preschool math concepts are:

      • Observation
      • Problem Solving
      • Language
      • One-to-One Correspondence
      • Number Sense
      • Shapes
      • Spatial Sense
      • Sets and Classifying
      • Ordering/Seriation
      • Comparing
      • Patterning
      • Counting
      • Measurement
      • Parts and Wholes
      • Numbers and Symbols
      • Graphing

      Preschool math concepts overlap and are interrelated with preschool science concepts. In the field of Mathematics, the skills of classifying, comparing and measuring are referred to as Math Concepts. In the field of science, these skills are referred to as Process Skills.”

      How Music Relates to Preschool Math Skills

      Music relates to early math skills in multiple ways. Children can find patterns in rhythms, patterns in melodies, patterns with finger numbers at the piano, and more. Music is full of patterns. Patterns can be visual (see), aural (hear), or kinesthetic (move) and thus musical patterns help every student learn in their preferred learning style. Because discovering patterns is something that kids develop as they prepare for the the classroom, learning patterns in music helps reinforce this concept for preschoolers.

      Young children do not usually have the background to associate the meaning of a music note to the note itself, so in teaching patterns, I find it is helpful for teachers and parents to use images to teach patterns. For instance, children love animals. Learning how to identify a pattern using animals is a great teaching tool. These animal cards make a great piano game!

      For example, you can teach basic rhythm and patterns with a fun, hands-on pattern activity like the Animal Lovers Short & Long Rhythm Activity. This resource has pictures of animals. Each picture represents a short sound or a long sound. Kids learn how to see, hear and feel patterns by looking at pictures they are familiar with in their daily lives.

      Notice, I mentioned music can teach in three learning styles… visually, aurally, and kinesthetically. Below you will find more teaching ideas that provide more information on the benefits of teaching kids in multiple learning styles.

      Learning About Patterns

      Many products on the market that help children learn about simple patterns focus on visual patterns. They may ask children to identify shape patterns, number patterns, color patterns and the like. They ask children to practice and understand patterns by finding patterns, completing patterns, and making patterns. Identifying patterns is very important before kids move into more advanced math concepts.

      However, music has a huge advantage over regular math education because music can meet different learning styles of young children. Not all children learn visually. Patterning skills can be taught kinesthetically with music as children move, clap, or play musical instruments to rhythmic patterns. Repeating, echoing, or clapping back a pattern allows children who are great aural learners to hear a pattern and demonstrate understanding. Because music can help teach patterning skills in fun ways, young children enjoy these math lessons.

      Teach Patterns Visually

      I personally prefer to stay away from pre k pages while teaching patterns. This is because I know kids love to create patterns themselves. Having tangible objects, like blocks (which may have different shapes or colors), legos (ditto), or other small toys that kids can move around, allows them to not only identify or complete patterns, but allows them to create patterns which ultimately demonstrates their mastery of the concept. Tangible objects also involves some movement which is kinesthetic in nature.

      I love turning the tables on the young child and ask them to be the teacher. I have them create patterns that I will complete and they will check to see if I did it correctly. Kids love this!

      Ways to Teach Visual Patterns

      Art Activities can be a fun way to teach visual patterns. For example, this Rainbow Art Activity allows children to color patterns or glue objects onto paper in order to create visual color patterns. This is learning through play! Children learn to instantly see patterns in this fun activity.

      Colorful blocks are another great visual used for teaching patterns. Red, blue, and yellow are the basic colors preschoolers are learning and using color which preschoolers are already familiar with is helpful in teaching patterns.

      Little Pom-Poms from the dollar store can be used in a muffin tin or egg carton to create patterns. Picking up the little pom-poms also helps develop fine motor skills which helps kids get ready for piano lessons.

      Duplo blocks are a learning toy that children just love. When my own kids were preschoolers they loved learning how to sort, count and create patterns with them from the time they were 18 months old. I see this again with my grandkids!

      Teach Patterns Aurally

      Teaching patterns using sound is teaching patterns aurally. Some kids learn best when they can hear things, so when we teach kids with sound patterns, some children have a better understanding than they would if only visuals were used.

      Ways to Teach Aural Patterns

      Some learning activities that teach patterns through sound are:
      – Drums and other percussion instruments (when beating out the rhythms kids can be learning how to count each pattern)
      – Movement learning activities using music (walking, skipping, hopping, clapping, and so on)
      – Clapping learning games (Songs like “If You’re Happy and You Know It” teach a two clap pattern at the end of each musical phrase. You have to listen to hear this, but then the movement also adds another learning style!)
      – Repetitive Songs like Baby Shark have a repetitive rhythm that kids love to sing. This song is easy to teach to toddlers. For more ideas on favorite songs I use in early childhood music classes you can click here and here.

      Teach Patterns Kinesthetically

      Moving to music, clapping, playing instruments is learning kinesthetically.  Kids can learn to move their bodies with the music and experience different patterns. Many teachers do not encourage kids to move while they learn. Most education happens by sitting still. But I firmly believe that preschoolers learn by moving. So teaching math using music gives kids a better hands-on approach and reinforces basic math in fun ways.

      Ways to Teach Kinesthetic Patterns

      Moving or marching to the rhythm of a song. The classic rock song “We Will Rock You” is an example of a song that has a repeating short-short-long pattern to it. Jingle Bells has the same pattern! Guess what!?! If you listen to your playlist I bet you will find more patterns. What songs do you already listen to with your child that have patterns that repeat? Sometimes there are even two patterns in a song. That’s a fun discovery!

      I also love to play a fun echo game. I will clap or move to a rhythm and kids will repeat what I do. Make sure they don’t change the tempo (the basic beat) on you! Some kids love to speed things up. Make sure their echo is a match!

      Teach Kids in Ways that Motivate Them

      Kids love music! Let’s face it… when you add music to any kind of task, it is more fun. This is no exception in child development and patterning skills. What young child… baby, toddler, preschooler, or kindergarten kid isn’t excited to beat the drum or march around the room? When I have taught early childhood classes for the preschool classroom every child is delighted to make music! They eagerly echo patterns, clap to “If You’re Happy and You Know It,” and practice ringing bells to the well known rhythm of Jingle Bells (short, short, long) without educational purposes. They just naturally do it! So help them discover the patterns in that! Because, kids love hands-on everything when it comes to music!

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      Learning Piano Fingers Number is Fun for Kids!

      piano fingers number

      Do you have a child that wants to learn how to play piano? If so, you know that they are going to need to learn the piano fingers number on their hands for playing notes. Piano fingering can be quite frustrating for kids as it is difficult to develop the finger coordination and finger independence that they need. In addition when the hands are at the piano keyboard, the finger numbers go in opposite directions. This can be confusing even for older beginners. In this blog post, we will talk about ways in which parents and teachers can teach piano finger numbers in fun ways so that children are more likely to remember them! Let’s get kids ready for piano lessons!

      Piano Fingers Number

      You have five fingers! So you will count from one to five on each hand beginning with your thumb. The thumb is number one, index finger is two, middle finger is three, ring finger is four, and pinky finger is five.

      finger numbers

      Mirror Images

      When you put your hands together you can practice wiggling your thumbs, wiggling pointer, and so on. You can play a little piano game imitating what you want the student to do. With your hands together and wiggling finger one (your thumb) ask, “Where is finger number one?” and have the student copy you by wiggling the thumb and they will say “Here is finger number one.”

      Kids love playing this game! Make sure to keep a steady rhythm as you speak and make sure the student copies with a steady rhythm too! You can try to trick them by wiggling the same finger more than once, or skipping the fingers And you can also let them be the teacher and ask you where a finger number is. They will need to check to make sure you wiggle the correct finger!

      Finger Number Direction

      You will notice that when you open your hands up to play the piano the finger number for each finger is a mirror image (they go in opposite directions).

      Because children are taught to read from left to right, this really confuses them because the Left Hand finger numbers don’t read from left to right. The left hand fingering moves right to left.

      Remembering the left hand finger numbers move right to left becomes increasingly important when kids are ready to play in a five finger position (using all five fingers with each finger placed over one piano key).

      How do you know which fingers to use when playing piano?

      When you learn to read music, the finger numbers are often written into the music. If they are not, the piano teacher will generally write the finger numbers into the music score. Most piano teachers don’t like music filled with finger numbers because they want to teach piano students how to read the music notes and music that is filled with finger numbers is considered a crutch.

      However, for young beginners, learning to read finger numbers is very important, so it is wonderful to use some pre-reading materials to teach this! Helping kids identify the Right Hand, Left Hand, and finger numbers move in contrary motion takes a lot of time to understand when beginning piano students are playing the piano.

