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Teaching

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star Piano Activity

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, a popular English nursery rhyme, is one of the very first songs a toddler learns to sing. And it makes them so happy when they can learn to play this song on the piano. While it is not the easiest first song, it is not the most difficult. And because children already know the melody so well, their ear can help guide them to play the correct notes. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star Piano Sheet Music with Letters makes this song accessible on piano to even the youngest preschoolers.

Music Alphabet and Note Names

Very young children are not ready to read music notes right away, so it is helpful to use music alphabet letters to help them play this song. Sheet music with alphabet letters give kids a visual to follow (an more importantly help parents guide their kids!)

I like to use piano keyboard letters on the piano for all young children. These visuals help them learn the groups of two and three black keys and they also see which alphabet letters line up with the black keys.

Learning Middle C

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star begins on Middle C. Middle C is the very first note many children learn. One reason is because this note is singable, and many early childhood songs begin on this note. Middle C is also a white key and many beginner songs play on white keys.

I like to play games at the piano and always ask kids to sing the sound of Middle C. We then check to see if the pitch they sing is correct by playing the note. Eventually kids DO learn the sound of Middle C and that is the beginning of developing perfect pitch.

Right Hand and Left Hand

Little children begin learning about right hand and left hand as they learn to color, draw, cut and write their name. I always look to see which hand is dominant and encourage children to start playing little piano songs with the dominant hand. But I always challenge children to learn to play with their other hand, too, so both hands fingers get strengthened.

Fingering

When teaching very young children, they are still learning how to use their fingers independently. It is easier to teach this song with only one finger. The index finger (pointer) OR middle finger are the two best fingers to begin playing piano with as young children can use the thumb to brace the knuckle joint and help develop the proper hand shape for playing piano.

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star is a wonderful five finger piano song, but when kids start playing, using all five fingers can be a huge challenge (or even obstacle). The pinky and ring finger do not like to cooperate and so some fun finger games may be needed to get them working well (even older 7, 8, 9, and 10 year olds may struggle getting these fingers strengthened).

Patterns in Music

One of the first things I ask kids to notice are the patterns in the music. Finding patterns in sheet music helps kids see that the song may only have a couple different parts to learn. Piano lessons become less about just looking at notes and practicing long sequences of notes and more about finding “shortcuts” in songs.

For instance, you can save time by practicing the opening line of Twinkle Twinkle and learning that really well instead of playing through the whole song everytime. Also, in the middle of the song, GG FF EE D pattern repeats. Learning the different patterns of the melody help beginners practice more efficiently.

I like to play games with the patterns and ask kids to play them with different fingers! You can also ask more questions: Can you play the beginning melody notes with index finger? What about with middle finger? Can you play with the Left Hand? and so on.

Pattern identification is also essential to math skills in school. Isn’t it wonderful when we can use music to teach academics!?!

Piano Keyboard Fun

Because Twinkle Twinkle Little Star has patterns, I designed a fun little composition activity based on the many patterns you find in this song. I thought it would be fun for kids to take these patterns or notes ideas and place them in any order they’d like to create a NEW song.

Mixed Up Little Star Piano Activity

First, I recommend learning how to play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Young children should be comfortable playing this song well and if possible learn to play this song with the music alphabet letters. Learning where the white key music alphabet letters are in C Major will help them be able to play the little patterns for the mixed up song. It takes time for beginners to learn the music alphabet, so don’t rush this process.

Kids LOVE to create their own songs on piano. A fun little melody or a repeating jazzy rhythm is fun for kids to discover so I always look for opportunities to allow kids to MAKE their own music! Afterall, isn’t that what enjoying music is all about? And even the youngest children should be encouraged and allow this opportunity!

As a piano teacher, my goal is to help every child fall in love with making music and playing the piano. And I hope by creating these resources for parents and teachers of young children, that you too will be able to encourage kids to fall in love with music!

How do you play Twinkle Twinkle on the piano?

