Inside: Simple preschool music and movement activities to enjoy with your kids. Support language, motor, and social-emotional skills while you bond as a family.
Music has a magical way of making you feel good. It calms you, lifts your mood, and brings you closer to those you love. It’s one of my favorite ways to connect as a family.
Below, I’ve collected an extensive list of simple preschool music and movement activities. Use these ideas to smooth over transitions, dodge an impending meltdown, or just for fun!
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Photo credit Tatiana Syrikova
Preschool Creative Movement and Dance
- Have a dance party.
- Make up a short sequence of steps together.
- Move freely with scarves.
- Dance with wrist bells.
- Dance with your favorite stuffed animal.
- Roll a ball back and forth as you listen to music.
- Play Ring around the Rosie.
- Do the Hokey Pokey.
- Dance along to The Freeze by Greg and Steve.
Explore the flow of music.
Help your child experience the flow of music by stirring an imaginary pot of soup with both hands while you sing. This song by
Preschool Songs and Fingerplays
I don’t sing because I’m happy; I’m happy because I sing. ~William James
Singing with kids supports their developing communication skills, emotional regulation, and cognitive development. Don’t worry about being perfect. The point is to show your child that singing is enjoyable and that everyone can do it.
Fingerplays are simple songs with accompanying hand motions. Here are a few to get you started.
Sing and Sign
These songs use American Sign Language (ASL) for the motions. Enjoy learning a bit of sign language while you sing.
- The Itsy Bitsy Spider (ASL)
- The More We Get Together (ASL)
- Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (ASL)
- ABC Song (ASL)
More Simple Kids Songs
These delightful songs are some of our favorites! Once you’ve learned the traditional verses, ask your child for suggestions to add to the songs.
Music for Listening
Listening to music brings us together – but what music is best for bonding as a family? According to experts, the key is exploring a variety of music from Jazz, to Classical, to Rock and Roll. As long as the lyrics are appropriate, nothing is off limits! Here are a few ideas to get you started.
High-Quality Children’s Music
- You are my Little Bird by Elizabeth Mitchell
- Putamayo Kids World Playground
- Carnival of the Animals: A Parade of Kids’ Classics
Grown-up Music for Kids
As a toddler, my son loved the song Cecilia by Simon and Garfunkel. My 10-month-old currently grooves to Santana’s Oye Como Va. While there is some wonderful children’s music out there, we don’t limit ourselves! Share your old favorites and explore new “grown-up” music with your kids.
Calming Music Activities for Preschoolers
Music can soothe both you and your child in moments of stress. Use these music and movement activities when you need a moment of calm connection.
Curl up on the couch with your child and listen to music. Don’t say a word – just listen and enjoy!
Hold your child and gently sway to a calm and quiet song.
Find Music Everywhere
Invite your child to pause and listen to the sounds around you. After listening, discuss what you heard.
Painting to Music
Put on some music and paint together. Notice how your art is affected by different types of music.
Draw pictures on your child’s back while listening to music together.
Rhythm instruments add a hands-on element to music learning. Follow your child’s lead while exploring rhythm and sound together.
DIY Musical Instruments
Try these ideas for making your own musical instruments.
Purchase Musical Instruments
Have some high-quality instruments available for exploration. Here are a few of our favorites.
Lovely sound and in tune! The flexible mallet makes it safer for young kids to explore.
This drum survived 9 years at m day care and is still going strong with my own kids. Great sound and so fun!
These are perfect for playing (and dancing) along to your favorite songs.
Kids love strapping these bells on and dancing around the room.
Related: Favorite Spring Songs for Kids
Musical Children’s Books
Reading with your child is a wonderful way to strengthen your bond. Make reading time musical with these fun ideas.
Rhythmic Children’s Books
Many children’s books have a natural rhythm. Try rhythmically chanting or “rapping” the words to these fun reads.
- Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? by Dr. Seuss
- Pajama Time by Sandra Boynton
- Jazz Baby by Lisa Wheeler
- Perfect Piggies by Sandra Boynton
Singable Children’s Books
These books are based on some of our favorite songs. Sing along as you turn the pages.
Follow a little bird who learns to sing and soar. This uplifting book is a favorite to sing along to!
Follow a child as he navigates life’s ups and downs. Several additional verses address mistakes, making friends, and more.
Sing along to this beautiful song about a baby beluga traveling with her mother.
This fun board book expands on the classic tune. Kids love to see the entire station revealed through cutouts in each page.
A few minutes of connection can make all the difference. Preschool music and movement activities support your child’s development while you bond as a family.