This post contains affiliate links… but also lots of freebees ;-D
In the last few months my bilingual son turned one, and I started teaching English to a new group of brothers one afternoon a week, ages 4, 3 and 1. Music is an incredibly powerful teaching tool, and in the last month or so I’ve found myself going to music as my first source of curriculum, and then using it to build the rest of my English lessons around. Some of our favourite songs right now are Five Little Ducks went out one Day, Five Little monkeys jumping on the Bed, and The Wheels on the Bus. Since I’ve used these songs to build lessons around in the past, I already have a nice collection of resources.
Five Little Ducks song, book and craft
Five little monkeys jumping on the Bed (free download from TPT store)
With my new group of little boys I’ve started doing “circle time” where we sing songs with motions. They LOVE it! It only takes about 10-15 minute but wow they learn quick and their mom tells me that they sing the songs all week long! Last week we made this fun teddybear from a free printable over at Scholastic. They used it with the song Teddybear Teddybear Turn Around. Three weeks ago we made monkey puppets to use with the song Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed (also a free printable).
I recently discovered a fantastic collection of music that is perfect for English learners, it’s called Super Simple Songs. They sing at a slower pace than most of the other music on the market, which is PERFECT for ESL kids and very young children. If you are like me (and you probably are because you’re reading this post ;- ) you are very particular about how much screen time your children have. While Super Simple Songs have a lot of wonderful music videos on YouTube, it might be worth investing in a few albums so that you can sing with your littles or let them listen while they play (like my son loves to do).
With my own son, I decided to sing to/with him while I’m changing his diapers. He loves it, and I feel like it is a quality use of the time. If you aren’t a confidant English speaker but would still like to sing English songs with your babies or small children, try writing down a few songs that you are confidant singing, and then post them wherever you intend to sing together, so that you can get in the habit of singing to him/her, and also to give you a few ideas of songs to sing.
Another idea is to play songs from your phone or set up a little music player/bluetooth speaker. Just remember to sing along with the songs, because the babies and children are watching you! The more animated and happy you are about the songs, the more motivated they are to learn them. The car is also a good space for learning songs, but we don’t hve a car, and singing while bicycling or ridding the train is a bit more challenging ;-D. But the point is, children are fast learners and you as parents and teachers can use music in many creative ways throughout the day to help your little ones easy develop their English.
Here’s one of their albums as a digital download.
..and here’s one of their videos on Youtube.
I think that they also have DVDs that you can buy but as I said already, I’m trying to avoid using screens with very little learners. This is actually much harder than it sounds because sooooo much of the English learning material available today is online. Sigh. But I am determined! Last week I loaded my iPod shuffle with our circle time songs and took along our UE Bluetooth speaker (in the picture above with my son). There wasn’t any screen time involved, just lots of moving and jumping and singing off key! … and some learning, too 😉 …And one more reason that we love the speaker, it’s waterproof and shockproof!
I have also purchase multiple Nursery Songs and CD collections to use with my own son as well as my students. My absolute, hands down favourites are the “Classic books with Holdes and CD” from Children’s play. The children love them. I’ve purchased a lot of books over the years and many of them have been a waste of my money, but these little books continued to be my all-time favourites.
Another fun book for mamas and papas that want to learn Nursery Rhymes and the finger play and motions that go along with them is “Humpty Who? -A Crash Course in 80 Nursery Rhymes for Clueless moms and dads” But I want to warn you, these songs are sung at a rather quick pace, so if you aren’t already a good English speaker you might find it frustrating, but if your English level is advanced then you might really enjoy the challenge of this fine collection. The songs are fun to listen to, and not too “baby” sounding. I quite enjoy having it playing in the background while I’m cleaning up and my little one is playing.
I’m currently testing out the Amazon Music Unlimited 3 month free trial, and might continue on with it because the music selection is seriously fantastic and it’s so easy to play music for my little one. They have all of the Super Simple Songs available. I don’t have an Echo Dot, I just stream it from my computer… but we might get one in the future as well, because I think that my son would listen to more music if he had control over his own music choices, and like I said, I’m really trying to stay away from screen time learning!
Happy singing and learning everyone!
Update: Hey, after trying the Amazon Music Unlimited 3 months free trial, I have to confess that I didn’t use it like I thought I would. Of course I would like you to try it out so that I get a small kickback 😉 But I’m committed to honesty here, and I honestly didn’t use it with my little son, or with my English Classes. What I do continue to use, without fail, are purchased albums which I then load onto my ipod and play for them to listen to, sing along with, or use in a circle time. These are my most used books and songs, and albums.
The Bath Song and More Kids Songs
The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round + CD (Classic Books with Holes)
Best of Raffi Album and some of the corresponding books (below)
Photo by of mother with baby, by Edward Eyer on Pexels.com