Songs and fingerplays are essential when it comes to how to teach rhyming to children. Here are some of our favorite fingerplays and rhyming songs for kids.
Related: Why is Rhyming Important?
“Clean up, clean up, everybody, everywhere. Clean up, clean up, everybody do your share.”
I don’t know about you, but I have simple songs for almost everything related to teaching preschool and kindergarten. Chances are, if you’re a parent or a teacher of young kids, you do too.
For that matter, chances are you also get kids’ songs stuck in your head at random points of the day. Maybe you even wake up with them in your head or sing them in the shower. Or is that just me?
What’s so Great About Rhyming Songs?
There’s a reason songs get stuck in our heads. The rhythm, rhyme, and repetitive structures of these songs appeal to the way our brains work.
(If you’re wondering how to get an “earworm” out of your head, this was an interesting read and had a good suggestion.)
As NAEYC explains,
Music includes rhythm and rhyme, again, part of our language. In time, babies will recognize rhymes and rhythms.
Since our brains are hardwired to respond to music and rhyme, songs and poems and fingerplays help a lot when it comes to learning. And that applies to kids of all ages!
Each of the favorites listed below helps expose children to language and manipulating the sounds within words.
Plus, the rhythm of songs and fingerplays help kids’ brains to remember the nuances of words.
And don’t forget that they’re FUN and engaging . . . which means the children are much more likely to remember them.
Related: Rhyming Books Kids Love
Fingerplays for Preschoolers
I feel like I need to warn you that these are how I do some of our favorite fingerplays.
If you talk to twenty preschool teachers, you’ll probably get twenty different versions of these fingerplays and poems.
In the end, they’re still basically the same though. There are rhyming words, repetitive phrases, and simple movements.
So don’t worry if your versions are a little different than mine. More importantly, the kiddos won’t mind one bit!
Five Green and Speckled Frogs
Five green and speckled frogs (hold up 5 fingers on right hand)
Sat on a speckled log (place left arm parallel to the ground, with right hand above it and fingers waving)
Eating some most delicious bugs.
Yum! Yum! (rub belly)
One jumped into the pool (hold up 1 finger)
Where it was nice and cool (pretend to swim)
Then there were 4 green, speckled frogs (hold up 4 waving fingers)
Repeat until there are no more “frogs” left.
Here’s a version by The Kiboomers:
Related: Early Literacy Activities
The Itsy Bitsy Spider
You can’t have a list of preschool rhyming songs and fingerplays without this one!
The itsy bitsy spider climbed up the waterspout. (Use fingers as a climbing spider)
Down came the rain and washed the spider out. (Bring fingers down as rain, then spread hands for “out”)
Out came the sun and dried up all the rain. (Hold arms above head in a sun shape)
And the itsy bitsy spider climbed up the spout again. (Use fingers as a climbing spider)
Here’s a version of The Eensy Weensy Spider from Super Simple Songs:
Five Little Monkeys Swinging in a Tree
Five little monkeys swinging in a tree. (Place an arm up like a monkey tail hanging from a tree)
Teasing Mr. Alligator, “You can’t catch me!” (Make silly faces)
Along comes Mr. Alligator, quiet as can be. (Place palms together, moving them back and forth as if swimming)
And SNAPS that monkey right out of that tree. (Clap hands together like an alligator’s jaws)
Repeat until no more monkeys are left.
Here’s a video version from The Kiboomers:
Open and Shut Them
This little tune is often used during transitions, especially when getting the kiddos settled for group or circle time.
You can check out Nancy Kopman’s version here:
Awesome Rhyming Songs for Kids
Again, these are some of my favorite rhyming songs for kids. I’ve used them with preschoolers, kindergartners, and elementary children.
There are so many amazing artists out there, but the ones I’ve listed below are the consistent favorites with the children I’ve taught over the years.
Rhyming with Jack Hartmann
The first artist that always comes to mind is Jack Hartmann! He has a lot of silly, fun, movable music for teaching children a variety of topics.
They contain wonderful nursery rhymes done in different musical genres.
“Humpty Dumpty” is a favorite:
As is this rocked-out version of “Baa, Baa, Black Sheep”:
And we can’t leave the song “I Love to Rhyme” off of our list of rhyming songs:
Raffi‘s Rhyming Preschool Songs
Next up is Raffi’s CD Singable Songs for the Very Young.
It has a variety of rhyming songs that my students have always loved.
Each group of my students seems to love when I make up my own versions of his “Willoughby Wallaby Woo” by including their names!
Here’s The Kiboomers’ version of that song, but you definitely need to listen to the original too!
“Mr. Sun” is another beloved favorite from Raffi:
And you cannot possibly forget the classic “Down By the Bay”:
Dr. Jean’s Rhyming Songs for Kids
Dr. Jean has a ton of kids’ music available.
I think Dr. Jean Sings Silly Songs is full of fun rhyming songs for preschool and kindergarten kids.
You can check out Dr. Jean’s website for more information about her.
Here’s “Katalina Matalina”:
Here’s “Tiny Time the Turtle”, a simply but fun rhyming song for the kids:
And of course “Over in the Meadow”:
Here you can see a few of her fingerplays (but be sure to check out some of her awesome kids’ music albums for more):
The Laurie Berkner Band
Another album that the kids and I love is from The Laurie Berkner Band.
As with the other artists on this list, pretty much everything by this group is awesome. My absolute favorite, though, is The Best of the Laurie Berkner Band.
When it comes to rhyming songs for kids, I highly recommend “We Are the Dinosaurs” . . . and so do the children!
“Victor Vito” is another one of our favorite rhyming songs for preschoolers:
And let’s not forget “I’m Gonna Catch You”:
Rhyming Songs from Greg & Steve
My last recommendation for rhyming music is Greg & Steve’s Playing Favorites.
They feature classic songs with fun melodies that kids of all ages always seem to enjoy! “Down By the Bay” gets the kids singing in no time.
Here’s the classic rhyming song for kids, “This Old Man” from Greg and Steve:
Even More Rhyming Songs
At your request, I found a few more videos of rhyming songs to share with the children.
You can find them below. Keep in mind, they’re songs that you probably already know! (The rhyming topic appears to have affected my writing! 😉 )
“I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly” from The Learning Station
“Once I Caught a Fish Alive” from LooLoo Kids
“Five Little Ducks” from Super Simple Songs
“Opposites” from Heidi
What are some of your favorite fingerplays and rhyming songs for preschool and kindergarten kids?
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