10 Brilliant Interactive Songs & Rhymes To Teach Your Baby

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I LOVE music. When I am teaching, I always try and get a song into my lesson plan. It is an excellent memorising tool. Once you sing the beginning of a little tune such as Twinkle, twinkle, (little star), your brain magically remembers the song. The start of a melody is like a little key inside your head that unlocks the rest. So, music is the perfect way to help children remember anything from letters and numbers to foreign languages and scientific facts. Who doesn’t remember ‘The Alphabet Song’ or ‘The Rainbow Song’?

What is more, music is fun. And sometimes funny. I am the first to admit that after a long, disturbed night with a young baby, when you are facing a day filled with laborious household chores, and probably lots of little battles of will, the last thing you feel like is “having fun”. But, happily, even if I am sleep-deprived and not feeling on best form, just the very act of singing seems to help cheer me up and help me relax a little.

And the beauty of it is – your baby is learning a lot when you sing to them. There is a very good article on the Youth Music website that talks about the many different ways that music can benefit your baby or child.

So I am really looking forward to sharing my favourite songs for older children…but I will have to try and contain myself until T is a bit older!

Below, I’ve posted my current favourites for babies. I have selected them based on how fun they are for baby and you), how interesting the melody and words are and how active they are, so that your baby can feel involved.  Incidentally, these are all adaptable for older children, but I have put actions that I think are more suitable for babies.

I find the best way to learn any song is to watch someone perform it, so this isn’t the ideal way to present the songs really.  So, if you are unsure of the tune, you can click on the title of the song and there is a link to a youtube video.

What if I can’t sing??

A few of my friends are concerned about singing to their babies because they think they are tone deaf, and they might pass this on to their babies.  Firstly, I don’t think it matters – your baby will still enjoy it, as they will be interacting with you and you are their favourite person.  But if you really want them to learn tone, why not just have the video on for the tune, while you do the actions? Or, you could involve your husband or relative in singing sessions, to sing the actual songs, while you do the rhymes!

1. Zoom, zoom, zoom!

Zoom, zoom, zoom, (hands clasped together as if you’re praying – move them from one side to another on each zoom)
We’re going to the moon!
Zoom, zoom, zoom,
We’ll be there very soon…
If you want to take a trip,
Climb aboard my rocket ship (walk fingers up baby’s arm)
Zoom, zoom, zoom
We’re going to the moon!
5,4, 3, 2, 1… (hold up five fingers, then four etc.)
Blast off! (lift baby up into the air)

2. The Grand Old Duke of York

Oh, the Grand old Duke of York,
He had ten thousand men.

He marched them up to the top of the hill (lift baby up on the word ‘top’)
And he marched them down again! (bring baby back down to the floor)
And when they were up they were up (lift baby up)
And when they were down, they were down, (put baby down)
And when they were only half way up (lift baby up a bit)
They were neither up (lift baby up)
Nor down! (put baby down)

3. Round and Round the Garden (no tune as this is just a rhyme)

Round and round the garden (trace a circle with your finger on your baby’s tummy)
Chase the teddy bear (as above)
One step (press your finger on his tummy)
Two step (as above, as if your fingers are walking up his chest)
Tickle him under there! (tickle your baby under the chin/arms/wherever you fancy!)

4. Row, row, row your boat (variations)

Sit with your legs facing forward. Place your baby inbetween your two legs, facing you, and hold his hands. As you sing the song, pull him towards you then back, rhythmically.

T’s variation: he likes to sit on my tummy while I lie on my back an pull his arms back and forth.  This started around 10 months – think he likes bouncing up and down.  The faster I do it, the better!

Row, row, row your boat
Gently down the stream.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
Life is but a dream!

Optional Verses
Rock, rock, rock your boat (sway your baby side to side)
Gently to and fro
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily
Down the stream we go!

Row, row, row your boat,
Gently down the river,
If you see a polar bear,
Don’t forget to shiver! (Shiver)

Others:

To the shore…lion there…roar!
Down the creek…little mouse…squeak!
Across the lake…jellyfish…shake!
Over the lagoon…if you look up to the sky, you will see the moon!
Gently in the bath…if you see a tall giraffe…laugh!
Down the stream…crocodile…scream!

5. Dingle-dangle Scarecrow

When all the cows were sleeping, and the sun had gone to bed… (hands together under head like a pillow)
Up jumped the scarecrow, and this is what he said: (lift baby up in the air)
I’m…a….dingle-dangle scarecrow, with a flippy floppy hat, (wiggle them around from side to side)
I can shake my arms like this and (shake baby’s arms)
Shake my legs like that! (shake baby’s legs)

When all the hens were roosting and the moon behind a cloud,
Up jumped the scarecrow and shouted very loud…

When the dogs were in the kennels and doves were in the loft,
Up jumped the scarecrow and whispered very soft…

6. Little Peter Rabbit (this video has slightly different words but it shows you the tune OK)

Little Peter Rabbit (hold hands above head like rabbit ears and bend)
Had a fly upon his nose (repeat x 3)
And he flipped it, and he flopped it (pretend to bat fly from your nose)
And the fly flew away (index finger flaps off as if it is a fly)

Floppy Ears (flop hands above head, like ears)
And curly whiskers (trace curly whiskers coming out from your cheeks) Repeat x 3

And he flipped it and he flopped it and the fly flew away!

7.   This Little Piggy (no tune, just a rhyme)

Wiggle each toe for each piggy, starting with the big toe:
This little piggy went to market
This little piggy stayed at home
This little piggy had roast beef
And this little piggy had none,
And THIS little piggy cried “ wee, wee, wee, wee, wee…all the way home” (run your fingers like all the way up bays body from his toes and tickle him at the end.

8.  Incy Wincy Spider

Incy Wincy Spider climbed up the water spout (fingers walk up baby’s body)
Down came the rain and washed the spider out (palms facing baby, wiggle your fingers and bring them down like rain)
Out came the sunshine and dried up all the rain (make an arc with your two hands, starting in the middle)
So Incy Wincy Spider climbed up the spout again (fingers walk up baby’s body and give her a tickle!)

9.  Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes

Heads, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes
Heads, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes
And eyes and ears and mouth and nose
Heads, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes
(touch each part of the body as you say the word)

10.  Humpty Dumpty

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall (sit up with your knees bent and place your baby on your knees
Humpty Dumpty had a great (dramatic pause!) fall (straighten your legs out so they are flat on the floor)
Al the King’s horses and all the King’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty together again! (sing this bit at a faster pace and bounce baby on your knees again in time)

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3 thoughts on “10 Brilliant Interactive Songs & Rhymes To Teach Your Baby

  1. Pingback: Teach Your Baby Maths: Fun Counting Rhymes for Under Ones | Play It Again Mummy

  2. Pingback: How to Make Music With Babies: Three Ways To Pimp Your Rhyme TIme | Play It Again Mummy

  3. Pingback: Improvising – songs, straws and peek-a-boo

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