Piano Lessons for Parents

For those of you who need a little help knowing how to play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, I have created a video (below) that you can use to teach yourself how to play Twinkle Twinkle piano. You don’t have to be a piano teacher to learn how to teach your kids songs they know and are excited to learn! And here are 10 ways parents can help their young children get ready for piano lessons.

Music Alphabet Sheet Music

Twinkle twinkle little star, How I wonder what you are, Up above the world so high, Like a diamond in the sky, Twinkle twinkle little star, How I wonder what you are.


Piano Race Game

Do you want your child to learn preschool piano? Get my First Piano Game for FREE!

This is the first game I play with every one of my students. Now you can play at home!

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    5 Winter Preschool Songs and Fingerplays

    WINTER PRESCHOOL SONG

    Winter songs for young children include visualizations of snowflakes whirling, cold winter winds, Arctic animals like polar bears and penguins, or building a chubby little snowman. Kids love singing winter songs about icy toes, jingle bells, jack frost, and Rudolph’s little red nose. I am always on the watch for new, fun and easy songs to sing, dance and play with toddlers and preschoolers. Today I want to share with you 5 NEW winter songs that any parent or pre k teacher can teach young children, because each song is set to a tune that is already familiar. But first, let’s talk a little bit about why the cold days of winter deserve front and center attention.

    Winter music for Preschoolers and Toddlers

    The seasons are very easy for children to identify. Springtime bursts forth with green grass, budding trees, and blooming flowers. All of the plants spring to life after the cold days of winter. In summer, the weather is hot. Lighter weight clothing is necessary because the sun shines so hot. Then fall arrives and air whirling leaves blow all around. Animals are busy preparing for a winter long rest time.

    Winter is significant. The entire ground is covered in white snow (in many parts of the U.S.). A chilly nose, chattering teeth, the need for a warming hat and coat are obvious. So let’s take the season of winter and get the most learning mileage we can. Below you will see many learning concepts you can teach any pre k child using fun and easy wintery songs.

    Learning with Winter Songs

    Counting

    There are several winter songs that teach counting. And let’s have fun! We won’t just count with one finger. Let’s get out all our fingers and toes!

    I have a blog post and downloadable book featuring Counting Songs for Preschoolers. Many of these songs can be adapted and used in the winter months. For example, you can change the words in the song “Bell Horses” to “Sleigh Horses.” Or, you can change the words “little ducks” in the song, “Five Little Ducks” to another animal like “snowy owls,” or “arctic fox.” Or you can change the lyrics in the song “Ten Little Indians” to lyrics like “Ten Little Penguins, or Ten Frosty Snowmen, or Ten Polar Bears in the snow”.

    Winter or Arctic Animals

    Kids love animals. Some animals live where it is always cold. Arctic animals have antics that mesmerize young children. A waddling penguin dance, skating polar bear on the tundra, hopping arctic fox hunting for food… these are all movements kids can copy as they sing a winter song.

    Some animals take a long winter rest and hibernate for months. Kids love to discover how animals live, eat, and sleep. I especially love the story about The Bear Who Couldn’t Sleep. Kids can often relate to what it is like to have a hard time falling asleep. And you can discuss helpful ways that make it easier to fall asleep faster at naptime or bedtime.

    Descriptive Words

    little snowman

    “Little Snowmen I Can See” is a sweet winter song based on the tune “Where is Thumbkin”. I love singing interactive songs with young children where they can help think of other descriptive words we can sing in place of the word “little”.

    Four year olds can usually hear that the word little has two syllables, so we try to think of other descriptive words that also have two syllables. Sometimes it is silly to have bigger syllable words and I always use their ideas and have a great laugh.

    Some ideas for two-syllable words may include: winter, great big, hungry, sleepy, tired, happy, smiling, yellow, purple, etc. My granddaughter’s favorite color is aquamarine. Now THAT would be an example of a silly descriptive word that I would LOVE to sing!

