Kid's Activity: Action Songs

by Melissa Jaramillo and Julie Snyder

Music has long been touted as a method of education from the time the child is nestled in the womb. Music can be used to both soothe and to energize! The use of action songs introduces children to simple rhythmic patterns as well as increases their gross motor skills. Plus, let's admit it -- it is just plain fun!

Below you will find a few suggestions for easy action songs to enjoy with your child. If you are unfamiliar with the tunes you can generally do a search online for an audio version. Go ahead! Get silly! You and your child will find yourself collapsing breathless with giggles!

Do your Ears Hang Low?

Do your ears hang low?
  (Place hands by ears with fingers pointing down)
Do they wobble to and fro?
  (With hands still in position, wiggle fingers)
Can you tie them in a knot?
  (Pretend to tie a knot in the air)
Can you tie them in a bow?
  (Pretend to tie a bow - girls in their hair/boys at their necks)
Can you throw them o'er your shoulder
  (Clasp hands together and "throw" over left shoulder.)
Like a Continental Soldier?
  (Give a salute)
Do your ears hang low?
  (Return to original position)

Repeat -- first super slow, and then fast, faster, until you run out of breath!

Grand old Duke of York

The Grand old Duke of York
  
  (Stand at attention)
He had ten thousand men.
  
  ("Look" around at all the men)
He marched them up to the top of the hill
  (March in place as if climbing)
And he marched them down again.
  (March in place going low)

When they were up, they were up!
  (Stand straight up!)
And when they were down, they were down!
  (Sit down!)
And when they were only half way up
  (get halfway up)
They were neither up nor down!
  (Pop up then sit down quickly)

Repeat getting faster each time! See how many rounds you can make it!

Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes

Actions for this song are simple -- touch appropriate body part as mentioned. For a fun variation, repeat the verse again and again, each time leaving off another word but still do the action until you are doing only the actions, singing none of the words!

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

Hokey Pokey

For this song, just follow the actions described! For extra fun, create your own verses!

You put your right hand in.
You put your right hand out.
You put your right hand in,
And you shake it all about.
You do the hokey pokey and turn yourself about.
That's what it's all about! (Clap once)

You put your left hand in.
You put your left hand out.
You put your left hand in,
And you shake it all about.
You do the hokey pokey and turn yourself about.
That's what it's all about! (Clap)

Repeat verses using right leg, left leg, front side, back side, and finish with whole self (jump in and back!)

I'm a Little Teapot

I'm a little teapot
Short and stout!
  (Standing straight bend knees slightly then stand up straight again)
Here is my handle
  (place on hand on hip)
Here is my spout
  (hold other arm out with hand pointing down)
When I get all steamed up, hear me shout!
  (Cup hands around mouth for "megaphone")
Tip me over, and pour me out!
  ("Tip" sideways on the side with the "spout")

If You're Happy and You Know It

If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands!
  (Clap twice.)
If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands!
  (Clap twice.)
If you're happy and you know it then your face should surely show it!
If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands!
  (Clap twice.)