6 Super Singable English Songs for Preschoolers with Accompanying Activities

Warm up those vocal chords—it’s time to get those rambunctious kids singing in English!

Getting your young learners to tune into English is often challenging.

However, using the power of English songs to grab attention and get those little ones moving, shaking and singing is a fantastic method.

You can easily implement English songs and activities in your ESL lesson plans, making the most out of your class’s energetic potential.

From classic English sing-alongs like the “Hokey Pokey” to the fresh and vibrant tunes of “Yes, I Can!”, English songs are an engaging and exciting way to break up those otherwise normal days of ESL learning.

Why Use English Songs with Preschoolers?

Keeping the attention of your ESL preschool students can feel like a miraculous feat.

However, with the right tune and activity to accompany it, you can mesmerize your young learners. Utilizing English songs and activities in your ESL classroom can create a fun, exciting and welcoming atmosphere. Adding songs to your lesson plan can also break up the humdrum of daily classes that your preschool students have become accustomed to.

Imagine teaching your young ESL learners about the English names of animals with an engaging song, instead of those all-too-common coloring worksheets. It could allow you to teach many additional lessons like pronunciation, rhythm, fluency and animal sounds in English.

It’s just true: English songs won’t only grab attention, but they’ll also emphasize the foundational ESL skills that your young learners will build on in later ESL learning. You’ll illuminate and animate your classroom through singing, assisting your students in learning vocabulary, spelling, pronunciation, grammar and even Total Physical Response (TPR) action, among other essential ESL skills.

Sparking a chorus in class can also complement a number of ESL activities. For instance, you can take those animal vocabulary coloring worksheets and transform them into a more vocal and visual presentation as your students carry a tune together.

Ready? Let’s get started with the songs!

6 Simple English Songs with Activities for Unlocking Preschooler Potential

1. “Animal Fair”

Lesson: Animal Vocabulary

“Animal Fair” is a fantastic song you can easily employ during class time.

This song outlines a few of nature’s most exciting and mysterious animals found around the world. Your ESL preschoolers may find a few new animal words intriguing as they sing and see examples of each animal, whether on a projector or worksheet.

The “Animal Fair” is all about animals, assisting you in presenting many great vocabulary words. Birds, baboons, monkeys, skunks and elephants are all found in this exceptional short song for your preschool learners.

Developing a fun and interactive ESL activity that complements this wonderful song can really bring the core skills of your lesson plan to fruition.

Here’s a sample activity you can employ during your next sing-along:

  • Before you and your students begin singing, speak the new words you wish to expand on out loud. Have students repeat each word after you, mimicking your pronunciation. You can use the key animal vocabulary, of course, but you may also find a few other words, such as moon, trunk and sneezed useful as well.
  • Now present the words using visually stimulating images or videos to keep your preschool students engaged.
  • Once all key vocabulary words have been presented, begin singing as a class. It may be exciting for your students to see you get a bit more animated as well. Adding movements, like that of an elephant’s trunk, during the song is a fantastic way to keep things lively.
  • After singing “Animal Fair” a few times, present the photos and/or videos of the key vocabulary words to your class and ask them the name of each animal, as well as what that animal may have done in the song. For example, “What did the elephant do?” or “What animal did the monkey bump into?” These simple comprehension questions will allow your students to really visualize and memorize the new words presented and happily sung.

2. “Bingo”

Lesson: Vocabulary, spelling practice

“Bingo” is a timeless song classic that has been sung in classrooms and echoed through school halls for decades.

This song is perfect for your ESL preschoolers. It’s not only fun, but it also emphasizes many exceptional ESL skills every young learner needs. Vocabulary, pronunciation, spelling, collaboration and action are all essential ESL skills represented in “Bingo.”

For this superb sing-along, you’ll want to gather your students into a circle. Having them sit on the floor with legs crossed may be best practice for keeping them in one place during your clever presentation of the song, as well as the sing-along.

Play the example of the song shown above for them to hear, singing along and clapping during those designated moments. This will allow your young learners to see how it’s done with pizzazz.

Here’s a sample activity you can employ during your next sing-along:

  • After your kids have seen you in action, it’s time to all join in for a few vocally astounding rounds. It may be best to sing the song slower the first time around, giving your students a chance to get in rhythm.
  • Once your class has had a chance to sing-along a few times, they’re ready to take “Bingo” one step further.
  • Challenge them to think of a word beginning with B, I, N, G or O, and then spell the new word if possible. This will promote spelling, vocabulary building and collaboration as students may assist others in finding the correct spelling or conjuring up a word.
  • For example, you can start it off with “B” for “Boy,” then spelling out B-O-Y in place of B-I-N-G-O. The next student will say and spell a word beginning with “I,” and so on. You can also simply supply the words yourselves, if the little guys are having trouble coming up with words. Your students will work around their classroom circle a few times this way.

It’s a wonderful idea to stay animated throughout the song and activity, with lots of moving and clapping, allowing your preschool students to fully enjoy an exciting, fun and song-filled atmosphere.

3. “I Can Run”

Lesson: Verbs

“I Can Run” was developed by Cambridge English Online, and is excellent for presenting and practicing verbs.

The video and song is inciting, allowing your young learners to fully soak up the new material. This song introduces many essential ESL skills your preschoolers need to move forward, including verbs, grammar, pronunciation, spelling and question/answer communication. The tune is catchy and the key verbs include run, jump, swim, hop and skip—all of which are great for young tykes to know and act out.