      It’s also important to bridge new ideas with things kids already know, so using songs with actions, like “Where is Thumbkin,” is helpful.

      Here is a video showing how early beginners can play with only one piano finger.

      Five Finger Position

      Beginning piano books introduce a few songs that do not need to play all five fingers. The younger the student, the more important this kind of music is. I believe most piano teachers look for more of this music for very young kids because music books pretty move quickly into note reading.

      Toddlers and preschoolers are usually not ready to play in five finger positions as their hands are smaller and they need to develop a relaxed arm, stronger fingers, and finger independence.

      So when I first teach toddlers and preschoolers, I allow them to play with the fingers they are most comfortable with and we practice strengthening the ones they don’t like to use.

      Eventually, with enough games, fun activities, and rote music, they will develop their five finger position. Just keep in mind that a three or four year old, it could take several years for this to happen and that is okay!

      Piano Fingering

      Here is a downloadable pdf piano finger chart. Feel free to print this and use this at the piano with your student as a kind of cheat sheet. Kids will eventually memorize the finger numbers for the correct piano hand position for each of the major five finger hand positions.

      Piano Keys Letters for Beginners

      Click here to get this free PDF!

      Pre-reading Songs for Piano Lessons

      Pre-reading songs provide notes off the music staff. I use pre-reading music with all beginners so we can learn how to read rhythms, piano fingering, hand position and fix any bad habits that might develop.

      With pre-reading music notes with stems pointing up will be right hand notes, and notes with stems pointing down will be left hand notes. Sometimes I will circle groups of right hand or left hand notes into little bubbles. Kids can practice these bubbles by themselves and then when they are good at each bubble they can practice playing the song.

      Practicing these little bubbles helps them develop muscle memory (their fingers know where to go) and allows them to play tiny parts of the song without being overwhelmed.

      Rote Music for Piano Lessons

      Providing rote music (music that is played by imitation and not note reading) allows students to learn many concepts like finger numbers and keyboard geography (where the notes are located on the piano) without the requirement of note reading.

      Although some newer piano methods encourage rote music so students can learn to identify patterns, and play bigger sounding music all over the piano without reading notes, it may be hard to find a piano teacher who actually encourages this kind of creativity and learning.

      keyboard and finger numbers

      Hand Positions and White Keys

      The first note most students learn is middle C. And the first five notes most kids learn is a five note C Major scale. Middle C is easy to identify because it is just to the left of two black keys. The right hand thumb plays on Middle C, pointer finger is a step higher on D, middle finger is a step higher on E, ring finger is a step higher on F and pinky finger is a step higher on G.

      C Major piano fingers

      Hand Positions and Black Keys

      There are groups of two black keys and groups of three black keys. Many little beginner songs can be played on just two notes or three notes. The most important thing to remember is that the black keys are easy for kids to identify. So I start preschoolers on the black keys and not the white keys for the first several lessons.

      We can begin learning about the music alphabet at the same time as playing on the black keys, but general guidelines for many piano primers focus on black keys first.

      Use Finger Names Instead of Piano Finger Numbers to Begin

      Toddlers and Preschoolers may have a difficult time with finger numbers because they may not even understand the basic names of the fingers yet. So learning finger names is a really important foundation to lay.

      Playing games that ask kids to find middle fingers, pinky, thumbs, ring fingers and so on are a fun way to help kids learn piano fingerings.

      Use Ordinal Numbers to Identify Fingers

      Ordinal numbers for finger numbers are first, second, third, fourth, and fifth fingers. Making sure students understand that the thumb is finger one and is also the first finger is important. Five Busy Honey bees (video below) is an example of a song that uses ordinal numbers.

      What is fingerplay?

      piano fingers numbers

      Finger play is moving arms, hands and fingers to short rhymes, stories, or songs. Kids learn many finger plays, like the Itsy Bitsy Spider, when they are very young. Finger plays help develop gross motors skills (like arm and hand movements) and fine motor skills (more detailed finger movement).

      What about Fingerplay in Piano Lessons?

      Toddlers and preschoolers enjoy fingerplay as a part of their piano lessons. Finger play activities help kids make the correlation between something they already know and the piano. These fingerplays are also helpful in providing the repetition kids ages 3-8 need.

      “Open Shut Them”

      “Here is Beehive”

      Get your free piano finger number activity

      “Itsy Bitsy Spider”

      “One Little Finger”

      “Where is Thumbkin”

      “Baby Shark”

      “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”

      “Five Busy Bumble Bees”

      “Baby Bumble Bee”

      “I Built a Little Snowman”

      Fun Finger Number Piano Games

      There are piano learning games that make piano playing a little more fun for kids. These games can be used as an extension of piano lessons or they may be played at home with parents or by the child on their own!

      Piano Activity: Fidget Spinner Finger Builder

      Play Doh and the Hokey Pokey

      Sneaky Mouse Game

      Five FIngers Game

      five fingers game

      Five Fingers piano game will leave beginning students wanting more… more piano lessons!
      Students have several ways to play this Five Fingers Piano Game.  The most exciting variation has students rolling the dice as fast as they can to be the first to cover all their hands.  They can also race against the clock.  Or multiple players may take turns to see who can be the first to go out.  Fun and easy game to add to a piano lesson.  Kids learn/reinforce Right Hand, Left Hand, Finger Numbers, Counting, and Counting on dice.

      The First Fingers for Young Students

      In this video a new student is learning a song with left hand fingers 2 and 3. Notice how the first knuckle joints collapse. The student starts to notice at the end of the clip and you will see an attempt to correct this.

      Pointer Finger

      Finger 2 is the easiest finger for kids to play on the piano. Songs like Itsy Bitsy Spider, Hot Cross Buns, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Charlie Chipmunk, I Love Coffee, and so many more can be played with only the pointer finger.

      Lesson plans that teach a student to play an entire song in one lesson make kids feel so accomplished! They can leave their very first piano lesson with a song they can share with their family and friends.

      Middle Finger

      Finger 3 is not as strong as the pointer finger, so I generally have the student put their thumb behind the first knuckle joint to the finger stays curved and doesn’t collapse (like in the video above).

      The middle finger can play all the same songs that pointer finger can play, so it is good to go back and play those songs again using the middle finger.

      Ring Finger

      The ring finger is the most difficult finger for young children to use. This is normal because of how the tendons for the ring and pinky finger are connected in the hand.

      Fingers rarely move in isolation and so this generally works itself out as kids begin playing songs, playing games, and building finger strength.

      I like to add in the ring finger to pointer and middle finger after those fingers are playing songs well. Ring finger is difficult so I look for ways to minimize it’s use while actually allowing it to play.


      In conclusion, I want to encourage you! Learning the piano fingers number takes time. It’s okay to write some finger numbers into your sheet music. It’s okay to let kids learn to play piano using piano fingering. And just know… note reading will also come along in the journey as young students get older.

      Let’s meet young students where they can shine! Where they can feel good about making music and sharing their musical talent with friends and family. Play games, use finger plays, learn some rote music, learn some easy piano songs with pre-reading song sheets.

      And if you’d like to get my favorite FIRST piano game I play with every new student, be sure to join the Music Time Kid community below! I know you will have so much fun playing this game and you’ll be surprised how much learning can be taught with just one game! Enjoy!

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        Practice Chart: Piano Preschool Lessons

        Discover how having the right practice chart for piano can turn kids who are bored into kids who love to play piano!

        Kids love music! And preschoolers are eager little students who love the fun activities in piano lessons. But practicing at home can be a struggle for a few reasons:

        Frog Theme Practice Chart for Piano

        1. Parents are unsure what their child should do in practice
        2. Parents may not be prepared for how much energy at home practice requires from them.
        3. Kids may love the piano, but practicing at home can be a challenge if their only assignment is to play one or two songs over and over again. Kids want to have fun at the piano every day!

        So learning how to make practice at home interesting, fun, challenging, and rewarding week after week takes effort on the parents’ part. Together kids and parents can find a way to mark progress in their daily practice and enjoy the process of making music.

        practicing piano

        Piano Lessons for Preschoolers

        Teachers of preschoolers have to have a different approach and teach them differently than they teach an 8 year old beginning piano student. A preschooler’s attention span is approximately the number of minutes for how many years old they are. So a 3 year old has a three minute attention span, a 4 year old has a 4 minute attention span, and a 5 year old has a 5 minute attention span. There are always exceptions to the rule, or one amazing activity that transfixes a child for 10 minutes, but generally these young kids need LOTS of activities that reinforce the simple concepts they are learning. And teachers need an arsenal of activities!


