A greetings song with activities
Here is a free, easy, repetitive greetings song to teach animals, how are you, and, I’m fine, thanks.
You will also receive two sample animal masks to download, colour or decorate, and wear during role-plays.
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. Then, 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,” it means you are ready to introduce the song.
IMPORTANT: The ideas here are to be used over a series of classes and not all in one go. Vary your lesson by switching between listening and speaking games, a story, a song, a colouring or worksheet, a role-play – do not spend your whole time on one element.
Ask your pupils for ideas for animal actions. Start by miming 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, make loose fists, wiggle index fingers.
Bird: Arms flap like wings
Cat: Pretend to wash paws or crawl on all fours and arch back
- 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 stealthily.
Lion: Shake your mane. Open your mouth, pretend to roar, and stretch out your 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 beneficial 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 your arm in front with your 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. Additionally, you could undulate the entire 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 their 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. Then, add it in when your pupils are ready.
Logistics of hand-shaking
An odd number of children 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. If necessary, put one child in a three to join hands with two others. You cannot just leave this to chance as the same child will 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 – 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. Then, 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; one child, the ant, dances in the middle. On “How are you?” the ant shakes hands with any child in the ring. That child now becomes the spider and swaps places with the ant. Again, 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.
Play this a second time with a group larger than seven pupils so that everyone has at least one turn. Give out pictures of the animals to those children who have not had a go in the middle – they will be the ones chosen to come into the centre. Do 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 shoebox with stripes, circles, etc. Then, we ‘secretly’ put an animal in each child’s box, showing it only to them. 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 their 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. For example, 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 the ant’s turn comes, those children with the ant picture come out front and mime ants by 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 display.
Acting out the song
Once the children know the music and many of them can sing along, at least partially, you may choose to prepare a performance for parents. This show can include vocabulary games and storytelling.
Go through the actions without the music once first. Then, practise it over a series of lessons with the music.
The ant enters, dances about like an ant, and bows. Next, the ant may shake hands with a member of the audience on the “How are you?” It then moves to the side and stays there, miming all the subsequent animals as they come in.
Next, the spider enters, dances about as a spider, and bows. It shakes hands with the ant/or with a member of the audience. Then, the spider goes and joins the ant at the side, acting out the remaining animals in the song as they come in. Continue until all animals have come in. 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 fewer than seven, give the brighter children two goes to keep them stimulated and prevent boredom.
If your class know the words pretty well, use the karaoke version so the children can sing independently. You’ll find that on track 17 of the songs album, available with the complete songs package for stories 1-10.
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.