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Best Friends Forever: Preschool Friendship Activities for Kids

Let’s explore preschool friendship activities and discuss how to foster friendship in your child’s life.

How do you teach friendship to preschoolers?

preschool friendship activities

The best way to teach friendship to a preschooler is by modelling being a good friend to someone. By following their parents’ lead, preschoolers will see the benefit of making friends and learn what it means to be a good friend.

Encourage your child to show love and kindness in the way they play with other children. Make sure you give them plenty of opportunities to form friendships by inviting friends over for playdates or going on excursions together as a family. Helping others is one of the best ways preschoolers can learn how to be a good friend, so make sure they know that kindness is contagious.

Why is friendship important in early childhood?

preschool friendship activities

Young children may not have school friends if they do not go to preschool or daycare. So parents can encourage friendship building and help their child develop social skills by participating in other kinds of small groups and activities. Even kids with school friends benefit from these kind of activities away from school or daycare.

Perhaps you are an at home parent, work at home parent, or a home educator. Maybe you are a preschool teacher, or work with preschoolers in any capacity. Whatever your situation is… as an adult around preschool kids, you have the opportunity to help them develop friendships and foster their social development.

One of the most important things preschoolers need to learn is how to relate with others. Friendships are important because they help preschoolers feel a sense of belonging and acceptance, as well as give them the opportunity to explore their own identity.

Friendship also helps children develop empathy skills which means that your preschooler may be more likely to share or play nice if he has friends around.

Preschoolers need to learn that kindness is contagious.

What are some ways preschoolers can show love and kindness?

There are many ways preschoolers can show love and kindness to their friends. One way is by being compassionate–a preschooler may want a friend to feel better when they’re upset. They may offer a hug or share a toy.

A preschooler may have difficulty sharing, but sharing something with a friend may be the thing that really helps a friend. It’s best if the child knows that it is temporary and the friend won’t keep the toy, but sharing the best one of his favorite toys or a snack really demonstrates love.

preschool friendship activities are fun

Another way preschoolers can show love and kindness is by being respectful of others’ feelings–if one preschooler likes what the other preschooler has, the first preschooler could ask if he/she can borrow it for awhile instead of taking it without permission. This can also be a difficult thing for a child to learn, but it is so beneficial in the long run in developing kindness.

What makes a good friend in the early years?

Preschool friendship activities are dependent upon the stages of play that toddlers progress through. Take a peek into the stages of play that toddlers go through in order to better understand how they form friendships. Toddler play can be divided into four stages that provide opportunities for parents and other caregivers to nurture age-appropriate skills: 

Solitary Play

The first stage of play (from a few months old to about 18 months old) is when one child plays alone. They do not want to interact with other children. They have a preference for toys that involve sound, lights, or things to mouth. They enjoy watching toys fall on the ground when they are playing with containers which have many different pieces in them (blocks, small dolls, toy cars). Babies and toddlers also like to play games where they can put things in containers and take them out again.

Babies first start playing with toys alone.  They do not interact with other children.  They explore toys.

Parallel Play

When a child is 18 to 36 months old, he or she may be able to start playing with other children. They will not know how to play with other younger children very well. This is called parallel play. It can happen when two children are using the same toy or game and do not interact much with each other. When a child starts playing more often with others, he or she learns that it can be fun to pass things back and forth and see it’s a fun way to play together.

Symbolic Play

Symbolic play is when kids pretend that things are other things. For example, they might pretend that a basket of balls is apples from an imaginary tree. Kids this age usually do this around 3 or 4 years old. This way, the child can understand and communicate about the world around them better because of their basic symbolic concepts. Toys that are appropriate for this stage include baby dolls, stuffed animals, doctor kits, and dress-up clothes.

preschool friendship activities

Cooperative Play

Cooperative play is when one or two children work together, and they pretend to do things that adults, family members, and children do in real life. One example of this is when all the children pick a situation to act out. For instance they may dress up in a fire fighter costume, get into a paper box fire engine, drive fast to an emergency, and put out a fire or save a kitten who couldn’t get down from a tree.

Each child is unique and their age will dictate the type of fun activities they engage in. In addition to considering your toddler’s temperaments, it’s important that you also spend time playing with them because this teaches skills such as sharing and turn-taking which are integral for a successful social life later on.

How do you nurture friendships for children?

Model how to take turns and play with toys that build cooperation in preschoolers.

Toddlers are in their own little world. Their social skills can be lacking and it is important for them to not only have an understanding of the way society works, but also make friends as they grow up. To help toddlers enjoy each other’s company more than just playing together or fighting over toys, parents can promote preschool friendship activities with a few steps that will improve toddler relationships with others: 

-Find activities both kids like. Does your child’s friend play with legos or trains or mermaids? Find preschool activities that will help them develop into being good friends.

-Give children the opportunity to make friends by taking your kids to places other children are. Story time at a local library or community family events are great places to meet people. You can set up play dates with potential playmates. If you see a child that your preschooler gets along with well, ask if they want to be friends!

In order to nurture preschool friendships, it’s important that preschoolers are given plenty of opportunities to form friendships. Parents should remain positive and supportive of preschool friendships, while ensuring that preschoolers know the importance of being a good friend to others. I have to admit, my best friend from Kindergarten is still a good friend today. So these friendships may last a lifetime.

Preschool friendship activities improve these social skills

preschool friendship activities

Sharing

At the age of two, children might be willing to share a snack with their friends. However, by the time they’re three or four years old and have better grasp on how things work in society, many kids are not ready to part with what little resources they possess such as half a chocolate chip cookie because it means that there’s less for them. Kids might readily give up something like an outgrown toy but refuse when it’s something they really want for themselves. But if you take away one toy which they’re no longer interested in playing with and ask them about sharing again–they’ll likely agree!

Cooperation

Cooperation is an important skill that young children can start developing by as early as three and a half years old. This allows them to work with peers on common goals, such the building of towers or playing games where everyone has to participate. Cooperation empowers kids in two ways: it gives some leadership opportunities while other feel more comfortable following instructions from someone else’s lead – all depending on their personality type. This can be an opportunity for self-discovery!

Manners

Manners matter. Whether you’re at the dinner table, in a classroom full of kids and teachers, or just playing with friends. One of the most important things you can do for your child is teach them to say please and thank you when they ask for something. This will help them be polite and respectful, so that adults are happy to give them what they want.

