How to Run a Toddler Music Class: Best Songs for Toddlers
Today I’m sharing our favorite toddler music and some tips on how to have your own music time or music and movement class for toddlers.
Back in Ohio, the highlight of Lincoln’s week was a music class for kids and toddlers hosted by a neighborhood friend of mine. We started going when he was just crawling and continued right up until we moved when he was 2 1/2. (I think I might have gotten more out of it than he did for those first few months)
In our new city I’ve been thinking a lot about ways to keep consistency for the kids and I know Lincoln would LOVE to have Music Makers again.
There are four key sections and one optional section to each Music Makers activity. Each month there is an overarching theme with music, movements, stories, and crafts that fit together in a cohesive, hour long activity.
The biggest challenge for me in deciding to run one is that I can’t handle doing all parts of it. If this is going to work, I need to be able to easily make assignments and ask for volunteers from other moms participating.
I love how easy signUp.com makes it for organizing something like this (along with everything from pot-lucks to class parties). Whether you’re organizing a school event, a family gathering, or a business meeting, SignUp.com makes it easy to keep things organize. You can set up group pages, sign up forms, and even collect money from people if needed.
For Music Makers it would be easiest to divide up the pieces of the activity that change month to month and assign them using SignUp.com. I know at first there will be parts of the activity (such as the song) that many moms may not be comfortable leading, but there are other pieces such as stories and snacks that would be a fairly small volunteer commitment.
A few FAQ from moms I’ve talked to about this:
Who is it for: The one I attended was for all kids that were not yet old enough for kindergarten, so it was mostly kids ages 1-4 and their parents.
When to host: We had ours every Tuesday morning at 10 or 10:30.
What to do: The different sections are outlined below, but a few times during the year we also had special activities. For Easter one week we did an Easter Egg hunt; for Christmas we put on a Nativity. There is always an end of the year picnic/ park day, and we spent one Tuesday at the local Fire Station.
In searching for some of the songs we sang I came across these downloads. They are super similar to what my friend put on each month, and an awesome resource if you’re looking to host your own.
How to set up a Toddler Music Class
- Circle time: In this part the songs are the same each week, and the kids get to know them quickly.
- “Welcome Song”: We always start with sitting in a circle and singing “Welcome to Music Makers, hello, hello, hello. We’d like to welcome <have child say their name> hello, hello, hello. We’d like to welcome <have next child in the circle say their name>. We sing this all around the circle while everyone pats their knees and claps to the beat.
- “When I Sing, La, La, La” by Janeen Brady: I can’t find this one online, but it was a favorite to do with little puppets. I’ll work on finding it and report back if I do!
- Singing Time: In this part the songs change each month depending on the theme. Usually the tunes stay the same month to month, but there is a variation to the words to fit the theme. A few generic song options we like for this section are:
- Open Shut Them: Do the little finger activities with this one (this link also has a ton of other song options but you do have to watch ads between each song)
- Row, Row, Row Your Boat: You sing this one with a partner (either parent/child or two children sitting next to each other). Sitting across from each other, you hold hands and “row” your arms as you sing.
- Counting: We always ended singing time with a counting activity that fit the theme that month. Print off little pictures that fit the theme and cut them out on cardstock. Glue them to popsicle sticks, and you have little counters. Give a counter or two to each child and have them line up. Then sing “one little, two little, three little <item name>, four little five little six little <item name> seven little eight little nine little <item name> ten little <items doing something>. For example, bees could be flying around, popsicles could be melting, clouds could be floating in the sky. You can sing the same song backwards or you can speed it up each time you sing it.
- Movement activity: Toddlers can only sit so long we get up and move. In our original clss we always went into a gym for this section but any room would work. Here are a few different options for the movement activity:
- Freeze Dance: Play music and each child has to stop when the music stops.
- Follow the leader
- Dancing with ribbons: Shaking the ribbons while dancing around with a little instruction (dance up high, dance down low) was a favorite.
- Run Baby Run: Play this song and have the kids act out the movements.
- Shake Your Sillies Out: Act out the movements they describe, and when they sing “wiggle your waggles away” we spin around.
- Head Shoulder Knees and Toes: You don’t have to play the song for this one–you could just sing it.
- Snack + Story time: Each week there are a handful of stories to read that have to do with that month’s theme. Each child brings their own snacks to keep them occupied while the stories are read. You could easily have one person be in charge of bringing snacks for everyone, but if you have food allergies or different diets (we had a few kids that only ate organic + vegan and another with a nut allergy) it might be easier to have everyone bring their own.
- Optional Craft: Each week we had a small craft (and coloring sheet usually for the younger kids) that went with the theme. When I start I’m planning on leaving this out because a) I’m not very crafty and b) keeping my own two toddlers entertained while teaching a craft would be near impossible. A lot of the crafts we did were foam sticker crafts you can order in bulk from places like Oriental Trading and Lincoln LOVED having something he could take home and put on the fridge.
Have you ever participated in a toddler music class before? Have you ever used SignUp.com?
I am about to start teaching baby and toddler music classes. Thank you for your ideas for this! I am also from Ohio:)