So you've invited your friends, picked a time, set everyone's expectations properly about cost, participation, snacks, and start time, and now. . . it's time to actually run the thing.
This is the part where you suddenly think this was a very bad idea. Especially if, like me, your musical talents are abysmal to say the least.
Oh well, onward! This is why you're doing it with toddlers - most of THEM can't carry a tune or even sing an entire song themselves.
My plan is to have it all take place in my living room, with a blanket spread out in the middle for everyone to sit on/around. So set-up? Easy.
We'll jump right in to the songs. The previous group did the exact same song line-up every time, which Ella loved but seemed to not thrill some of the older children who got a little restless after a couple of weeks.
In our group, we'll do about 80% of the same songs each week, with a new 20% of songs in the middle each time. Sometimes they'll be holiday-themed or songs around a theme like "jungle animals" or "counting songs", and sometimes I'll ask other moms to volunteer to prepare the new songs with any necessary props. Several moms responded to my email asking if they could help, so I think I shouldn't have too hard a time getting takers. We shall see.
Anyway, here are the 80% songs I'm doing (I'm figuring that 20 songs, plus transition time, will mean about 35 minutes or so of total time, with 5-10 minutes for the new songs in the middle each time):
- Hello Song - Everyone sits in a circle and you go around to each child one at at time, calling them by name and having them stand at the appropriate time (the song starts at about 0:26 on the link. We'll do it a capella).
- What I’m Wearing - Another a capella song where every child, in turn, points out one item they are wearing, "Ella is wearing a white shirt, white shirt, white shirt, Ella is wearing a white shirt all day long." I can't find a clip for this one. . .
- I Love Colors - I need to make some paint chip cards on a ring for this so each child can hold them as they march.
- If You’re Happy and You Know It - we may do this one with the music or we might do our own so we can vary the actions.
- Old McDonald Had a Farm - I'll let each child pick an animal and then put it back in the barn while we sing that verse.
- Slippery Fish - A great little action song, where you use your hands to make versions of every animal mentioned.
- Ring Around the Rosie - You all know this one, right?
- Ribbon Dancing - Just pick a two or three minutes wordless song and let it play while the kids dance around with ribbons.
- The Alphabet Song - I'll set up our alphabet cards and let the kids who are old enough point to them as we sing. I might give the younger ones a card to hold and march with.
- I’m a Little Teapot - A classic. Nice easy actions and no props.
- The Wheels on the Bus - All the kids sit in the middle of the blanket (or a parachute if you have one, which we do not) and then the parents each hold a part of the edge and walk in a circle so the kids turn around. You can make the blanket jostle (the people on the bus go up and down) or go back and forth (like windshield wipers) or bring the sides up and down (like the doors) as appropriate to the lyrics.
- Willoughby-Wallaby-Woo - Each child has a chance to do two or three lines putting a stuffed animal on the appropriate person or object. I do this one without the music so we can put in our own names.
- The Itsy-Bitsy Spider - You know this one too, right? A quick little action song.
- The Noble Duke of York - Every mom holds their babies on their knees and lifts them up and down and side to side as the lyrics suggest.
- Where is Thumbkin? - A fun classic fingerplay song.
- Head Shoulders Knees and Toes - Do this 3-4 times, getting progressively speedier.
- Shake Your Sillies Out - One last wiggly, jumping, energetic song.
- Row-Row-Row Your Boat - Older kids can walk around rowing their own boats, while younger kids can "sit in the boat" on their parent's lap. Active but a little quiet.
- Open Shut Them - A sitting song, with some actions to start winding down.
- Twinkle Twinkle Little Star - A quiet ending where everyone lies down with closed eyes.
I own CDs with pretty much every song on this list, so my plan is to make a play list with them in order so I can just move quickly from one to the next on my computer. The former group leader had all her songs on her laptop and did the same thing.
She also had a chalkboard with a list of all the songs so the parents knew what song was coming next. I'm planning to make a posterboard with all the songs on it. Not in my own horrible handwriting, I can assure you of THAT.
Any other questions or suggestions?