The Importance of Music and Nursery Rhymes in Early Years

The early years are critical in shaping a child’s cognitive, emotional, and social development. Music and nursery rhymes play a significant role in fostering holistic growth by stimulating intellectual faculties, instilling emotional intelligence, and nurturing social skills.

The Power of Music in Early Childhood

  • Cognitive Development

Music enhances brain functions, such as memory, attention, and creative thinking, and boosts early intellectual growth by engaging multiple senses, promoting neural connections, and fostering problem-solving and spatial-temporal skills.

  • Emotional Development

Children learn to express, identify, and manage their emotions through music. Music can elicit many emotions, helping children develop emotional intelligence, empathy, and self-regulation.

  • Social Skills

Musical activities like singing, dancing, or playing instruments encourage sharing, cooperation, and communication among children. These joint experiences build community, foster cultural appreciation, and teach children essential social etiquette.

The Potency of Nursery Rhymes

  • Language and Speech Development

Nursery rhymes facilitate language development by exposing children to new vocabulary, improving pronunciation, and enhancing sentence construction skills. These rhythmic verses also support phonological awareness, which is essential for reading and writing skills.

  • Cognitive Skills

Nursery rhymes can improve a child’s memory recall and logical thinking abilities. Their repetitive nature reinforces concepts and patterns, while exposure to familiar themes promotes deductive reasoning and problem-solving.

  • Cultural and Historical Awareness

Traditional nursery rhymes serve as entry points for children to explore their cultural and historical backgrounds. These timeless verses convey values, customs, and historical events that enrich children’s understanding of the world around them.

Practical Strategies for Implementing Music and Nursery Rhymes in Routine

  • Set Musical Activities

Incorporate music into children’s daily activities by playing songs during playtime, arranging musical games, using background music during art projects or storytelling, or introducing simple percussion instruments.

  • Make Rhymes a Part of Everyday Conversations

Embed nursery rhymes into routine conversations by weaving them into everyday scenarios, using them to explain new concepts, or reciting them together during bedtime or mealtimes.

Long-term Impact of Music and Rhymes on Children’s Growth

  • Evolving Interest in Music and Art

Early exposure to music can spark a lifelong interest in music, dance, and other creative outlets. This passion for the arts can enhance a child’s cognitive, emotional, and social well-being in the long run.

  • Advances in Academic Success

Music and nursery rhymes stimulate critical thinking, problem-solving, and language skills crucial for academic achievement. Children with a strong foundation in these areas often excel in their studies and develop a healthy, curious attitude toward learning.

Final Thoughts

Incorporating music and nursery rhymes into a child’s early years is vital for well-rounded development. Parents and educators must actively employ these resources as essential tools in nurturing cognitive, emotional, and social growth in children. Doing so lays the foundation for a generation of well-rounded individuals with a lifelong love for music, art, and learning.


Andrea is currently the head of content management at SpringHive Web Design Company, a digital agency that provides creative web design, social media marketing, email marketing, and search engine optimization services to small businesses and entrepreneurs. She is also a blog contributor at Baby Steps Preschool where she writes storytime themes, parenting tips, and seasonal activities to entertain children.

4 Reasons Why Songs and Rhymes Plant the Seed to Read

When my girls were little I was always singing songs and saying rhymes with them. Usually it was in the car when I knew they were a captive audience.

Maci and Natia probably got sick of my non-stop word play, but they always seemed to be up for it.

By the time they went to Kindergarten their phonemic awareness skills, or the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate the sounds in spoken words, were rockin’ because of the hours they spent singing and rhyming with me.

They also had a huge bank of words in their head that were woven together through, you guessed it, songs and rhymes!

Although there has been a lot of debate about what “ready to read” means, the science of reading states that children become fluent readers when they are explicitly taught phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency and comprehension.

Turns out the songs and rhymes we were having so much fun with were not only bonding us, they were naturally laying the foundation for what would be one of the most difficult skills they would need to master in order to be successful in school and life!

