Although the songs may have changed over the years, one fact remains the same: preschool children love learning through song. Not only are songs fun, but our brains remember information much better if it’s set to a song. This is why you can remember the lyrics from your favorite song as a child, but have trouble remembering something tasks on a to-do list. Here is a list of 10 songs that get kids active, let them have fun, and teach them the foundational knowledge necessary to advance into Kindergarten.
10. “Frere Jacques”
Lyrics: Frère Jacques, frère Jacques
Sonnez les matines, sonnez les matines
Are you sleeping, are you sleeping
Brother John, brother John
Morning bells are ringing, morning bells are ringing
This classic is a useful song because it exposes children to a different language, in this case French, at an early age. The first verse is simply the same as the second verse but sung in French. It is also a great song to teach kids because the tune is used in several of the more modern early childhood education songs.
9. “Itsy Bitsy Spider”
Lyrics(first verse): The itsy bitsy (or eensy weensy) spider
Climbed up the waterspout
Down came the rain
And washed the spider out
Out came the sun
And dried up all the rain
And the itsy bitsy spider
Climbed up the spout again
This song is another classic that has been entertaining children for decades. The reason this song is so great is because children love doing the hand movements that go along with the lyrics. The movement associated with this song makes it a great go-to when you see your class is getting antsy in their seats. It also serves the educational purpose of teaching students about spiders and how they form webs. This is another tune that is used often in newer songs.
8. ” The Wheels on the Bus”
Lyrics ( first two verses):
The wheels on the bus go round and round,
round and round,
round and round.
The wheels on the bus go round and round,
all through the town.
The wipers on the bus go swish, swish, swish;
Swish, swish, swish;
Swish, swish, swish.
The wipers on the bus go Swish, swish, swish,
all through the town.
While only the first two verses are shown here, this song covers all of the sounds that the objects on a bus make. The reason this song is so popular is because of the ” sound words” like swish. This makes the song active and helps students retain the information. They just think they’re singing a fun song, but they’re really learning about the different parts on a vehicle in the process.
7. ” You are my Sunshine”
Lyrics (Chorus): You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
you make me happy when skies are gray
you’ll never know dear, how much I love you,
please don’t take my sunshine away.
This song is so popular that Lousiana made it an official state song. This is a popular song for your preschoolers to perform at something like a preschool graduation ceremony. There are few things cuter than a two or three-year-old singing these lyrics and doing the hand motions that go along with it.
6. “The alphabet song”
This song is such a classic that posting the lyrics would be redundant. This song is so effective that students use this method throughout their schooling whenever they’re unsure of letter order. It’s a subconscious habit for us to go through the letters to the tune of the alphabet song, even though we are years removed from preschool.
5. ” Pass The Color”
Tune: Row, Row, Row Your Boat
“Pass,pass,pass the color,
This is the game we play!
When this little song is through,
This color’s name we’ll say
This song is popular among teachers today for teaching the colors. It is sung to the tune of row, row, row your boat, so it is most effective if your students know that song first. What makes this song so great is that it is a hybrid between a song and a game. The premise is to pass a crayon around while singing the song, and the child who has the crayon has to say the name of the color. It is sort of a cross between hot potato and musical chairs. You can incentivize your kids by making it a competition and rewarding the child who gets the most colors right.
4. ” Shape Up” by Jack Hartmann
Lyrics ( first four verses)
Circle, Square, Triangle, Rectangle
Spread your feet out wide, put your arms out front
Circle round and round, everyone shape up
Make a square in the air, feel your muscles pump
Use your legs and arms, everyone shape up
Now let’s make shapes all together, don’t you stop
Follow me and move your body, let’s shape up
Go round like the sun, go round like a ball
A circle, a circle has no straight lines at all
We made a circle
Straight line down then across, back up then one more line
A square, a square has four equal sides
We made a square
This is another modern song that is highly effective for incorporating active learning. This song is a hybrid between a dance routine and educational song on the shapes. Only the first two shapes are included, but the full song covers triangles, rectangles, and ovals as well.
3. “Days of the Week”
Tune: Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
Sunday, Monday, Tuesday too.
Wednesday, Thursday just for you.
Friday, Saturday that’s the end.
Now let’s say those days again!
Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday!
While there are certainly more intricate songs for learning the days of the week, this one makes the list for its effective simplicity. What sets this song apart is the fact that it’s set to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. Virtually every preschooler knows this tune, so you don’t have to worry about teaching the tune to the students. The lyrics are also simple and easy to remember.
2. ” Old Macdonald had a Farm”
The lyrics for this song were omitted for the sake of brevity, but the basic premise is each verse is dedicated to a different farm animal, with the children making the noise of each farm animal at the end of the verse. This timeless classic is still taught in elementary schools because it makes the children active participants while teaching them about farm animals in the process.
1. ” A Counting we will go”
Tune: A Hunting we Will go
This modern take on ” A Hunting we Will go” is useful for teaching students how to count, which is an integral educational building block. The reason it makes this list is because of its versatility. The lyrics of the original version, which can be found at SongsforTeaching.com, teach kids how to count to 5, 10, 15, and 20. These lyrics can be altered to count to any number and by any interval, which make it such a great teaching tool.