Music is an invaluable addition to the preschool, early childhood, and kindergarten classroom. I always love discovering new, engaging songs for my music sessions with kids, yet there's something special about those tried-and-true favourites that consistently resonate with young hearts. I make sure to keep these songs on hand, knowing I can bring them out and use them whenever needed, considering how effective they are. Let's delve into the qualities that make these songs click with kids, and then I'll share some personal favourites.
What types of songs do children love?
Movement-Friendly Melodies: Songs with actions or dancing elements that get preschoolers and kindergarteners moving.
Imaginative Play: Songs that stretch children's imagination, allowing them to play and pretend.
Repetitive Elements: The power of rhythm and repetition in actions and lyrics is not only captivating but also beneficial for learning and development.
Humor and Silliness: Adding humor to spark laughter and joy — that's the secret sauce!
Visuals for Extra Fun: Songs that pair well with visuals, creating a multi-sensory experience for added enjoyment.
Interactive Props: Incorporating songs that easily integrate props, like dancing scarves, enhances interaction and enjoyment.
Contrasting Musical Elements: Children are captivated by songs that play with tempo (fast and slow), dynamics (loud and soft), and build anticipation.
Songs for Preschoolers and Kindergarteners: 10 favourites for musical engagement
1. Zoom Zoom Zoom:
The repetitive actions boost engagement, providing a rhythmic experience. The much-anticipated blast-off moment at the end? Pure joy!
Tip: Before or after singing, ask children what colour their rocket ship is for added interaction.
A classic for a reason — its repeating motions and words are great for physical development and language skills.
Tip: Add a twist by bringing animals on the bus, practicing vocalizing animal sounds ( For ex. The monkeys on the bus go ooo ooo aaa...all through the town). Bring in puppets or a visual for added fun!
3. Sleeping Bunnies:
Uses the power of changing musical elements to capture attention and participation. Kids tune in when the singing becomes softer for "sleep" and louder and faster for "hop little bunnies, hop hop hop"
Tip: Build anticipation by slowing down during "wake...up...soon" to excite little ones even more so for the wake-up moment.
Seamlessly weaves in academic information, in this case, numbers and counting.
Tip: Enhance the learning experience with visuals, providing another sensory component.
Finger plays are gold for the development of fine motor skills.
Tip: Don't forget about the different-sized spiders ( the GREAT BIG spider and the teeny tiny spider) and vary singing style and actions for added interest.
6. Down by the Bay:
Wordplay, rhyming, and silly animal scenarios — a trio for a fun-filled experience.
Tip: Encourage children to find matching rhymes by incorporating picture flashcards.
7. Popcorn Kernels:
Incorporates different movements and pairs well with scarves for a tactile experience. The highlight is when kids get to throw their scarf up in the air on the word "POP."
Tip: Definitely repeat the shaking and tossing the scarves over and over when kiddos are loving it so much!
Love how this song can be adapted to include multiple movements
Tip: Add in various emotions and coping strategies ( For ex. If you're sad and you know it, give yourself a hug!). If you're interested in flashcards to pair with the song and learning experience, I have some available in my shop.
Imagine catching rain that turns into imaginary treats -- oh what fun! This song is great for encouraging vocalizing with the “ah ah ah ah...” when pretending to catch lemon drops and gumdrops on tongues.
Tip: Expand the song by asking children to add their own favorite treats in place of the original lyrics.
10. The Hokey Pokey:
A classic movement song fostering body awareness. The "turn yourself around" part is the best!
Tip: Explore the fun variations out there for this one -- I personally like the snowkey pokey, incorporating winter clothing ( "you put your mittens in, you put your mittens out...").
Narrowing the songs down to 10 was tricky but the ones mentioned are among some of the best ones to have in your back pocket when wanting to provide an engaging music experience. Interested in some more musical ideas for little ones? Join Solful Share where you'll get a music activity idea every month, accompanied by a printable. And you'll receive a fun activity idea (Create a Silly Song with Picture Cards) right away for instant download! Sign up here!