The best LearnEnglishKids songs for very little kids

As chosen by Ms Y Case, aged 12 1/2 months (not too young to Rock’n’Roll!)

My own, rather different, views on the British Council’s song selection will follow in the next post. As always with the LEKids site, all songs below have nice visuals but pretty terrible sound quality (an anti-piracy technique??):

1. Hokey Cokey

2. If You’re Happy and You Know It (Clap Your Hands)

3. Hickory Dickory Dock (The Mouse Ran Up the Clock)

4. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

5. Incy Wincy Spider (Climbed Up the Water Spout)

6. The Wheels on the Bus (Goes Round and Round)

7. When Goldilocks Went to the House of the Bears

8. Old MacDonald (Had a Farm)

9. Ten Little Aeroplanes (version of 10 Little Indians)

10. How Much is That Doggie in the Window (the one with the wagedly tail)

Don’t know whether there is anything generalisable here, but here seems to be what seems to be the most important things in deciding which ones she likes, in no particular order:

 Sudden dramatic changes in loudness, excitement, etc

 Having actions she can more or less copy, or at least enjoy watching (She got her mother right on the nose with the tick tock of Hickory Dickory Dock the other day…)

 Knowing the story

 Cute animals

 A few recognisable words

 Being able to sing along as much or as little as she likes (woof woof being the limit so far)

 Tune

With all of these factors, especially the last one, it is noticeable that almost all of these are traditional songs, despite my best efforts to practice the EFL ones for my next young learners’ class on her, and my own preference for the original songs that are going to be in the next list. I guess there is a reason why parents have been singing these for hundreds of years. For example, Ten Green Bottles had always seemed like the most boring, tuneless and pointless of songs to me. Little did I know that it is more effective by far as a lullaby that Rock A Bye Baby On the Treetop- and with much less disturbing lyrics! The same pretty much works for EFL learners too, with precious few non-traditional songs really getting them going, especially unfortunate with Old Macdonald Had A Farm- the Hangman of young learner songs (they can never get enough of it, despite learning nothing)

Any other recommendations for songs and sources?

This entry was posted in LearnEnglishKids, links, pre-school/ kindergarten/ very young learners, Teaching young learners, TEFL, Using songs with kids. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The best LearnEnglishKids songs for very little kids

  1. Supercatmuses says:

    Some favourites at my house are:

    There’s a tiny caterpillar
    The run-away train
    Five little ducks
    One, two, three, four, five
    Bananas in pyjamas
    Theme tunes form their favourite programmes, so plenty of Thomas the Tank Engine, Bob the Builder and Roary the Racing Car, not to mention, please don’t mention, the odious Barney.

    Also Lily the Pink -which may have been a bad parenting mistake on my part.

  2. With very young children, songs or rhymes with physical contact work well, such as:

    Round and round the garden
    This little piggy went to market (not really suitable for the classromm!)

    A popular one I did last year with 5 year olds but is suitable for younger kids is Tommy Thumb – very simple lyrics and tune plus easy actions.

    I also use traditional songs like Five Currant Buns and Miss Polly had a Dolly which the kids love as they get to show off their acting talents! (Having a doctor’s outfit helps with the latter)

    Not having found any of the recordings of these songs on the web, I have to sing them myself, but the children don’t seem to mind!

  3. Alex Case says:

    Thanks Supercatmuses and Michelle, quite a few I didn’t know there. LearnEnglishKids does have a version of This Little Piggy, but my daughter prefers just the actions and as you say tickling songs really aren’t suitable for class! Have started looking up the other ones on YouTube etc and will put together yet another post on those

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