Making music together can be a time for joyous sharing, laughter, creativity, and movement. Most children love to sing and when you, the teacher, find creative ideas for turn taking and introducing songs - this makes learning fun.
The easiest way to start a music program in your classroom is to pick a few traditional children’s songs that everyone knows. Whether it’s “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” or “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”; this is a beginning to making your song list. As you start making a catalog of the songs your class knows (and continue to add new songs as they are mastered), it’s time to make props to enhance the sing-a-longs. Try some of these fun ideas to make for smooth transitions between songs.
Use a Color Board
Take a sheet of poster board and draw small squares in different colors. You can color them with crayons/markers or use colored construction paper to fill in the squares. For each color on your poster board, place a color swatch into a small container such as a coffee can or plastic bucket. Write the titles of the songs your class knows onto the poster board next to a color.
To play this game, have a child pick a color swatch from the container. The color is to be matched to the color board and this determines which song to sing. Continue to allow other children to pick colors from the container and match songs until song time is over.
A Flowerpot of Songs
Draw and cut out pretty flowers using construction paper, wallpaper, or fabric. Attach these flowers to wooden Popsicle sticks with glue. For every song your class knows, write the title on a stick flower. Place this group of flowers into a clay flowerpot. One by one, ask each child to pick a flower from the pot. Sing the song named on the stick. As your class learns new songs, add more flower sticks to the flower pot.
Roll a Dice
Make a chart on poster board and draw dots from one to six. Title a song next to the dots. Let a child roll the dice and count the dots together. Match whatever number appears to the dots on the chart. This is the song to sing. As your song list grows, add two dice for higher numbers on your chart. Preschool ideas for turn taking don’t come much easier than this.
Bag of Toys
Collect small toys such as a Matchbox car, a Lego brick, plastic people or animals, and so on. Place these toys into a bag. Chart the toys by drawing a picture of each on a poster board. Next to each drawing, list a title of a song the class knows. Have a child reach into the bag and pull out a toy. Match this toy to the chart and sing that named song. Continue playing and singing, giving each child a chance to choose a song.
Use a large sheet of cardboard or poster board to make a floor target. Divide the board into squares and into each square write the song titles your class has mastered. To play, invite a child to stand behind a starting line and toss a beanbag at the target. SIng the song for whichever box the bag lands in. Take turns tossing and singing.
Pass the Microphone
Use a pretend microphone or a real one if available. Have the children seated in a circle on the floor. The teacher suggests a song and the entire class begins to sing. Pass the microphone around the circle from child to child. Let the children sing into the device for a few seconds and then pass it to their neighbor. Whoever is holding the microphone at the end of the song gets to suggest the next song. Continue to play for a few songs or until the class is “sung out” and tired.
Make music time fun by implementing these preschool ideas for turn taking. They will solve problems in song selection, reduce arguments, and incorporate interesting games to play along with singing.