Preschoolers enjoy singing and being sung to. With rhythm to set the pace and melody to evoke mood, parents use song-based activities not just to entertain their preschoolers, but to also teach lessons and tell stories. Using props can help bring a song to life visually, while stimulating play, movement and social interaction.
Puppets and Toys
Puppets and toys can take on the roles of characters in a song and can help preschoolers visualize the message within the lyrics. In the hands of children, puppets and toys are tools for communicating, interacting with others and exploring feelings. Songs about animals are easily enhanced by the use of puppets or toys, helping to bring alive songs like "The Itsy-Bitsy Spider" and "Old MacDonald Had a Farm."
Drawing and Pictures
Using a chalkboard or whiteboard to illustrate or outline a song can help preschoolers better learn from songs about 1-2-3s and A-B-Cs. Not only do pictures help with number and letter recognition, they can help teach counting and spelling skills. Drawings are especially helpful for illustrating songs that involve memory and sequence, such as "Bingo," "Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed" and "Three Little Ducks Went Swimming One Day."
Children love music and most want to participate when singing songs, but while not every child is comfortable singing in a group, most are happy to beat a drum, shake a maraca or hum along with a kazoo while others sing. Musical instruments provide a way for preschoolers to actively participate while promoting socialization, cooperation and, when there are fewer instruments than preschoolers, taking turns. Each child can have his own instrument when they are handmade. Children are more eager to sing along while beating their own drums crafted from oatmeal boxes, tooting on horns made of paper towel tubes or shaking maracas made from plastic bottles filled with uncooked rice or beans.
Costumes and Furniture
All the world is a stage for a preschooler who loves to be silly, pretend, imagine and play make-believe. Costumes, even simple props like hats and masks made of paper, help little ones act out a song like "Farmer in the Dell" or "Mary Had a Little Lamb." Furniture and even a room itself can be transformed into a boat, a bus or a farm by using the power of imagination. Preschoolers can join the bear as he climbs "Over the Mountain," be the cow that "Jumps Over the Moon," or be the driver or a passenger in the bus with the wheels that "Go Round and Round."