Songs and nursery rhymes are filled with (but not limited to)….

 1.Rich Vocabulary – The words the girls were exposed to in these songs and rhymes were vast and vibrant!

They went beyond the vocabulary they were hearing at home which only expanded their word bank.

How often do you say “pizza, pickle, pumpernickel” in the same sentence?!? Yet, those were they lyrics in one of the girls’ favorite tickle games.Learn it here.

2. Sentence Structure – Yep, noun, verb, adjective…they are all there in predictable places and children get to hear that structure over and over and over.

3. Syllables – The rhythm of a song often reflects the syllables of the lyrics. Syllables are sometimes referred to as the “beats” of spoken language and they break the word into chunks which help children sound them out.  Many songs even change pitches within the word to make it even more obvious they are separate. Therefore, when a teacher introduces the concept of syllables in Kindergarten or First Grade, children who have been exposed to music will naturally hear the syllables.

4. Rhyming – Last, but surely not least, rhyming! Songs and well, rhymes are filled with words that have similar-sounding final syllables. When children hear enough of them, they begin to produce their own rhymes which shows their ability to manipulate language – a key skill in learning to read.

Children Need More Music!

What’s sad is the amount of children who come to school with very few songs and nursery rhymes in their heads!

That is why it is so important for educators to fill children up with songs and rhymes ASAP! But let’s face it, “Twinkle, Twinkle” can only be sung so many times.

If you are ready to add some new songs and rhymes to get your little ones ready to read then Check out “A Year of Music” and you’ll have a new song to share every month of the year!

Rather us be your child or schools music teacher? Then check out our virtual music classes for little ones here!

10 Ideas to Spice up your Circle Time

circle time ideas

It’s spring time and you know what that means, the end of the school year is just around the corner for many of you.

With that comes a little less ambition to plan.

If I’m right, then I’ve got something for you, 10 ideas to Spice up your Circle Time!

But even if you are reading this list in late October, I bet you’ll still find some inspiration you can take right back to circle time.

1. Guess the instrument

Get that box of mixed instruments out. Choose 3 to play for the class and tell them their names. Then take them out of sight. Say the outer space-themed chant below and then play one instrument at a time in between. Can they guess which instrument was played?


Astronauts, astronauts are flying all around,

One of them has an instrument, just listen to the sound.

2. Parachute Fun

The parachute doesn’t always get all the love it deserves. Let’s be honest, you haven’t gotten it out all year!

The best part is, kids love it! Try this simple song below and change the word in bold to mix it up!

If you need a little help with how to manage parachute time, check out my blog post 3 Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make with the Parachute.


(Tune: This Is The Way)

This is the way we walk around

Walk around, walk around.

This is the way and then we all sit down.

3. Change The Hello Song

Doing the same hello song at circle time can feel safe, but it can get old fast. Change up the second line of this chant and it will feel like new every time!


Strawberry shortcake, banana cream pie

If you’re wearing red, jump up high!

variation ideas: If you have a dog, raise your hands high.

4. Shadow Screen Story

Children love readalouds. But storytime doesn’t need to stop at books!

All you will need to tell a story with a shadow screen is, well, a shadow screen, some characters cut out of cardstock with a popsicle stick attached, a story you can retell easily like Goldilocks and the Three Bears and a backlight (phone flashlights work)!

Not sure how to make a shadow screen? Check it out here!

5. Hide The Star

This game is a lot like hot and cold. But instead of saying, “you’re getting hotter” when the person gets close to the object, you sing louder and quieter as they move farther away!

To play, choose one child to hide the star and one child to be the finder. They’ll hide their eyes until it is hidden. Then have the finder enter the room as the group directs them to the object using a song’s volume as the clue. I like using “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” because it is a well known tune.


Twinkle, twinkle, little star, how I wonder what you are.

Up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky.

Twinkle, twinkle, little star, how I wonder what you are.

6. Storytelling Stones

For this storytelling change up, you’ll need a short story such as “Too Much Noise”, small rocks and the characters modge podged onto the rocks. That’s it!