Practice manners by using stuffed animals to act out stories where one character is kind towards another. Keep it fun so that your children remember this lesson! If you see your child use a magic word like “thank you” then make sure to reward their good behavior by acknowledging them.

Personal Space

Some kids do not like to be close to other people. Other kids crawl into the laps of strangers. It is important to teach children about personal space. This is so they do not make other people feel uncomfortable.

Create rules for the house that teach kids to respect other people’s personal space. If your child grabs things out of people’s hands or pushes when impatient, establish consequences. If your child climbs into the laps of acquaintances or stands too close to people while talking, use it as a teachable moment. Take your child aside and provide some coaching about personal space issues.

toys that encourage friendship

What are some preschool friendship activities that can improve social skills?

-The preschool “show and tell” is a great activity to introduce kids to social skills.

-Use a single toy and have preschoolers take turns playing with it.

-Read friendship stories.

-Encourage kids to help each other complete tasks, such as building towers out of blocks or putting away toys while teaching them about the process: “You put one block on top.”

-Pretend play, which often involves cooperation or sharing resources with peers in the game can teach preschoolers valuable lessons about expressing feelings of empathy for others as well.

-Encourage time together outside of school hours for preschool friends to do an extra curricular or hobby that you know both kids enjoy. For example, if two children love playing soccer together, plan a playdate at the nearby park and bring their gear!

-Discuss the importance of kindness, empathy and manners with preschoolers.

-Model these behaviors by being thoughtful about how your own words or actions might affect others. For example, if you want to talk on a phone call while grocery shopping but there is someone waiting for an aisle so they can buy their groceries, apologize that you need to continue your call and step aside so that they can move forward, or tell them you’ll be done in a moment.

What are some creative toys that encourage preschooler friendship?

Toddlers need ways to express themselves creatively. Creative activities like building with blocks or drawing can help toddlers develop social skills such as turn taking and sharing. Parents can encourage preschooler creativity by introducing new and different toys to their child’s play space like a shape sorter, small doll house or art supplies.

Some toys that I recommend that you can use to create friendship themed activities to help preschoolers learn with a friend:

Musical Instrument Sets

Duplo Blocks

Basic Wooden Blocks

Play-Doh

Stuffed Animals

friendship activities that promote sharing

Ideas for preschool friendship activities

There are lots of fun things preschool children can do together. These are just a few ideas to get you going:

Pretend Play

Provide opportunities for pretending with puppets, dress up clothes, boxes that can become rocket ships, trucks, rooms, and more.

Music

Sing, dance or play musical instruments together. Find ways to help one another and be a good friend

Show and Tell

Each child gets to show the other children something. This is a chance for each child to practice good social skills. Be sure and have enough things for everyone so no one will feel left out if they forget their favorite toy or book.

Arts & Crafts

Make art projects together like finger paint, coloring and drawing, and other messy and fun activities.

Tea Party

Share snacks or meals in the same chair so that you’re sitting side by side.

Indoor Picnic

Invite friends over for an indoor picnic. Pack sandwiches in a picnic basket and set the table ware on a blanket.

Cooperative Games

Play cooperative games like tag, hide and seek, patty cake, scavenger hunt, and musical chairs.


Fun ways to celebrate friendship and plan a friendship theme party at home

If you plan a friendship preschool theme party you can let children decorate and plan the preschool friendship activities for the party. Ideas to include:

friendship bracelets

Let children cut and color squares to make a friendship quilt. This can be done with construction paper and papers can be taped to the wall.

Sing favorite songs and use fun songs with actions to dance and have fun!

Literacy activities include reading friendship stories and picture books like:

Encourage play that requires cooperation like building blocks, racing through an obstacle course, or a scavenger hunt.

What happens if preschool friends argue with one another?

If your preschool friend is mad at you, it’s important to understand that preschoolers are still developing their understanding of feelings. The best way to deal with this is by listening and trying not to interrupt or argue back.

– make up games like “let’s forget about the argument”

– brainstorm ways they could be friends again

– say sorry first so your preschool friend knows you’re sorry too

– take turns and be the first to say something nice

– try a hug again when preschool friends are mad at each other.

These don’t always work, but they can help.

What if preschoolers feel lonely?

Feeling lonely is very normal for preschool children, so it’s important that we help them know they’re not alone. Reassure preschoolers that they are loved and cared for, by making time to be with them or doing a special activity just the two of you can do together.

What happens when a child loses a friend because families move or a loved one dies?

This can be a very difficult time for friends, and it may take them a while to adjust. Encourage your child by being sensitive about their feelings. Kids might not always want to talk about these feelings. Offer support when needed. Make sure you’re there for the child if he or she needs someone to listen to them.

I recently had a young friend move. He was four years old. He had been in my early childhood preschool music classes since he was a baby. We were both sad (and happy) and his move. So I wrote this song about friendship and moving. I find music is the universal language and speaks that to which there are no words. I hope this song helps you if you ever find yourself in this position too.

Conclusion

A preschooler’s friendships will grow and change throughout their preschool years. It is important for a preschooler to have friends. Help them get friends by being a good friend too – be kind, helpful, generous, and forgiving of others. Have fun together as much as you can! What your friends should know is that they are growing and changing with time.

Resource for Parents

I love finding resources to help me in my parenting journey. This book may be helpful if you are looking for ideas in raising kids who are kind and respectful to others.

Note: Some links in this post may contain affiliate links which means if you make a purchase through the link, I may make a small commission at no extra expense to you. Thank you for supporting my blog.

50 Gentle Sleeping Songs for Kids

50+ recordings for parents and kids

sleeping songs for kids

Children have busy lives and often have difficulty calming their minds to fall asleep. Music is so very beneficial to help kids relax and go to sleep. There are lots of music videos available, but maybe you noticed that they all sound the same?

As an early childhood educator, I love to curate amazing music. I know it is hard to find gentle songs that have beautiful melodies and orchestration. Everything seems to sound the same.

This article will provide you with over 50 Youtube recordings you’ve probably ever heard before that you can use to build personalized content for your kids. If there is an Amazon link, I will also provide that in case you want to build a playlist on your device that is not contingent upon being online.

Enjoy these gentle sleeping songs for kids!

(Note: There may be affiliate links which means if you make a purchase through my link, I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps support my blog… Thank you!)

Calm Kid Music for Parents (One Hour)

From my Music Time Kid Youtube channel and Post “What are Lullabies that Calm and Put Your Baby to Sleep“.

