Preschool transition songs are an effective way to keep kids on a schedule, move from one activity to the next, and refocus a child’s attention in a positive and fun way. Transitional songs can help kids stay motived and keep them focused on the activity at hand rather than being distracted or acting out. Music helps children to remember things better, and predictable, repetitive activities make them feel secure. Each song should represent a particular task or activity so that they understand what is coming up next. Once you teach your preschool children these transitional songs and show them what they are expected to do at that time, they are eager to participate. Use these Ten Preschool Transitional Songs to help plan your schedule and make staying on task less stressful for you and more enjoyable for the kids.
1. Good Morning Circle Time Song
Good morning (good morning), how are you (how are you) it so nice to have you here with me today
Good morning (good morning), how are you (just fine), howdy, how do you do, hello, good day.
This catchy song is fun to sing at the start of the day and gets them ready for the first activity. Start by teaching the kids the whole song, then teach them how to sing just the responses, and eventually, you can have them sing both parts to each other. This song teaches kids simple greetings, courtesy, and how to start the day with a positive attitude.
2. Hello Neighbor Table Song
Hello neighbor, what do you say, it’s going to be a happy day
So reach your neighbor and boogie on down, give them a bump and turn around
It’s going to be a very happy day.
A good song to sing when having a morning activity at the table. While standing next to their chairs, have them shake hands with their neighbor and dance around with the lyrics. You might also get them to dance around the table and switch partners several times. When the song ends, they have to sit next to their new neighbor, to encourage making new friends.
3. Come to the Carpet Song
Come to the carpet, use your walking feet
Come to the carpet, moving to the beat
Come to the carpet, careful not to shout
And don’t forget that when you sit to have a quiet mouth.
This is a jazzy song that you can use to get all of the kids moving to the carpet for reading or other carpet activities. It is short and quick, so you may want to sing it twice to allow them enough time to get to the carpet. Once every is on the carpet, you can focus their attention by engaging in a fingerplay song or chant.
4. Five Little Monkeys Fingerplay Song/Chant
Five little monkeys swinging from a tree, teasing mister alligator, can’t catch me
Along comes mister alligator, quiet as can be, and snap
Four little monkeys swinging from a tree
Teasing mister alligator, can’t catch me, no you can’t catch me.
Combining songs or chants with fingerplays is an effective way to attract kids to the next activity and get them to focus because they are using their eyes, ears, and hands. This fingerplay is fun for kids because of the action involved in the story of the five teasing monkeys. By the end of the song, all the kids should be gathered and ready for the next activity.
5. Wiggle It Song
Touch your ear and wiggle it, touch your nose and wiggle it,
Touch your head and wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle it all around
Let’s wiggle up high, wiggle down low, wiggle real fast, and wiggle real slow.
Kids get a lot of built up energy throughout the day, and they need to have a constructive way to release it. A wiggle song is a great way to settle down antsy kids and transition to an activity where they need to be still. This wiggle song allows you to introduce new body vocabulary while also getting the wiggles out. With preschoolers, start out with wiggling a few body parts, and gradually adding new ones at the start of each week.
6. Wash Your Hands Song
Wash your hands (wash your hands), before you eat (before you eat)
Wash with soap and water (wash with soap and water), your hands are clean, you’re ready to eat.
This hand washing song by the Wiggles is a good example of how you can use the classic Frere Jacques song for different transitional tasks. This one is good for cleaning up after a messy activity or washing before and after lunch. The tune very easy to adjust, but keep it simple so that preschool kids don’t get confused by what activity goes with the song.
7. The Ants Go Marching Lineup Song
The ants go marching one by one, hoorah hoorah
The ants go marching two by two, hoorah hoorah
The ants go marching three by three, the last one stops to climb a tree
And they all go marching down, to the ground, to get out, of the rain.
Marching songs are a good way to get kids lining up and marching in place before leaving the room. You can repeat the first line of the song for a single line or just go through all ten numbers. Change the lyrics as you see fit to give the last child in line a special job, like spinning around or tooting their horn.
8. Criss-Cross Applesauce Calming Song
There are multiple versions of this circle time song to get kids sitting with their legs folded and ready to listen. Some are a faster paced, but this one incorporates yoga methods that will calm children down for a quiet activity. Incorporating simple yoga moves or meditation methods can calm children down, improve their coordination, and teach them how to follow simple instructions.
9. Clean Up Song
Clean up, everybody clean up, time to clean up
Pick up, everybody pick up, time to pick up
Pick up the toys, put them away, pick up the blocks, put them away
Pick up the books, put them away, put your things away.
Dancing and singing while cleaning up after an activity can make this task fun and encourage the kids to work together. You can adjust the song lyrics to match whatever items you are having them to put away. By focusing on one area at a time, you will teach kids how to clean up after themselves in a positive and fun way.
10. Bread and Butter Goodbye Song
Bread and butter, marmalade and jam, let’s say goodbye as quiet as we can…goodbye.
(Repeat with loud, slow, fast, high, and low verbal cues.)
This song can be used to get kids settled down and ready to leave at the end of the day or when saying goodbye to visitors. It can also be used to welcome new kids entering the class for the first time by replacing goodbye with hello (as shown in the video). The clapping, hand movements, and verbal cues of how to say goodbye or hello will focus their attention quickly. You can also incorporate goodbye and hello sign language movements.