I’ll tell you the story using flannel pieces and that should get your wheels turnin’ on how you can put the characters on stones. Click here for the story.

7. Bubble Time

Blow a bubble and have children count how long it takes for it to pop. Try other objects like feathers, scarves and tissues. Keep a record of how long each object stays in the air. Children will also get an opportunity to play with physics as they determine which one stays in the air the longest. Be sure to ask lots of “why” questions.

8. Memory

Teach children how to play memory by placing numbered cards in a pocket chart. Next, get a set of cards with pairs and mix them up and place behind each number. Have a child select two numbers and see if the card behind them match. If they don’t match, turn them back over and have another child make a guess. Continue the game until all cards have been matched up. Make the game available for children to play with a partner later.

9. Flower Shop

Give each child 5 pennies in a ziplock. Get a bundle of fake flowers at the dollar store. Say the chant below and insert a child’s name. Then tell them how many pennies to pay. Get ready for them to want to play flower shop for at least a week after this!


So many flowers in the flower shop,

So many flowers to be bought.

Along came Ethan/Emily with a penny to pay (or “some money” if you don’t have pennies),

He/she took one (change number each time) flower then he/she ran away.

10. Make Slow Cooker Playdough

Cooking is not only fun and memorable, it is a great STEM activity. Using a slow cooker means the children can help you make it in the classroom, then watch it cook. Grab the recipe here.

Making Cleanup Time Fun!

3 Secrets to Getting Your Kids to Clean Up Each and Every Time

“A song can improve transitions because it becomes a behavior cue: Students grow accustomed to the length of the song or part of a song and internalize the time they have to move on to the next task, which helps them begin to take responsibility for their own learning.”  ~ Maria Alegria

Cleanup time inside the classroom or even at home with your kids can feel like a power struggle. 

What’s the best way to turn that around?

Make it fun!

Below are some ideas to make clean up time fun and efficient. But beware, if children have not been given notice that it’s about time to clean up, your announcement may be greeted with some pushback.

Solution? Give a 10, 5 and 2 minute announcement that cleanup time is coming. For those children who are hyper focused on their play, make sure to make eye contact with them so you can confirm they got the notice as well.

Ok, back to the fun stuff….

  1. Beat the Song!

“We’re Cleaning Up”, a Musically Minded original, has become the go-to song for many teachers when it comes to clean up time.

How do they use it? By turning it on and challenging their students to get everything cleaned up before the song is over.

Watch how it’s done in the video then try it in your classroom this week and see how it goes.

  1. Pretend to be……

If you are a theme-based program or your children are especially interested in a certain topic, use it to engage imagination to make cleaning up more fun!

For example, if you’ve been singing about elephants, ask the children to pick up toys with their trunk. If your students love dinosaurs, have them use their TRex arms to clean up. 

  1. Tell them what comes next 

Even as adults, we want to know that once we complete a task we’d rather not do, something fun is on the other side.

Kids are the same way!

Try using this fun transition song below and make it your own by singing what they have to look forward to after cleanup time.

Tune: London Bridge

When we finish cleaning up, cleaning up, cleaning up.

When we finish cleaning we will _______________.

Do you have a cleanup strategy at your house or classroom that works well? Tell us in the comments below!

Carnival of the Animals at Circle Time

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When it comes to Incorporating movement activities into your circle times, you may be totally on board but not sure where to look for activities. If that’s the case, this post is for you.

But, if you are still on the fence about this topic or you are in a classroom where the benefits of using movement at circle time is not seen as an important component, be sure to read my blog post 3 Reasons Why Kids Need to Move to Learn.

Still with me? Then it’s time to plug in some movement activities your kids will love.

Cue the Classics!

Since it’s National Zoo & Aquarium Month (yep, it’s June as I write this), let’s mix up our movement with some animal fun get inspired by Camille Saint-Saens’s Carnival of the Animals. 

Carnival of the Animals is a set of orchestral character pieces, each one describing a particular animal. Don’t let the fact that this is “classical” music intimidate you. These songs are short, fun, and accessible for all ages.