Peaceful Music for Sleep 30 minutes

Beautiful View of the Night Sky with Relaxing Music Sounds

Peaceful Autumn Forest Piano Relaxing Music for Sleep

Afro Cuban Lullaby (with Nature Sounds)

Afro Cuban Lullaby by Richard Patterson, guitar

Clair de Lune

Clair de Lune by Debussy, performed by Amy Turk, harp

Zelda’s Lullaby (The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time)

Zelda’s Lullaby by Amy Turk, harp

Winnie the Pooh

Winnie the Pooh Theme Song, arranged and performed by kno

Give Me Your Hand / La Valse Pour Les Petites Jeunes Filles

Give Me Your Hand by George Winston, piano

How to Train Your Dragon – Romantic Flight

Romantic Flight from How to Train Your Dragon, performed by Beyond the Guitar

Listen, The Flute Sighs Again (Hungary)

Listen, the Flute Sighs Again from the Album, Les Berceuses de Coline by Nadia Birkenstock, harp

Staring at the Moon

Staring at the Moon (from the Album, Hush Little Baby) by Lullaby Music

A La Source

A La Source from the Album, Whispering Woods – Celtic Harp Solos by Nadia Birkenstock, harp

Thanks A Lot

Thanks A Lot by Raffi mp3

Remember Me

Remember Me (lullaby version) from Coco, performed by Beyond the Guitar

No Ke Ano Ahiahi

No Ke Ano Ahiahi (traditional Hawaiian song) performed by George Winston, piano

Gold Dream

Gold Dream from the Album Lullaby Africa

Skye Boat Song

Skye Boat Song from the Album, Lullaby Baby, Vol .2

Annie’s Song

Annie’s Song by John Denver, performed on harp by Jodi Ann Tolman

3 Beautiful Dreamworks Themes on Guitar

3 Beautiful Dreamworks Themes on Guitar, performed by Beyond the Guitar

Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast by Alan Menken, performed by Amy Turk, harp

Dearly Beloved

Dearly Beloved (from Kingdom Hearts) performed by Beyond the Guitar

Lullaby Land

Lullaby Land performed by Linda Arnold

Wildflowers

Wildflowers (from the Album Unveiled) Stanton Lanier, piano

This Little Light of Mine

This Little Light of Mine by Elizabeth Mitchell mp3

Narnia Lullaby – native american meditation flute (Indianerflöte)

Beethoven Moonlight Sonata

Beethoven Moonlight Sonata lullaby version from the Album, Classical Lullabies by The Kiboomers

Pachelbel’s Canon in D

Pachelbel’s Canon in D

Dream (Hush, Little Baby)

Baby Mine

Baby Mine (from Dumbo) Cherish Tuttle, piano

Take Me Home, Country Roads

Take Me Home, Country Roads by John Denver, performed by Beyond the Guitar

The Cradle

The Cradle (from the Album Forest), George Winston, piano

Goodnight Irene

Goodnight Irene by Elizabeth Mitchell mp3

A Beautiful Thing

A Beautiful Thing (from the Album, So Loved) Stanton Lanier, piano

Rainbow Connection

Rainbow Connection (from the Album Disney Lullaby & Goodnight)

All the Pretty Horses

All the Pretty Horses performed by Linda Arnold

Lullaby Flute Song

Lullaby Flute Song from the Album, Native Moon by Sleep Tribe

Gymnopedie No. 1

Gymnopedie No. 1 by Satie, performed by Amy Turk, harp

Slack Key Lullabye

Slack Key Lullabye by Ledward Ka’apana

You’ll Be in My Heart

You’ll Be in My Heart (from the Album Disney Lullaby & Goodnight)

Japanese Music Box (Itsuki No Komoriuta)

Japanese Music Box (from the Album, Forest) George Winston, piano

Prelude No. 1 in C Major BWV 846 by J. S. Bach

J.S. Bach Prelude No. 1 in C Major BWV 846, performed by Amy Turk, harp

Kumbaya

Kumbaya by Susie Tallman

Blackwood Lullabye

Water Dance

Water Dance by Raffi mp3

Greensleeves

Greensleeves

Brahm’s Lullaby

Brahm’s Lullaby, harp by Jodi Ann Tolman

Sunshine on My Shoulders

Sunshine on My Shoulders by John Denver, performed on harp by Jodi Ann Tolman

Morning Has Broken

Morning Has Broken (from the Album Disney Lullaby & Goodnight)

Suo Gan

Suo Gan performed on harp by Jodi Ann Tolman

All Through the Night

All Through the Night performed by Linda Arnold

Love Me Tender

Love Me Tender (from the Album Disney Lullaby & Goodnight)

When You Wish Upon a Star

When You Wish Upon a Star, Dave Niskin, guitar

A River Flows in You

A River Flows in You by Yiruma, performed on harp by Jodi Ann Tolman

Goodnight

Goodnight performed by Linda Arnold

The Rising Moon (Germany)

The Rising Moon from the Album, Les Berceuses de Coline by Nadia Birkenstock, harp

Song of Time (Music from the Legend of Zelda – Full Album)

Song of Time Complete Album performed by Amy Turk, harp

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Can Preschoolers Play Songs on Piano?

play songs on piano

Yes! Preschoolers can play songs on the piano. Most kids at this age are not able to play basic chords, but they can play melodies with their left hand or right hand. They are eager to learn piano and try to figure out how to play easy piano songs they already know. So let’s take a look at preschool piano playing to discover ways you can help your preschooler play the piano today!

What piano playing skills do preschoolers have?