        Preschoolers need a lot of repetition. There are now method books for young piano students as young as 3 or 4 years old. However, the mistake I see over and over again is that parents and teachers expect preschoolers to learn musical concepts the first time they are taught. Afterall, that is how older kids learn. But preschoolers are different. They need multiple layers of learning the same concepts. And that is why I teach outside the box of method books to little ones. You can too! So how do we do this?

        Find as many teaching resources as possible and add them to lessons. It’s okay with me if these resources all come from different places. I really haven’t found just one company, teacher, or website that has it all. The good news… I am curating a lot of great materials for you. AND I am creating content that fills many missing holes. You can benefit from all that I have learned over the years.

        preschool piano activity
        preschool piano game for practice at home
        preschool piano practice activity
        preschool piano finger game for piano practice


        Preschoolers learn through movement. So kids need lots of body movement and gross motor skill activities as they develop the fine motor skills needed for playing the piano. Here are some ideas you can use to structure lessons and practice time at home. It’s okay that practice isn’t perfect at this age… practice should be fun!

        How do Kids Learn to Keep a Steady Beat?

        Provide one song each week a student can play an instrument to. Perhaps they are even going to march around the room as they play their instrument. Select music that is pretty straight forward and easy to tap a beat to like the song Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Baby Shark, and more. Here is a video to help you see what I mean.

        How do Kids Learn Short and Long Rhythm?

        Preschoolers are at the age where they are just learning the alphabet letters and learning to read some simple words. They may not be ready for music notes. I recommend that you first begin with pictures that represent short and long sounds (like these). This will help you teach the concept in a context that is easily understood by a young child. Then when kids are successful with that activity, you can move to the most simple music notes: quarter note, half note, and quarter rest. Try creating rhythms and rhythm patterns with these simple notes. If a student isn’t quite ready for the notes, put them away for a couple months and try again later.

        Kids love making patterns and long rhythms on the floor with these fun short and long animal cards.

        Teach Finger Numbers with Rhymes and Games

        Select a finger rhyme or a finger game that a student can practice at home. It takes a while for kids to really learn these rhymes and games so I recommend using only one or two per month. It’s great that some students will memorize the rhyme, as that will help prepare them to memorize music. It generally takes a while for fingers to cooperate and strengthen. Get more ideas for finger play here.

        Charts and Printable Resources for Piano Practice

        I like to use different printables for different seasons. I think kids love that too! I always have had my piano students use 3 Ring Binders to keep their practice chart, sheet music, and other printables in. I divide the binder into sections with tabs so they can easily locate the different sections, but many still need parental help with this. I put the piano practice chart for the current week in the very front so it is the first thing kids see when they open their binder.

        How to Organize a Piano Three Ring Binder

        Like I said, I put the piano practice chart in the very front of the binder. Then the next section will be any sheet music that I printed for the student. Other printable resources will go in the third section. I use post it notes as tabs for the pages kids need to see that week every day. This makes it easy for parents to know which pages are for piano practice at home. The binder is key for students and parents to find success at their home practice.

        Piano Practice Chart

        It’s okay to write on your practice chart and customize it for each student. Most parents appreciate detailed information and love it when you take two minutes toward the end of the lesson to explain what the child should do for practice at home. If you use any of the piano practice charts I have created, write in which rhythm cards they should practice, the name of the song they should play for keeping a steady beat (moving and playing with musical instruments), the finger rhyme they should practice, the piano game they are playing, and the names of the songs they are currently practicing . These activities will help teach your child so many things they need to know about playing the piano.

        Plus! The first 100 days are crucial to setting the tone for your family. Establishing good habits and great attitudes right from the start help keep practice time enjoyable and fun for kids.

        Piano Challenge Printables

        Sometimes I like to run piano challenges in the entire studio. I generally will put a piano challenge chart in the front sleeve (right on the cover) of the three ring binder. Because it is front and center, students and parents can see and remember (hopefully!) to practice for this challenge. Some challenges I have run in the music studio include learning all the note names on the grand staff in one minute (for older kids!), challenge to learn all the five finger patterns on the white keys, composition challenge to create their own song, and so on.

        practice piano

        What Piano Practice for Preschoolers Should Look Like

        Preschoolers learn by moving, so piano practice at home should be a combination of playing some songs at the piano with some movement activities and games sprinkled in. I try to have at least 10 activities for a 30 minute piano lesson for a 4-5 year old. So a short 10 minute practice time should have at least 4 activities. If you practice for 15 minutes, plan on at least 5-6 activities.

        Your piano teacher may not assign these kind of activities. It may be because they aren’t trained in working with young children, but teach piano to these kids because parents are asking for it. Piano lessons for preschoolers need to include more activities to help them learn at the level they are at. One example of games and activities for the song Itsy Bitsy Spider can be found here.

        Often kids decide they don’t like piano because it isn’t fun, and that is generally not true. It’s just the experience they had wasn’t fun. So parents… you can help provide a successful experience for your child! Whether your teacher does this for you or you do it for yourself! So let’s discover ways you can simply add more fun to at home practice.

        Fun Activities for Home Piano Practice

        1. Let’s build finger strength and fine motor skills through games, finger plays, and rhymes.
        2. Join in on the fun and play musical instruments together with your child’s favorite songs. You can find more ideas here.
        3. Move to the beat by walking, marching, stomping, jumping, hopping, skipping, etc.
        4. Use stuffed animals as practice pals. Put three on one side of the piano and have your child move one animal at a time to the other side as they practice their song. So this for each song.
        5. Use piano printable resources like charts to mark the practice for each day. This will help you monitor kids progress.
        6. Piano games are other printable resources you can use in your every day piano practice.
        7. Allow your child to learn to play songs they want to play!

        Games for First year Concepts

        The concepts most preschool students learn in the first year of piano will include:

        1. The difference between high and low and where they are located on the piano
        2. The difference between long and short sounds and that these sounds can be made into patterns
        3. The difference between soft and loud sounds and how to play these sounds at the piano
        4. How to identify the music alphabet within the groups of 2 and 3 Black Keys structure at the piano
        5. How to name, wiggle and play the different fingers: thumb, pointer, middle, ring, and pinky fingers
        6. Strengthen fingers, practice making rounded and curvy fingers, and how to sit at the piano with great posture
        7. Playing simple songs they already know like Mary Had a Little Lamb, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, or Baby Shark

        If you concentrate on playing games that provide a lot of repetition and reinforcement of these concepts through out the first year of piano practice, your student will have so much fun and will learn so naturally. All of these basics make good piano practice for new students.


        Preschool Students are all over the place when it comes to technique because their tiny hand is just not ready for playing all five fingers like a beginning 8 or 9 or 10 year old is. So focus on games like mentioned above and expect to use pointer finger a LOT!

        Talking about Technique is another article, but playing games that focus on fine motor skills will help your child make quick progress.


        Why do people want to learn to play the piano? Well…. the answer is usually because they want to learn to play songs they enjoy.

        And no one wants to take piano lessons for YEARS before they can ever play something they want to learn. It is SO important to find music for new students or teach them in a way that gives them access to music they love. This is the key to longevity in playing a musical instrument.

        If a teacher’s teaching style is set and the method books are set, I can usually predict the outcome. Eager kids usually begin to dread lessons and they never want to practice.

        One way to solve this dilemma is to let kids create. They love making their own songs! If they are learning about soft sounds, kids can create a song about a sneaky mouse or the frog that lost his voice. If kids are learning about low sounds, they can create a song about an elephant parade, or climbing down a mountain and going into a valley. Creating music means there is no right and wrong and kids can be successful EVERY time! This makes learning fun! When we let kids explore the piano and make music on their own they make discoveries and the learning is genuine.

        Keeping Track of Practice

        I think keeping track of practice is helpful for parents and kids. Even little children can see that if they work hard and practice they will make progress. If kids do not practice much, then a practice chart helps with personal accountability. Until kids are about 10 years old, it is so important that parents are involved in daily practice. And it is unreasonable to expect new students to do this on their own.

        Every single parent of my own piano students WANTS to know what their child should be practicing each week, so some kind of practice chart is helpful.

        For the very young piano student, I provide a chart like this so parents know how to work with their child at home.

