Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Action Song: Hat, Coat, Pants & Shoes

I have been looking for new action songs and rhymes to use as stretchers between stories on some of my Pre-K class visits, since I've been doing so many of those. I got some great suggestions from the folks on the Flannel Friday Facebook page, and Lisa's suggestion to revisit "Good old Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" actually inspired an idea of my own as well. 

I often use the version of Head and Shoulders from the Wee Sing baby CD. The tune is London Bridge, which everyone usually knows, and I enjoy singing that tune more than the original tune for the song. This week, I'm doing two different story times about things we wear - one for a Pre-K class (which happened this morning) and one at my branch's own preschool story time. When Lisa suggested singing Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes - and better yet, singing it backwards -  I had a sudden burst of inspiration. Why not sing about articles of clothing, instead of body parts? 

So I sat down and came up with this:

t [hands on head] 
coat [hands on shoulders] 
pants [hands on knees] 
and shoes [hands on feet]  
Pants and shoes 
Pants and shoes. 
Hat, coat, pants and shoes 
Glasses [hands make rings around eyes] 
Earmuffs [hands over ears]!

Then I started thinking about how unexpected it would be to sing about earmuffs, and how much the kids might giggle at that surprise. I wondered, were there other silly things I could put at the end of the song? 

My list, as of now, is as follows: 
  • Bow tie [pretend to tie a tie]
  • Scarf [similar to bow tie, pretend to tie it around neck]
  • Visor [shield eyes]
  • Bunny Ears [put two fingers on either side of top of head]
  • Fairy Wings [flap arms]
  • Mittens [wiggle fingers]
  • Umbrella [pretend to hold an umbrella]
  • Wristwatch [tap wrist]
When I shared this song with the Pre-K group this morning, they looked at me a little uncertainly after I sang about the earmuffs, but I told them to watch out, because I was very silly and I might say something different next time. They giggled at wristwatch, laughed harder at bow tie, and then lost it when I put my fingers over my head and said, "Bunny ears!" The key, I think, is to really linger on the second syllable of glasses to build up the anticipation. That way, they all get their hands in glasses position and they are all paying attention by the time I say whatever silly surprise word I have in mind. I think it's also possible to vary the song based on the seasons, holidays or just different types of attire.

For example:

  • Summer: Visor, tanktop, shorts, flip-flops... sunglasses...
  • Winter/Snow: Hat, coat, snowpants, boots... ski goggles...
  • Rain/Spring: Rainhat, raincoat, pants and boots...
  • Dressing Up (Girls): Headband, jacket, dress, and tights... 
  • Easter: Bonnet, dress, tights, and shoes... 
  • Baseball Season: Cap, jersey, pants, and cleats... 
  • Football Season: Helmet, jersey, pants and cleats...

Not all of these would be appropriate for a public library story time, necessarily, but the nice thing about songs like this is they can be adapted for use by parents at home, too!  I think I might make variations of this song a regular part of my preschool and pre-K story times - at least until I or the kids get sick of them!


  1. Very cute, I love singing in story time and am always looking new ideas. Thanks!

  2. Thanks for these new ideas. Singing is fun during story time.


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