Silly Songs

Previously I mentioned what I call “silly songs”, and today I’ll let you know what they are, why, when, and how I use them.

What is a silly song?

Let’s start off with: what is a silly song? The name came about when, during circle time, a child said, “Hayley, can we sing that silly song from yesterday?” I love this name and now it’s stuck!

A silly song can be a song with an abstract theme, a funny dance, silly words, or something that we can just make silly along the way. I use them to say good morning, in circle time, snack and lunchtime, getting dressed, going to sleep…the list goes on.

Why do I use silly songs?

I personally have a few different reasons for including silly songs in teaching.

  1. Having fun with language – Linguists and language teachers will tell you how important it is to make mistakes when learning any language. This is largely to do with the theory that by learning what “not to do”, you learn how to edit your mistakes and clearly understand a language – if you’re interested, this explains it much better than I can:

Please, however, take this with a pinch of salt as children learning languages are different from when we attempt to do so as adults (the use of the word “attempt” is directed at me as I still can’t get into a good Duolingo routine).

I believe silly songs help children make mistakes and play with words, helping them understand that it is okay to make mistakes.

  1. Children’s involvement – with silly songs there is no “right” answer. Children who are more shy or worried about getting things “wrong” can engage and have fun with silly songs and this helps build their confidence. 
  1. A change of pace – sometimes, as I believe any preschool teacher will tell you, the children in your class will just have no interest in your activity of the day. This is fine. As adults, we also sometimes don’t want to take part in things too.

Silly songs are great for this as children don’t see it as “learning” or as you asking them questions to elicit a response. I once had a class who learnt so much about Australia through this song when they could not concentrate at all during circle time.

Seriously, how many 3-year-olds in the middle of Europe know what kookaburra is?

  1. Learning through song and through play – music is such a great way for children to learn, especially when they’re learning a language. Building on what I mentioned above, letting children know that it’s okay to be silly and have fun with language and words helps them see learning as fun!

When do we use silly songs?

As I mentioned, silly songs can be used at any part of the day and for any activity. They can be ones that children know and are used to, new songs, or ones that are completely made up for that particular moment. The best part about a silly song is that it doesn’t even really need to make sense!

Circle time

In the morning, in circle time, I use silly songs to warm us up for the day and get those “wiggles” out. One of my favourite songs to sing before we sit down is The Jellyfish, I’ll link the “cute” version of it first:

Why is this song so great?

  1. It gets our wiggles out – as I mentioned before, children can’t be expected to sit down in one place and listen without some kind of fun interaction.
  2. It gets children focused on their teacher (or whomever is leading circle time) – if children are excited and full of energy, use this to your advantage; they’ll focus on you without needing a “shh” battle.
  3. Use of repetition – this is one of the reasons that we teach through song and why children learn well by singing; the words are repeated and help children get comfortable with using and understanding new words.
  4. It helps with focusing and listening – this ties in to point number 3: for children to be involved in the silly song, they need to listen to follow and understand what words and actions are coming next.


Transitioning from one room to another in a preschool can take organisation, especially with large classes. I always have my children line up and be ready to sing a song before moving from one room to another. I used to just do a soldier’s march “(left, left, left, right, left”) but then all the other classes started to do it and we wanted to be different!

Enter a musical great: Laurie Berkner.

This then became the transitioning song for my class and they absolutely loved it! We even managed to keep it relatively quiet – as dinosaurs go, anyways.

Another way of transitioning the children enjoyed was simply saying “let’s get ready to RUMBLE”. I left my most recent school at the beginning of this year and was so touched to hear that the children continue this on without me!

Quiet time or story time

Quiet/storytime may take place before lunch, after lunch, or before sleeping and, in preschools, this often involves a story. Sometimes stories just won’t cut it and the children’s energy is just too high. Here, I use silly songs to get their attention and have them focus on me but calm them down at the same time.

My most recent favourite song to use here was taught to me by a friend who is a teacher at a Montessori school. The song is called “The Ugly Buzzard” and is very silly, mainly to do with the faces that can be pulled when singing it. I wish I had a video to show you of one of my classe but, for privacy reasons, unfortunately, I can’t – you’ll have to make do with just me doing it!

We start with 5 “ugly buzzards” and then count down until they have all flown away, getting quieter all the time. Even though the song is silly, and we do silly faces and actions, the children are involved and copy our volume, meaning they can get quieter and quieter, perfect for quiet time!


I’m sure you were expecting this one – music is a great time for silly songs! Here the children can be as loud and silly as possible – the louder and sillier the better, in my opinion. This is a great opportunity for them to make songs up themselves, rhymes, actions, the lot! We always have time for each other to share their silly songs (often they’re our well-known ones) and have a lot of fun.

Get singing and let me know any silly gems I can add to my repertoire! 😊

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