Engage your preschooler with a choice of age-appropriate silly songs about turtles. In the classic “I Have a Little Turtle,” your child can sing about a pet turtle’s habitat before noting that the turtle snapped up the minnow, flea and mosquito, but “he didn’t catch me!” The repetition and rhythm of “Snapping Turtle” caters to preschool-age children from its opening lines, “He snaps in the morning, he snaps at night.” The darling short song called “Tidy Turtle” endears children with its imagery of the turtle, who “folds himself up carefully, and puts himself away.”
Songs with Hand Motions
Sneak in some practice with coordination by singing a song with hand motions. Little ones will wiggle and giggle their way through turtle songs while following the song's body movements. In the traditional “Tiny Tim,” children chant a song about Tim the turtle who loves to swim in the bathtub. From the swimming noises to the hiccup at the end, tiny singers will revel in the silly slant rhyming. Children will enjoy more chances to practice crawling turtle motions with “Little Turtle” and “Here is My Turtle.”
Adapt an existing favorite children’s song with new lyrics focusing on the turtle. Adjust “I’m a Little Teapot” to be something like “I’m a little turtle, short and cute.” Or sing the classic counting game song of “Ten Little Indians,” tweaking the words to be “One little, two little, three little tortoises” instead. Launch into a rousing new version of “Oh My Darling, Clementine“ with tweaked words, such as “Turtles like to swim in water -- swim in oceans or in seas. With their houses on their backs, they can wander worry-free.”
Listen to the upbeat ode to the tortoise who won the race with “Tortoise and the Hare” by Moody Blues. Bop along with the Laurie Berkner Band featured on Nickelodeon, and her Celtic acoustic version of the story with “Fast and Slow.” Hidden behind the children’s lyrics is a message to slow down or "you may find you're missing the world you go past.” Older children will enjoy the rhythm, rapping and percussion in “Turtle Power” by Partners In Kryme.
Topics for 3- to 5-Year Olds
Topics for young children must be familiar and common objects and items. Animals, household objects such as bowls, plates, toys or cars are good topic choices, giving your small child an opportunity to act out what she does with an item. Topics like television shows, books or songs may be too difficult for small children, so leave these topics for older children. Instead of having the child read the clue, you can whisper the word or concept or provide a picture. Pictures could also help a child decide how to act it out.
Topics for 6- to 9-Year Olds
Elementary school-aged children can think of ways to mime more complex ideas. They'll be familiar with many nursery rhymes, fairy tales and children’s books, so you could use familiar characters such as “Harry Potter,” “The Cat in the Hat,” Cinderella and the three bears. Kids this age can also mine familiar kids’ programs, songs or movies or verbs, such as crawl, drive, write or eat. Children from the third grade on should be able to play a more grown-up version of the game by miming the number of syllables by clapping them or holding up fingers.
Tweens have read more books, seen more movies, heard more songs and have a broader vocabulary than younger children, so these kids can tackle common charades topics, such as songs, movies, books and television shows. Tweens can topics can be based on themes, such as holidays, famous persons, sports, school subjects, or if there's a religious theme to your event, biblical characters or stories.
Teens can tackle any topic that adults or children can use. Teens may prefer more popular and up-to-date topics, such as current artists, sports figures, movies or music. Make the game more challenging by asking teens to mime adjectives or adverbs.
Parents can turn daily actions and experiences into educational songs. While singing about grocery shopping for milk and cereal or going to the gasoline station might not seem educational, the more music that a child has in his life, the more sensory-rich his environment is, according to the child development experts at KidsHealth. A sensory-rich environment helps create more pathways in the brain, according to KidsHealth. Additionally, singing about everyday experiences can help your preschooler learn vocabulary words and make discoveries about his family, home and community.
Letters and Literacy
While books are an obvious choice for an early childhood literacy lesson, educational songs can also help to teach your little one about the alphabet. One of the, if not "the," most well-known letter-based educational preschool song is the "A,B,C Song." This song can help your child remember the alphabet in order and recite it back to you. Beyond learning the letters, the National Association for the Education of Young Children notes that songs can help educate preschoolers on their native or home language. This can include vocabulary development and ways of speaking.
Numbers and Math
Instead of just counting on her fingers, your child can use music as an easy math activity. Favorites such as "This Old Man" and "Five Little Monkeys" can help your preschooler learn about counting in a sequence. Continue to the sing these, and other, songs daily to help your child to recall the numbers. Another option is to make up your own counting song or turn a basic addition problem -- such as 1 + 1 = 2 -- into an uptempo tune.
As your preschooler learns science concepts about the environment, animals, plants and chemistry, he can add to his understanding by singing themed educational songs. Earth and space science songs such as "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" can extend the learning into a more artistic pursuit. Help to increase your child's bio-based vocabulary with a few animal songs such as "Old McDonald" or "Mary Had a Little Lamb" or make up your own songs about plants, flowers and her favorite feathered or furry friends.