Whatever the time of year if you are stuck inside with the kids because of the weather you need some activities to get them moving and use up some of that excess energy if not the bedtime will be a major battle that you and they won’t enjoy at all. These fun songs for toddlers and preschoolers are great for getting them and you moving and there really is nothing easier to do that set up some dancing on a Rainy Day!

Toddler and Preschool Action Songs and Rhymes

Action Songs for Kids

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Have fun singing these nursery rhymes with actions together with your babies, toddlers and preschoolers.

With young babies, we either sit them on our lap and sign and play with them on a play mat on the floor.

Toddlers and Preschoolers we can burst into song wherever we are!

Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes

One of my favourite songs and also a great way to teach the basic body parts to your children is Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes. Stand up and jiggle around as you sing along to this classic rhyme for kids

 Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes, Knees and Toes,
Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes, Knees and Toes,
Eyes and Ears and Mouth and Nose,
Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes, Knees and Toes!

We then repeat this keeping silent for one body part at a time just pointing at it until you are all the way through the song in silence.

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Sleeping Bunnies

This was a fairly new one for me although my mum says that it was one that she remembers from mum groups when I was little. But, when both of mine were toddlers this was one of the songs that they loved. Sleeping Bunnies is fun and although it starts off nice and calm it gets active hoping and jumping around.

 See the bunnies sleeping,
Till it's nearly noon,
Shall we wake them with a merry tune?
They're so still, are they ill?
WAKE UP LITTLE BUNNIES
Hop little bunnies, hop, hop, hop,
Hop, hop, hop,
Hop, hop, hop,
Hop little bunnies, hop, hop, hop,
Hop, hop, hop!

It was never sung and played just once and at toddler groups, I loved to see all of the little bunnies laying around quite and then suddenly jumping and hopping all over the room.

Featuring most of our favourite songs this collection of Action songs will help you get the kids moving around. It features some of our favourite Nursery Rhymes for Babies and Toddlers as well like Zoom, Zoom, Zoom where you and your child can blast off into space. Get this Sing and Learn Volume 2 on Amazon Digital Music.

Is it Winter where you are? Check out these Winter Rhymes and Nursery Songs to sing together.

If you’re Happy and You Know It!

I’ve heard lots of different versions of this over the years, but the classic If you’re Happy and you Know it! featuring body parts will get the kids moving and you and them having fun as well.

 If you're happy and you know it,
Clap your hands!
If you're happy and you know it,
Clap your hands!
If you're happy and you know it,
and you really want to show it!
If you're happy and you know it,
Clap your hands!

You can then replaced clap your hands with different actions some suggestions are below but feel free to make up your own.

Stomp your feet, nod your head, turn around, jump for you, say Ah Ha!

Find more Songs for Toddlers and Preschoolers with your Classic Nursery Rhymes to sing together.

Wheels on the bus

Although this can be sung sitting down and with small actions, there is no reason why you have to! Why not jump up and swing those arms wide as the bus doors open, swish and sway side to side with the wiper blades. Wheels on the bus allow lots of different gross motor activities just given them a go.

 The wheels on the bus go round and round,
round and round,
round and round!
The wheels on the bus go round and round,
all day long!

Once you have that first verse done then you can add lots of different parts to it – like doors, children crying, grandma’s knitting etc… Looking for some inspiration why not pick up a Wheels on the bus book and then you can use that to inspire the verses that you sing together.

Check out these books that go with some of the action songs

Once you have danced around and moved and it’s time to slow things down and rest then check out these fantastic books that go with the songs featured here that will help you calm your toddlers and preschoolers down ready for a nap or bedtime.

Five Little Speckled Frogs

Create your own puppets to use in circle time or with your child for the popular children's rhyme Five Little Speckled Frogs. These easy to make puppets are perfect for playing with and helping your child recognise numbers and count aloud as they sing the rhyme.

With a little one that was crazy about frogs, this was always a firm favourite in our house and it was also a great way to work on counting too. Five Little Speckled Frogs can be sung as a finger rhyme but there is no reason why you and the kids can’t be those 5 little frogs and jump off some sofas into the floor pond.

 Five little-speckled frogs,
Sat on a Speckled Log,
Eating some more delicious Grubs,
YUM YUM!
One jumped into the pool,
Where it was nice and cool,
Now there are four little speckled frogs!

Then repeat with four, three, two and one until you have zero frogs sitting on that log.

After you have finished singing and moving and if this is one of your children’s favourite rhymes from this selection then why not get a Five Little Speckled Frog Felt Board Song Set – it’s perfect to help with counting and learning this popular rhyme.

Looking for more counting rhymes to sing together and support your toddlers and preschoolers with their numbers then check out our Rhymes to Count Along with.

Five Little Monkeys

Get creative and make these 5 little monkey puppets to use when singing the popular children's rhyme Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed. Template to create these easy craft foam puppets included to download.

Another really popular one in our house and shhhh but one that we used to occasionally go and jump on the bed with – if you aren’t keen on jumping on the bed why not cover the floor with some cushions and pretend it’s a bed and jump on that instead because everyone loves jumping around Five Little Monkeys is a favourite here.