There are many picture books based on Carnival of the Animals as well. I’d recommend the Jack Prelutsky version to add a literary and visual component to your activities.  

Movement Ideas!

Here’s a link to the music for a few of the animals you might want to visit at the zoo.


Walk proudly like a lion. Stalk your prey and pounce!


Listen to the elephant music without telling the class which animal it is. Does this sound like a small or large animal? Does it move fast or slow? Which animal could it be? Once they’ve guessed it, move to the music. Don’t forget to swing your trunk!


The kangaroo hops and sleeps (in Jack Prelutsky’s book the kangaroo is wearing pajamas). Listen for what the music is telling you to do. Hop and rest with the kangaroos.


Fly with the birds in the tropical bird house. Add colorful scarves for extra fun.

3 fall activities to (pumpkin) spice up your circle time.

Hunting for fall circle time songs? You are in the right place!

Because children will be seeing lots of fall colors and decor the next few months, they’ll be especially interested in finding out how you just might be using that pumpkin at circle time. 

While this might be interesting enough to get them to circle, keeping them there means providing activities that are actively engaging.

That’s just what you’ll find in the 3 activities below. You will need to source just one item for all 3 songs.

Do you know what it is?

A Pumpkin!

You can purchase a fake one at the dollar store, get yourself the real thing (I’d suggest choosing one on the small side so children can hold it), or print my FREE song pack below that includes 5 printable pumpkins!

Ready for the 3 fall songs for circle time?

1. Walk Around the Pumpkin

Using the traditional tune, “The More We Get Together” makes this activity a perfect way to bring movement to circle time. Add different ways to move around the pumpkin like hopping, jumping etc.

Grab the freebie and you’ll get the digital audio track!

Let’s walk around the pumpkin,

the pumpkin, the pumpkin,

Let’s walk around the pumpkin

and then we’ll fall down.

2. Who Stole the Pumpkin from the Pumpkin Patch

A spin on the traditional chant, “Who Stole the Cookie from the Cookie Jar” makes this activity a perfect one for fall. Print the pumpkins in the free download and write your students’ names on them. It’s a great way to practice name recognition and build community!

Who stole the pumpkin from the pumpkin patch?

Jimmy stole the pumpkin from the pumpkin patch.

Who, me? 

Yes, you!

Couldn’t be! 

Then who?

3. Pass the Pumpkin

Circle games are always a hit and this one is no exception! Children may take awhile to get used to the idea of keeping the pumpkin moving and not holding it the entire time. But with practice they’ll realize it’s fun even if it doesn’t “stop on you”!

Be sure to grab the free download with the digital audio track. You’ll love the song as it does all the heavy lifting for you.

Pass the pumpkin all around.

Listen to the spooky sound.

Ooo, oo, ooo, oo,

Will it stop on you? Boo!

Grab the lyrics Lyrics Below!

Want the lyrics for your circle time binder along with a pumpkin printable? (if you don’t have one yet, I strongly recommend starting one).

Keeping theme organized by seasons and themes is a great way to always have new and familiar songs at your fingertips.

Download the lyrics, pumpkin printable and QR code to play the digital audio tracks below. 👇

When Ducks Get Up in the Morning

Finding farm songs to sing at circle time especially during your farm theme is probably fairly simple for most preschool teachers.

But finding farm songs that engage and teach is a little bit more difficult!

That’s why I love “When Ducks Get Up in the Morning”. Its repetitive verses with just enough variation keep kids engaged, singing and of course learning.

That’s what we want right!?!

How to Teach The Song

To really get the attention of your learners, I recommend having a bag full of stuffed animals or even animal figurines. This immediately catches their eye and they’ll want to stay with you throughout the song to see what you are pulling out next!

Want the activity pack with the lyrics sheet, activity guide and ukulele chords? Click here to download for FREE!

What They Learn

Nothing makes an activity more worth sharing than finding one that teaches too!