    Weather

    Winter weather captures the imagination of children. Fascinated by a window’s jack frost kissed patterns, giant icicles hanging from the eaves, or blankets of snow with rambling animal tracks, kids have many beautiful images to wonder about.

    Snowflakes dancing on a winter wind, ice landing on a snowy tree, animal tracks roaming across the yard all indicate that the weather is COLD! Pre K kids may wonder why the leaves fell off some trees, but other trees stay green. They will need to learn about how to dress and what kind of clothes they need to stay warm. How much snow is on the ground? Can we measure it? There are so many things preschool teachers and parents can teach through studying the weather and encouraging a child’s sense of wonder.

    Imagination

    I created the interactive finger play, “Tracks in the Snow,” just so kids could participate in the wonder of winter. This fingerplay gets kids thinking about what kind of animals will walk in the snow. Some animals may hibernate all winter long. Some animals just keep warm in their nest, curled in a round ball and coming out in the daylight to eat.

    I also add counting to this finger play. Each verse gives you an opportunity to add a different animal and each time you an animal you can one more count. Can you count to five? ten? fifteen?

    Calendar and Seasons

    The calendar is linked to the seasons and the weather. So teaching the months of winter and keeping track of the weather each day is a fun activity for kids. You can put little snowflakes on the days that snow fell and count how many days it snowed in winter (or in one month). Likewise you can keep track of cloudy or sunny days.

    “Little Snowflakes Falling Down” is an easy song to learn because it is sung to the tune “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”. Add this cute song to your winter theme. You can have snowflakes falling and land on other parts of the body like the knee, elbow, or shoulder. Or the snow can land on your clothes like a hat, mitten, scarf, coat or boots. Winter songs like this give you a lot of creativity to change them up. Perhaps your snowflakes dance or maybe your snowflakes smiled? Below I will give you a few more ideas on how you can create or change winter songs for preschoolers to fit your exact needs.

    New Winter Songs to Teach Kids

    As an Early Childhood Educator, I get tired of singing the same old snowman songs, winter hokey-pokey, snowkey pokey, and super simple songs. I totally understand when preschool teachers get tired of teaching about winter because they are always reaching for the same materials year after year. That is why I created new pre k songs. New songs you can use at circle time, new songs that save time because they are easy to learn and teach and weave into your winter theme. Kids songs that parents and kids love to sing over and over at home because they are fun and interactive.

    FREE WINTER SONGS PRINTABLE

    You can get these 5 NEW Winter Songs when you join the Music Time Kid Community. I offer new free content for community members that you can download, print and use right away!

    Winter Songs for Preschoolers

    In this collection of winter songs, you will find familiar melodies that you will already know with some new lyrics and actions. I will also give you ideas on how you can take these winter songs and get kids involved in the music creation. Whether you use these winter songs at circle time in your pre k program or just having fun with your toddler in your living room, kids love to make music and they love to be a part of the creation process.

    So, I am offering you this 5 song collection of fun and interactive winter songs that you can download, print and use right now. Cut out some snowflakes, bake some cut-out cookies, or dance a frosty freeze dance with jingle bells to add to the fun. Printing this music will save time as you plan for winter-time fun this year!

    Tracks in the Snow

    Little Snowflakes Falling Down

    Five Frosty Snowmen

    Little Snowmen I Can See

    Ten Little Arctic Animals Song

    Favorite Winter Finger Play

    One of my favorite winter fingerplays is called “I Built a Little Snowman”.

    If you can point me to the author, please point me in their direction, so I can give them the proper attribution. This is how I teach this finger play.

    I Built a Little Snowman

    I built a little snowman, he had a carrot nose, along came a bunny, and what do you suppose? That hungry little bunny, looking for some lunch, ate the snowman’s carrot nose, nibble, nibble crunch!

    Kids have so much fun imagining swiping the poor little nose off that little snow person. It is one of the most requested winter fingerplays in my music classes.

