After reviewing my baby story time plans, and attending a number of baby story times as a mom, I’ve pulled together my list of the best materials and activities I have found for this age group. Today, I'm sharing my list of the best action songs and rhymes for baby story time. Each song/rhyme title is linked to the corresponding lyrics/words, and notes about my sources are provided in italics.
- Go In and Out the Window
Traditional song. Mama Lisa's World also provides lyrics in English, Spanish, and French, and the tune for the song here.
Not all songs with motions work well for babies, since their hand-eye coordination is still very shaky, and adults are often too busy with a lap full of baby to make meaningful gestures. This one, however, works very nicely, because folks are free to adapt the motions as they see fit. Adults can swing the babies "in" and "out", lift them up and down, and roll their hands. Older siblings can join in by moving their arms in corresponding movements.
- Tony Chestnut
Originally by Roy Jordan; popularized by The Learning Station. Hear their version here.
This is one of the very first songs I discovered when I first started doing baby lap time. The punny lyrics usually gets a pretty good chuckle out of caregivers and the actions are just tricky enough the first few times that the adults are typically motivated to pay attention so they can learn it. It can be done with baby in a lap, or with baby lying on a blanket on the floor.
- Where is Big Toe?
I found this song at Mel's Desk, and Mel found it in The Complete Resource Book for Infants.
"Where is Thumbkin?" can be tricky for babies because there's little hope of them being able to hold up their fingers one at a time. In this song, caregivers get to find baby's big toe, elbows, tummy, eyes, and hands. It's great for teaching little ones the names of these body parts and because it's a familiar tune, it's likely to be sung by caregivers both in story time and again later on at home.
- Eyes Nose Cheeky Cheeky Chin
I sing this to the tune of "Skip to My Lou", but it also works with "Someone's in the Kitchen with Dinah"and "Ten Little Indians."
Babies become fascinated with faces sometime around 4-6 months of age, and when they do, this song becomes an instant hit. It can be fun to point out the different parts of baby's own face, but babies are every bit as excited to see caregivers pointing to their own faces. This is also a good one to suggest for caregivers to use during diaper changes as it distracts baby from the lower half of her body while she focuses on facial features.
- A Hat Goes on My Head
I wrote the words for this song, which is sung to the tune of "The Farmer in the Dell."
This song introduces the names of the different types of clothing worn in winter. It's easily adapted for the flannel board, and you can also write your own verses for clothes appropriate to other seasons of the year. Caregivers can point to each body part as it is mentioned, or they can do a simple motion to suggest putting on each article of clothing.
- Cheek Chin
I originally found this rhyme on King County Library System's Tell Me a Story wiki.
This rhyme has always been my follow-up to the hello song at baby story time. It identifies the child's cheek, chin, nose, and toes, and ends with a bit of a lift into the air. It's very easy to learn, and everyone seems to love the final moment where all the babies are held aloft.
- Let's Make a Noise
From Stories and Fun for the Very Young.
The original text for this poem includes just a few everyday sounds, but the concept can be adapted for any object or animal that makes noise. Simply hold up an image and say, "Let's make a noise like a..." and then wait for the caregivers to help you make the noise. This is great for teaching not just animal sounds, but the words we use to convey the sounds made by vehicles, household objects, etc.
A full archive of my baby story times is available here. Also check out last week's post, Best of Baby Story Time: Books. Next week, watch for my list of the best ways to use puppets at baby story time.