  1. Eagerness to learn – More than anything else, the desire to play easy piano songs means kids can learn!
  2. Seeing patterns – Preschoolers are taught to see patterns in math and this translates well to piano
  3. Gross motor skills – Moving their body, stepping, moving arms to the beat of a song, and clapping rhythms are all things preschoolers love to do!
  4. Fine motor skills – Kids are developing their fine motor skills at this age. So often kids will play piano with whatever fingers they have that will work for them. This is fine. As they learn piano, more fingers will strengthen and will get used.
  5. Learning to differentiate the right hand and left hand – Often when kids start playing piano they have trouble differentiating the left hand from the right. It’s okay. We can find ways to help them with this at this age.
  6. Listening ear – When kids play easy piano songs they already know, their ear will help guide them to play. Sometimes they may need to figure one note out and their ear may help them hear if the note should be higher or lower. Playing easy piano songs kids know is so helpful in the beginning.
  7. One finger – Kids always have one finger they can play piano with. In fact, several of the first handful of songs I teach only use the pointer finger. This let’s kids focus on other things than the fact that their fingers need to exercise more.
  8. Imagination – Kids love to pretend and use their imagination all the time. Creativity is so important. Playing their own songs is good practice right from the start. I’ve never had a piano student give up once they have become a master of playing their own compositions!
play songs on piano with one finger

A few songs most preschoolers know

Pop Songs

Kids are always eager to play a favorite popular song that they know. Kids today love the “Baby Shark” song

Traditional Songs and Nursery Rhymes

Happy Birthday

Jingle Bells

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Itsy Bitsy Spider

Patriotic Songs

Yankee Doodle

5 Easy songs to learn with one finger on the piano for beginners

Because learning piano finger numbers may be difficult for preschoolers, here are one finger songs. And if you are interested in learning how to teach “rote music” to a beginner check out my youtube video. (That means teaching by imitation without reading any sheet music).

Hot Cross Buns

This song is great to teach on the group of three black notes or on the white keys C-D-E. The video below has a fun learning activity with a free pdf download for “Sweet Treat Cards” which provide other words to this song. The cards are a fun springboard into getting kids to be creative!

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Kids love the Mixed-Up Little Star activity that is linked in the video below. Without actually making up their own song, kids can mix up the melody to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, creating their own song. It’s lots of fun!

Itsy Bitsy Spider

This article provides lots of ideas for teaching Itsy Bitsy Spider song.. The sheet music provides music alphabet letters so kids can learn to play the notes to this song without actually reading rhythmic notes. This simplifies the learning in the very beginning!

Charlie the Chipmunk

Learn this song by rote and then teach it to your child! I love using videos for reminders. It helps you remember where to place your hand on the piano and which piano notes were played.

I Love Coffee

Your child may not know this song, but I guarantee it will become a favorite! Playing one note at a time, this song has lots of little patterns using black key/white key patterns that make it easy to learn. Practice only one part at a time. Only add an additional part when the previous part is securely learned! (BONUS: the little ending of each part is the same, always ending on the black note f-sharp).


What kind of sheet music is right for preschoolers?

It depends upon each child. I have taught so many preschoolers and each child is unique. Some kids have a difficult time sitting still long enough to play a one finger song at the piano, while others are mastering note reading and playing from books. And remember, a preschooler’s attention span is the same number of minutes as their age. So don’t expect practice sessions to last more than 5-10 minutes at a time.

You definitely can’t go wrong by making music reading fun and easy for kids. So no matter what abilities your child has, please let them have fun. Don’t push progress too fast at the expense of your child’s enjoyment. I’ve seen kids quit because playing the piano was too hard, and even later, they never got over the fact that piano was just too hard.

So knowing that kids this age are still pre-readers, let’s just say, you can’t go wrong offering them rote music (teaching by imitation), pre-reading music which includes music alphabet sheet music, play by color song sheets, play by finger numbers (which assumes kids know finger numbers and where to place their hands on the piano), and pre-reading notes with rhythm notes.

I have taught from all of these kinds of music pages and it’s okay to mix, match, jumble it up, and find what works. As long as the song is something a child already knows, learning a song off a page of music usually works pretty well with adult help.

I feel strongly about NOT pushing note reading at this age when there are still so many fun activities kids can have that lay a great foundation for learning to read notes on the staff in a few years. Check out this easy preschool piano lesson game here.

Why is listening to music so important?

Kids can easily learn songs they already know. So when they begin piano lessons they take right off playing songs like Mary Had a Little Lamb on the black keys, learning finger exercises, finding different five finger notes in C Major, playing piano games and more.

But when they begin to learn to read sheet music and advance to higher levels many kids hit a roadblock because they are now learning to play unfamiliar music and classical music. Many kids have never listened to this kind of music, and unfamiliar music isn’t as easy to play.

Let’s fix that! I can recommend songs your kids should be exposed to while they are still young. This is just the tip of an iceberg, but it’s a great place to start,

Listen to these songs long before your child is ready to start playing them

This is a plethora of music links. Add some to your child’s playlist. Play the songs in the car, while you are sitting quietly doing other things, or before it’s time to go to sleep. Then when your child is older, they will KNOW these songs too and not only popular songs!

Bach’s Prelude in C Major

Bach’s Prelude in C Major is a study of chords. Once kids learn how to play chords, this song becomes easy to learn because it is made up entirely of broken chords (notes of a chord played one at a time). Because the rhythm is so repetitive through out the song older kids can to play this piece. It is completely composed of basic chords.

This version is a harp sound version and is a wonderful addition to a naptime playlist.

Here is even a guitar version of this song. You will see that the right thumb always plays the first note of the chord and the other fingers play the other pieces of the chord. I think this tune sounds just beautiful on the guitar too!

Bobby McFerrin jazz version is where he is actually singing the broken chords! This is a fun video to listen to!

Mozart Sonata in C K.545 (Allegro)

This version is set to a forest sound background and a quieter, almost harp like quality. Perfect for adding to a naptime playlist.

This version is also soft and harp like.

Handel

This is one of my favorite newer arrangements of Handel’s Suite No. 7, g minor, HWV 432 (Piano Cover for arrangement by J. Halvorsen)

Handel is well known for his Water Music. This video is Handel’s Water Music for piano.

This has child friendly sounds of Handel’s water music. My kids were well acquainted with this music as they were avid Baby Einstein Music Video lovers.



Beethoven: Für Elise

Fur Elise is one of most loved and favorite songs for piano. Kids love the melody of Fur Elise, and many of my piano students practice hard to get to this level so they can play the whole song.

This version has music box sounds.

Debussy’s Clair de Lune

Kids love the imagery of the moon shining in the night. This song has great potential for extended learning including learning about nocturnal animals and moon phases.

nature sounds and electronic piano version

Here is a lullaby version

Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite

Most people think of the Christmas Season when they hear Nutcracker music. I do too! Many of the little songs in the Nutcracker Suite are playable for beginners, so this is a great collection to listen to! Plus there are lot of easy arrangements of sheet music for this music!

This video features nutcracker tunes that sound music box-like. Normally I am not a huge fan of music box music but I think it is a great thing with the nutcracker music.

How can I add classical music to my child’s life?