        The First 100 Days of Practice are Important

        I mentioned earlier and I think it is important enough to restate: The first 100 days of practice set up the student for success. I wrote an article about the 10 Ways to Get Your Child Ready for Piano Lessons. Preparing for piano lessons and then being ready for the daily commitment of practice help everyone have a good experience: students, parents, and teachers.

        Piano Practice Chart for the Young Child

        I have created a set of piano practice charts for young children. These are simple to use. Each day your just cross off one of the icons to the right of the assigned item.

        If your teacher does not provide you with these kinds of activities, then go ahead and implement them at home. Too many parents just do not know what their new beginner should be doing other than practicing the songs in the book. But having these other activities will keep a light in your child’s eye and keep the joy of discovering about music alive!

        If you are interested in getting these free piano practice charts by joining my music community, then fill in your email below. I know you will love all the content I am creating to help you discover how you can be the best parent for your budding musician.

        10 Ways to Get Your Child Ready for Piano Lessons

        Parents often struggle with how to get their child ready for piano lessons. How do they prepare? There are so many questions, such as what type of lesson should they take? What age is best? What if my child doesn’t like it? If you’re a parent who has been asking these questions too, then this blog post is for you!  In the following 10 ways to get your child ready for piano lessons, we will discuss all the aspects of getting started and offer tips on how parents can make sure that their child enjoys his/her first experience.

        How to get ready for piano lessons

        get your child ready for piano lessons

        Realize that parental involvement is the key to success before you start piano lessons.

        Even if your child is reading on their own, children need active and daily parental involvement with piano lessons.  Young children especially will need help reading the teacher’s practice instructions, locating the pages in the books, doing assigned homework, working with apps, instructional videos, music games, and flashcards.  Parents who didn’t play piano themselves may not feel qualified for such duties, but piano teachers expect parents to be involved. Learn some basic tips about how to practice at home so that you can help them get started with this.

        I have been teaching piano for decades (yikes, that sounds like forever) and I always say the same thing to new students starting piano lessons… parents must carve out time in their day (every day!) to make sure their child is successful!

        Parents need to monitor their child as they begin lessons to make sure things are going well.  Does their child need help developing fine motor skills?  Is their student practicing willingly?  Remember to give your child positive feedback everyday!  It’s okay to make mistakes (we all do). Be patient with mistakes, but don’t let it go on too long before correcting the problem.

        Try to make practicing fun. If your child says what you are telling them is incorrect, then contact your teacher immediately to clear up any confusion. Stay positive and be a source of encouragement and support.  Don’t give up! Acknowledge it will take time, but the benefits are worth it in the end.

        Select your first instrument before you begin piano lessons.

        When should a child have a piano?

        It’s wise to have an instrument in the home for children to explore before beginning their musical education.  In fact it’s a great idea to have a piano in your home long before you even think your child is ready to start learning.

        Younger kids who are allowed to explore the piano will naturally realize many things about this musical instrument.  At a young age they can hear low sounds on the left side of the instrument and high sounds on the right side.  They will notice long sounds if they play a note and hold it, or a short sound if they play a note quickly.  They may even try to learn some songs they know how to sing like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Kids who have this kind of exposure to the instrument in early childhood learn piano very quickly because they already have so much time to explore their natural curiosity and learn foundational concepts.

        I wrote an article “How to Create a Joyful Home Using Children’s Music” and putting a piano in the home is one way of incorporating more music into your home.

        ready for piano lessons

        What kind of piano should I get?

        There are acoustic or electronic pianos.  There are many pros and cons to each and I will discuss those in another blog post.  Be aware that piano teachers may have a preference and may not begin piano lessons with your child if you do not select what they require.  So you may want to investigate who you may select for teaching piano and ask what their preference is.

        Get the best instrument you can afford. Piano teachers want full size digital keyboards that have fully weighted keys and a pedal, or an acoustic piano that is in tune.

        Where should the piano be placed?

        Make sure the instrument is placed in a location free of distractions.  Also be sure your music bench is the correct height for your child.  This will change as you child grows, so an adjustable bench is wonderful.  Make adjustments to your bench if it is not the correct height.  If you have questions about this, your teacher will give you detailed instruction when you start lessons.

        Explore the piano together before music lessons begin

        Unstructured exploration

        Find out what music interests your child – it might be classical, jazz, or rock!  Knowing your child’s interest before your child is ready to begin lessons will help you focus on finding music your child is excited about learning.  Do they love Itsy Bitsy Spider, or Jingle Bells, or Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, or Ode to Joy?  These are all songs kids can learn without reading instructions or notes. I am linking some examples below.

        Kids lives are busy.  And much of their days are scheduled.  So piano offers a time in their lives when they can unwind… a time when they can forget about the world and the stress around them and just create music.  This is why I think the kind of music kids play is important.  If they don’t love the music they are learning, then piano is just another thing to put on the “to-do” list and will not be enjoyable.  Giving kids time to explore the piano that is unstructured is so so beneficial to kids.

        ready for piano lessons

        Structured exploration

        Parents can play simple piano games to help kids notice things about the piano.  Discovering together with your child will help them learn many musical concepts.  Playing simple games can help parents teach basics in a fun and non-threatening way (especially parents with no prior piano experience).

        Beginning Piano Concepts

        Here are some of the basic concepts beginning piano students will learn:

        Piano Games

        There are many resources for parents and teachers. An article I wrote about how to teach a song by rote (imitation… read more here!) will help parents explore the piano with their child as they get ready for piano lessons.

        These piano games are fun to play. Parents can easily print out and play these games at home.

        1. Piano Race Game
        2. Music Alphabet Match Game
        3. Piano Match Game
        4. Itsy Bitsy Spider Piano Activities & Games
        5. Animal Lovers Short & Long Rhythm Activity
        6. Hot Cross Buns Sweet Treat Cards
        7. Sneaky Mouse Cards
        8. Music Match & Memory Game
        9. Five Fingers Game
        10. Twinkle Twinkle and The Mixed Up Little Star
        11. Fidget Spinner Counting
        12. Hokey Pokey Play-Doh Activity
        13. Here is the Beehive Music Activity

        Piano Keys Letters – Cards you can place over groups of 2 and 3 black keys, like piano keys letters help kids see the music alphabet and how it fits on the piano. Knowing some of the basics of the keyboard geography is very helpful! 

        Discovering high sounds, low sounds, and the sounds in the middle. Learning where the famous Middle C is located is wonderful.  I love to have students learn to sing the sound of middle C everytime they pass by or sit at the piano.  This helps develop the inner ear (and perfect pitch).

        Pay attention to your child’s learning style and personality.

        Parents can get their toddlers ready for piano lessons

        Paying attention to your child’s learning style and personality will help you select the right teacher for your child.  Is your child a visual learner?  A teacher who emphasizes note reading may be a good fit.  But that teacher may not be a good fit if they only teach classical music and your child wants to learn more popular music.  So knowing what you and your child want out of piano will help you get ready for piano lessons.

        Find the right teacher

        You will want to find a teacher who can recognize the needs and desires of your child and who will provide feedback in ways that are understandable.  They should also be someone who is caring, encouraging and supportive.

        The right teacher will be asking questions about your child and aligning their teaching strategies and music to help you achieve your goals.  Some teachers have their own agendas and goals.  If their goals line up with your own, that’s great!  But often parents don’t realize that not all teachers teach piano with the student’s goals in mind.  Knowing this as you talk to teachers will help you select the right fit for your child.

        Realize not all learning happens at the piano

        These days there are amazing apps that are beneficial to piano students.  Take advantage of technology in order to make learning fun.

        There are also hands-on piano games that can be printed and played.  For instance, I have a free piano race game that teaches the musical alphabet in a fun way.  This game is at the piano but students are not sitting!  They are moving all the way from the lowest note to the highest note.

        Also, kids can learn by using youtube videos and other online resources for learning.

        Encourage your child to learn some songs without reading music

        Encourage creativity!  They can compose their own creations. Then ask engaging open ended questions about their song.  Why did they begin the song like they did?  Did the song tell a story?

        Kids will also love to learn a song they know (like Baby Shark, Itsy Bitsy Spider, or Twinkle Twinkle Little Star) by ear. I remember learning Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater, Chopsticks, and Heart and Soul long before I began taking piano lessons.

        Learning fun songs kids already know really do help them get ready for piano lessons. Plus, they will have some songs to play at their very first piano lesson!

        Play games that help develop fine motor skills

        fine motor skills games help kids prepare for piano lessons

        Kids need to be physically ready for piano playing.  Piano requires  so many new skills and they will have greater success if they have been building fine motor skills and do not struggle with finger independence and finger strength. 

