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Teaching Tips

12 Musical Activities for Preschoolers

May 5, 2020

by: Cheryl Lundy Swift

5 mins


Music is one of the most powerful gifts in the universe.

  • It has the power to make us feel.
  • It can calm and relax us.
  • It can make us happy or sad.
  • Music can inspire, encourage, and unite us.
  • It can get us through challenging times.
  • And it has the ability to take us back in time to a memory.

Listening, singing, and dancing to music brings us joy.

Throughout this pandemic, amateur and famous musicians have shared their live music via social media to entertain us. DJs have hosted virtual dance parties that have gotten us up and moving in our living rooms. This is an awesome time to use music in your virtual classroom or in your home to get the "feel goods" and to help teach children important concepts.

Music and movement are particularly powerful for the cognitive, social-emotional, and sensory motor development of preschoolers.

Here are 12 preschool music activities to help your preschoolers have fun as they learn important foundational skills.

  1. Build community while teaching name and letter recognition.

    Morning meeting or circle time is a great way to greet children and get the day started whether you are in your brick and mortar classroom or teaching class virtually.

    Children learn to recognize letters in their name and the names of their friends as they sing “I Am Happy to See You.” As you insert children’s names into the song, be sure to hold up their written name so that students can see the letters.

    Be sure to ask students if they know any of the letters or if they have similar letters in their own name. Try their name in all capitals first and then move to title case. Learning Without Tears has also translated all of our song lyrics to Spanish. “I Am Happy to See You” is also recorded in Spanish on the Sing, Sound, and Count with Me music album.
  2. Have fun teaching children to imitate and follow directions.

    Learning how to imitate and follow directions are important skills that will follow preschoolers into their careers. Our Get Set for School Sing Along music album has lots of songs that encourage children to imitate and follow directions.

    The “Wood Piece Pokey” is a fun song that has children using their gross motor skills to imitate their teacher’s or families’ movements. They learn important position words and the names of the wood pieces so they can later build letters successfully.

    Watch a fun video of children moving and grooving to the “Wood Piece Pokey” from the Learning Without Tears PreK Interactive Teaching Tool. To support schools and families during current school closures, the PreK Interactive Teaching Tool is free for 30 days.

    Preschool Music Wood Piece Pokey

  3. Help children learn body parts and develop strong drawing and cognitive skills.

    Mat Man is a beloved character who helps children learn body parts as they build him while singing the “Mat Man” song. After children sing and build, they are better able to draw a person.

    Have fun adding other body parts and lyrics as children become more creative. Dress up Mat Man to help children learn the seasons as well as important holidays. Children can also build Mat Man electronically on the Build Mat Man Game.

    Don’t have the Wood Pieces? Download the cutout for wood pieces here.
  4. Teach and reinforce fine motor skills as children learn how to properly hold a crayon.

    What better way to teach children crayon grip than with a song? The “Crayon Song” teaches children to hold the crayon with a tripod grip by telling them exactly where to place their fingers. Children have fun dropping it and picking it up, which helps to solidify proper grip. Crayon grip is a great way for parents and teachers to partner.

    Here is information to support parents as they reinforce crayon grip.
  5. Build fine motor skills as you increase math awareness.

    Fingerplays are an awesome way to help build fine motor skills. Learning Without Tears has several fingerplays.

    One popular fingerplay is “Five Little Fingers.” Be sure to have students imitate you as you follow the directions in the song. Children learn how to count and begin to develop one to one correspondence.
  6. Enjoy counting and learning one to one correspondence.

    Counting, Counting” is a great song to get students moving as they learn to clap and stomp their numbers. Add different movements like hopping or jumping as your children learn to count higher and higher. Also, have children count physical objects like counters, toys, or crayons.
  7. Support children as they learn to recognize shapes and their characteristics.

    Enjoy country music sounds as children sing the “Shape Song.” Children will learn to identify shapes as they learn the characteristics of each shape. Have children hold up the shape and identify the characteristics as they sing. Encourage children to build shapes, draw shapes, and even identify shapes in their environment.
  8. Reinforce alphabet knowledge.

    Do your children know the entire ABC song? Do they have an LMNOP problem? If so, we have a solution. It’s called the “Alphabet Song” and it slows down the traditional ABC song just enough to encourage children to say each letter.

    Another popular Learning Without Tears song that solves the LMNOP issue is “Inside, Outside.” It teaches children how to use their inside and outside voices while they learn their letters. In addition to singing the letters, make sure that students can identify the letters as they sing.

    Watch the A-B-C Touch & Flip Cards dance and flip to the “Alphabet Song“ on the Pre-K Interactive Teaching Tool.

    Preschool Music Alphabet Song

    Parents, want to have your children moving and learning? Write capital letters and lowercase letters on construction paper and place them around your home. Say the letter name or sound and have children hop, skip, or jump to the correct letter.
  9. Have fun with rhyming words.

    Rhyming is an important phonological awareness skill where children are asked to identify the ending sound of words that have the same sound.

    Rhyming Riddles” is a fun song that gives children an opportunity to solve a riddle by identifying a rhyming word. Learning Without Tears has animated “Rhyming Riddles” in the Pre-K Interactive Teaching Tool. Children will enjoy seeing the words come to life, especially the dog driving the car.

    Preschool Music Rhyming Riddles

    Read nursery rhymes and have children rhyme words using real and nonsense words.
  10. Help children learn to love breaking up words into syllables.

    Harness your inner drill sergeant as you sing “Syllable Soundoff.” Children will love breaking words apart and putting them back together. This is a great song to get children up and moving.

    Start with two syllables and then move to three and so on. Have children clap out and stomp out letters. Also have children break apart the syllables using their body parts like in this cool syllable animation.

  11. Build good letter formation habits.

    Capital letters are easier for children to learn to write than lowercase letters. One reason capital letters are easier is because they all have the same starting position. All capitals letters start at the top.

    We help to reinforce this important skill by singing one of signature songs, “Where Do You Start Your Letters?” This song starts out slow and crescendos into a cool rock song that will get you off of your feet. Children will learn important position words to prepare them to write letters.

  12. Enjoy teaching children about different careers.

    Children will learn all about different occupations as they sing and move to “Ballet Dancing Truck Driver.” Have children act out a motion for each career in this whimsical song. Ask children what they want to be when they grow up.

    Expand on this activity by reading Mat Man Hats and learning about additional careers.


Music is a great way to connect school and home.

Teachers, be sure to share lyrics with families so they can reinforce skills at home. Music is a powerful teaching tool for preschoolers. Use music to help foster a love of learning as children develop cognitive, social-emotional, sensory motor, and school readiness skills. Have fun incorporating the songs and activities from all the Learning Without Tears music albums.

Preschool Music CDs

Jump Start Your Preschool Lesson Plans with our Music!

Learning Without Tears understands the power of music. We’ve incorporated music and movement into the core of our readiness and writing, printing, cursive, keyboarding, literacy, and math curriculum materials.

But we don’t just sing and move for the sake of singing and moving, we’ve carefully designed our music and activities to reinforce or teach a variety of skills. Our music spans an array of genres from country and hip-hop to folk and rock. In this free webinar, learn five rockin’ music strategies to use with your class.

A—Z for Mat Man and Me

Seamlessly bring the ABCs to life while building foundational literacy skills with our new letter book series. Each of our illustrated letter books introduces a letter of the alphabet and emphasizes their associated sound through captivating, visual stories. The engaging stories in each book capture children's imaginations and expose them to social-emotional skills and diverse cultures.

You can Learn More →


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