“When Ducks Get Up in the Morning” does just that. In this farm animal guessing song, your kids will learn:

  • Identifying animals by sight and sound
  • Singing with others
  • Vocabulary

A Lil’ Side of Ukulele?

This song is especially fun to play on the ukulele. Matter of fact, in my course, Yes! Uke’N Play the Ukulele, it’s one of my students’ favorites!

You don’t know how to play the ukulele but want to learn? You are in luck! Several times a year I offer my 4 week online training for teachers. Join the waitlist by clicking the link below and you’ll be the first to know when the doors open

Click here to learn more about the ukulele class and join the waitlist!

Name Games for Preschool

“Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”

-Dale Carnegie

Learning the names of your kids right away is a must! It instantly connects you with them and they move from being anonymous to, “oh man, she knows my name!”.

My mom was a substitute teacher for years. She had a few tricks to help her survive the day. The first one was to always start by telling the class a joke. She mainly taught high school so that opened up the door for lots of silly and probably off color ones too.

Her second trick was to learn the students’ names right away.  That way they went from being “hey you” to “Tommy, turn around!” and that got their attention REALLY fast.

I took that trick to heart and always made sure to learn every child’s name as quickly as possible. 

That meant I had to find a lot of name games to keep it fun for kids while I was busy committing the names to memory. As a music teacher I see on average around 300 kids a week so if you are a classroom teacher with 20 kids, I’m little jealous.

I did find that having a list in front of me or on the wall with the names helped me to lock in the name even better.  When we use multiple senses to retain information, it helps us to retrieve the information more easily because it’s kept in more than one spot in our brain.

Below are 4 name games that kids love and I hope you will too.

#1 Higgelty, Piggelty, BumbleBee

This catchy rhyme can be sung or chanted with the same great results. There are so many variations to this activity, that you really could do it every day for weeks! Begin by going around the circle and having children say their name at the end of the rhyme. If children are not comfortable enough with the group to say it, they may need some help. Just be sure to not force them to say their name. It will come with time.

#2 Willoughby, Wallaby Wee

If you don’t know this funny rhyming song yet, it’s time to learn it! Even babies will enjoy it especially if you bring along an elephant finger puppet or hand puppet to join in the fun.

Willoughby Wallaby Wee

Rhyming is a major component to learning to read. The sooner children are able to manipulate language the way we do in this song, the sooner they will learn to read. Click here to read more about why rhyming is such a key player in reading.

#3 Who is Here Today?

Taking the time to show each child that they are a valuable member of the learning community, builds self-confidence and a sense of belonging.  When these skills are fostered at an early age in children, it helps cement the idea that they are important and special. 

Make sure to look each child in the eye when their name is called.  This lets them know you are focusing on only them.  Emergent literacy is also developed in this activity when a picture of each child along with their name is used. By providing this visual clue, a child can correctly identify their written name in print as well as their classmates’ names – double win!

who is here today?

#4 Johnny Whoops

While it might seem boring and basic to you as an adult, kids love the simplest things like hearing their name played with in funny ways.

“Johnny Whoops” is the perfect song for this.

You can either go around the circle and do one child’s name at a time, or use a name jar especially if you have a big class. 

To use this method, simply place a popsicle stick with each child’s name written on it in a jar.  Then select a few children’s names to do at each circle time.

Start on your pinky finger and say “Johnny” as you point to the tip of each finger. After the pointer finger, slide your finger over to the thumb while saying “whoops”. Then work your way back to the pinky saying “Johnny” on each finger.

name games

Matilda the Gorilla

If you are looking for ways to get kids engaged at circle time, look no further than the ukulele!

It’s one of the easiest instruments to learn to play and kids love it!

Kids also love it when the songs you play on the ukulele are interactive. I mean don’t get me wrong, I love a good open mic night, but sing-alongs are WAY MORE FUN!

Wait, me play the ukulele?!?

