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Teaching Songs and Games to Toddlers

Updated on March 31, 2012

Toddlers love to learn

When you have a toddler in the house, daily songs and games can become a great time for passing along the well known songs, ditties, games and rhymes that you learned as a child. There is one thing toddlers love to do, and that is learn new things. Even if you never heard these songs, you can teach them to your child. Usually the parents and grandparents enjoy the interaction as much as the child does.

The easy repetition of songs like the "Itsy Bitsy Spider " and "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star " will have them mimicking you in no time.

Start off with a song

There are several hand gestures that go with the Itsy Bitsy Spider song and at about 18 months the baby will recognize the signals for the song. Simply place your left thumb to your right index finger and rotate hands so that it represents a spider climbing as you sing the verse:

The Itsy Bitys Spider went up the water spout

Down came the rain and washed the spider out

Up came the sun and dried up all the rain

And the itsy bitsy spider went up the spout again.

When singing about the sun you can ring your face with spread fingers to teach the child to recognize a smiling happy face with the sun. When the rain washes out the spider you can make wooshing sounds and flourish your hands to show the spider being swept away. These signs will be repeated by the child as they learn the song.

Even before they learn to say the words, you will find the toddler making the signals you have used in the songs.If you do not know the actual tune, any lilting tune will work and the child will love it.

The same can be done with the Twinkle Twinkle Little Star song.

The simple words for the song are:

Twinkle Twinkle little star

How I wonder what you are

Up above the world so high

Like a diamond in the sky

Twinkle twinkle little star

How I wonder what you are.

The tune to Twinkle twinkle little star is the same as the alphabet song. These two songs will get the young child excited about memorizing and having a sing along.


Add some Nursery Rhymes

The way that the nursery rhymes are written encourage a lilt in the voice and cause animation that excites the child. This enthusiasm for rhymes will set the stage for them for learning to rhyme later when they start to kindergarten and pre-school.

There are simple classic nursery rhymes that are fun for babies to learn.

Hickory Dickory Dock is a very simple verse for babies to hear and learn to recognize. The verse is simply:

Hickory dickory dock
The mouse ran up the clock
The clock struck one
The mouse ran down
Hickory dickory dock

Sure it is nonsense when you look at it, but a child will be proud of memorizing it and it allows for some one on one time with your toddler.

There is another rhyme that is as simple and easy to learn and can be another great way to teach rhyming and memorization.

The classic Hey Diddle Diddle nursery rhyme verse goes like this:

Hey diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle,
The cow jumped over the moon.
The little dog laughed to see such fun
And the dish ran away with the spoon!

Teaching the ABC's

Once there are a few songs and rhymes learned the toddlers are ready to start singing the ABC song. This will last the child their entire life. I find myself singing the ABC song when I am alphabetizing and filing. I am sure that each of us remember the tune and the words, but I will list them here just to clear up any confusion. The most common version is as follows:



q-r-s- t-u-v

w-x- y and z

Now I know my "ABCs",

Next time won't you sing with me.

This song will open the door for counting songs and will reinforce the alphabet in your little preschooler.

Bonus Song

Another simple fun way to teach a child memorization and more songs are by singing some of the many holiday songs. Again these are simple and easy for little ones to learn.
Songs like Peter Cottontail. The verse is as follows:

Here comes Peter Cottontail

Hopping down the bunny trail

Hippity hoppity

Easter's on its way

Including holiday songs will reinforce the memorization and will make memories that the child will carry all through life.  When they have children they will pass this bonding opportunity onto their own children.


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    • vicki goodwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Sojourner McConnell 

      7 years ago from Winchester Kentucky

      Thank you Kennbug and Victoria. I appreciate your comments. These beautiful models are my granddaughters.

    • Victoria Stephens profile image

      Victoria Stephens 

      7 years ago from London

      Very useful to anyone looking after toddlers, nice hub.x

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      This is an amazing page!! I will definitely try the ones I haven't yet, and what beautiful babies!!!


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