Skip to Content

10 Action Songs For Preschoolers

Movement songs for kids are always popular, especially when they have actions. They are highly enjoyable and educational at the same time.

Find out why you should regularly sing them, then check out these 10 popular action songs for preschoolers!

What is an Action Song?

It is simply any song or nursery rhyme that encourages a child to move by either following the directions in a song or making certain movements to “act out” the lyrics.

Here is an example of each:

  • The Hokey Pokey – You put your right foot in, you put your right foot out (follow the directions)
  • I’m a Little Teapot – I’m a little teapot, short and stout (act out being a teapot shape)

Action songs combine music and movement, two important activities for a child’s development.

Image - 10 action rhymes for kids

How do Preschoolers Learn from Music and Movement?

When singing an action song for kids, there are many benefits from the musical activity as well as the gross motor experience.

Children develop the following skills by learning rhymes, poems and songs:

Action rhymes take it one step further and also develop your child’s:

Research has shown that during the preschool years, activities that are play based such as singing songs, doing creative art and playing games are far more beneficial than pushing academics such as worksheets and rote learning.

10 Action Songs for Preschoolers

Without further ado, here are 10 awesome rhymes your children will absolutely love learning!

Practise them a few times with the video playing in the background, then see if your kids can learn to sing them without the music, while doing the actions.

1. I’m a Little Teapot

I'm a Little Teacup

I’m a little teapot
(Point to self)
Short and stout,
(Round arms and touch fingertips together in front of body)
Here is my handle,
(Left fist on hip)
Here is my spout.
(Bend right elbow, lift forearm and lower wrist to look like the spout of a teapot)
When I get all steamed up
Hear me shout,
(Remain in same position and nod head)
Tip me over,
And pour me out!
(Tip sideways towards the extended arm)

[Listen to the tune on YouTube]

2. Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear

Teddy Bear Teddy Bear

Teddy bear, teddy bear,
Turn around.
Teddy bear, teddy bear,
Touch the ground.
Teddy bear, teddy bear,
Tie your shoes.
Teddy bear, teddy bear,
That will do.

Teddy bear, teddy bear,
Go upstairs.
Teddy bear, teddy bear,
Say your prayers.
Teddy bear, teddy bear,
Turn out the light.
Teddy bear, teddy bear,
Say good night.

Listen to the tune on YouTube

3. Hop a Little, Jump a Little

Children hopping

Hop a little, jump a little
One, two, three;
Run a little, skip a little
Tap on knee;
Bend a little, stretch a little,
Nod your head;
Yawn a little, sleep a little,
In your bed.

Listen to the tune on YouTube

4. Miss Polly Had a Dolly

Child playing doctor with sick doll

Miss Polly had a dolly,
Who was sick, sick, sick,
(Cradle baby in arms)
So she called for the doctor,
To be quick, quick, quick.
(Hold phone to ear)
The doctor came,
With his bag and his hat,
(Point to bag and hat)
And he knocked at the door,
With a rat-a-tat-tat.
(Pretend to knock in air)

He looked at the dolly,
And he shook his head,
(Shake head)
He said “Miss Polly,
Put her straight to bed.”
(Hands on hips and nod head)
He wrote out a paper,
For a pill, pill, pill,
(Write on hand with finger)
“I’ll be back in the morning,
With the bill, bill, bill.”
(Wave goodbye)

Listen to the tune on YouTube

5. The Hokey Pokey

Children dancing the Hokey Pokey

You put your right foot in,
You put your right foot out,
You put your right foot in
And you shake it all about.
You do the Hokey Pokey
And you turn yourself around,
That’s what it’s all about.

Repeat the entire verse with each of these movements:

You put your left foot in…
You put your right hand in…
You put your left hand in…
You put your right shoulder in…
You put your left shoulder in…
You put your right hip in…
You put your left hip in…
You put your whole self in…
You put your hair in…
You put your tongue in…

Listen to the tune on YouTube

6. The Elephant Goes

Cute elephant

The elephant goes
Like this, like that.
(Walk on all fours, moving slowly, like an elephant)
He’s terribly big,
(Stand up, reach high with arms)
And he’s terribly fat.
(Arms out to sides, to show how fat elephant is)
He has no fingers,
(Make fist)
He has no toes,
(Wiggle toes)
But goodness gracious,
What a nose!
(Make a trunk with arm)

Listen to the tune on YouTube

Here are some more fun animal songs for preschoolers.

