Here are Cathy’s tips for selecting songs and doing music with preschoolers.
Selecting Songs for your Preschoolers to Sing
. . . Select songs that have a message. It might be the only thing your preschool children remember when they get home so send them home with a message!
. . . Select songs that help children to learn the promises of God and the stories of God’s people.
. . . Choose age-appropriate songs. The most popular pre-K songs have only 6 notes and 10-15 kid-friendly words.
. . . Select songs that are packed with motions and hand rhythms because if some of your preschoolers don’t want to sing, they can still participate by doing the motions to the songs.
. . . Music is a stimulus so it doesn’t work to tell preschool kids to “settle down” when it is time to sing. Invite them to get up and wiggle!
. . . Expose preschoolers to many styles of music. Be sure to include 50’s, blues, waltzes, 6/8, country, marches, loud, quiet, rap, rock, mellow and the list goes on and on.
. . . Teach preschoolers dynamics by teaching them how to sing both loud and soft.
. . . Teach preschoolers tempos by teaching them how to sing both slow and fast.
. . . Improve preschoolers motor skills by including song motions that where they clap up high, then clap down low, and then clap all around.
How can you keep your old, familiar preschool songs interesting? Try adding something new!
. . . Play kazoos for a verse.
. . . Pass out puppets to your preschoolers and have the puppets sing a verse or two.
. . . Use bandanas or flowing scarves (be sure to give preschool children lots of space to do their large arm movements – they need it!).
. . . Teach sign language (there are lots of great sign language video resources available online).
. . . Sing “do-do-do” or “la-la-la” for a verse.
. . . Hum a verse.
Your preschool children clap in many of their songs. Try replacing the claps with:
. . . pom-poms
. . . rhythm sticks or rhythm eggs (click for ideas on making your own rhythm sticks & rhythm eggs)
. . . plastic drink cups in all sorts of wonderful colors (you can clap the cups together or tap them on the floor)
. . . jingle bells
. . . pats on their legs or heads or tummies
. . . pats on their neighbor’s backs
. . . pats on the table
. . . stomping their feet
. . . clicking their tongues
Need a few ideas on how to wear your preschoolers out?
. . . Invite the children to march around the room while they sing.
. . . Invite the children to stand up and sit down when certain words are repeated in a song.
. . . Give your preschoolers a couple of balloons or beach balls and tell them to keep the balloons from touching the floor while the song is being sung.
. . . And of course, jumps or hop or twirls are always popular!
As preschool choir directors and music teachers, it is reassuring to know that preschoolers don’t care if you have perfect pitch. They will sing their hearts out for you if you care about them and are an energetic “song cheerleader”. Give it all ya got! God’s blessings on your music ministry with preschool children!