Hello, thanks for visiting me for your free ESL song
On this page you will find:
A free, easy, repetitive song to teach animals and greetings.
Two sample animal masks are included to download, colour, or decorate, and wear during role-plays to the song.
Activities and games to help teach everything in the song and your preschool story.
The free song and the masks
Activities for the I'm Hungry song
– Present the vocabulary first through listening and speaking games such as those in the preschool games book. Use ideas in the lesson plan that comes with the “I’m Hungry” story.
– Once children have had some exposure to the animal vocabulary and can mime each animal when you name it, plus they know what “How are you” means you are ready to introduce the song.
IMPORTANT: The ideas here are to be used over a series of lessons and not all in one go. Vary your lesson by switching between listening and speaking games, a story, a song, a colouring/worksheet, a role play – do not spend your whole time on one element.
Ask your pupils for ideas for animal actions. Start by miming the actions to each animal as the music plays. Here are some ideas, but use your own and those of your pupils.
Ant: Hold two index fingers up either side of the head, hands make loose fists, wiggle index fingers.
Bird: Arms flap like wings
Cat: Pretend to wash paws or crawl on all fours and arch back
Fox: Make a two-sided triangle with the thumb and forefinger on each hand while tucking the three other fingers into the hand. Hold these up to the head to form short triangular ears. Skip about.
Lion: Shake mane. Open mouth, pretend to roar and stretch out claws. Take big strides.
Spider: Hold one hand in front of body palm facing down and move fingers rapidly like a spider’s legs. Some kids don’t like spiders so it’s very useful to befriend them at a young age. They are cute and harmless (if not too big and hairy!) But this one is a friendly, harmless spider, useful for catching flies and eating mosquitoes.
Snake: Hold arm in front with hand flat vertically, thumb on top. Fingers point forwards, directly away from the body. Make large undulating movements with the hand and the whole arm will follow. Option to also undulate the whole body from side to side simultaneously. Move smoothly.
Do a dry run! Stand in a circle and prepare for the song. You say, “here comes an ant”. Have the children chant back “here comes an ant” and all do the action for it. Then say, “how are you?” and shake hands with a pupil. Each child shakes hands with his or her neighbour in the circle. Now do the spider and so on through all the animals, shaking hands each time too.
Play the song for the first time
Play the song and have the kids copy you as you mime all the way through. Don’t worry if it’s a bit chaotic! Everyone will learn the song well over time.
The hand-shaking might be too much in one go for some groups so you can leave it out during the first time through the song. Add it in when your pupils are ready.
Logistics of hand-shaking
If you have an odd number of children that works well as the teacher can shake hands with one child. If you have an even number of children the teacher will still need to shake hands with a child to show the way – at least during the first few times through the song. Therefore put one child in a three to place his or her hand on the other two and thus join in. You cannot just leave this to chance as the same child will very likely be left out each time and feel miserable.
The children will not be quick at finding partners and there is not much time in the song to do so, therefore they should always shake the same person’s hand to start out – the child next to them in the circle.
Play the song again
Repeat the above process but this time walk round in a circle being the animal. Stop and shake hands on the “How are you?” When the children can do that well, throw in a change of direction after each handshake.
Song activity – Taking Turns in the Centre
The children stand in a circle with one child in the centre, who is the ant. The ant dances in the middle and on the “How are you?” shakes the hand of any child in the circle. That child now comes into the centre as the spider, while the ant takes the spider’s place in the circle. The spider dances in the middle and on “How are you?” shakes any child’s hand – but not a child who has already had a go (unless you have less than seven children).
In the meantime, the other children in the circle mime the relevant animal on the spot or have them do a basic dance such as kicking one foot then the other into the centre in time to the music.
With a group larger than seven pupils play this a second time. Give out pictures of the animals to those children who have not had a turn in the middle – they will be the ones chosen to come into the centre. Make sure everyone has a turn so no child feels left out.
An idea from a teacher who uses this song
Here is a cute idea that a teacher using this song sent me to share.
‘Each of the kids has decorated a shoe box with stripes, circles, etc. We ‘secretly’ put an animal in each child’s box showing it only to him or her. The children then put their boxes on a table and they walked around the table as the song played. When the music stopped, I asked: “Where is the snake”. The look of pure delight as the child produced the animal from his or her box was priceless.’
Revision activity as a refresher before redoing the song
Hand out picture cards of the animals so each child has a different one. If you have less than seven children, give out two or more animals per child. Say, “here comes an ant”. The child or children with the ant picture jump up and mime being ants. Everyone claps encouragement. Move swiftly through all animals like this, and then surprise them by doing it in a different order.
Now place the group in a circle or at one side of the room. Everyone joins in the song doing all the actions and hopefully, some children will be singing some words by now. When it is the ants turn those children with the ant picture come out front and mime ants skipping about in front of the others. On “How are you?” the ants return to the ranks and the next animal comes out for a special display.
Acting out the song
Once the children know the song and many of them can sing along, at least partially, you may choose to prepare the song for performance to parents. This can accompany vocabulary games and storytelling.
Go through the actions without the music once first. Practise it over a series of lessons with the music.
The ant comes in, dances about as an ant and bows. The ant may shake hands with a member of the audience on the “How are you?” The ant then moves to the side and acts being the different animals as they come in, but on the spot.
The spider comes in, dances about as a spider and bows. Shakes hands with the ant/or with a member of the audience. The spider goes and joins the ant at the side, acting out the remaining animals in the song as they come in. Continue through the song until all animals have come on. For the final verse, pupils dance about as their animal and run to shake hands with the audience on “How are you?”
For groups bigger than seven double up with more than one spider, bird or snake. For groups less than seven let the brighter children have two goes. This keeps them from getting bored, which if they are very bright, they are more likely to do.
If your class know the words pretty well then use the karaoke version on track 17 (available with the complete songs package for stories 1-10) so the children sing on their own.
Get all sixteen preschool songs with song activities and masks!
Check out all the songs by clicking on the giraffe below. You can hear extracts of all sixteen and appreciate the variety in musical styles.