Our music classes in early education and childcare services foster children’s development in so many ways. Very careful thought goes into every single choice we make about the songs and rhymes we use, and how we use them.

Counting songs and rhymes offer opportunities for children to explore numeracy through play, and there are also countless other benefits. Here are three tried and tested counting songs and rhymes for children aged 0-5. Click on each of the titles below to be taken to a video showing the actions for each song or rhyme.

Here is the Beehive

This is a lovely little dramatic rhyme that helps little hands begin to develop the very important finger isolation. Infants move their fingers in unison, or all together, but as children develop they must learn to move each of their fingers independently. Early examples of finger isolation include pointing and making a pincer grip to pick up small pieces of food. This dexterity must continue to develop in order to be able to perform all sorts of everyday tasks – gripping a pencil, tying shoelaces, playing a musical instrument and numerous others.

In Here is the Beehive, we begin with a fist and raise each finger one at a time, keeping previous fingers extended, which is much easier than starting with an open hand and taking fingers away. Cognitively, counting up from one to five is simpler than counting backwards. With that said, older children love this rhyme as well, and could perhaps enhance dramatic aspects of it by using finger puppets to tell the story.

Five Little Peas

This rhyme builds suspense beautifully throughout, and infants will learn to anticipate and thoroughly enjoy the “POP!” at the end. The simple structure of the rhyme means that toddlers can develop their language by joining in with words and phrases, and preschoolers will become quickly familiar enough with it to be able to perform the rhyme, and the actions, independently. Hiding a scarf inside the “pea pod”, to slowly be revealed as it grows, and throwing it up in the air at the end, adds another layer of delight!

Five Little Ducks

This classic nail-biter of a story can be used in a number of ways depending on the age and stage of the children. For infants it can be performed using only the caregiver’s hand and voice, making it a very portable little story!

Toddlers will begin to imitate the actions, as well as joining in with certain words – with “Quack! Quack! Quack! Quack!” most likely to be the first words they sing (did you know animal sounds can really aid language development?).

Preschoolers will likely join in with most or all of the words and actions, including more of that lovely finger isolation I wrote about above. Older toddler and preschoolers will also engage with a simple felt board with great enthusiasm. Felt boards provide clear visual support for the concepts of addition and subtraction that are subconsciously woven into this song. The below picture clearly communicates, without anything needing to be explicitly said, that 4-1=3.


FREE Downloadable Finger Puppet Kit for Here is the Beehive

It’s easy to create your own simple music resources at home. Simply print the PDF linked above, colour in and cut out the finger puppets and hive and enjoy!

Want an exceptional music program for your early educcation and childcare service? If you have a centre in Brisbane, Logan, Ipswich, Gold Coast or Sunshine Coast we would love to hear from you!