    Best Winter Songs for Kids on Youtube

    Here are links to some of the songs I know my young families love. Super Simple Songs is one of my favorite channels and they even offer “how to teach” videos for many of their songs on their channel.

    Super Simple Songs

    The Kiboomers

    How to Turn Any Song into a Winter Song

    Often you will find new and original lyrics set to old familiar tunes. This is intentional. It is easy for parents and preschool teachers to learn new songs when they already know the melody. It is easy for KIDS to learn a new song when they already know the melody. This is also WHY I am a big fan of teaching young children songs they already know when they first begin to play the piano. It’s easy to teach something new from a foundation of something already known. (Learn more about that here).

    So…See if you can take a familiar tune and make up some fun new lyrics. (See more examples of this in 15 Singable Autumn Songs for Preschoolers PDF)

    Two examples are I’m a Little Snowman sung to the tune I’m a Little Teapot, or singing the Snowkey Pokey to the hokey pokey tune. Find ways to incorporate things kids are learning like colors, counting, weather, animals, feelings, etc into your song. This list is a great place to get started.

    Tunes you may already know

    Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

    Row Row Row Your Boat

    Mary Had a Little Lamb

    Where is Thumbkin

    Ten Little Indians

    If You’re Happy and You Know It

    The Wheels on the Bus

    Hot Cross Buns

    Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush

    London Bridges

    FREE WINTER SONGS PRINTABLE

    You can get these 5 NEW Winter Songs when you join the Music Time Kid Community. I offer new free content for community members that you can download, print and use right away!

    Let me know if you have created a new winter song! I’d love to hear it!

    Halloween Song: Trick or Treat!

    halloween song trick or treating

    Are you looking for a new trick or treat Halloween Song that toddlers and preschoolers can sing? “We’re Going Trick or Treating” song is perfect for little kids to sing about the fun experience of trick or treating. Sung to the familiar tune, The Farmer in the Dell, you can learn the lyrics on this song sheet and even add additional lyrics that are more accurate to your child’s Halloween experience.

    Perhaps kids are going “trunk or treating” or they are “ringing lots of doorbells” or even “driving down the street” if they are trick or treating by driving through the neighborhood.

    You are sure to have lots of fun with this song! Kids can act out the different parts. You can even get dressed in the specific costume of the child… putting on a hat, pulling on the boots, sliding on the mask, etc. Be creative!

    We’re Going Trick or Treating Video

    This video will teach you the new Halloween song: Trick or Treat.

    We’re Going Trick or Treating Song Sheet

    Here is the free song sheet you can download.

    we're going trick or treating

    Get more fall and autumn songs for kids by checking out these two posts 15 Singable Autumn Songs for Preschoolers OR Imaginative Fall Songs for Preschoolers.

    Parents often wonder, “Can preschoolers play songs on the piano?” Check out this blog post to see how you can teach some fun and easy songs and games to your little one. And for even more fun fall preschool piano activities check out my Itsy Bitsy Spider Piano Activities and Games.

    15 singable autumn songs for preschoolers

    Join the Music Time Kid Community

    Join the Music Time Kid Community and get the FREE pdf, Autumn Songs for Preschoolers, plus lots of other free content to help teach music and piano to toddlers and preschoolers! Teaching music to little ones has never been easier!

    Autumn Songs PDF

    15 Easy to Sing Songs & Fingerplays

    Get your Autumn Song PDF’s here!

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      Fingers & Toes: Fun Kids Counting Songs

      fun kids counting songs

      “This little piggy went to market…This little piggy went home…” Wiggling tiny little toes is part of the joy of singing and playing with little children. We even joke about learning to count with fingers and toes. But really we do learn this way! Parents begin the process of teaching their children from the time they are babies! Let’s explore some fun kids counting songs.

      Why are Counting Songs Important?

