Singing songs and playing music are one of my favorite parts of doing storytime. Children of all ages relate to music, and whatever your theme is, there is a song for you. That being said, I can’t carry a tune in a bucket, which is why I often gravitate towards using recorded music in storytime. These are my favorite recorded songs, the ones that I turn to time and again when planning storytime. I don’t always relate my storytime music to a theme, because often I just want a reliable favorite that will get the audience up and moving. Try one of these songs out; you’ll be glad you did!
Songs for Babies
When Cows Get Up in the Morning – Hugh Hanley (Circle of Songs)
Smooth Road to London – Kathy Reid-Nailman (A Smooth Road to London Town)
Horsey Rides – Carole Peterson (Sticky Bubble Gum)
Row, Row, Row Your Boat – Rob Newhouse (Songs for Wiggleworms)
Pop Goes the Weasel – Sue Schnitzer (Wiggle and Whirl, Clap and Nap)
Noble Duke of York – Sue Schnitzer (Wiggle and Whirl, Clap and Nap)
Bumping Up and Down – Raffi (Singable Songs for the Very Young)
Baby 1, 2, 3 – Peter Allard (Sing It! Say It! Stamp It! Sway It!) – this reminds me of a slower version of “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes”; it’s a lot of fun for parents to point to baby’s body parts during each part of the song.
Everybody Knows I Love My Toes – Peter Allard (Sing It! Say It! Stamp It! Sway It!)
Pat-A-Cake – MaryLee (Baby-O!)
Acka Backa Soda Cracker – MaryLee (Baby-O!)
Mother & Father & Uncle John – MaryLee (Baby-O!)
Elevator Song – MaryLee (Baby-O!)
This is the Way the Ladies Ride – MaryLee (Baby-O!)
Bounce Your Baby – Caspar Babypants (This is Fun!)
Run Baby Run – Caspar Babypants (More Please!)
Songs for Toddlers
Can You Clap – Sue Schnitzer (Wiggle and Whirl, Clap and Nap)
Milkshake Song – Wiggleworms (Songs for Wiggleworms) – use with bells or egg shakers for a participatory element!
Pig on Her Head – Laurie Berkner (Buzz Buzz) – use puppets to act out the song, or pass out die-cut shapes of animals to each caregiver. Invite the cargiver to place them on the toddlers’ heads as you sing the song.
Row, Row, Row Your Boat – Rob Newhouse (Songs for Wiggleworms) – a fun and innovative take on the traditional song, with plenty of interaction!
I Know a Chicken – Laurie Berkner (The Best of the Laurie Berkner Band) – use with egg shakers!
Shake Your Scarves – Johnette Downing (The Second Line)
Scarves on Your Laps – Johnette Downing (The Second Line)
Songs for Preschoolers and Older Children
Glad to See You – Peter Allard (Sing It! Say It! Stamp It! Sway It!)
Put Your Finger On – Parachute Express (Feel the Music)
Shakin’ It – Parachute Express (Shakin’ It)
Jump Up, Turn Around – Jim Gill (Moving Rhymes for Modern Times)
Shake My Sillies Out – Raffi (The Singable Songs Collection)
Jumping and Counting – Jim Gill (Irrational Anthem)
The Freeze – Greg & Steve (Kids in Motion)
Hands are for Clapping – Jim Gill (Jim Gill Sings the Sneezing Song and Other Contagious Tunes)
Spider on the Floor – Raffi (Singable Songs for the Very Young)
If You Feel Like Rockin’ – Greg & Steve (Holidays and Special Times)
Sticky Bubble Gum – Carole Peterson (Sticky Bubble Gum)
Riding in My Car – Ralph’s World (Ralph’s World)
For additional resources, check out this great SLJ article titled, “Why Your Library Needs Music“. And here’s another great list of other songs to use in storytime, put together by the Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy.