Songs for Early Childhood: Action, Action, Action!

By Anna Stange

 Toddlers and preschool age children are usually bundles of energy.  Songs with motions can captivate their attention, channel their energy, and help teach them motor skills.

Traditional finger plays work especially well in the car.  If the child has already been introduced to the songs and actions, he or she can “do” the song while you sing (or play along with a recording).  I’ve used finger plays, lap songs, and play party songs to occupy youngsters (my own included) in many situations, even in a hospital waiting room!  I’ve listed a few less common, yet still fun, finger plays below along with “new” verses to an old song.

Blow The Balloon  (Sung by Ella Jenkins on Traveling with Ella)

Blow the balloon.  Blow the balloon.

Blow it, blow it, blow it, blow it, blow it.


Where did my balloon go?


Popcorn Song

You put the oil in the pot and you let it get hot

You put the popcorn in and you start to grin

Sizzle, sizzle, sizzle, sizzle, sizzle, sizzle POP!

Some accompanying ideas & activities here.


The Hammer Song

Anna pounds with one hammer

One hammer, one hammer

Anna pounds with one hammer

Then she pounds with two (up to 5!)

Use hands, then feet, then head to imitate hammering motion.


5 Little Hot Dogs

5 little hot dogs frying in a pan

The grease got hot and one went BAM!

4 little…3 little…2 little…1 little…

No little hot dogs sitting in the pan

The grease got hot & the pan went BAM!

You can find videos of motions and a flannel board presentation by Googling this rhyme and clicking on YouTube links.


If You’re Happy & You Know It

If You’re happy & you know it,

Rub your tummy

Touch your toes

Wiggle your ears

Shake your arms

Pat your knees.


Want to join our first virtual early childhood song swap?  Respond to this posting with your favorite songs for children aged infant-6.  Links to videos and/or song recordings are encouraged but not required.

Anna Stange is on CMN’s Board and Executive Committee.