April Showers 2.0


April showers bring May flowers, as the saying goes. But here
in New Jersey, the rain, in blatant disregard of both the calendar
and corny old sayings, is still falling. No one’s a big fan of bad
weather, but I’d argue that it’s particularly annoying for preschool
teachers. Young children need to get outside every day, and not just
for a few minutes. When they don’t get their run-around time
outdoors, for more than a day or two… well, it it’s not pretty.
Little voices get louder, petty grievances get even more blown out of proportion than usual, tempers flare. And when preschool tempers flare, we’re talking red-faced screaming and hitting and pushing.

Music and movement to the rescue! Let’s get some bodies moving.
Feet stomping. Hands clapping. Add some jumping and some wild and crazy dancing. It’s a tried-and-true way to release some preschool
energy in a positive and fun way.


This week (anticipating Cinco de Mayo), I’ve been using a song called  “Bailar Rapido” in my music enrichment classes. (Don’t worry – it isn’t all “rapido” – there are slow sections too!) The song is one of many delightful songs from the wonderfully named CD by Baby Loves Salsa, “Salsa For Kittens and Puppies.” (You can view the video, and the purchase the CD, here.)

You don’t need to know Spanish to enjoy dancing along with “Bailar Rapido.” Just dance, following the tempo of the music, and stop and “freeze” when the music stops. Each time the music resumes, it’s a bit faster, until by the end you’re all dancing in a very “rapido” whirl.

Every group I’ve done this with absolutely loves it and wants to do it again!

More of my favorite movement songs include: “Jump” by Patty Shukla,
“Get Ready to Wiggle” by the Wiggles, and “Dancing Bear” by Bari Koral.

I have dozens of fun movement songs you can lead on your own in my
new book, “Shake, Rattle and Roll,” published by Gryphon House. Here’s one of my favorites:


Children should be standing in a circle. Explain to them that this is a clapping song, but that they’re going to clap in a special rhythm – “clap-pet-y clap,” with one clap per syllable. Practice this rhythmic clap a few times.

Clap and move as indicated in the song, while singing to the tune of “Jimmy Crack Corn”:

                        Clappety-clap and pat your knees,
                              Clappety-clap and pat your knees,
                              Clappety-clap and pat your knees,
                              And clappety-clap again.

Additional verses:

                        Clappety-clap and jump up and down…

                              Clappety-clap and kick your feet…

 Then comes the fun part – ask the children to think of other movements you all could do after you “clappety-clap.” They’ll love to come up with inventive and fun ideas!

Have fun with these easy and energizing songs… even on sunny days!




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