Storytime Songs
by Shauna Tominey

Play this game with your child at home or with a group of
children in the classroom.

Baton (wooden spoon, stick, or dowel)
Instruments for each orchestra member

Let each child choose an instrument. You can use
homemade instruments or pots and wooden spoons.
Designate one person to be the conductor.  When the
conductor waves the baton quickly, follow by playing the
instruments quickly. When the conductor waves the baton
slowly, play instruments slowly. When the conductor sets
the baton down, everybody freeze. Allow each child a
chance to be the conductor.

Cooperative Musical Chairs

5 floor mats or large paper cut-outs
Music (CD or cassette tape)

Have a teacher, parent or older child play and pause the
music. When the music plays, everybody dance around
the room. When the music stops, everybody freeze and
place one foot on a mat. When the music starts again,
continue dancing and remove one of the mats. Continue
the game until there is only one mat left. Before playing the
game, discuss the importance of team work and

Copy Cat

Take turns playing the “leader” and the “copy cat.” The
leader claps out a pattern. The copy cat tries to clap back
the same pattern. As children are first learning this game,
you can simplify patterns by counting the number of claps
or clapping the syllables in your child’s name. This game
will help your child learn to hear and mimic different
rhythms. It will help develop listening skills, following
directions, taking turns, short-term memory skills, and

Adapt this game for toddlers:
Take turns making silly sounds. Imitate the sounds that
your child makes and encourage them to make the sounds
that you make.

Adapt this game for infants:
Imitate the noises and cooing sounds that your
makes and notice their reaction.  As your infant
grows and develops, their awareness of the sounds that
you make will develop also. They may start to imitate you!

"I Hear" - Play I Spy with your ears!

Music is all around us! You can hear music in birds
chirping, the vroom vroom of cars, and even the telephone
ringing. On your next outing, help your child identify as
many “musical” sounds as you can. If you’re feeling
especially creative, put the sounds together into your own
song (vroom, flush, whoosh-whoosh, tweet!) or use the
following example:
(Sing to the tune of “The Farmer in the Dell”):

The car goes “vroom.”
The car goes “vroom.”
I hear music all around,
The car goes “vroom.”

The phone goes “ring…”

My feet go “stomp…”

Listening Bingo

Tape recorder
Paper and crayons

Tape record different sounds around the house (sink
running, toilet flushing, door bell, vacuum cleaner,
telephone ringing). Play them back and try to identify each
of the sounds. Draw pictures of the sounds on paper and
cover or cross out each picture when you hear them. Try
taping voices of family members and friends and see if
your child can identify who they are! This is also a fun
classroom activity! Record the voices of each of the
children in your classroom and let them guess their friends’

Musical Simon Says

2-3 different musical instruments*
(bells, drum, pots and pans)
*snapping, clapping, stomping, can be used in place
of actual instruments

Take turns being the “leader.” Assign different actions to
each instrument. For example, when the leader shakes the
bells, everyone shakes their heads. When the leader
beats the drum, everyone stomps their feet. Make the
game more challenging by adding more instruments.

Adapt this game for toddlers:
Try using one instrument to start. When the leader
the bells, everybody jumps. When the leader
stops, everybody freezes. The goal of the game, when
playing with toddlers, is to help them begin to listen and
translate hearing music or sounds into moving their bodies.

Adapt this game for infants:
Infants are not yet at a developmental level where they can
fully understand the concept of Musical Simon Says. They
can, however, learn to associate hearing sounds with body
movements. Help infants kick their legs or move their arms
as they hear a drum beat or bells ringing. Attach bells to
their feet so that they can learn to create music and sound
by kicking their feet.

Sleeping, Sleeping

Chant or make up your own tune and sing the
following words:

Sleeping, sleeping,
All the children are sleeping.  
And when they woke up they were

Help children pretend to sleep during the song and then
allow them to act out the animal or idea. Encourage
pretend play and abstract thinking by replacing the
underlined word with animals, actions, and more!

Make a Flannel Board Story

Felt Squares in a variety of colors

Enhance your child’s favorite songs with a flannel board
story. Cut characters out of felt (ie the Three Little Pigs,
Old MacDonald’s farm animals) and use them to act out
the song while singing or listening to a recording. Having a
hands-on flannel board story adds another element to
songs and makes the story more concrete. Allow your child
to play with the pieces independently. They will be able to
retell the story or make up their own stories and songs with
their favorite characters!

Tip #1: Not a great artist? Find free clip art on the internet
that you can trace to create your favorite characters or
look at the free coloring pages on www.storytimesongs.
com for ideas!

Tip #2: If you don’t have a flannel board, try using the
back of your upholstered couch!