      Kids learn through play. When they are having fun, they don’t even realize they are learning. So singing songs and reciting rhymes that involve counting help children learn while they are having fun. In this article we will highlight some of the early nursery rhymes and fun songs that parents and teachers can learn and teach to babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. I guarantee they will love to sing and move to these fun counting songs.

      What are Some Counting to Five Songs?

      Let’s begin with your fingers. Kids learn to count to five first. One idea I like to share with parents is when you count to five using your fingers, count consistently. Start with your thumb and move to the pinky. These are the finger numbers for playing the piano, so always referring to thumb as finger number one, pointer finger as two, middle finger as three, ring finger as four, and pinky as five will help them later on if they begin taking piano lessons.

      There are lots and lots of Youtube variations of these songs. I will link some quality teaching versions so you don’t have to search for them! Personally, I like the less flashy entertainment kind of videos that kids like to watch because we want good teaching content… Ideas that teachers use to get the most out of teaching these songs. So watch these videos to the end. You get a lot of great ideas on HOW to sing these songs to kids so they are having fun and learning!

      Five Little Ducks

      Five little ducks counts backwards from five down to one. You can have your child keep track of how many ducks with their fingers which helps improve their fine motor skills. Or it is fun if you make some manipulatives like finger puppets to playact as you sing!

      five little ducks

      Five Little Ducks – Lyrics

      Five little ducks
      Went out one day
      Over the hills and far away
      Mother duck said
      “Quack, quack, quack, quack”
      But only four little ducks came back.


      Four little ducks
      Went out one day
      Over the hills and far away
      Mother duck said
      “Quack, quack, quack, quack.”
      But only three little ducks came back.


      Three little ducks
      Went out one day
      Over the hills and far away
      Mother duck said
      “Quack, quack, quack, quack.”
      But only two little ducks came back.



      Two little ducks
      Went out one day
      Over the hills and far away
      Mother duck said
      “Quack, quack, quack, quack.”
      But only one little duck came back.


      One little duck
      Went out one day
      Over the hills and far away
      Mother duck said
      “Quack, quack, quack, quack.”
      But none of the five little ducks came back.


      Sad mother duck
      Went out one day
      Over the hills and far away
      The sad mother duck said
      “Quack, quack, quack.”
      And all of the five little ducks came back.

      Five Little Ducks – VIDEO

      This video from Super Simple Songs demonstrates motions for this song! I also like how they count the number of ducks at the end of each verse. Talking about safety and mother duck’s concern for her little ducks is an additional teaching moment.


      Five Green and Speckled Frogs (or Five Little Frogs)

      Five Green and Speckled Frogs is similar to the Five Little Ducks song because it begins with 5 and counts backwards which is teaching subtraction.

      Five Green and Speckled Frogs – Lyrics

      FIVE green and speckled frogs
      Sat on a speckled log
      Eating some most delicious bugs
      Yum Yum.

      One jumped into the pool
      Where it was nice and cool
      Then there were FOUR (subtract one each verse) speckled frogs.
      Glug Glug.

      (Repeat song using the number four, then three, then two, then one, then no in place of FIVE)

      five green and speckled frogs counting song

      Five Green and Speckled Frogs – VIDEO

      This video has helpful instruction on how to teach this song at the end of the song.


      Alice the Camel

      alice the camel kids counting song lyrics

      Make a Camel Craft
      Make some fun camels using the number of humps your child wants! Fun activity!

      Alice the Camel – VIDEO


      Five Little Monkeys

      I love to allow kids to play with props to this little nursery rhyme. First of all, monkeys are so cute. Kids love to watch them! And jumping is fun! So get some monkey stuffed animals, finger puppets, or just print some monkeys out on paper that children (or you) can cut out! Kids will love jumping these monkeys all around!

      Five little monkeys kids counting song

      Fun Five Little Monkeys Craft Idea

      This craft is definitely for a little bit older kids, but it looks so fun!