        Your child’s readiness will be apparent if they can wiggle (one at a time) each of their five fingers, know their right hand and left hand, and their hand size isn’t too small.  Can they play each finger on the piano?  Can they play a simple melody like Mary Had a Little Lamb?

        If you focus on playing with toys that prepare kids for piano lessons (like these) then kids’ fine motor skills will be more developed and they will be ready to start lessons when their interest develops.

        Children who are 4, 5, and 6 years old struggle the most with moving their fingers independently.  But I have found even 7, 8, 9,  and 10 year olds struggle.  I believe this is because as a culture kids spend more time watching television and videos and do not play outdoors as much (the kind of activity that strengthens hands).  They also spend less time writing which is an epitome of fine motor skills.

        Listen to Music

        Listening to music is beneficial to kids.  There are many reasons listening to music is beneficial to kids and in this article I list 15 of those reasons.  One way to listen to more music each day is to create several playlists that you can utilize at a moment’s notice.  Playlists for soothing, relaxing and calming down, energizing and getting ready for the day, rainy day movement music, uplifting and positive energy music, night time, tuck me into bed, go to sleep, etc.

        Recently I have had students who cannot feel a steady beat.  This is a very very important skill in all music education and it really starts with listening to music. So I firmly believe the more babies, toddlers, and preschoolers listen to music, the more prepared they will be when they are ready for piano lessons.

        Sing, Dance, and Play musical instruments together

        Kids can start playing musical instruments from the time they are babies!  You will see a child hold a rattle and shake it!  Sing to them!  Sing with them! Create music! Move with music!  Kids learn best when they are moving! And play various rhythm instruments to help develop a steady beat or play along with a fun rhythm.

        Some parents need a little help when it comes to knowing what and how to do something. So if this is you, I will give you a confidence booster. When the pandemic began and I closed my early childhood music classes, I decided to record a 6 week online class. You can watch episode 1 on my Music Time Kid YouTube Channel below:

        You will be able to see HOW I work with kids. Using these ideas you can use your own favorite songs to help establish a strong musical foundation for your child. If you aren’t sure what kinds of music you should use I have a couple of links in the LISTEN TO MUSIC section above that will give you a lot of great songs.


        I am thrilled when parents of my beginning piano students are thoughtful and provided these kind of activities for their children before beginning piano lessons. Kids make quick and efficient progress. So I hope you find these ideas helpful as you help your child get ready for piano lessons!

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          Itsy Bitsy Spider Piano Activities & Games

          The highly imaginative Itsy Bitsy Spider Piano Song lends itself to many different piano activities and games. Because kids learn this nursery rhyme as toddlers, they know it already and are eager to play a song on the piano that they know! Interested in learning this as your first piano song? I will show you some of the ways I teach this nursery rhyme to young beginners!

          So many preschool and beginner piano music books progress in a manner in which there is very little opportunity for repetition. I often hear teachers of preschool piano students wonder what they should do when a child doesn’t grasp a concept in the lesson because they worry about moving forward in the book. This is where easy piano activities and games are important. Music concepts can be taught over and over again in different ways until the students understand.

          Itsy Bitsy Spider Song

          Itsy Bitsy Spider (actually I learned this as Eency Weency Spider and yes! there is another version Incy Wincy Spider) is one of the first nursery rhymes young children learn. They love the finger play! Actions include climbing higher, then water coming down the water spout, making a big sun, and then climbing up and up and up again! How fun!

          Itsy Bitsy Spider (free download)

          The itsy bitsy spider went up the water spout
          Down came the rain and washed the spider out
          Out came the sun and dried up all the rain
          And the itsy bitsy spider went up the spout again

          First Piano Lessons

          Beginning piano students want to play music they already know. Sometimes those songs are a little more difficult than the first songs they would sight read in a piano music book. But, with a little practice, most kids easily learn songs they already know because their ear will guide them and they have a strong desire to learn.

          Beginners benefit from playing easy piano songs of familiar music because they can be successful without even reading a note. Plus piano lessons can focus on foundational piano skills before note reading is introduced.

          Toddlers and preschoolers are eager to explore the piano and young children must have plenty of movement activities and piano games ( I have a lot of piano games for beginners in my SHOP) to reinforce musical concepts. They need lots of repetition!

          Printable Sheet Music with Alphabet Letters

          sample of itsy bitsy spider piano song with alphabet letters

          I prefer young students play music with music alphabet letters at their first lessons. This allows me to teach the keyboard geography and basic rhythms before getting to the notes on the music staff. Because Itsy Bitsy Spider is a familiar nursery rhyme, I do not provide notes for rhythm in this piano music. I will let them play the rhythm by ear.

          Here is one example of sheet music that has no notes. This easy piano music only has music alphabet letters and the student will play and sing along (and the rhythm is usually spot on!).

          Printable Sheet Music with Notes that have Alphabet Letters

          Another easy piano sheet music I like to use will have notes (so yes, students can see the rhythm) but you can write the music alphabet letters next to the note. This version also has finger numbers for kids who can play with all five fingers. If they are not ready for that, just cross them out.

          What sheet music I give a student really depends on the age of the child and if they have played any other songs already. So it depends if I give them the printable easy piano sheet music with notes or only letters.

          Printable Sheet Music with Notes on the Staff

          The piano sheet music above is what I will use to provide the staff with regular notes. I will give this music to a student who is currently learning to read music notes on the staff. However, it is harder than a song like Hot Cross Buns. The fingering is included but can be changed. If a student knows where to place their hands on the piano and which finger is placed on each note, they will be very successful.

          Some teachers criticize the use of finger numbers, but I am a firm believer that kids need this kind of instruction for a couple reasons.

          First, learning the finger numbers can be tricky. We read from left to right, but the fingering for the left hand goes right to left. The hands are a mirror, so the fingering in the left hand is often difficult for beginners.

          Secondly, kids need some easy wins. If everything is about moving forward and always making progress, kids can get discouraged. They need to have lots of successes and feel good about learning piano, so writing fingering in songs is not a crutch. It is educational and motivational.

          Incy Wincy Spider

          The incy wincy spider went up the water spout
          Down came the rain and washed the spider out
          Out came the sun and dried up all the rain
          And the incy wincy spider went up the spout again

          Piano Games for Itsy Bitsy Spider

          I am always on the look out for fun games for kids. Games that can teach keyboard geography, rhythms, note values, music alphabet, and the like. Math is strongly linked to music, so I also teach patterns, counting, adding, etc.

          I believe kids learn best through games. Sometimes they don’t even realize they are learning! So when you combine easy sheet music with fun games it is easy to teach many many concepts at a time!

          The games I created in the Itsy Bitsy Spider Piano Games & Activities Book include:

          Music Alphabet Path Game – This game provides a forward moving alphabet, but the path moves right to left. This is intentional to provide opportunities for kids to track going the opposite direction of reading.

          Tic-Tac-Toe Game – This game provides an opportunity for kids to build a relationship with the teacher.
          Pattern Cards – You can also use the cards to make patterns and sequences which is an important math skill for Kindergarten.

          Music Alphabet Memory Game – Alphabet letters can be matched to the corresponding piano keyboard cards for a memory style game. Alphabet cards can also be used separately to teach the music alphabet forwards and backwards as well as teaching skipping.

          Music Activities for Itsy Bitsy Spider

          Movement Activities for Itsy Bitsy Spider

          1. Move fingers, hands and arms to the nursery rhyme.
          2. Puppets or stuffed animals can be bounced to the nursery rhyme.
          3. Students can practice moving with their whole body!
          4. Tapping! Kids can tap on their lap or bounce a stuffed animal to the steady beat as the song is sung. (See this blog post or this video for more ideas on teaching a steady beat)
          5. Most instruments like shaker eggs, hand bells, tambourines, drums can be played to the beat or rhythm while singing the nursery rhyme. (See this blog post or video about short and long rhythm)

          Piano Activities for Itsy Bitsy Spider

          1. Learn to play the song Itsy Bitsy Spider
          2. Make up your own Spider Composition
          3. Tap your finger along with the nursery rhyme
          4. Play with rhythms – short and long sounds of Itsy Bitsy Spider

          Preschool Learning Activities for Itsy Bitsy Spider

          Learning activities for beginners may include worksheets (shown below) that help develop fine motor skills, math skills, music alphabet skills, coloring, and more. Hands-on learning games also help preschoolers and toddlers develop fine motor skills.

          Here is another fun finger builder activity to help develop curvy fingers. I am not a huge fan of too many worksheets at a time because I believe children learn best by moving and playing games.

