Music and movement are an essential part of any early childhood program, and they can be enjoyable for children and adults alike. Anyone, regardless of musical talent, can sing, dance, or otherwise guide children through music and movement activities. Children care less about your musical talent and more about your enthusiasm and willingness to sing, move, and play along with them.
Music and movement can happen anywhere, anytime: in the home or center, on the playground, or when initiating transitions and daily routines. You don’t always have to go to the music room or wait for “music time.” Music and movement time is all the time!
The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) explains that in early childhood, music education is mainly about introducing children to a variety of musical experiences and supporting every child’s capacity for music learning, rather than instructing children to play instruments correctly or prepare them for performances. You do not need any special musical talent or ability in order to provide meaningful learning opportunities for the children in your program.
“Who Ate the Cookies from the Cookie Jar?” is a great resource when new children join your program. It focuses on listening and learning names. The rhythm of the lyrics is somewhat advanced, so you may want to save this for the older children in your care (preschoolers). For this activity you will need a place where children can gather in a circle and an empty cookie jar (optional).
“Who Ate the Cookies from the Cookie Jar?”
All: Who ate the cookie from the cookie jar?
(Child Named) ate the cookie from the cookie jar.
Child Named: Who, me?
Group: Yes, you!
Child Named: Couldn’t be!
Group: Then who?
(Child Named selects another child, and the game repeats in an endless loop as long as desired.)
Try out these ideas to expand learning:
1. Ask the children who likes cookies. Discuss their favorite kinds of cookies, and on what occasions they get to eat them.
2. Ask the children what shape a cookie is. Ask them to sit in that shape.
3. To get started, you may want to do some kind of activity to select the first “Child Named” for the first round, or you may just want to call upon a particular child. If using an empty cookie jar, introduce it and ask the children what should be in there, and who they think took the cookies! Then, pick the person you think ate the cookies as the first Child Named.
4. Older children may be able to incorporate the body percussion pattern “pat knees, pat knees, clap, clap” on steady beats.
Share in the comments below what songs, music and movement activities you have used with the children in your care! Try out “Who Ate the Cookies from the Cookie Jar?” and let us know how it went.
Looking for more music and movement activities? Take our course Music and Movement! Created for all types of childcare facilities and homes, this course will help you understand the importance of creating, listening to, and moving to music during early childhood. This course covers music and movement activities that are appropriate for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, including those with special needs. Learn how to include the children’s families and cultures in meaningful ways, and discover the many educational, social, emotional, and physical benefits of incorporating music and movement into your program.
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