      How to Teach “Five Little Monkeys” – VIDEO


      Zoom, Zoom, Zoom

      Zoom, Zoom, Zoom
      We’re going to the moon.
      Zoom, Zoom, Zoom
      We’re going to the moon.
      If you want to take a trip,
      Climb aboard my rocket ship.
      Zoom, Zoom, Zoom
      We’re going to the moon.
      5, 4, 3, 2, 1,
      Blast off!

      Zoom Zoom Zoom counting song for kids

      What are Some Count to 10 Songs?

      One Two Three Four Five

      One, two, three, four, five,
      Once I caught a fish alive,
      Six, seven, eight, nine, ten,
      Then I let it go again.
      Why did you let it go?
      Because it bit my finger so.
      Which finger did it bite?
      This little finger on my right.

      fishing song with numbers

      10 Little Indians

      Ten Little Indians song is one of my favorite teaching songs because it very versatile. You can change the words to this song in numerous ways. And you can also count this song backwards. Here are the original song lyrics.

      One little, two little, three little Indians
      Four little, five little, six little Indians,
      Seven little, eight little, nine little Indians,
      Ten little Indian boys.

      lyrics for kids counting song

      Here are a few examples of how I change the song lyrics while keeping the number counting and the melody the same.

      Sing about FRIENDS… Ten little friends at the park or Ten little friends playing ball, etc.

      BUBBLES! Ten little bubbles go pop!

      BUGS! Ten little bugs fly away.

      LEAVES! Ten autumn leaves on the ground.

      RAINDROPS! Ten little raindrops on my head.

      SNOWFLAKES! Ten little snowflakes on my tongue.

      See what I mean? You can sing about practically anything! It’s fun to let children brainstorm and come up with ideas. They love to create and when kids are invested in their own learning, learning is so much fun!


      Ten in the Bed

      Imagine a crowded bed. What is on that bed? Tons of stuffed animals? Lots of friends having a sleep over? Or it’s a big, big family. No matter what you imagine is on the bed, you can collect 10 and reenact this song.

      10 in the bed lyrics
      Ten in the bed kids song counting to ten

      Early in the morning, kids are usually a little slow to get going. Having fun right at the start of the morning as you get your child ready for the day is so playful and fun. Singing and imaginative play gets the day started with lots of positive energy! If you start singing, your child might even sing along. They will definitely help you play by tossing some stuffed animals overboard to get from ten to one. And then get them back on the bed after the covers are all pulled up! What singing fun!

      How to Teach “Ten in the Bed” – VIDEO


      One Two Buckle My Shoe

      One, two,
      Buckle my shoe;
      Three, four,
      Knock at the door;
      Five, six,
      Pick up sticks;
      Seven, eight,
      Lay them straight:
      Nine, ten,
      A big fat hen;

      One two buckle my shoe counting song

      This Old Man

      This old man counting to 10 song

      Song with ASL Motions

      American Sign Language counting video. Wonderful way to teach kids counting to ten in American Sign Language.


      The Ants Go Marching

      the ants go marching counting song for kids

      Ants Finger Puppet Craft for Kids


      Other Fun Counting Songs

      Bell Horses

      I love teaching Bell Horses because there are other skills kids are learning besides counting, like ringing the bells while we sing the lyrics and then freezing (STOP!) while we count. You may have to demonstrate this, and actually teach the kids how to ring and freeze. It’s really a lot of fun to have them watch y ou and freeze when you freeze! If we are also marching while we sing and ring, we freeze that too! This is so much fun for kids and it requires that they pay attention.

      bell horses lyrics

      Bell Horses Ringing Demonstration – VIDEO

      Here is a short demonstration of how we ring the bells while we sing and FREEZE! (or stop ringing) while we count. I always encourage kids to march while we sing and FREEZE (no moving at all) while we count. I do however, encourage them to count their fingers if the bells are on their wrists… so technically that is moving, but it’s not moving their feet!


