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Autism Resources and Community (ARC)

The Most Popular Action and Movement Songs for Children with Autism

Leslie Stebbins, M.Ed. M.L.I.S. By Leslie Stebbins, M.Ed. M.L.I.S. | 4/13/19 1:44 PM | Early Childhood Education | 0 Comments

Many classrooms use movement and action songs as a way to help young children take a break from quieter learning activities or to transition from one activity to another in the classroom. But action songs also serve to help children with special needs learn how to gradually build up to participating in group activities in the classroom and these songs can also promote language development, gross motor skills, and emotional development.
Below are some of the most popular and enjoyable action and movement songs for young children of any ability. Action songs are a great way to combine learning and fun! 
 
Note: The songs listed below have free links to audio.*
 
HEAD, SHOULDERS, KNEES AND TOES
[touch body parts as you sing them]
Head and shoulders knees and toes
Knees and toes
Head and shoulders knees and toes
Knees and toes
Ad eyes and ears
And mouth and nose
Head and shoulders knees and toes
Knees and toes
 
 
HOKEY POKEY
[Put your right arm in front of your body straight out, then put it behind your body]
Put your right arm in, take your right arm out.
[repeat arm movement]
Put your right arm in, and you shake it all about.
[turn around in a circle]
Do the Hokey Pokey and you turn yourself around, that’s what it’s all about!
 
[repeat actions with different body parts]
Put your left arm in, take your left arm out.
Put your left arm in, and you shake it all about.
Do the Hokey Pokey and you turn yourself around, that’s what it’s all about!
Put your right foot in, take your right foot out.
Put your right foot in, and you shake it all about.
Do the Hokey Pokey and you turn yourself around, that’s what it’s all about!
 
Put your left foot in, take your left foot out.
Put your left foot in, and you shake it all about.
Do the Hokey and Pokey and you turn yourself around, that’s what it’s all about!
 
[Jump both feet up in the air and forward, then jump both feet up in the air and jump back]
Put your whole self in, take your whole self out.
Put your whole self in, and you shake it all a-bout.
Do the Hokey and Pokey and you turn yourself around, that’s what it’s all about!
 
Chorus: Do the Hokey Pokey, Do the Hokey Pokey, Do the Hokey Pokey, that’s what it’s all about!
 
 
 
BUCKLE MY SHOE
 
One, two, buckle my shoe.
[Mime fastening your shoe.]
Three, four, shut the door.
[Shut the door and then mime the movement you want students to use in during the song]
 
Five, six, pick up sticks. [Pick up some pencils or sticks off the floor and then mime the movement to students to use in during the song]
 
Seven, eight, lay them straight. [Arrange the pencils or sticks on a desk and then mime the movement you want students to use during the song]
 
Nine, ten, a big fat hen [Tuck your hands up to your shoulders and “flap” them like chicken wings]
 
Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one, All done! [Clap during the numbers and then sit down on “done!”]
 
 
 
I’M A LITTLE TEAPOT/ I’M A LITTLE SNOWMAN
 
I’m a little teapot short and stout.
Here is my handle,
[put one hand on hip]
here is my spout
[raise one hand into air like spout]
 
When the water’s
boiling, hear me shout,
“Tip me over, pour me out!”
[lean sideways with spout arm pretending to ‘pour’]
 
I’m a little teapot short and stout.
Here is my handle
[put one hand on hip]
here is my spout
[raise one hand into air like spout]
 
I can change my
handle or my spout. [put other hand on hip and raise other arm in air to pour]
 
“Tip me over, pour me out!”
 
 
 
OPEN SHUT THEM
 
Open, shut them, open shut them
[hands in front of body – open and close hands]
Give a little clap, clap, clap
[clap 3 times with music]
Open, shut them, open, shut them 
Lay them in your lap, lap, lap
[lay hands in lap]

Creep them, creep them, slowly creep them
[put them to forefinger, then climb other thumb to other forefinger – repeat]
to your little chin chin chin
[tickle chin with fingers]
Open up your little mouth
[open mouth with fingers right in front of mouth]
But do not let them in, in, in

Open, shut them, open shut them
[hands in front of body – open and close hands]
To your shoulders fly
[touch hands to shoulders]
Then like the little birdies
[flutter hands upward]
Let them flutter to the sky
 
 
 
DO YOUR EARS HANG LOW
 
[Hold hands next to ears]
Do your ears hang low,
 
[Flop hands next to ears back and forth]
Do they wobble to and fro
 
[Mime tying a knot, hands in front of chest]
Can you tie them in a knot,
 
[Tie them in a box in front of chest]
Can you tie them in a bow
 
[Mime flipping something large over your shoulder]
Can you throw them over your shoulder
 
[Salute, hand to forehead]
Like a continental soldier
 
[Hands back next to ears]
Do you ears hang low
 
 
 
THE ITSY BITSY SPIDER
 
[Touch thumb to forefinger and other forefinger touching thumb, then make climbing motion by twisting other thumb up to other forefinger, repeat]
The itsy bitsy spider went up the water spout
 
[Flutter fingers in front of you from above head toward waist or lap]
Down came the rain and washed the spider out
 
[Put arms over head in big circle and touch fingers of opposite hands]
Out came the sun and it dried up all the rain
 
[Repeat thumb and forefinger move]
Then the itsy bitsy spider went up the spout again.
 
 
 
THE WHEELS ON THE BUS
 
[Move both arms around each other in circular motion]
The wheels on the bus go round and round,
Round and round, round and round
The wheels on the bus go round and round,
All through the town
 
[Put hands together then spread apart miming door opening]
The doors on the bus go open and shut
Open and shut, open and shut
The doors on the bus go open and shut
All through the town
 
[Bend arms and move in synch back and forth like wipers]
The wipers on the bus go swish swish swish
Swish swish swish, swish swish swish
The wipers on the bus go swish swish swish
All through the town
 
[Put fists by eyes and twist back and forth to mime crying]
The baby on the bus goes waa waa waa
Waa waa waa, waa waa waa
The baby on the bus goes waa waa waa
All through the town
 
[Hold index finger to lips]
The mommy on the bus goes shhh, shhh, shhh
Shh shh shh, shh shh shh
The mommy on the bus goes shhh, shhh, shhh
All through the town

[Pretend to hold a book and turn pages]
The daddy on the bus goes read read read
Read read read, read read read
The daddy on the bus goes read read read
All through the town
 
The mommy and the daddy say "I love you,
I love you, I love you"
The mommy and the daddy say "I love you,
All through the town
 
 
 
 
 
Free audio listed above is open source from the U.S. American English State Dept. and Singwithourkids.com. Thanks to Nancy Stewart for making these available.

Leslie Stebbins, M.Ed. M.L.I.S. Leslie Stebbins has more than twenty-five years of experience in higher education with a background in library and information science, instructional design, research, and teaching. She has a Masters in Education from the Technology Innovation & Education Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a Masters in Information Science from Simmons College. For twenty years she created and led information literacy and research skills programs for students and faculty at Brandeis University. Currently she is the Director for Research at Consulting Services for Education (CS4Ed). Her clients both at CS4Ed and as an independent consultant have included Harvard University, the California State University Chancellor's Office, the U.S. Department of Education, Facing History and Ourselves, Tufts University, and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center. She is the author of numerous articles and four books including Finding Reliable Information Online: Adventures of an Information Sleuth. For more about Leslie visit LeslieStebbins.com.

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