Rhythm Cards

Help your child develop early literacy skills and learn to
understand music notes with these easy games! Start by
having your child clap the syllables in their name (ie “Kris-
ten” = clap-clap, “John” = clap).

When your child is able to relate clapping to the syllables
in their name, you're ready to start learning notes! Make
your own rhythm cards or print these free cards. Help your
child count the number of syllables in the name of the
animal (or object) on the card. Notice that the number of
syllables is the same as the number of notes on the page!
(Cat = 1 note, Turtle = 2 notes). Clap or play your favorite
homemade instrument in time while looking at the cards
and chanting (ie "Cat, cat cat").

Printable Rhythm Cards (PDF)

Quarter Note (1 note = 1 beat)

Eighth Notes (2 notes = 1 beat)
race car

Triplet (3 notes = 1 beat)

Sixteenth Notes (4 notes = 1 beat)

Dancing Scarves       

Get out your dancing scarves and have
a dance party! If you don’t have dancing scarves,
make your own! Visit the fabric department in your
favorite craft store and buy leftover scraps of material.
Cut them into large squares and rectangles.

Paper Plate Skate

2 paper plates per participant

Put one paper plate under each foot and
skate around the room to your favorite songs! This activity
encourages awareness of others and self control. Put
cones or other obstacles around the room and try to
maneuver through a homemade obstacle course! Paper
plate skate works best on a linoleum floor or thin carpet.

Musical Hugs

Directions: This is a great game to play with a small
group of children or even with your family at home! Play
the “Freeze Game” with your favorite dance music!
Designate someone to “pause” and “play” the music.
Everyone dances until the music stops. When the music is
paused, find a partner to hug! Continue dancing when the
music resumes. This variation of musical chairs
encourages positive interactions!

Jingle Jive

Jingle Bell Bracelets
(Click here for instructions!)

Directions: Now that you have your jingle bell bracelets
ready, let's try the jingle jive! Have children put their
bracelets on their wrists and ankles and dance around. Try
stomping, skipping, hopping, and moving in slow motion.
Take turns conducting with your body! Watch as the
conductor shakes a foot, an arm, or their whole body and
try to follow along! This game is sure to make everyone
laugh and it's a great activity to work on gross motor skills,
coordination, following directions, turn-taking, and more!

Jingle Bell Art

Jingle Bells*

Have you ever painted with marbles? This is a
fun and easy musical variation on marble painting. Put
your paper in the bottom of the box. Dab paint onto your
paper. Place jingle bell(s) into the box. Shake the box from
side to side and listen to the music you create while the
jingle bells roll around and spread the paint. Enjoy your
musical art!
*This works best with large jingle bells. Small bells become
easily filled with paint.

Name that Hum!

Directions: Help children develop their music ability
through listening. Listening helps children develop a sense
of rhythm and pitch. Hum (or whistle) a familiar tune and
see if they can guess what it is! If they have trouble, add a
few words for clues. Let children take turns humming too!

Roll us a Song!

Square box
Markers or crayons
Tape or glue

Help your child draw or color six pictures
representing their favorite songs. Glue or tape each
picture to one side of the square box. Let your child roll the
song block to choose what song to sing next!

*Teacher tip: This is a variation on using a songbook (visit for songbook instructions). If you
are short on time, a song block is a great way to involve
children in selecting songs.

*Fun tip:  Put bells inside your song block to hear a fun
jingle every time your child chooses a song!


Use your classroom drum, an upside-down plastic
container, laundry hamper, or even a sturdy box for
this activity!  This activity is great for at home or in
the classroom.

Activity #1: Learning names and syllables.

Pass the drum around the circle and help each child drum
the syllables of their name. (ie “Char-lie,” “Juan,” “Me-lin-
da”). Count the number of syllables together. Other
children can clap along and help count while waiting for
their turn. Some children will be able to easily differentiate
between syllables, but for others it will take a lot of practice!

Activity #2: Feeling the beat.

March around the room together while a teacher beats the
drum. When beating slowly, have children move slowly.
When beating quickly, have children move more quickly.
This activity helps practice listening skills and following
directions! Let children take turns beating the drum. They
will enjoy beating quickly and slowly and watching their
friends move to their beat.

Activity #3: Body beats.

Like activity #2, this game helps children learn to listen to
different rhythms and follow directions. Choose a child to
start as the drummer. Let the drummer choose a body
movement (ie clap hands, shake head). As the drummer
beats the drum, help the other children clap or shake
quickly or slowly along with the beating of the drum! Pass
the drum around and let the next drummer pick a new
movement! This is a great way to get inside exercise on a
rainy day!

Music Maps

Crayons or markers
Your favorite music

Directions: On your marks, get set, draw! Turn on your
favorite music and scribble along. Try drawing along to fast
songs and slow songs. Do you notice any differences in
your drawings? Let the music you choose inspire your