There are lots of arrangements and performances of old classic piano songs. As you can see above, searching Youtube fives you many piano song variations to choose from. Creating playlists is a wonderful way to add piano songs to your child’s life. Listen in the morning, while you ride in the car, before it is time to sleep, or while you are doing other things as it is great background music.

Listening to music helps babies’ brain development according to Mercy Health website. And it is never too late or too early to begin to incorporate listening to music into your child’s life!

What if my child is still too young?

No worries… all kids are different! If your child is still too young to sit for a few moments and pay attention, then there are so many other kinds of musical activities that you can do with your child to actually prepare your child to play piano. Go to my blog post, “10 Ways to Get Your Child Ready for Piano Lessons.”

And while you are at it… grab my free game below. Piano Race Game is the first game I play with every single piano student. I know your preschooler will love it!

Get My First Preschool Piano Game for free!

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    Preschool Songs with Actions Boost Brain-Body Connection

    Preschool songs with actions have the ability to boost kids’ brain-body connection. And this is an important part of child development! Let’s explore what it is, why it is important and then get to the action songs you can use to boost the brain-body connection with your toddler or preschooler.

    What is the mind-body connection?

    songs with actions boost brain-body connection

    John Hopkins Medicine has a wonderful article on the connection of the mind and body. You can read more details about that here.
    For the sake of this article, I want to quote these ideas from the article, “Mind-Body Connection is the belief that the causes, development and outcomes of a physical illness are determined from the interaction of psychological, social factors and biological factors.

    Your emotional health includes:
    – your overall psychological well-being;
    – your feelings about yourself;
    – the quality of your relationships, at work and at home;
    – your ability to create and use positive coping skills;
    – your ability to manage your feelings.

    Emotional health can be affected by the stress from both good and bad… It also can be affected by daily routines…”

    Family life is very significant for young children. Making music together as a family can really have a positive impact on the emotional well-being of children. In fact, you’d be surprised how much making music together as a family impacts the emotional well-being of adults, too!

    Why is mind-body connection important for young children?

    Music and movement are both things that directly relate to children’s overall well-being. They both provide creative ways to relieve excess energy, as well as express and manage feelings. While music alone can help soothe or uplift children, the ability to move with music gives kids a positive way to express themselves. When kids sing movement songs they feel good about themselves and for a while they may escape things in their life that negatively impact them.

    preschool songs with actions benefits

    Here is an article that lists 12 benefits action songs have for kids.

    The last four benefits all have to do with emotional wellness: foster self esteem and confidence, encourage creativity, adaptability, and imagination, promote social skills and cooperation, engage children and adults in bonding activities.

    Here is another article that lists 15 Benefits of Music on Kids Health.

    Action songs that encourage mind-body wellness

    I recommend these action songs because they are kids’ favorite songs. They love to sing them over and over and over and that is okay! That is how kids learn. In fact, preschoolers love these songs so much that teachers and parents rarely look further for new material. While I also love the tried and true familiar tunes of childhood, I also like to find more imaginative and creative activities for preschoolers (but that is another post!)

    These songs help kids with awareness of body parts, learning right and left, clapping hands, stomping feet, moving arms, dancing, hopping, and so much more. Kids will be having a blast with these movements they won’t even know they are learning!

    To help you teach this music, I am offering you a free pdf download of these songs. I am also including printable song cards that you can use with your preschooler. As you learn a new song, you can reward your child with a card that they can display or collect. Children are very proud of themselves as they earn these cards. If you are a classroom teacher or daycare provider, you can post each card on the wall as a new song is learned.

    I love to make the most of every teaching experience, so whether you are a parent at home or a preschool teacher, I hope you will find the information in the rest of this blog post, links, enrichment ideas, and videos helpful. I am sure your toddler or preschooler will love this music!

    songs with actions pdf

    Movement Songs Lyrics for Preschoolers

    20 Songs that ENCOURAGE movement and help toddlers and preschoolers develop Brain-Body Connection

    Get this Freebie TODAY!

    PLUS! You will get the printable,
    Baby Animal
    collector song cards!


    20 Songs with Actions Kids Love!

    Help your child with the motions by asking them to do them before you sing the song, and take time as you sing to show them how to do the motions. Kids love to move. They may have trouble at first holding up one finger or one thumb, but they will eventually figure it out. Get out the musical instruments, too! Kids will have so much fun!

    If You’re Happy and You Know It

    If You're Happy and You Know It Action Song

    IF YOU’RE HAPPY AND YOU KNOW IT LYRICS
    if you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands. (clap, clap)
    If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands. (clap, clap)
    If you’re happy and you know it, then your face will surely show it.
    (point to your smile)
    If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands. (clap, clap)

    with each additional verse add one new motion to the front of all the actions
    If you’re happy and you know it, stomp your feet. (stomp, stomp)
    If you’re happy and you know it, turn around. (turn around)
    If you’re happy and you know it, shout “HOORAY”

    Head Shoulders Knees and Toes

    Head shoulders knees and toes actions

    HEAD SHOULDERS KNEES AND TOES LYRICS

    Head, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes,
    Head, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes,
    Eyes and ears and mouth and nose,
    Head, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes.

    The Itsy Bitsy Spider

    itsy bitsy spider

    THE ITSY BITSY SPIDER LYRICS
    The itsy bitsy spider climbed 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 climbed up the spout again.

    The Hokey-Pokey

    hokey pokey action song

    HOKEY-POKEY LYRICS

    You put your right foot in
    You take your right foot out
    You put your right foot in
    And you shake it all about
    You do the hokey pokey
    And you turn yourself around
    That’s what it’s all about

    Sing the song again hanging “right foot” to left foot, and then right hand, left hand, head, and whole self respectively.

    Open Shut Them

    open shut them

    OPEN SHUT THEM LYRICS
    Open, shut them. Open, shut them. (open, close hands)
    Give a little clap. (clap, clap)
    Open, shut them. Open, shut them.
    Lay them in your lap. (fold hands in your lap)
    Creep them, crawl them, creep them, crawl them,
    (crawl fingers up your arm to your mouth)
    Right up to your chin.
    Open wide your little mouth, (open mouth)
    But do not put them in. (quickly run fingers back down arm)

    I’m a Little Teapot

    I'm a little Teapot action song

    I’M A LITTLE TEAPOT LYRICS

    I’m a little teapot, short and stout.
    Here is my handle, here is my spout .
    When I get all steamed up hear me shout
    “Tip me over and pour me out!”

    Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear

    Teddy Bear Teddy Bear song

    TEDDY BEAR, TEDDY BEAR LYRICS

    Teddy bear, teddy bear,
    Turn around!
    Teddy bear, teddy bear,
    Touch the ground!
    Teddy bear, teddy bear,
    Jump up high!
    Teddy bear, teddy bear,
    Touch the sky!
    Teddy bear, teddy bear,
    Bend down low!
    Teddy bear, teddy bear,
    Touch you toes!
    Teddy bear, teddy bear,
    Turn out the light!
    Teddy bear, teddy bear,
    Say good night!

    Wheels on the Bus

    The Wheels on the Bus movement song

    WHEELS ON THE BUS LYRICS

    The wheels on the bus go round and round,
    Round and round, round and round.
    The wheels on the bus go round and round,
    All through the town.
    The horn on the bus goes beep, beep, beep…
    The doors on the bus go open and shut…
    The windows on the bus go up and down…
    The wipers on the bus go swish, swish, swish…
    The babies on the bus go wah, wah, wah…
    The parents on the bus go “Shhhh, shhhh, shhhh”…

    Looby-Loo

    Looby Loo Music with actions

    LOOBY-LOO LYRICS

    Here we go looby loo.
    Here we go looby light.
    Here we go looby loo.
    All on a Saturday night.
    You put your right hand in.
    You take your right hand out.
    You give your hand a shake, shake, shake.
    And turn yourself about.

    Each verse changes the body part you put in: right hand, left hand, right foot, left foot, head, whole body.

    Where is Thumbkin

    Where is Thumbkin music and movement

    WHERE IS THUMBKIN LYRICS

    Where is thumbkin?
    Where is thumbkin?
    Here I am (bring out one thumb)
    Here I am (bring out the other thumb)
    How are you today sir?
    (make thumb talk to other thumb when singing that line)
    Very well, I thank you (and vice versa with this thumb)
    Run away (put one thumb back behind your back)
    Run away (put the other thumb back behind your back)
    Additional verses:
    Where is pointer…
    Where is tall man…
    Where is ring man…
    Where is pinky

    Bell Horses

    Action songs bell horses

    BELL HORSES LYRICS

    Bell horses, bell horses
    what’s the time of day?
    One o’clock, two o’clock
    time to go away. (repeat)

    One, two, three, four
    Jingle; jingle, jingle more
    Five, six, seven, eight
    Jingle, jingle don’t be late. (repeat)

    Bell horses, bell horses
    what’s the time of day?
    One o’clock, two o’clock
    time to go away. (repeat)

    Mulberry Bush

    actions songs mulberry bush

    MULBERRY BUSH LYRICS

    Here we go round the mulberry bush,
    The mulberry bush,
    The mulberry bush.
    Here we go round the mulberry bush
    On a cold and frosty morning.

    The is the Way

    This is the way movement song

    THIS IS THE WAY LYRICS

    sung to the same tune as The Mulberry Bush

    This is the way we clap our hands,
    clap our hands, clap our hands,
    This is the way we clap our hands,
    All day long.

    repeat with other motions like stomp our feet, touch our nose, etc.

    Ring Around the Rosie

    ring around the rosie action song

    RING AROUND THE ROSIE LYRICS

    Ring around the rosie,
    A pocket full of posies,
    Ashes! Ashes!
    We all fall down

    Pop! Goes the Weasel

    action songs pop goes the weasel

    POP! GOES THE WEASEL LYRICS

    All around the mulberry bush
    The monkey chased the weasel
    The monkey thought it was all in good fun
    Pop! goes the weasel.

    A penny for a spool of thread
    A penny for a needle
    That’s the way the money goes
    Pop! goes the weasel.

    Do Your Ears Hang Low?

    do your ears hang low song

    DO YOUR EARS HANG LOW LYRICS

    Do your ears hang low?
    Do they wobble to and fro?
    Can you tie ’em in a knot?
    Can you tie ’em in a bow?
    Can you throw ’em o’er your shoulder
    Like a Continental soldier
    Do your ears hang low?

    Row, Row, Row Your Boat

    row row row your boat movement

    ROW, ROW, ROW YOUR BOAT LYRICS

    (have child sit facing you and gently pull their hands towards you and away from you like you’re rowing)

    Row, row, row your boat
    Gently down the stream
    Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily
    Life is but a dream.

    Five Green and Speckled Frogs

    five green and speckled frogs finger play

    FIVE GREEN AND SPECKLED FROGS LYRICS

    Five Green and Speckled Frogs
    Five green and speckled frogs, sitting on a speckled log
    (hold up five fingers)
    Eating some most delicious bugs… yum, yum!
    (rub stomach)
    One jumped into the pool, where it was nice and cool
    (make one finger jump and move down)
    Now there are four speckled frogs…..
    (hold up four fingers)
    Four green and speckled frogs…
    Three green and speckled frogs…
    Two green and speckled frogs…
    One green and speckled frog, sitting on a speckled log
    Eating some most delicious bugs… yum, yum!
    One jumped into the pool, where it was nice and cool
    Now there are no g

    B-I-N-G-O

    bingo clap song

    BINGO LYRICS
    (Clap when you see *)

    There was a farmer had a dog
    And Bingo was his name-oh.
    B-I-N-G-O, B-I-N-G-O, B-I-N-G-O,
    And Bingo was his name-oh.

    There was a farmer had a dog
    And Bingo was his name-oh.
    *-I-N-G-O, *-I-N-G-O, *-I-N-G-O,
    and Bingo was his name-oh.

    Continue removing one letter
    *-*-N-G-O
    *-*-*-G-O
    *-*-*-*-O
    *-*-*-*-
    *–8

    Did You Ever See a Lassie?

    did you ever see a lassie

    DID YOU EVER SEE A LASSIE LYRICS

    Did you ever see a lassie,
    A lassie, a lassie?
    Did you ever see a lassie,
    Go this way and that?
    Go this way and that way,
    Go this way and that way.
    Did you ever see a lassie,
    Go this way and that?
    Did you ever see a laddie,
    A laddie, a laddie?
    Did you ever see a laddie,
    Go this way and that?
    Go this way and that way,
    Go this way and that way.
    Did you ever see a laddie,
    Go this way and that?


    Kids Activities You Can Use with an Action Song

    Whenever possible I like to “extend the lesson” with kids activities and get the most mileage out of teaching each and every song. So I want to share more ideas on how you can teach more learning concepts at the same time.

