Storytime Songs
by Shauna Tominey
Music Activities and Ideas

Many of these activities can be adapted and used with any
music, but examples for specific songs are also given.  The
activities are organized into categories in which they best
fit. However, many activities use skills associated with more
than one area of learning.

Listen and Share

One of the easiest ways to learn from music is to listen to
it!  This requires no more than pushing the play button on
the tape machine or CD player.  Enhance those listening
experiences by talking about the songs.  You do
not need
to know anything about music to talk about it.  Start by
talking about what you hear.  Is the song fast or slow?  
Loud or soft?  Happy or sad? Click here for suggestions of
classical music to use for these activities!


Sing along!  Print song lyrics so that you can learn the
words along with your child.  Once you have learned the
songs, you can change the words to personalize them.  
Many popular children's songs are easily adaptable.
free lyrics and guitar chords to many popular children's
songs here!

Adapt the "The Wheels on the Bus" to:

The Wheels on our car go round and round... all the way
to the store  
The Wheels on your bike go round and round... all the way
to school.  

Change the words to "When You're Happy and You Know
It" to work on movement and motor skills:

When you're happy and you know it wiggle your thumbs.


To talk about different emotions:

When you're angry and you know it stomp your feet.

Try using the tune of a song that you already know, such
as "Old MacDonald Had a Farm," and make up your own
words.  Keep songs repetitive and simple so that children
can learn and remember them easily.  

Dance and Move

Make listening and singing experiences more interactive by
adding movement and dance.  This is a great way to
involve children in music activities before they have
developed language.  

Add hand and finger motions to any children's songs!  Roll
your arms for "The Wheels on the Bus" or pretend to honk
a horn when the bus, "goes beep-beep-beep."  Wiggle
each finger when singing "Where is Thumbkin?" and clap,
stomp, and cheer along to "When You're Happy and You
Know It."  

Allow children to move around and dance when listening to
music.  Watch how their movements change depending on
the feel of each song.

Play the "freeze" game!  Turn on
any kind of music and
dance.  Have someone designated to pause and restart
the music.  Each time the music stops, everybody freeze!  
Start dancing again when the music begins to play.  


Help children color pictures or draw their own pictures to
go along with their favorite songs.  

Allow children a chance to express themselves through art
and music by providing a blank piece of paper and
coloring material when listening to songs.  Encourage them
to draw pictures or make music maps (continual lines or

After completing the coloring page for "I'm a Little Teapot,"
change the words of the song to match your child's picture:
"I'm a little teapot red and green,"
OR "I'm a little teapot
with polka-dots."  


Talk about songs and discuss what they are about.  Ask
children questions about the songs to help develop
story-telling and memory skills.  

Making Instruments

Enhance any music and movement experience with
homemade instruments!  Use kitchen items, such as
wooden spoons and pots and pans to create a band or
save recycled items (plastic bottles, oatmeal containers)
and make shakers, drums, and more!  

Click here for instructions on making homemade

Books and Literacy

Help your child make books and pictures to go along with
your favorite songs.  For children who are not yet reading,
make a book of song cards.  Use a picture to represent
each of their favorite songs, for example, use a picture of a
star to represent "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star."  Your child
will learn that the picture represents a song, as letters on a
page represent words.  

Using Story Songs

Find books of fairy tales at your local library.  Read the
stories and listen to
Fairy Tale Favorites.  Discuss
differences between each book and song.  

Make your own books to go along with the songs by
drawing pictures or printing the coloring pages from this

Add sound effects to your favorite books with homemade
musical instruments or items from the kitchen.  Tap
wooden spoons together to represent the "trip-trap" of
"The Three Billy Goats Gruff."  

Create a flannel board story by cutting out the shapes of
characters and items from the story or song.  Use the
flannel pieces to retell the story or act out a song.