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Traditional Singalong Songs for Toddlers

Updated on August 12, 2012

Traditional songs are perfect as the basis for interacting with a toddler. As well as being great fun, you can teach a child the actions that go along with the song. This is great for their co-ordination and helps to build confidence in using movement to express ideas. Many traditional songs are repetitive and this will make it easier for a toddler to learn the words. Singing songs with a toddler will help to develop their language skills and build their vocabulary from an early age. It will also give them confidence in using their vocal skills and when they are with other children of their age, they will be able to participate in group singing. Best of all, perhaps, is that you don't need to possess the voice of an angel to sing these songs and even the most tone deaf adult (like myself) can enjoy singing with their children.

Here are six of my favourites, and some suggestions for other songs to enjoy with very young children.


If You're Happy And You Know It

This is a great song because you need to match actions and words. Start off with the basic song:

If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands

If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands

If you're happy and you know it,

And you really want to show it

If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands.

From here, you can pick new actions for each verse e.g. 'If you're happy and you know it, nod your head'. You can encourage your toddler to pick out the actions for each verse. The repetitive nature of this song means that children should be able to pick it up very quickly. As the child becomes more confident with what's being asked of them when they sing this song, you can build up the number of actions so that they end up singing something along the lines of 'If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands, nod your head, stamp your feet, shout hooray' etc. It's great fun matching the actions and the words.


Old MacDonald

With this song, you can take the lead to begin with but then get your toddler involved in deciding which types of animal Old MacDonald has on his farm and what noises they make. You can even make the animals and noises cumulative, so that the noises from the earlier verses are added to those which come later. This will help with development of memory skills.

The song was written in the US around 1917 and the version generally sung today is:

Old MacDonald had a farm, EE-I-EE-I-O

And on that farm, he had a cow, EE-I-EE-I-O

With a moo moo here and a moo moo there

Here a moo, there a moo, everywhere a moo moo

Old MacDonald had a farm, EE-I-EE-I-O

Here, again the repetitive nature with the same lyrics topping and tailing each verse, will assist your child. A different animal should feature in each verse and it is a good way to teach your child about the types of animals which are commonly found on the farm. if they choose an animal e.g. a tiger, which does not belong in the farmyard, you can use the opportunity to teach them that tigers can be found in zoos (or indeed in India)


The Wheels On The Bus

Another great song for kids where they can match actions to the words they are singing. You can encourage them to get involved with deciding who might be on the bus and the type of things they might be doing. A good starting point would be the traditional lyrics:

The wheels on the bus go round and round

Round and round

Round and round

The wheels on the bus go round and round

All day long

You cave fun doing all sorts of actions, such as the wipers going 'swish, swish, swish', the people going up and down and the horn going 'beep beep beep.'

Five Little Ducks

Five little ducks went swimming one day

Over the hill and far away

Mother duck said

'Quack, quack, quack, quack'

But only four little ducks came back

Four little ducks went swimming one day

Over the hill and far away

Mother duck said

'Quack, quack, quack, quack'

But only three little ducks came back

With each verse, fewer ducks come back, until one day none come back. The final verse is:

Sad mother duck

Went swimming one day

Over the hill and far away

The sad mother duck said

'Quack, quack, quack, quack'

And all of the five little ducks came back.

At first you will need to take the lead with counting down from five to none, but eventually, your child will be able to count backwards for themselves. As your toddler gains confidence with numbers, you can increase the initial number of ducks to six, seven, eight, nine and ten. Anything beyond that and the song may well drive you round the bend!


Sing A Song Of Sixpence

This is a traditional nursery rhyme believed to have its origins in 18th century England. It's another song where actions can be matched to the words.

Sing a song of sixpence

A pocketful of rye

Four and twenty blackbirds

Baked in a pie

When the pie was opened

The birds began to sing

Now wasn't that a dainty dish

To set before the king?

The king was in the counting house

Counting out his money

The queen was in the parlour

Eating bread and honey

The maid was in the garden

Hanging out the clothes

When down came a blackbird

And pecked off her nose!

More Great Songs For Toddlers

There are literally dozens more great traditional songs to teach your toddlers. You can even start to familiarise them with a different language using song. When I was little, my mother taught me two popular French songs - 'Frere Jacques' and 'Alouette' and I taught them to my children.

For a fantastic traditional songs resource, take a look at:


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  • Mmargie1966 profile image

    Mmargie1966 5 years ago from Gainesville, GA

    What memories you have brought back! This is a super hub! I voted up, funny, awesome, and share it too!