    Musical Instruments

    Whenever possible use some musical instruments! Kids love to dance and ring bells, shake maracas or tambourines, or play a drum.

    Puppets

    Finger puppets and larger hand size puppets encourage the imagination and make play time even more fun. You will find many illustrated story-song books in the public library that a puppet can sing to a toddler or preschooler. (hint: even bigger kids love puppets!)

    Stuffed Animals

    I love using stuffed animals while singing with kids. It’s hard for them to sit still. So holding an animal gives their fingers something to do. I often bounce a stuffed animal to the beat of the song. While they watch me, of course, kids will copy what I am doing and this helps them learn to feel a steady beat.

    Props

    Build a prop box that can accompany a short music time. Kids love to play pretend. Hats, costumes, jackets, coats, boots, scarves, etc. all make music time more interesting. Toddler songs are filled with easy repetitive words and acting those words out with props is definitely fun child play.

    Story Books

    Like I mentioned, there are numerous illustrators who have created beautiful picture books using these familiar children’s melodies. You can not only sing as you turn the pages, but go back and really look at the pictures. Increase your child’s vocabulary by talking about the pictures. Is that monkey hopping? jumping? dancing? singing? wiggling? Use descriptive words as you look at the pages.

    More Songs with Actions that I Love!

    There is so much great action music available for kids these days. Here are more wonderful action songs that are less familiar. For these movement songs I will provide Youtube links so you can add them to your playlist. These are fun songs that I regularly include in early childhood music classes or preschool classes I teach at a daycare. I often use musical instruments along with motions so go ahead and add a few. Kids love them!

    Everybody clap your hands

    Tap it on your head

    Shake my sillies out

    Bunny hop

    Roly poly

    One little finger

    Egg shakin’ blues

    Peekaboo by super simple songs

    Wake up toes

    music and movement

    Free PDF

    Action Songs for Preschoolers

    20 Songs that ENCOURAGE movement and help toddlers and preschoolers develop Brain-Body Connection

    Get this Freebie TODAY!

    PLUS! You will get the printable,
    Baby Animals
    collector song cards!

    Imaginative Fall Songs for Preschoolers

    imaginative fall songs for prescoholers

    Fall songs for preschoolers that are imaginative and not “more cute fall songs” that are focused on leaves, pumpkins, scarecrows, squirrels, or an apple tree.

    Imaginative music is music you can use alongside other autumn songs to spark kids’ creativity. Use these songs with story books, puppets, crafts, and other toys. Create actions and movement as you play the music. Your preschoolers will love this!

    Use your imagination

    fall songs for preschoolers

    Sometimes we can get into a rut of spoon feeding everything to children. So I strive to help kids develop their creativity and use their imaginations. It’s kind of obvious that fall is about falling leaves, orange pumpkins, grey squirrels, apple songs, and singing a little scarecrow song. So instead of singing these cutesy songs, let’s create music and listen to music that gets us to use our imaginations and think “about” these ideas.

    Let’s find music that get us to imagine a train ride in the fall countryside, or a river flowing along a mountain, or climbing up on a big boulder. Can you see the leaves change color? Brown. Yellow. Red. The seasons are around us as we adventure outside!

    The songs below will help you put a fresh spin and enrich your fall activities. In addition, I will link to quality books and other crafts that I find for fun learning extensions, that you can use with these songs.

    Preschoolers learn as they play, sing, read, dance, ceate, imagine, and more. See how many activities you can create with this autumn music! Leave me a comment below if you are glad you found this blog post and it helped you!

    Create opportunities to move and dance

    Music can change the atmosphere in your home. Music can bring more joy into your everyday. Play music in the morning when your own kids are waking up and see what a difference it makes to the beginning of the day. Sometimes when I look for songs for kids, I find that the music is really almost more “songs for parents” because it really uplifts their energy and mood, too!

    Moving to music in the morning is especially appealing to young children and playing great music also provides more benefits for kids than you can imagine.

    autumn leaves fall songs

    Preschool teachers and daycare providers can play these songs in the background, or use one during circle time or craft time.

    Disclaimer: Some links in this blog post may contain affiliate links. This means if you make a purchase through my link, I may make a small commission at no extra expense to you. This helps support my blog. Thank you!

    Autumn Tree Songs

    I Had a Little Nut Tree

    Instead of singing an apple tree song, try this little nut tree by Lisa Loeb. You can bring a little squirrel into the picture by imagining a squirrel busily looking for, finding, and picking up acorns to stash in winter hideaways. Wonderful circle time song!

    Autumn Songs Tree Activities

    This fall scavenger hunt by Teaching Mama is a wonderful resource to go outside and find some autumn leaves, nut trees, and other pieces of autumn nature!

    Here is a counting with acorns activity by Play and Learn Every Day.

    Fall Leaves In and Out Activity by Still Playing School is a wonderful activity that shouldn’t require that you purchase anything at all. Re-use a diaper wipe container and collect pretty leaves. Great for preschool education on a budget!

    Fall Leaves Quiet Book Page by Teach Me Mommy uses felt, pipe cleaners, scissors and glue. This is a nice craft for developing fine motor skills.

    A thankful tree printable by Teaching Mama is also wonderful to extend fall into the thanksgiving season.

    Here We Go Around the Mulberry Bush

    So a bush isn’t exactly a tree, but they can grow very big and some bushes have amazing fall colors! Of course this music is great for movement and you can imagine a different kind of bush, like a burning bush whose leaves turn bright orange, yellow red and brown in the fall.

    Leaf Little Leaf

    Leaf Little Leaf is by Music Box Kids. I love to use a scarf with this music. I really believe kids learn best with motion, so taking a scarf, lifting it high, and letting it drop to the ground shows children how leaves are falling down.

    Thankful Songs for Fall

    Thanks Alot

    Raffi does such an amazing job weaving the imagery of the outdoors into his music. He sings about the clouds, sky, wind, birds, moon, stars, and more. While there are many challenges in life, there is always so many things to be thankful for. “Thanks Alot” pairs well with the thankful tree printable mentioned above.

    Thanksgiving Song

    Autumn Dance Songs

    Music and movement are so important for kids’ development. Here are some great ideas for fall!

    Hey Bo Diddley

    by Elizabeth Mitchell

    Hey Bo Diddley is based on the tune and lyrics from the “Mockingbird” lullaby. This music just puts you into a good mood! Be sure to put some shakers into your kids hands as they move to the beat!

