Transition songs are songs that can be used to help your students move from one activity into the next.
They send the directions of what you are asking the students to do, but by using music rather than your speaking voice, the children are more likely to pay attention.
Why Does Music Work So Well When It Comes to Transitions?
Because music is processed in many different parts of our brain. If that thought intrigues you, check out Your Brain on Music to learn more.
With transition songs, we are giving the direction we want our students to follow in a song rather than using spoken language which they’ve been hearing all day. Because it is something “different” in their environment, the alerting network tells the brain to pay attention rather than tune it out.
The Best Times to Use Transition Songs
Transition songs are your secret tool to use many times throughout the day. Below are a few of those occasions.
- When you need to get everyone’s attention during free play and give a direction
- When you need to regain the attention of your students if you lose it at circle time
- To quickly explain what to do next ie. line up, wash hand, sit down etc.
Check out some of favorite transition songs and give them a try in your class! Remember, you can always write them yourself using a piggy back tune! Not sure what that means? Learn more here.
We’re Cleaning Up
This simple song will make clean up time a breeze! Your students will immediately recognize this song when you play the recording or sing it in the classroom. It’s that auditory cue that says it’s time to put our things away and move on to something new!
The song can be used at the end of free play or to clean up shakers, scarves etc. at circle time.
Make it a Game!
Children love challenges. Challenge them to see how quickly they can clean up the room. The recording of the song is about 57 seconds long. Can they clean up by the time the song is finished? If not, put it on repeat and keep a movin’!
Let’s Make a Circle
Let’s Make a Circle is a great song for transitioning to circle time. Clapping along to the song while singing gives them that added layer of engagement. Before you know it, everyone is at circle time and ready to begin!
For You and You and Me
When passing things out to a large group, it can take some time. If you sing at the same time though, they’ll stay engaged as their brains process the words in the song.
I always say, “be the most exciting thing in the room” and that goes for transition time too.
At circle time it’s so much fun to pass something unique around the circle. Children get to build impulse control, patients, and awareness of other all at the same time.
But sometimes children don’t want to give up their turn. That’s where “Takin’ Turns” does the work for you. Listen to the song below and you’ll hear the short transition music that happens indicating to the child that it’s time to pass it along.
This auditory cue makes managing taking turns a breeze!
Best way to use it:
- Explain to the children you will be passing around an object and each person will be given an opportunity with it.
- Everyone will be allowed to hold the object while the song is being sung. They will pass it to the person next to them when they hear the four repeating taps.
- Turn on the recording (or sing the song a cappela and clap 4 times to indicate the time to pass). For larger groups of children, hit repeat on the song!
Transition songs are an incredibly valuable tool in the classroom, and we hope that these will help your circle time run smoothly. Do you have your own transition songs you use in your classroom? Tell us in the comments!