Ok, we should probably address the elephant in the room here ie. playing the ukulele. It may not currently be in your bag of tricks, but before you just write it off for reasons such as “you aren’t musical”, “your hands are too big or too small” or “you are too old”, check out my blog, 3 Reasons Why You Should Learn to Play the Ukulele.

Matilda the Gorilla for the win!

“Matilda the Gorilla” is great for kids to sing because it has a repeating chorus that’s easy to join in on. I mean, who doesn’t love singing like a gorilla?!?

It also tells a story so it keeps everyone’s attention as they listen to the verses. To make it even more meaningful, teachers will love the rich language and rhyming that foster pre-reading skills.

Ready to give it a try on your ukulele? Watch the video below, then print the activity guide and ukulele chords and you’ll be playing in no time!

>>>Download the activity guide and ukulele chords FREE!<<<

Not sure how to play the ukulele but want to try? You are in luck! Take my 4 week online ukulele class and with a little practice you will be playing a ukulele superstar!

It’s a perfect beginner class geared for preschool teachers (anyone can join, I just teach songs little kids like) for those who have never played an instrument in their life, but are ready to give it a shot. Click here to learn more about the class!

ukulele class for teachers

Beautiful Bird Listening Game – a pre literacy game!


Birds are all around us and they have something to say! Just listen for a minute as you play in the backyard or take a walk in the forest and it won’t be long before you’ll hear a bird’s beautiful song.

Because each species of bird has its own unique song, you can identify a bird without ever laying eyes on it!

This makes “birding” a great way to not only explore the outdoors, but also build listening and focus skills as well as phonemic awareness. Yep, I just mentioned a pre-reading skill that birding can foster, phonemic awareness!

Phonemic awareness is the ability to notice, think about, and work with the individual sounds found in words. It is a critical skill for children to master on their journey to becoming readers.  To build this skill, children need countless opportunities to strengthen their listening and attention muscles.

Try this activity in your classroom! Check out all you’ll need in our store to teach Beautiful, Bountiful Birds today.

Let’s Meet the Birds!

This bird listening game is the perfect pre literacy activity because in order to correctly name the bird by its song, the listener must focus only on that sound and listen to the unique qualities that make up that sound. Hey, that’s just like sounds in our alphabet!

If you are ready to strengthen your child’s listening skills and get them ready to read, check out the activity pack below and add this fun pre literacy game into your next circle time!

Patriotic Songs and Books for Kids

It is never too early to begin fostering a love for one’s country. That’s why it is important for even our youngest citizen to be given opportunities to learn more about the place they call home. Patriotic songs and stories provide children a meaningful, fun and engaging door into their country’s history.  

Let’s check out a few for America.

Patriotic Songs and Books for Kids

  1. Song: Grand Old Flag

The American flag is a symbol that is used in many different contexts in our environment. That means kids have seen it before which will help get them get excited about the discussion.  Bring in some math by counting the stripes and if time allows, count the stars too! But watch your audience so they don’t loose interest – 50 is a lot to count.

American Flag

“Grand Old Flag” is traditional song that would pair well with a lesson focused around the flag. This patriotic song is catchy and has a nice, lively beat. Have children keep a beat on their legs or even create a beat pattern such as tapping legs twice and clapping hand twice as they listen to the song. This will help keep them engaged. Another fun way to mix it up is to have them put their hands in the air every time they hear the word “flag”.

2. Book/Song: “America the Beautiful”

America the Beautiful Book

This beautifully illustrated book by Wendell Minor gives readers the chance to check out many of America’s greatest places. From the Empire State Building to the Grand Tetons and many more in between, kids will enjoy seeing some of our country’s prized destinations.  Set to a patriotic classic written by Katharine Lee Bates, “America the Beautiful” is another song worth adding to your children’s repertoire. When reading the story, I like to sing the lyrics which accompany the images throughout the book. But, if you’d rather, turn on a recording of the song and enjoy. Click here for a jazzy version of the song. Click here to check out the book on Amazon.