          Eency Weency Spider (free download)

          The incy wincy spider went up the water spout
          Down came the rain and washed the spider out
          Out came the sun and dried up all the rain
          And the incy wincy spider went up the spout again

          Plastic Spider Rings

          Plastic rings are fun for kids and I like to use them to play finger number games. How fun is it to play music with pointer finger wearing a little spider ring!

          Some links may contain affiliate links which means if you click through the link and make a purchase I may make a small commision at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting my blog.

          Kids love these colorful rings! Use them to identify finger numbers or make patterns!

          Little Miss Muffet Lyrics

          Little Miss Muffet
          Sat on a tuffet,
          Eating her curds and whey;
          Along came a spider,
          Who sat down beside her
          And frightened Miss Muffet away

          Another spider nursery rhyme! Use this nursery rhyme to have kids create another original song they compose on their own!


          I hope you have found some of the ideas I have on this blog post useful. I started this blog to help parents and teachers introduce music to young children. I’m convinced parents can teach their own young beginner many musical skills with a little help. And I know many teachers value the ideas of other teachers who have years of experience.

          Leave me a comment below what you found helpful or useful in this post. And share any ideas you may have for a future post!

          The resources I am creating are great for a beginner. You can purchase this Itsy Bitsy Spider Game & Activity Book on my website here.

          What are Lullabies that Calm and Put your Baby to Sleep?

          What are lullabies?

          what are lullabies

          A lullaby or cradle song, is a soothing song or piece of music that is usually played for (or sung to) children. Parents sing a lullaby to help their children fall asleep.

          Because most lullabies are passed down from one generation to the next orally, there are no known composers, but rather the songs are identified by their countries of origin. Most lullabies are repetitive and have very simple melodies and parents can create a joyful home using children’s music in their everyday lives.

          Often a lullaby is thought of as goodnight song because parents typically will sing these songs or play soothing lullabies when it is time for babies to go to sleep. I always encourage parents to sing live lullabies because it is so important for your child to listen and hear your voice! There really is nothing better to put baby to sleep.

          Lullabies Create Memories

          I remember my mother sang many lullabies to me. One of those song I remember is Too La Roo La (an Irish Lullaby). I can still remember the rocking chair in my bedroom. And I remember putting each of my own babies to sleep with a soft hum or song. Those are wonderful memories! You can create music memories with your child too!

          Below I will share 10 traditional lullabies that are very well known and will include a couple of my favorites (I can’t resist!)

          Calm Kid Music for Parents

          I recently created a music video filled with soothing, calm and relaxing music. It is wonderful not only for children (naptime, bedtime, study time, and such), but all of my mommy friends love it too (think a relaxing soak in the bathtub with this music!) I don’t know about you, but I find adding relaxing music to my day just helps my mental health so much! This is the video below!

          Why do lullabies calm a crying child?

          Parents find lullabies calm babies because they listen to them singing. Imagine a mother soothingly humming and looking into the lovely face of her beautiful child. I struggled to get my first born to sleep at night for an entire year (or maybe 3!). Sleep time was always a chore of hand holding, singing, reading stories, and more. My husband and I took turns at bedtime because it was so exhausting. Why won’t this child go to sleep? I asked myself over and over.

          There are many children who resist bedtime because they do not want to separate from their parents. So I have found soothing, calm music and lullabies to be very helpful. Below I will share 10 of my favorite lullabies, but please know…. there are thousands of lullabies from around the world.

          Passed down from parent to child, these soothing melodies stand the test of time in beauty and simplicity. Parents may sing to their child until he falls asleep.

          I admit, there are many lullabies that have dark undertones. Found in old fairy tales or folklore, those lullabies have images of baby stealing, little grey wolf, scary giant, baby plummets, black eagles soaring, and the like. These creepier lullabies generally taught a moral lesson and although the outcomes were sometimes sad, message is delivered with love. Nonetheless, in today’s post we will focus on the less gruesome (I hope!) because you will see even popular lullabies still sung today aren’t always full of sunshine.

          10 lullabies that calm crying children

          Rock A Bye Baby

          Still sung today, this popular lullaby is sung by Raffi. This version comes from his album Calming Classical Lullabies

          This article published in the UK states, “Rock-a-bye-Baby, also contains danger, warning in the nicest possible way that the baby and cradle will drop from the bough of a tree. Night-time has always been associated with darkness and fear and this may go some way to explaining the threatening themes in some lullabies, says Sally Goddard Blythe, author of a number of books on child development, and director of The Institute for Neuro-Physiological Psychology. But all lullabies – even the scary ones – she says, are rooted in “love, tenderness and caring”. Many lullabies, regardless of the meaning of their words, possess a peaceful hypnotic quality.”

          Nina Perry, BBC World Service

          Rock a Bye Baby

          Rock a-bye, baby,
          On the tree top,
          When the wind blows,
          The cradle will rock.
          When the bough breaks,
          The baby will fall,
          Down will come baby,
          Cradle and all!

          baby lullaby

          Hush Little Baby

          Lisa Loeb sings this lullaby from her album Nursery Rhyme Parade!

          Hush Little Baby (Mockingbird)

          Hush, little baby, don’t say a word,
          Mama’s going to buy you a mockingbird.
          And if that mocking bird don’t sing,
          Mama’s going to buy you a diamond ring.
          And if that diamond ring turns brass,
          Mama’s going to buy you a looking glass.
          And if that looking glass gets broke,
          Mama’s going to buy you a billy goat.
          And if that billy goat won’t pull,
          Mama’s going to buy you a cart and bull.
          And if that cart and bull turn over,
          Mama’s going to buy you a dog named Rover.
          And if that dog named Rover won’t bark,
          Mama’s going to buy you a horse and cart.
          And if that horse and cart fall down,
          You’ll still be the sweetest little baby in town.

          You Are My Sunshine

          The Fox + The Hound lullaby version from the album Moon Songs: Lullabies for Baby and Parent

          You are My Sunshine

          You are my sunshine
          My only sunshine
          You make me happy
          When skies are gray
          You’ll never know, dear
          How much I love you
          Please don’t take my sunshine away

          Cradle Song (Brahm’s Lullaby)

          Brahms’ Lullaby sung by Celine Dion on her album These Are Special Times

          I love this lullaby version because lullabies sung by true vocal artists with a mother’s voice like Celine Dion are just heavenly.

          Brahms’ Lullaby

          “Lullaby and goodnight,
          With roses bestride
          With lilies bedecked, ’neath baby’s sweet bed
          May thou sleep, may thou rest, may thy slumber be blest
          May thou sleep, may thou rest, may thy slumber be blest…”

          Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

          This lullaby version is by Lisa Loeb and Elizabeth Mitchell from the album Catch the Moon. I hope this inspires you to realize you can hum any children’s song and it is a lullaby! Twinkle Twinkle Little Star is my 2 year old grandson’s favorite song. It would be his hands down favorite lullaby!

          Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

          Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
          How I wonder what you are
          Up above the world so high
          Like a diamond in the sky
          Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
          How I wonder what you are

          All the Pretty Horses

          This lullaby version from Beautiful Chorus is from the album Good Night Moon Child. This was probably my favorite lullaby when I was in grade school. I remember learning this folk song and I just loved it! I never sang it to any of my children though, because by the time I was a mother, I had other lullabies I loved even more.

          Hush-a-bye (All the Pretty Little Horses) Lullaby

          Hush-a-bye, don’t you cry
          Go to sleep little baby
          When you wake
          You will find
          All the pretty little horses:
          Oh, dapples and greys, pintos & bays,
          Oh, all the pretty little horses.
          Way down yonder
          In a meadow
          Poor little baby cryin’ mama
          Birds and the butterflies
          Fly all around him
          Poor little baby cryin’ mama.
          Oh, hush-a-bye, don’t you cry
          Go to sleep little baby
          Oh, when you wake
          You will find
          All the pretty little horses.

          Swing Low, Sweet Chariot

          This lullaby version is by Suzy Bogguss from the album American Folk Songbook. This was my ALL-TIME favorite lullaby to sing to any child. I am very fond of American Spirituals and along with the following song, All Night, All Day they were the best pair of lullabies for this mother!