Here’s a sample activity you can employ during your next sing-along:

  • The focus of this activity will be all about the verbs represented in the song. First, present the five new verbs to your young learners prior to the sing-along. Speak them out loud, carefully pronouncing them and encouraging students to repeat after you. Remember, staying animated will keep your students engaged.
  • Now get active. Say and write “run,” then begin running in place in a very cartoonesque manner to get a few laughs, developing that fun sing-along vibe. You’ll do the same for all the five new verbs in the song. Once you’ve ran, jumped, swam, hopped and skipped your way into the imaginative minds of your young learners, it’s time to engage the entire class.
  • Have them spread out in the class and begin the song. Your ESL preschool students should be running in place, swimming through thin air and skipping about.

This song is exceptional for the beginning of the week, to get amped up for learning, or the end of the week, getting that preschooler energy out of your students in a fun and interactive way.

4. “Stop! Look! Listen! Think!”

Lesson: Commands, safety

This catchy song boasts a few amazing ESL elements with a practical value young learners can use in real life when with parents, family and friends. “Stop! Look! Listen! Think!” was animated by Cambridge English Online with the song and lyrics of Dave Holmes.

The wealth of ESL skills you can pull from this great sing-along and activity include grammar, spelling, vocabulary building, pronunciation and practical English use. Your preschoolers will learn key words used in a practical way, as well as “left” and “right” directions.

Here’s a sample activity you can employ during your next sing-along:

  • First, you’ll want to present the new vocabulary that you’ll focus on throughout the song and activity. This can be done through writing, saying, spelling and giving a visual or animated example.
  • For example, when presenting “Stop!” you’ll say it write it, spell it and give the universal stop signal with your hand up and palm facing out.
  • It could be useful to also give visually stimulating examples of “right” and “left” utilizing your body—head, arms, hands, fingers, eyeballs and legs. Your keywords for this activity will be stop, look, listen, think, right and left.
  • Next, you’ll create a street crossing in your classroom. Once the street is developed, you and your students will follow along and stop, look, listen, think and use right and left to ensure no traffic is coming. You can also employ a whistle to blow before each key word.

This activity also encourages a bit of dancing. You and your students will dance across the street to the music as the entire class sings along. This is a fun and rewarding activity with a very practical and safety minded message all young learners can benefit from.

5. “Hokey Pokey”

Lesson: Total Physical Response (TPR)

The “Hokey Pokey” is another timeless children’s song classic.

Many students from around the world have already heard or sung along to the “Hokey Pokey” while moving, goofing around and giggling.

This English song is an exceptional tool for your ESL preschoolers to learn foundational ESL skills while developing quick physical response through TPR.

TPR is a wonderful ESL method that involves action and, of course, physical responses from your energetic young learners. The fundamental skills represented in this great song and activity include body vocabulary, following simple directions in English, TPR and left/right directional movement.

Here’s a sample activity you can employ during your next sing-along:

  • Presenting the key vocabulary used in this English song is essential to having a fun and successful round of “Hokey Pokey.” For example, covering the parts of the body used in the song, like foot, leg, arm and elbow, is a good starting point. Say them out loud and point to them on your body. Have your students repeat the vocabulary out loud while pointing to the corresponding body parts.
  • You’ll also want to cover the directional vocabulary, such as “left” and “right,” before things get started in order to get excellent TPR reactions from your young learners. Do a session of drilling “left, right, left, right” and have them identify the left and right sides of their bodies. Have them look left and right many, many times until this is absorbed.
  • Once the key vocabulary of the song has been presented, show your class what the “Hokey Pokey” is really all about. Run through the song, singing and following the instructions to bring the song and animated actions to life for your ESL preschool students. Start slow, warm up and then speed up!
  • Now that they have seen, heard and learned the song essentials, it’s time to sing-along and “Hokey Pokey” as a class. Bringing your students together in a circle is best practice as well, with you in the middle showing off your stuff while keeping an eye on your class’s TPR progress.

6. “Yes, I Can!”

Lesson: Animal words, new verbs

“Yes, I Can!” is an outstanding English song that will engage your young learners in new and exciting ways.

This English song, recorded by Super Simple Songs and presented with completely interactive subtitles will engage your ESL preschoolers in fun animal vocabulary, new verbs, grammar, pronunciation and question/answer practice, among other foundational ESL skills.

The new vocabulary and verbs presented in “Yes, I Can!” include bird, clap, fly, elephant, fly, stomp, fish and swim, among others. The transition between words also allows your students to practice word usage in a repetitive manner as well.

Here’s a sample activity you can employ during your next sing-along:

  • This action-packed sample activity will really get your ESL preschoolers moving. First, present the new words you’ll utilize during your song activity.
  • There are multiple new words in this exceptional English song, but using only a handful is best practice to ensure better comprehension. Remember, be animated and bring the animal word or new verb to life. For example, you can fly around the room like a bird, clap your hands, or stomp your feet like an elephant.
  • Once all key words have been presented, you and your class will begin singing along with the “Yes, I Can!” animals. You’ll want to space your students out in the class, giving them ample room to fly, swim and stomp their way around.
  • You can also employ a bit of TPR after your class has broke into chorus a few times. Give instructions to your students that will activate a physical response. You can even combine a few other new vocabulary words from the week before if you really want to challenge everyone.

Developing a few English song-related ESL lesson plans is quite simple, and the result is something marvelous.

For your preschoolers, singing and dancing is a fantastic way for your class to release energy, learn new ESL skills and, above all, have fun.

Keeping your sing-along activities animated and full of life will create a wonderful learning environment your ESL preschoolers will enjoy and remember as they continue their future English learning.

Stephen Seifert is a writer, editor, professor of English and adventurer. With nearly a decade of teaching experience to students worldwide, he enjoys the many aspects of culture and traditions different from his own. Stephen continues his search for writing inspiration, boldly enjoying life to the fullest.

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