 Five little monkeys,
jumping on the bed!
One fell off and bumped his head!
Mamma called the doctor,
and the doctor said,
"No more monkey's jumping on the bed!"

Repeat counting down until there are no more monkeys jumping on the bed.

Here we go Round the Mulberry Bush

This is a classic British Nursery Rhyme sung as you do some common actions like brushing your hair, washing our face and even walking like a lady. Here we go Round the Mulberry Bush it’s a great song to sing throughout the year but particularly on a frosty day due to the words.

 Here we go round the mulberry bush,
the mulberry bush,
the mulberry bush!
Here we go round the mulberry bush,
On a cold and frosty morning!

Some extra verses that you could sing would be “This the way we brush our hair, brush our hair, brush our hair! This is the way we brush our hair, on a cold and frosty morning!”, wash our face, tie our shoes, walk to school, jump up and down etc.. Make it up with actions that your kids can mimic and then get them moving and acting them out around the house.

Find a winter version of this song which can be downloaded for FREE when you join our Newsletter over on our Winter Rhymes for Tots!

One Finger, One Thumb Keep Moving

This song is a little bit more of a challenge but it is fun to see if you can’t get yourself in a muddle singing it – because at time not only have we muddled up the actions to One finger, one thumb keep moving! but also the words.

Along with the next song this was a classic from my own childhood played at children’s parties – instead of parties with my kids we found this set of music that includes this song and lots of others that are fun to enjoy together whatever time of the year and most of them will get you jumping around as well.

 One finger, one thumb, keep moving
One finger, one thumb, keep moving
One finger, one thumb, keep moving
We'll all be merry and bright

One finger, one thumb, one arm, keep moving
One finger, one thumb, one arm, keep moving
One finger, one thumb, one arm, keep moving
We'll all be merry and bright

One finger, one thumb, one arm, one leg, keep moving
One finger, one thumb, one arm, one leg, keep moving
One finger, one thumb, one arm, one leg, keep moving
We'll all be merry and bright

One finger, one thumb, one arm, one leg, one nod of the head, keep moving
One finger, one thumb, one arm, one leg, one nod of the head, keep moving
One finger, one thumb, one arm, one leg, one nod of the head, keep moving
We'll all be merry and bright

One finger, one thumb, one arm, one leg, one nod of the head, sit down, stand up, keep moving
One finger, one thumb, one arm, one leg, one nod of the head, sit down, stand up, keep moving
One finger, one thumb, one arm, one leg, one nod of the head, sit down, stand up, keep moving
We'll all be merry and bright

Hokey Cokey or Pokey

Possibly one of the loudest and fun games that we played as a group in playgroups with the kids the Hokey Cokey or Hokey Pokey if you are in the USA had us moving, learning left and right and body parts and making lots and lots of noise.

 You put your left arm in,
your left arm out!
In out, in out!
Your shake it all about!
You do the Hokey Cokey and
you turn around!

That's what it's all about
Woah the Hokey Cokey, Cokey!
Woah the Hokey Cokey, Cokey!
Woah the Hokey Cokey, Cokey!
Knees bend, arms stretched!
Rah rah rah!

Switch out the left arm for the right, the legs and then put your whole body in and about. Don’t forget as you do the Hokey Cokey part in the verse you put your hands together and move them side to side, but in the verse – go in and run to the centre and back out whilst holding hands.

Ring a Ring of Roses

This is another very classic British Nursery Rhymes – in fact, it’s been a traditional song for children since the black plague where the Ring of Roses mentioned in the song was one of the signs of the plague. However, that’s just an interesting fact and the song Ring a Ring of Roses can be sung anytime with the actions.

 Ring a ring of roses,
a pocket full of poses!
Atishoo, atishoo!
We all fall down!
Cows in the meadow,
picking buttercups!
Atishoo, atishoo!
We all jump up!

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Fun, classic Children's rhymes and songs to get kids moving perfect for rainy days, snowy days and those days where the children just have so much energy. With words and movement suggestions these are perfect for toddlers and preschoolers.
10 Preschool and Toddler Songs with Actions to get kids moving
Author
Cerys Parker

Cerys is a marine biologist, environmental educator, high school teacher and mum. Realising that life doesn't have to be put on hold and you don't just have to survive whilst the kids are young she shares ideas to inspire you to LIVE with the kids, with activities to do together, recipes to cook and enjoy and family travel to make memories to last a lifetime.

11 Comments

  1. I work at public library in the US and provide story times for children 5 and younger. We do movement all the time using the music of Laurie Berkner and Jim Gill. I know Laurie has many of her songs on YouTube and a couple of DVDs too. My 2 year old grandson loves all of her music. Have fun!

    1. My centre has many verses to Sleeping Bunnies. We change up with puppies barking, kitties purring etc. The children get to chose which animal comes next. Their favorite is Sleeping Dinosaurs that stomp. In the last line, we also sing Hop and “STOP” to keep the activity from getting out of hand.

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