I think singing is one of the most important things you can do with your kindergartners! Singing is active, it keeps children engaged, helps them learn information, teaches new vocabulary, unifies them as a group, helps transition between activities, expends and creates energy, and it’s fun! Your attitude makes a big difference in how well children respond to singing, I rarely had a child refuse to participate because the class was having fun! I used lots of CDs and I will share those titles and my favorite songs, but we also sang lots of other songs without music.
When I first started teaching I was a little self conscious singing with parents in the room but the children don’t care how well you sing at all – and I found out that the parents don’t either! The whole idea is to be involved and have fun. As I was thinking about songs we sang over and over they fell into 3 main types: Songs that went along with rituals or routines in our classroom, songs that taught or reinforced things we were learning about, and songs that were just for fun. I would like to share some of these with you, I am sorry that I can’t credit the author of these songs, a few I made up, others I got from all over the place – I changed many of those over the years to fit my needs.
These links are for songs that we sang without CDs or music, later I’ll talk about the CDs I used.
Ritual or routine songs
We sang Hello Neighbor every morning, each child faced the person to their right, then we repeated it with the person to their left. This was a Dr. Jean song but we did not use the CD. (Dr. Jean Feldman – drjean.org)
The next song is a good one for building a classroom family – we did it with sign language – if you don’t have a sign language book it is easy to find ASL signs online – even in motion!
You are my family
Here is another unifying song – very similar. I used sign language again, when I couldn’t find a sign or it seemed too hard I just made up my own motions – it really doesn’t matter what you do, but it helps to add movement.
You are my friend
Here are songs we did to reinforce calendar skills
Days of the Week
I modeled signs for the days of the week – sometimes we used the signs while reading the calendar too.
I got these from Dr. Jean CD’s – I will list my favorite CDs – but I didn’t use the CDs when we sang them – we sang them every day and knew them well. There is no reason not to use the CD or mp3 if that is better for you, I used those for many other songs -but the ones for daily routines we just sang.
We sang this song, along with simple signs, at the end of every day.
May there always be sunshine
We learned songs with most themes and units that we studied because it is such an easy and effective way to help children learn and retain information. We often sang these songs the rest of the year, after we were done with the unit. Again, I always tried to add sign language or simple movements to every song. You could even ask the kids to help make up the movements!
One of the things that really impressed parents was teaching the children to sing the alphabet backward. I introduced this after we had been through the alphabet the first time, and all the letters were on the wall right by circle time. I loved it because the children would look at the letters and really think about them as they learned to sing it backward instead of just chanting them off. There are CDs that help but I am sharing the way I divided up the letters to fit with the tune. It’s a real challenge to add the sign language alphabet when you do it backward!
3 Brown Bears
5 Senses and healthy habits were curriculum objectives. When the children memorized these songs it was easy for them to remember the information.
I know we sang more – I’ll add them when I think of them! I made up LOTS of songs using the tune BINGO for any 5 letter word that fit a unit or study –
There was a fruit that tasted good and apple was it’s name-o A P P L E
I know a shape that means I LOVE and heart is it’s name-o H E A R T
It’s deep and blue with lots of waves and ocean is it’s name-o O C E A N
I know a man with a long white beard and Santa is his name-o – S A N T A
These are just a few ideas – when we did this I cut out a shape – made 5 apples (etc) and put one letter on each. As we sang the song we would turn over one letter at a time, then spell the word as we turned them back face up. It helped kids still working on alphabet recognition and also became sight words for kids who were ready.
We also had lots of silly songs that we sang just for fun – here are some we sang without CDs.
The Bones song was an absolute favorite of parents and children. We usually learned it at Halloween when we talked about skeletons but you could easily do it with a health or ME unit, or just for fun. I got it from a Dr. Jean CD and then looked up which bones they were online – the kids started with toes and touched each bone up to head. Lots of parents told me they had their children sing this song for their pediatrician!
This was another favorite – we often sang it in the hall while waiting to go to gym.
When you sing the part about Cucharacha – make your fingers tiptoe forward, then grab the imaginary taco!
Under Chestnut Tree
She’ll be comin round the mountain
Soon I will post the names of some of the CDs I used and loved – and my favorite songs on those!