Music Activities for 3-5 Year Olds

Here’s an outline for an intriguing music lesson for your older children in child care that contains 8 music activities for 3-5 year olds.  It’s called Uh-oh! Part 12 from Sing and Play 3: Singing Just for Fun.

It’s full of humorous songs and activities designed to encourage problem-solving when faced with tricky situations.

In our experience we’ve found that the activities work best in this order:

1. Body Percussion  When I Was One

Warm up body and brain with this action song.  You can do this activity with or without tapping sticks but it’s more fun with. Children of the grand old age of three or four or even five like to feel superior to younger children whom they regard as “babies”.  This song plays on the notion of “age status”.

2. Fingerplay  Where is Thumbkin

You can do this one with finger puppets, two per child – one for each hand.  There is a little interlude between verses just long enough to swap the puppets from one finger to the next (hopefully!)

3. Memory Song (numbers)  The Ants Go Marching

When I first recorded this there were ten verses.  I soon learnt my lesson.  We revised the track and now there are only five. Little children don’t like too much marching!

4. Rhythm Instruments  We’re Going On a Bear Hunt

Children love this song. It works really well with actions and even better with instruments (bells, finger cymbals, shakers, guiros).

5. Melody and Harmony Instruments Diddle Diddle Dumpling

Who wouldn’t love the silly duffer who fell asleep in his clothes!

6. Drama and Movement   Monkeys on the Bed

Because it’s so naughty!

7. Games and Dances  Can You Dance?

Try silly instructions. Ask them to do what you sing, not what you do. Some will “get it”, and others will do what you do and still enjoy the song. You will be able to tell who is listening and who is watching.

8. Story Song  The Three Billy-goats Gruff

This is one of my favourite stories because it’s about relying on family in a crisis. It’s a “long sing” but worth learning so that you get to hear the big sigh of relief at the end. Everyone in your group is happy when all three goat-brothers make it to the “fresh green grass on the other side”. You can use the lyric chart or make a flip book with illustrations to guide you.  I’ve also seen it done with felt cutouts on a flannel-board.

Where can you find the lesson plan?

Want to learn how to do these 8 music activities for 3-5 year olds? You get all the music tracks AND save yourself hours of preparation time. Each of the 8 songs comes complete with

  • a written activity – including a simple score with chords and the song lyrics on a chart
  • one or more quality backing tracks so you can sing live
  • one or more vocal tracks so you can teach yourself the song

You can find out more about this Lesson Plan and 4 others in the Music Program Sing and Play 3: Singing Just for Fun