Fourth of July Musical Fun!
Preschool children love the fun and excitement of the Fourth of July, and patriotic music is a big part of the festivities! Here are some ways to include patriotic music in your celebration in a developmentally appropriate way.
He Called It Macaroni – I can’t take credit for this idea, but I’ve seen several versions of it. Here’s mine. I have children stand in a circle and copy me as I sing:
Yankee Doodle went to town, (march in place) Riding on a pony, (Hold the “reins” and bounce on your imaginary horse) Stuck a feather in his hat, (stick the pretend feather in your pretend hat) And called it macaroni! (clap on the beats) Then I sing it again, telling the children beforehand that the last word will be different. This time I make the last word “jumparoni” and then we jump as I sing: (to the “Yankee Doodle, keep it up” tune): Jumparoni, jump, jump, jump/ Jumparoni jumping/ Jumparoni, jump, jump, jump/ Oh, jumparoni jumping!
I continue with twistaroni, reacharoni (reaching hands up high), and so on. I ask the children to contribute ideas too. They love the silly words and all the movement!
Rhythm Instrument Parade – Put on a John Philip Sousa March or “You’re a Grand Old Flag” and have a parade with children playing shakers, bells and hand drums. (Word to the wise: steer clear of instruments that can cause poking, like rhythm sticks.) This is lots of fun and good practice in self-regulation – although young children can’t all march to a beat yet, they can remember to stay far enough behind the child in front of them to avoid a traffic jam. Outside is great, but if it’s raining, clear some space and have an indoor parade!
Freeze March – Here’s how to have a Freeze March without the bumps and bruises that would happen as children tried to focus both on playing instruments and listening for the music to stop: March in place as you stand in the circle. Playing instruments while “freezing” is extra fun because the challenge is to be quiet as well as still. Everyone loves to freeze!
The Fourth of July is a great opportunity to talk about ordinal numbers, and we sing them in this silly song I call “The First of July.” Explain that the fireworks rest and sleep while they wait for the Fourth of July… and at the end of the song we’ll make fireworks go off like this: throw your hands in air and say “BOOM!” loudly. Practice the BOOM! Then sing to the tune of “Hurry, Hurry, Drive the Fire Truck”:
On the first of July (hold up pointer finger) the fireworks are sleeping (“sleep” by resting head on folded hands), The first of July the fireworks are sleeping, The first of July the fireworks are sleeping, It’s not time for the fireworks yet! (Shake head on “not time,” pat thighs on “fireworks yet.” Continue with the second of July and the third of July. Then, “On the fourth of July it’s time for the fireworks, (clap to the beat) The fourth of July it’s time for the fireworks, The fourth of July it’s time for the fireworks, Time for the fireworks now! BOOM!” (on “BOOM,” throw your hands in the air like fireworks.)
Children adore waiting and waiting for the big ending and finally BOOMing!
Have a fantastic holiday, everyone!!