          Swing Low, Sweet Chariot

          Swing low, sweet chariot
          Coming for to carry me home
          Swing low, sweet chariot
          Coming for to carry me home

          I looked over Jordan, and what did I see
          Coming for to carry me home
          A band of angels coming after me
          Coming for to carry me home

          Swing low, sweet chariot
          Coming for to carry me home
          Swing low, sweet chariot
          Coming for to carry me home

          If you get there before I do
          Coming for to carry me home
          Tell all my friends I’m coming, too
          Coming for to carry me home

          Swing low, sweet chariot
          Coming for to carry me home
          Swing low, sweet chariot
          Coming for to carry me home

          I’m sometimes up and sometimes down
          Coming for to carry me home
          But still my soul feels heavenly bound
          Coming for to carry me home

          Swing low, sweet chariot
          Coming for to carry me home
          Swing low, sweet chariot
          Coming for to carry me home

          The brightest day that I can say
          Coming for to carry me home
          When Jesus washed my sins away
          Coming for to carry me home

          Swing low, sweet chariot
          Coming for to carry me home
          Swing low, sweet chariot
          Coming for to carry me home

          If I get there before you do
          Coming for to carry me home
          I’ll cut a hole and pull you through
          Coming for to carry me home

          what are lullabies

          All Night, All Day (Angels Watching Over Me)

          This lullaby version is by Shaina Noll from her album You Can Relax Now. I always taught this song to my Christian Daycare kiddos. Lyrics akin to the children’s prayer… Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. Amen. I like the lyrics to this song better…. Stay with me through out the night, and wake me with the morning light.

          All Night, All Day (Angels Watching Over Me)

          All night, all day,
          angels watching over me, my Lord.
          All night, all day,
          angels watching over me.
          Now I lay me down to sleep.
          Angels watching over me, my Lord.
          Pray the Lord my soul to keep.
          Angels watching over me.
          Lord, stay with me through the night.
          Angels watching over me, my Lord.
          Wake me with the morning light.
          Angels watching over me.

          Highland Fairy Lullaby

          There are many beautiful lullabies from around the world. This lullaby comes from Scotland. This is an example of what I mentioned above in terms of creepy storyline. But if you listen to the melody, you will see it is simple and singable. If you learn this melody (I am providing an instrumental version) it is easy to hum. Let me know if the comments below what you think of this melody after you listen to it.

          Highland Fairy Lullaby

          She left her baby lying here,
          Lying here, lying here,
          She left her baby lying here
          To go and gather blaeberries*.
          She saw the wee brown otter’s track,
          Otter’s track, otter’s track ;
          She saw the wee brown otter’s track,
          But she ne’er saw her baby!
          Ho-van, ho-van gorry o go,
          Gorry o go, gorry o go;
          Ho-van, ho-van gorry o go,
          She never found her baby.
          She searched the moorland tarns and then,
          Wandered through the silent glen;
          And she saw the mist upon the ben,
          But she never saw her baby.
          She heard the curlew crying far,
          Crying far, crying far,
          She heard the curlew crying far,
          But she never heard her baby.
          Ho-van, ho-van gorry o go,
          Gorry o go, gorry o go;
          Ho-van, ho-van gorry o go,
          She lost her darling baby.
          She left her baby lying here,
          Lying here, lying here,
          She left her baby lying here.
          To go and gather blaeberries.

          Do you have a favorite lullaby?

          Do you have a favorite lullaby? Leave me a comment and let me know what your favorite lullaby is. AND if you have a favorite version (or artist) of your lullaby. I am always looking for beautiful songs to add to my playlist!

          Create Music with Toddlers!

          music with toddlers

          Let’s create music with toddlers. The benefits of music and movement activities are many. And music is the perfect medium to teach important concepts in fun ways.

          Music will get children moving, singing, and making music. The sound of music will increase the joy in your home. So, whenever you can, find ways to play music. You will not only encourage children to be happy, but will also be stimulating their cognitive development.

          Guess what! Music will make you happier too! Sharing music and movement activities with toddlers and preschoolers is something any parent can do, so check out my favorite ideas!

          Why is music so important for toddlers?

          Music has saved many children’s days. Because music makes it possible to get quiet and focus, it has become an amazing teaching aid for toddlers and preschool students. Parents can help their toddlers make music to foster an interest in learning.

          You don’t have to follow an early childhood lesson plan or even know how music works to support child development. Just know that by implementing fun activities you are providing so many benefits to your child. Cognitive, social-emotional sensory motor skills and classroom preparation skills are developed naturally while kids are listening to their favorite music or singing a song.

          Music is one of the most powerful gifts in the universe.

          One of the benefits of music is that listening to music makes our souls happy. Use song based activities at home, in daycare, or in the preschool classroom helps children learning about important concepts. And when concepts are learned with music attached it helps improve short term memory.

          create music with toddlers

          Music and Movement Activities Benefit Kids

          Musical activities are an important part of childhood development and help preschool children in many ways. Music helps promote cognitive development and provides a chance for children to express their emotions and be creative. In this section I will list a few activities for toddlers (see my pinterest board for more ideas!) that will help your child explore music and learn foundational learning skills.

          I also have suggestions on how you can improve playtime for toddlers. So, let’s get started with these great ideas.

          Turn on background music

          Recent studies suggest background music playing while kids do other things helps with concentration. You can use background music while kids do other things… activities such as art & crafts, cleaning up toys, or cleaning up from dinner time. Background music may also help kids relax before bedtime, help kids get energized in the morning, give comfort in times of distress.

          Prop dancing

          Props can create dancing fun and spark the imagination. Kids love dancing with a stuffed animal, a puppet, a magic wand, or even cowboy hat. Designate a different prop for each song and watch! See how children explore different ways to move to music.

          Play talent show

          Use finger puppets or stuffed animals to sing or dance ro a favorite song. If your young child loves acting encourage them to dress up as characters. They can even create their own songs.

          Music fast and slow

          Let your child play various song styles with different tempos. Then request your child dance accordingly. Encourage them to quickly when music is very fast and slowly when the music is slow. Let your kids have a good laugh by watching you do the same.

          Explore sounds with water and Make your own Xylophone

          This DIY activity is also a science experiment! Fill some glasses with varying amounts of water. Apply some food coloring per glass for extra sensory stimulation. Give each person a spoon and tap the sides of the glasses. The goal is for kids to explore the sounds made by the spoons tapping the glasses. Each glass will make a different sound. Some children may hear this difference in sound and notice that every glass of water is unique.

          Freeze Dance

          Play your favorite songs and let your kids move and dance the way they want. Then, when they least expect it… stop the music and say “freeze.” Take note what silly places you find yourself in. How long can your kids hold their freeze? This is can get quite giggly and kids love playing this game!

          Find musical library books

          Go to the library with your child and ask the librarian to show you the picture books that are actually children’s songs and nursery rhymes. Select books that include songs, rhymes, or easy melodies that you can bring with you home. Use full body movements with your child while you sing and read.

          Story sound effects

          Choose different percussion instruments (drum, shakers, tambourine etc.) with children and play together a story. Children provide sound effects for each character or act. Here https://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/kids/5-picture-books-filled-great-sound-effects/ is an article highlighting some great books that kids can make sound effects to.

          Paint what you hear

          Children listen to evocative songs and respond to sounds and moods they hear. Apply tape on an over sized piece of paper or cardboard on the floor then have kids create a mural.

          Instrument Petting Zoo

          Gather various stuffed animals and a musical instrument for each animal. You can even use homemade instruments for this fun activity. Pretend you are going to the zoo and visit each animal. See if you can make sounds like the animal, feed the animal, sing a song to or about each animal, and learn more about your favorite animal.

          Kitchen Band

          You don’t need fancy instruments when you get out the pots and pans and a wooden spoon. Kids can have fun and make music with just about anything! Singing their favorite tun, parents can join the fun singing and playing rhythms on the pots!

          When my kids were little I always had one low cupboard in my kitchen that was just for them. I would keep simple kitchen items in there for them to have easy access to. Sometimes they would just haul everything out of the cupboard and crawl inside themselves. These are some great memories!

          Dance with silk scarves

          Actually any lightweight scarf will work, but silk scarves are pretty, soft and they twirl and drift in the air beautifully. Young children benefit from and love moving to their favorite music. Moving the scarf helps toddlers develop gross motor skills. Encouraging them to touch the scarf to different body parts (like a shoulder or a knee) increases body awareness.

          Go to a concert

          Explore your community! Weekday music concerts specific to preschoolers have become more popular. Public libraries, performing art centers, chamber of commerce, public schools, and community park programs are great resources for locating these kind of music opportunities.

          Not exactly a concert, but local high school sporting events feature the school pep or marching bands and this is a great opportunity for kids to see other kids making music!

          music activity for toddlers

          What’s the best musical instrument for toddlers?