      Fingerplay Counting Activities

      Here is the Beehive

      Here is the Beehive is a counting rhyme that counts to five. It really doesn’t have a melody, but you could easily sing a sol-mi type of melody to the rhyme. This nursery rhyme is fun because at the end of the song you can buzzzzz….. and tickle a child under the chin with your fingers. Kids love little tickle rhymes and often beg for them over and over again.

      I also created a little bumble bee music activity /piano improvisation page for preschoolers. If you are interested in this little piano activity, or the DIY Mother’s Day piano activity I have created, follow the links on this page!

      here is the beehive kids counting song

      Here is the Beehive – VIDEO


      This Little Piggy

      While not an official counting song, “This Little Piggy” offers the opportunity for counting. There are other nursery rhymes that also can be adapted to counting as well. Once you get done wiggling the toes with the rhyme, go back and wiggle each toe and count: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.

      this little piggy nursery rhyme with counting

      One Potato Two Potato

      one potato two potato

      One Potato Two Potatoes
      One potato two potatoes
      Three potatoes, four!
      Five potatoes, six potatoes
      Seven potatoes, more!


      To count to ten add:
      Eight potatoes, nine potatoes, ten potatoes all!


      Five Fat Sausages

      Five fat sausages sizzling in a pan,
      (Hold up five fingers)
      All of a sudden one went “BANG!”
      (Clap hands loudly)

      Four fat sausages sizzling in a pan,
      (Hold up four fingers)
      All of a sudden one went “BANG!”

      Three fat sausages sizzling in a pan,
      (Hold up three fingers)
      All of a sudden one went “BANG!”

      Two fat sausages sizzling in a pan,
      (Hold up two fingers)
      All of a sudden one went “BANG!”

      One fat sausage, sizzling in a pan,
      (Hold up one finger)
      All of a sudden it went “Bang!”
      And there were NO sausages left!
      (No fingers left up)

      five fat sausages counting nursery rhyme

      Other songs kids can add numbers to

      Finger Family Check out this link. While there is no actual counting in the song itself, it offers imagery that you can springboard from and then count the family members. Plus you use your hands, so counting is natural using fingers.

      Baa Baa Black Sheep This song offers counting, 1, 2, 3 for the very youngest of children. It’s also an easy song for kids to learn because it shares the same melody as Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

      Mary Had a Little Lamb You can change the lyrics in this song to “Mary had some little lambs” and teach counting to various numbers of sheep.

      Conclusion

      I hope you find this list useful. Select your favorites and create some learning opportunities for your child.

      And while you are at it, grab my printable, “Counting Songs for Toddlers and Preschoolers”. In this printable you will find lyrics that you can use to help teach counting to your kids. Printables give parents and teachers confidence to teach these songs and will help you bring these songs to life! They encourage imagination, movement, motor skills, and so much more!

      Join the Music Time Kid Community and get a FREE copy of this downloadable Counting Songs Booklet!

      All of the songs from this blog post are included in the printable.

      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, like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, 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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        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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          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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            Itsy Bitsy Spider Piano Activities & Games

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

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

            Itsy Bitsy Spider Song

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

            Itsy Bitsy Spider (free download)

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

            First Piano Lessons

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

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

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

            Printable Sheet Music with Alphabet Letters

            sample of itsy bitsy spider piano song with alphabet letters

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

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

            Printable Sheet Music with Notes that have Alphabet Letters

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

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

            Printable Sheet Music with Notes on the Staff

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

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

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

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

            Incy Wincy Spider

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

            Piano Games for Itsy Bitsy Spider

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

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

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

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

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

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

            Music Activities for Itsy Bitsy Spider

            Movement Activities for Itsy Bitsy Spider

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

            Piano Activities for Itsy Bitsy Spider

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

            Preschool Learning Activities for Itsy Bitsy Spider

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

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

            Eency Weency Spider (free download)

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

            Plastic Spider Rings

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

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

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

            Little Miss Muffet Lyrics

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

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

            Conclusion

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

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

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