3. Song: Yankee Doodle

Did you know “Yankee Doodle” was not the name of a person from the war, but rather a tune sung during the Revolutionary War?  It become a source of American pride and an unofficial national anthem. I think “Yankee Doodle”is  just fun to say and I bet your kids will get a kick out of it too.

Listen to it below if you are not familiar with the tune:

“Yankee Doodle” is also a great song to keep in your back pocket as a piggyback tune. Try these lyrics below with the tune to get the idea. Then try writing one that works for you!

Everybody sit on down,

Please don’t sit on the door.

Everybody sit on down,

Let’s sit down on the floor.

To add some movement to this song, turn on the recording below and follow this simple movement pattern: During the chorus have the children gallop around the room. During the versus have them stop and keep the beat on their legs.

The Star-Spangled Banner Book

4. Book/Song: The Star Spangled Banner

Chances are most children have heard our country’s national anthem at least once. But do they know the lyrics? Or should I say, do you know all the lyrics?

Studies have shown a score of Americans aren’t even sure which song is our national anthem! That is actually very sad. So, there’s no leaving this one off the list. We need to make sure our youngest generation not only knows it, but takes pride in what it stands for – freedom!

Because it is so important to create activities that keep children’s attention, finding a way to tap into multiple senses in the learning experience is key. Therefore, combining the song with a book as suggested when teaching “America the Beautiful” offers a visual and auditory component.

And there it is, a short list which could really go on for quit a while with ideas. There are so many more songs I could have added, but at least this is a start. In the comments below, tell me what your favorite patriotic song or book is to share with kids!

Flannel Board Activities for Circle Time Success

Hang around me for just a short time and you’ll see that I love activities that involve a flannel board.

I personally love to tell stories using my flannel board. As soon as the kids see me bring it out they get so excited! Check out my retelling of a Russian Folktale, “The Enormous Turnip”.

I also love Pinterest for more Flannel Board ideas. My all time favorite source is “Flannel Board Fridays” on Pinterest.

They are mainly librarians with a TON of amazing flannel board ideas that will last you well into your 20th year of teaching and beyond. Click here to visit their boards.

That’s where I found this cute rocket ship song below. I for sure plan to use it the next time we do an outer space theme.

Five Little Rockets

Five little rockets ready to zoom,

This one says, “There’s not enough room.”

It starts its engine;

Ready to fly,

Looks at the others and waves good-bye.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1, blast off!

Four little rockets…[continue counting down to one rocket]

One little rocket ready to zoom,

This one says, “Everyone’s gone!”

It starts its engine;

Ready to fly,

Looks at us and waves good-bye.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1, blast off!

Credit: Welcome to Story Time

If you end up finding a flannel board activity that your kids love, be sure to put a comment in the post below with a link to the activity.

How to Make Flannel Board Activities FAST!

As a mom to two busy teenagers, time to make beautiful triple layer flannel board activities is just not in the cards. Watch the video below to find out my trick that saves me time, but still brings the flannel board activities alive for kids.

As far as finding felt pieces for your flannel boards, you’ve got two choices, make them using my idea in the video (or cutting awesome flannel board pieces) or buy them.

For those with time on their hands, check out this blog on making felt pieces using freezer paper.

If you are like me and finding the time to get crafty doesn’t happen, I either purchase my flannel pieces from Little Folk Visuals or find images online, laminate and affix velcro to the back. Works like a charm!

I have gotten the most mileage out of the Farm Flannel Board set from Little Folk Visuals. The set seems to have all the flannels I need for a lot of stories. If my story or activity require additional pieces not included in the set, I can easily make them with the flannel I have on hand.

My Flannel Board Box

If you’d like to learn how I made my flannel board box used in the video, check it out here.

Happy Flannel Boarding!

4 Ways to Share Music with Babies

This week we’re giving special focus to actively engaging infants with music. Why? Because using music with babies can help to develop their brain.

It’s easy to have music on in the background as you go about the day, but let’s talk about a few ways to create meaningful interactions and practice developmental skills through music. We’ve been on an ocean theme this month, so we’ll tie that in as well with some specific activities you can try with your little ones.