          Parents can provide a variety of different musical instrument sets for their toddlers. Make sure each instrument is appropriate for the age of your child. I can’t tell you how many blog posts I have seen that recommend instruments I would never give to a baby or toddler. If there is a disclaimer to watch your child closely while playing with an instrument, it’s not designed for a baby or toddler. Children under the age of three WILL put everything in their mouths. So… now that we have that out of the way…

          There are many instruments a young child will LOVE! Remember they WILL put these items in their mouth, so they need to be age appropriate and washable! Children learn about the world around them and develop physical skills by mouthing everything and that is just natural!

          I have blogged about some of the best musical instrument sets for toddlers and some of my favorite songs. And below I will list the types of instruments that provide fun music activities. Where applicable I will provide a link to a product that I personally have purchased and used with toddlers. I like to add links because there are a lot of junky toys out there that look like the good stuff but aren’t. Don’t waste you money on the cheap stuff (ask me how I know!).

          (Links may contain affiliate links that mean if you purchase a product through that link I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting my blog!)

          Can toddlers play homemade instruments?

          Preschoolers think creating their own music instruments is fun! Again, I always recommend using only instruments that are safe for kids under age three. Many musical instruments have small parts. So for example, if you want to make a homemade rattle, I wouldn’t recommend letting an 18 month old play with this DIY instrument. What if it comes apart and they choke on the objects you placed inside. However, I have made rattles, maracas, and rain sticks that I have given to a 3+ year old and they were SO delighted! There are tons of blog posts, youtube videos, and pinterest pins on making your own fun instruments. Just use good common sense about it. See my other pinterest board for even more ideas for music activities for preschoolers.

          Create a musical craft

          Simple supplies you may already have at home are all you need to make diy instruments. Kids will have fun putting these together and decorating them. You can then play pretend with the child. Put together a family band and have a small concert together. Sing their favorite tune as they play and dance along. The ideas below are perfect activities for toddlers on a rainy day! See more ideas on my pinterest board here.

          Paper Plate Tambourines

          Homemade tambourines are one of many popular homemade musical instruments. This video is a cute example of easy it is to make a fun diy instrument.

          Rain sticks

          If you make some rain sticks, try putting different fillings in each rain stick and see if they sound different. Some ideas include: popcorn kernels, lentils, oatmeal, dry beans.

          Glow Stick Drumming

          Try the short fat type of glow stick that is made for stringing like a necklace. This kind is usually this kind is very strong and it’s great to practice drumming! Use these glow sticks to have a glow-in-the-dark concert! Of course you can practice in a dark room or a room with a black light!

          This is great for helping kids learn how to keep a steady beat and also for teaching rhythm patterns. Read more about how to encourage children to feel a steady beat here. Read more about teaching a short and long rhythm activity for preschoolers here. And Read more about how to teach patterning with music here.

          What Music is Good for Toddlers?

          Let’s face it. The internet is saturated with mediocre kids stuff. Preschoolers are bombarded with cutesy-cheesy low quality music. Parents who prioritize and intentionally curate music with different sounds help their children learn more about the world around them.

          Listening to classical music, world music, folk music, and amazing musicians who have specialized in children’s music (like Raffi, Ella Jenkins, Elizabeth Mitchell, etc.) provide solid music education. Parents don’t even have to know how this preschoolers music is benefiting their child. Simple music activities such as shaking a maraca along with good quality music makes all the difference. Just do it! Here is a link to some of my favorite songs!

          Get your free music class!

          Want to make some music with your toddler? Join Beethoven, the adorable, pancake lovin’ sheepdog for some Music Time fun right in your living room!

          music class for toddlers

          Classical music for young children

          It is said that listening to classical or relaxing music increases concentration and eliminates other distractions in children. Increased concentration will ultimately result in greater academic achievement.

          When my children were young I purchased all the DVDs made by Baby Einstein. My kids loved watching these videos, but more importantly we were LISTENING! As I mentioned earlier, background music is a wonderful way to help kids concentrate and influence their mood. Some music activities may not seem like music activities at all… the music is just playing in the background.

          Peter and the Wolf

          Classical music can be super imaginative. One of the most widely know compositions is Sergei Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf,” which is a symphonic fairy tale for children.

          Music and movement is a natural experience as kids act out the parts or move like the animals. This is a fun idea for a kids’ party.

          I wrote an article about friendship that talks about the different stages of play for children. As children turn 4-5 years old, they are ready for cooperative play and pretending. Acting out this story with the music playing could be really fun!

          Kids learn best at this age by moving! And that is why music and movement is so so so important to child development.

          Carnival of the Animals

          Camille Saint-Saëns’ “Carnival of Animals” is a humorous musical suite of fourteen movements.

          In the description box below the video it breaks the different animals up into chapters. There are 14 animals. You could have a little music lesson about each of these animals, complete with story books and art activities. Again, this orchestral piece lends itself well to music and movement activities as kids pretend to be different animals. Here are the chapters:

          You can even springboard off the petting zoo idea above and create a real zoo with wild animals. This again lends itself to small group music activities you can play with friends.

          The Nutcracker Suite

          The Nutcracker Suite is a two-act ballet. The music was composed by Peter Tchaikovsky. If you listen carefully you can hear the different characters in this story.

          This orchestral piece is pretty well known and you can actually find wonderful videos of ballet troupes dancing. Kids can pretend to be in the ballet and dance along!

          If you take the time to get some library books that are based on one of these works you can create your own little music lesson. Kids can visualize the story and can use stuffed animals, puppets, or costumes (like paper plate masks or face paint) to pretend play.

          World music that represents different cultures

          Music appreciation truly begins at home. In my blog post, 15 Benefits of Music on Kids’ Health, I mention,

          “Listening to the music of other cultures provides awareness and empathy for others. This will enhance the mind, body and soul. The sooner young minds are exposed to music from other cultures the more appreciative and empathetic they will be toward others. Learning music about other cultures’ customs and traditions will encourage children to be more tolerant of others’ beliefs.”

          Cherie Norquay, Music Time Kid

          It isn’t always easy to find music from other cultures. I know… I look for this all the time to include in my early childhood education classes. And due to privacy laws for children, it is difficult to create playlists for this music on youtube. So I will leave you with some links below of mp3’s you can purchase from Amazon to add to your toddler’s playlist.

          Books about different cultures

          Your local library is filled with books about different cultures. You can choose to learn about one different culture each month or each season of the year. See if you can find classic stories from that culture and authentic music with original instruments.

          You can read books and play music about different countries right at home. Your kids can have a lot of fun when you listen to music from around the world. Find some fast music you can dance to or some slow lullabies to add to your bedtime routine.

          Instruments from other cultures

          Learn about different musical instruments! When you learn music from other cultures you will hear many different kinds of sounds than what you are used to. I think these discoveries are very interesting!

          An article highlighting 10 famous instruments from around the world can be found below.

          Folk Music and Nursery Rhymes

          Many preschool music and movement activities are based on old folk tunes and nursery rhymes. These music activities are still so popular because many have movement and help develop fine motor skills.

          You will definitely find these songs in the preschool classroom and in most music education programs. They use these old songs because they are simple, have stood the test of time as great teaching tools, and the songs are in the public domain (no copyright) so they are easy to access.

          Old folk tunes and nursery rhymes do not have a single composer. Because these old songs were passed down by generations orally, they do not have a single composer associated with them. Each tune is generally identified by the title and the country of origin.

          Favorite songs for fun music activities

          Some good examples include:

          Mary had a little lamb

          Itsy Bitsy Spider

          Old MacDonald

          Music Activities for Preschoolers and Toddlers

          If you would enjoy some music activities for toddlers and want a little help or a sneak peak into what would happen at an early childhood music class, check out my online toddler music class! Beethoven, my adorable sheepdog puppet, loves to sing his favorite song about pancakes and you’ll see how he loves to play musical instrument too!

          Sign up for my newsletter to get this free class. Kids are loving all the music and movement activities and you can then take all those ideas and use them with your own playlist of songs!

          Music Class for Toddlers

          sign up to get your free music class with Miss Cherie and Beethoven, the adorable, pancake lovin’ sheepdog! Have some Music Time fun right in your living room!

          music class for toddlers

          What music activities have you tried?

          Comment below! There are so many fun activities for toddlers that I could write a hundred articles about music activities and still not cover the whole topic. But I hope that this article has provided you will some new nuggets that will help you teach children more about music.

          Leave me a comment about your favorite activities!

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