    Jumping Jack

    by Laurie Berkner

    Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes

    Extra motions in this version of Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes by The Learning Station will literally keep kids on their toes! Make sure to practice the beginning part… knocking on a door, come in, open the door, and take a big spin, slap your heels and slap your knees. This song will especially appeal to preschool kids who love a movement challenge!

    Parents and teachers can turn this into a fall song by becoming a scarecrow or dressing up like a farmer who is harvesting his field of pumpkins!

    My Happy Song

    by Super Simple Songs

    Action Songs for Fall

    Action songs for toddlers and preschoolers. Children pretend to fly, climb, become animals, and so much more.

    Muscle and Bone

    Wonderfully imaginative lyrics about rivers, mountains, boulders, etc.

    Simon Says

    Hop, Skip, Jump to My Lou

    I Dreamed that I Could Fly

    Autumn Animal and Insect Songs

    Fall is a wonderful time to teach about life cycles. Insects move slower and kids may notice little fuzzy caterpillars looking for a place to build a cocoon. This life cycle page by Preschool Inspirations has printables that you may find useful.

    Five Little Caterpillars

    Five little…. basically anything you want to sing about. I love to think of little fuzzy caterpillars for this fall song.

    Bunny Hop

    Why should we only sing the “Grey Squirrel Song” in the fall while other animals are busy preparing for winter as well? Many animals get ready for their long winter hibernation. Bunny hops around preparing his nest for winter! Get ready to wiggle your ears, nose, paws, and little cotton tail!

    Hunk-Ta-Bunk-Ta-Boo

    Filled with zany nonsensical lyrics, let’s take a field trip to the zoo this fall. While I am sure this song won’t make it into anyone else’s autumn songs list, I hope you see the value of music that can spark the imagination of a child!

    Autumn Forest Puppets

    Music and Movement Song for Fall

    Play Your Instruments

    Play Your Instruments by Ella Jenkins is a song I sing at every single early childhood class I teach. It’s one of my fall songs, winter songs, spring songs, and summer songs. You can definitely have more autumny vibes by making some of your own homemade instruments like paper bag maracas or percussion instruments that have fall colors (make sure anything you make is safe and age appropriate for your child).

    Clickety Clack

    Train Song by Katherine Dines in like a story. The train goes faster and slower! You can imagine watching all the autumn leaves out the window. I don’t know about you, but hearing the banjo playing just puts me in the mood for a fall barn dance.

    I’m on a Train

    Cocomelon is a wonderful child-friendly youtube channel. “I’m on a Train” music video demonstrates so much of the teaching I like to do with kids. They take the melody and lyrics from a familiar song (Down By the Bay) and re-purpose the song into something new… a train song! Plus, the video shows how you can take a cardboard box and turn it into a train. Brilliant!

    Everyone knows that there can be hundreds of dollars of toys in a room and kids will always gravitate to the empty box.. everytime! It time to take a train ride while the autumn leaves are falling to the ground!

    More Ideas and Activities for Fall

    Autumn Songs Sensory Ideas

    This fall sensory bottle by Preschool Inspirations is fun for preschool children to make. Sensory bottles help kids focus and keep their fingers busy when their bodies need to sit still.

    Fall Nature I Spy Bottle by MamaPapaBubba gives kids a chance to collect actual autumn nature items and put it into their “I Spy” bottle. This is a great activity that can even be adapted to different seasons.

    Fall Fine Motor Play-Dough Ideas

    This fall play-doh activity by Frogs Snails and Puppy Dog Tails is sure to keep little fingers for a ling time. Like the I Spy bottle above, this play-doh activity can easily be adapted to different holidays and seasons.

    Hot Cross Buns Play-Doh Activity is fine motor activity that I created to help preschoolers wiggle fingers and develop five fingers strength for beginning piano lessons. There is a free pdf download in the link.

    Autumn Songs Train Ideas

    This alphabet activity with train tracks from Teaching Mama is a wonderful extension for your fall train ride.

    Food Preschool Fall Songs

    Oats and Beans and Barley Grow

    Let the Autumn harvest begin!

    Mashed Potatoes

    Autumn evokes the thoughts of cooler weather, leaves falling, and warmer comfort foods. One of the iconic stables of the Thanksgiving meal is mashed potatoes.

    Apples and Bananas

    I guess you had to figure I would get one apple song in this list! Apples and Bananas by Raffi is one of my favorites and is a great introduction to talking about vowels. Here is a link to many different apples and bananas worksheets at Teachers Pay Teachers. And here is an apples and bananas count page offered by Super Simple.

    Coconut

    Coconut by Raffi is a really spirited “dance with me” song. I told my husband it is a stretch including it in my autumn song list because living in the northern parts of the USA, we don’t have coconut harvests. But I am thinking coconuts are harvested in other parts of the world, and my husband reminded me… sometimes coconuts “fall!”

    Coconut Books to use with Autumn Songs

    Disclaimer: Some links in this blog post may contain affiliate links. This means if you make a purchase through my link, I may make a small commission at no extra expense to you. This helps support my blog. Thank you!

    15 autumn songs for preschoolers
    15 Printable Autumn Songs for Preschoolers with teaching tips and great ideas to get the most from singing these songs!

    If you are interested in the apple and pumpkin songs, check out my blog post Autumn Songs for Preschoolers. I have a FREE PDF Download with 15 songs and lots of teaching tips and ideas to get the most from singing these songs with preschoolers.
    Songs include:
    Autumn Leaves are Falling Down
    Falling Leaves
    Autumn Leaves
    Leaves are Falling Down
    Crunchy Leaves
    The Apple Tree Song
    10 Little Spiders
    Head, Shoulder, Knees and Toes
    The Itsy Bitsy Spider
    Apple Pie Song
    Five Little Pumpkins
    Pumpkin Patch Song
    A Little Pumpkin with a Frown
    The Grey Squirrel Song
    Five Little Bunnies

    Autumn Songs PDF

    15 Easy to Sing Songs & Fingerplays

    Get your Autumn Song PDF’s here!

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      Conclusion

      I’d love to hear from you. Let me know if you liked my fall songs collection that inspire kids to use their imaginations. I hope you find this blog post thoughtful and useful!

      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 hos 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.

          Conclusion

          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!

            Repetition

            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

            Activities

            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.

            Technique

            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.

            Creative

            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.

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