7. The Wheels on the Bus

Image of a bus

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 through the town.
(Roll hands)

Repeat the entire verse with each of these movements:

The wipers on the bus go “Swish, swish, swish”,
(Make windshield wipers with arms)

The door on the bus goes open and shut
(Cover eyes with hands)

The horn on the bus goes “Beep, beep, beep”,
(Honk horn)

The gas on the bus goes “Glug, glug, glug”,
(Fill gas tank)

The money on the bus goes “Clink, clink, clink”,
(Put money in cash box)

The baby on the bus says, “Wah, wah, wah!”
(Hands in fists rub eyes)

The people on the bus say, “Shh, shh, shh”,
(Pointer finger to mouth)

Listen to the tune on YouTube

8. One Grey Elephant Balancing

One little elephant balancing

Play this with siblings or a group of friends. 

Have the children sit in a circle. Choose one child to be the first elephant pretending to balance on a string going around and around the inside of the circle.

One grey elephant balancing
Step-by-step on a piece of string.
Thought it was such a wonderful stunt.
That he called for another elephant
(The first elephant chooses another child to join him)

Two grey elephants balancing.
Step-by-step on a piece of string.
Thought it was such a wonderful stunt.
That they called for another elephant.

Continue until all of the children are balancing on the string

(Total number) grey elephants balancing.
Step-by-step on a piece of string.
All of a sudden the piece of string broke.
And down came all the ‘ele-folk’.

Listen to the tune on YouTube

9. If You’re Happy and You Know It!

Child clapping

If you’re happy and you know it,
Clap your hands. (Clap twice)

If you’re happy and you know it,
Clap your hands. (Clap twice)

If you’re happy and you know it,
Then your face will surely show it,
If you’re happy and you know it,
Clap your hands. (Clap twice)

Repeat the entire verse with each of these movements:

If you’re happy and you know it,
Tap your toe. (Tap twice)

If you’re happy and you know it,
Nod your head. (Nod head)

If you’re happy and you know it,
Do all three. (Clap twice, tap twice, nod head)

If you’re happy and you know it,
Clap your hands. (Clap twice)

Listen to the tune on YouTube

10. Open, Shut Them

Open, shut them
(separate hands and put together again)
Open, shut them
(separate hands and put together again)
Put them in your lap
(tap hands twice on lap)

Open, shut them
(separate hands and put together again)
Open, shut them
(separate hands and put together again)
Give a little clap
(clap hands twice)

Listen to the tune on YouTube

I hope you’ve enjoyed these action rhymes for preschoolers. Your kids will love moving and singing along with you.

Need more ideas? These movement songs for kids will get the heart rate up and the bodies moving.


Would you like a year of done-for-you, ten-minute activities to teach your 3-5-year-old through play? Get your copy of the Learning Through Play Activity Pack for only $27.

Activity Pack for preschoolers

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Deanna Brazys

Tuesday 2nd of November 2021

love them all .. can i download them?

Tanja Mcilroy

Wednesday 3rd of November 2021

Hi Deanna, thank you! the article isn't a download but you can save them by clicking on the green heart icon on the bottom right-hand side of the screen. You can easily access any articles you save there, to read later. Have a great day

Shirley Sturgeon

Tuesday 26th of October 2021

Love all of these songs !

Tanja Mcilroy

Tuesday 26th of October 2021

Thanks, Shirley!

Alisha

Wednesday 9th of June 2021

This was really helpful.Thank you so much.

Tanja Mcilroy

Wednesday 9th of June 2021

You're welcome Alisha!

Charlene Taylor

Saturday 6th of February 2021

These action songs for cpreschoolers are highly appreciated ..thank you for them.

meera mahajan

Monday 1st of March 2021

awesome ! exellent material. thanks

Tanja Mcilroy

Saturday 6th of February 2021

You're welcome Charlene!

Louise

Wednesday 18th of November 2020

This has inspired me to record another video of action songs for the refugee kids in our Pre-school group. All schools in Malaysia are currently closed again due to Covid restrictions so this will be great for their ESL development and getting them moving, albeit remotely. Thanks Tanja!

Tanja Mcilroy

Thursday 19th of November 2020

What a great idea! They will love it and benefit so much!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.