#1. Rock or Bounce to “Merrily We Roll Along”

Rock or bounce baby to the beat with them facing you or facing another child doing the same movement. This encourages eye contact and interaction. Don’t know the song? Listen below.


(Tune: Mary Had a Little Lamb)

Merrily we roll along, Roll along, roll along. Merrily we roll along, O’er the dark blue sea.

#2. Use Manipulatives

Use ocean-themed bath toys from the dollar store to show various creatures as you sing “The Fish in the Sea” to the tune of “The Wheels on the Bus”.


The fish in the sea all swim, swim, swim,

Swim, swim, swim, swim, swim, swim.

The fish in the sea all swim, swim, swim,

On our ocean adventure.

More Ideas:

Octopus wiggle, lobster snap, waves go up and down

#3. Fingerplays!

Start by modeling the actions. Then help them do the actions with hand-over-hand assistance until they’re ready to approximate the actions on their own. Use the same song as above, but use hand motions to practice motor coordination.

#4. Add a Visual

Play “Aquarium” from Saint-Saens’ Carnival of the Animals. Blow bubbles as the music plays to encourage visual tracking and hand-eye coordination.

P.S. If you have babies in your care, be sure to check out Circle Time Success for Babies (and toddlers). It features 20 simple rhymes and songs that will not only make circle times fun and interactive, but also foster bonding, body awareness, communication skills and their quickly developing brain.

5 Little Rockets

This morning there was a total lunar eclipse and tonight is a full moon! That means it’s a perfect time to learn a fun song all about rockets!

Watch the video to learn the activity, then download the FREE printable and lyrics sheets just below the video.

3 Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make with the Parachute

When I think back to my elementary PE days, the most exciting week was when we got to use the parachute.

It was just one week a year which I found very disappointing. I wanted to use it every time!

Now I’m all grown up and I get to make the rules. That means the parachute comes to class at least every other month.

But I’ve heard through the grapevine that there are a lot of parachutes sitting in storage closets NEVER GETTING TAKEN OUT!

It’s time to “take action” and bring some fun to your next circle time.

Before you do though, read through my 3 Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make with the Parachute. You’ll be glad you did.

3 Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make with the Parachute

Mistake #1: You leave it in the closet because you just aren’t sure what to do with it. Don’t feel bad about this one. It happens to many teachers because either they don’t have any activities to do with it or the last time they took it out kids when CRAZY!

Solution: I can’t help the part about kids going crazy, because who wouldn’t go nuts with a huge, colorful parachute that goes up and down and makes your hair fly?!? But I promise when you give them opportunities to play with it more than once a year, they will begin to calm down and not be so CRAZY!

As far as activities go, there are a lot that you already know that can be adapted to the parachute. I’ll teach you one if you keep on reading.

Mistake #2 Taking out the parachute without practicing with the “pretend parachute“. Remember the part about how exciting the parachute is to kids? If you don’t teach them how to use the parachute before getting it out, you’ll for sure lose control.

Why? Because once the parachute comes out they’ll be so excited that they won’t be able to listen to anything!

Solution: Teach the children the activity you will do with the parachute, but don’t have the parachute come out of the bag right away. For example, if we were doing “Ring Around the Rosey,” I’d have them stand in a circle and walk around singing the song “pretending” to hold onto the parachute. Then sit down during the second part of the song (cows in the meadow…) and shake the pretend parachute. They are great at this “pretending” game especially if they know they’ll get to use the parachute once they’ve mastered the pretend parachute.

Mistake #3 Same activity every time you bring out the parachute Just like in the kitchen, you need to spice up what you serve at circle time. If you bring the parachute out and only do one activity every time, you’ll soon see kids lose interest and disengage. You would too, right?!?

Therefore, make a goal to learn at least 5 activities you can teach with the parachute.

Ready for one?

Check out “Come Under My Umbrella”.

Need a parachute? Here’s some recommendations…

6 Foot, 9 Handles:

12 foot, 12 handles:

20 foot, 20 handles: