Itsy Bitsy Spider-type of songs?
July 21, 2010 4:09 PM   Subscribe

My 16-month old loves when I sing "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" and he will mimic the hand movements. What are some other songs or activities I can do that involves this kind of interaction?

I have a couple more things that are participatory, like "this little piggy went to market..." on his toes, and one or two others. But I need MORE! What are some interactive/tactile/mimicry type of songs and games I can play with him?
posted by zardoz to Human Relations (43 answers total) 53 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes
posted by Paragon at 4:14 PM on July 21, 2010

Best answer: The wheels on the bus....
posted by rmless at 4:16 PM on July 21, 2010

The wheels on the bus and patty-cake are the big ones my son liked.
posted by AltReality at 4:17 PM on July 21, 2010

What you want are generally called "finger plays". Here's a good starter list
posted by mogget at 4:17 PM on July 21, 2010 [2 favorites]

Way UP (hands up) in the sky, the little birds (bird motion) fly (fly).
Way DOWN (hands down) in the nest, the little birds rest (sleep).
With a wing on the LEFT, with a wing on the RIGHT, the little birds sleep all through the night.
Then UP comes the sun, the moon GOES AWAY.
Good morning, good morning the little birds say!

posted by k8t at 4:18 PM on July 21, 2010 [4 favorites]

How about "I'm a little teapot". This was one of my very favorites when I was a kid a million years ago.
posted by DrGail at 4:18 PM on July 21, 2010

I really like the Little Green Frog.

You could also google camp songs.
posted by aetg at 4:21 PM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

This is how I spend a good part of the day with my kids. Here are some the Dojlings enjoy. You probably know most of these already, but if you don't, Google should give you a rundown of the lyrics and motions.

This Old Man
To Market To Market To Buy a Fat Pig
If You're Happy And You Know It, Clap Your Hands
Ring Around the Rosie
Wheels on the Bus
Where is Thumbkin
Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes

I'll post some more as I think of them.
posted by Dojie at 4:23 PM on July 21, 2010

Little Bunny Foo Foo... Here's the Wiki on it.

You can come up with your own hand gestures.

It also helps with counting because you sing it three times (three chances) and it's kind of interactive.

My adult children get all nostalgic with Little Bunny Foo Foo.

We always ended it with, "what's the moral of this tale? Hare today, goon tomorrow."

Kids love that stuff.
posted by patheral at 4:25 PM on July 21, 2010

My daughter loved Eric Carle's From Head to Toe when she was that age.
posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld at 4:37 PM on July 21, 2010

Little Rabbit Foo Foo.

I couldn't find a good version on YouTube, but here's a decent text version with hand motions explained.

Lots of kids get a kick out of hearing about someone else being naughty, getting scolded and being punished.
posted by marsha56 at 4:37 PM on July 21, 2010

Five Little Pumpkins
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:37 PM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

5 little monkeys jumping on the bed.
posted by gaspode at 4:38 PM on July 21, 2010

My mom always sang the song that K8t mentions. Here's a video of a slightly different version of the song but without the hand motions. I think the line "dew falls away" must be done in a super low voice and "good morning good morning the little birds say" must be super high otherwise it's just not right!

In a Cabin in the Woods is another good one. (although, once a rousing version of this around a campfire on the beach lead to someone on the opposite shore calling the coast guard!)
posted by vespabelle at 4:38 PM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oops, patheral beat me to it. She says Bunny, I say Rabbit. Same diff.
posted by marsha56 at 4:39 PM on July 21, 2010

Response by poster: Wow, you guys are fast! And full of great examples. Thanks, keep them coming.
posted by zardoz at 4:42 PM on July 21, 2010

Marsha56, I actually say Rabbit (that's the way I learned it) but everyone else I've ever met who knows the song says bunny, so I listed it as Bunny - I'm glad you found a site with the hand motions though - those are important!
posted by patheral at 4:49 PM on July 21, 2010

This is a rhyme/magic trick my grandfater used to do for me. It is one of my earliest memories because the trick blew my three-year-old mind.

Two little blackbirds sitting on a hill
One named Jack, and one named Jill
Fly away jack!
Fly away Jill!
Come back Jack!
Come Back Jill

The birds in this song, were small pieces of paper or napkins stuck to Gramp's index fingers with spit. When he got to "Fly away Jack," he would whip his hand behind his back and then return it quickly with (and here's the tricky part) his MIDDLE FINGER extended instead of his index. Now, not giving me The Finger, but fooling me into thinking that his middle finger was the index finger, missing the bird/paper. He would repeat with the other hand, and before I could figure it out, he would "bring them back" by reversing the action.

Will it work on a 16-month-old? You'll have to tell me. Mine is only 2 months but I can't wait to try it on him.
posted by Brodiggitty at 4:52 PM on July 21, 2010

...and I always sing another verse after the standard 3 chances that little bunny foo-foo gets before he/she is turned into a goon that goes: "Little goony foo-foo hoppin' through the forest...."

It works for older kids that get that you can punish that bunny but it will still get up to its old ways. I thinks it's great for kids 3 or older.

Also, religious, but fun if you know the hand-gestures is Swing Low, Sweet Chariot. Trying to google that, apparently there are some *dirty* hand gesture that go with that. Hmmm... not what we learned in Sunday school! These gestures are essentially what we learned except "coming for to carry me" started with a beckoning gesture. Beckon+4 fingers+2 fingers+baby carry+point to self. Goodness.
posted by amanda at 4:59 PM on July 21, 2010

My 1 year old nephew is just starting to do this. He likes "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" - I think my sister has learnt more elaborate hand movements to do to it, but I just do 'spirit fingers'. He also likes "If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands...".
posted by AnnaRat at 5:03 PM on July 21, 2010

Eye winker (touch baby's eye)
Tom Thinker (touch top of head)
Nose smeller (touch nose)
Mouth eater (touch mouth)
Chin chopper (wiggle chin up and down)

(Pause for dramatic effect, hands up high to your face in a kinda scary way. then go in for baby's belly and tickle while saying):

Also: 5 fat sausages frying in a pan. One went POP (clap loudly) and the other went BANG!
(go down to O sausages and use your fingers to count. 1 sausage left goes POP the other went (silence)

Also: This one is good for after diaper changing. Circle baby's belly with your finger and say: Round and round the garden like a teddy bear. One step (make steps with your fingers) 2 steps, (pause then tickle under the arms and say TICKELLY UNDER THERE)
posted by Pennyblack at 5:09 PM on July 21, 2010

You can make up motions to other songs he loves, even if they're not traditionally movement songs. For example, we sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Row, Row, Row Your Boat, and Pop, Goes the Weasel with our own motions

Skinamarink-a-dink-a-dink (a la Sharon, Lois & Bram)
Round and Round the Garden
Hurry, Hurry, Drive the Fire Truck

On preview, our version of Pennyblack's song is
Eye winker
Eye blinker
Nose hanger
Mouth eater
Chin chopper
. . .
Gilly gilly gilly
posted by Dojie at 5:12 PM on July 21, 2010

I have vague memories of seeing or doing actions with "Do Your Ears Hang Low".
posted by Bruce H. at 5:56 PM on July 21, 2010

Do you live somewhere that you could do baby signing classes? They seem to be fun and mostly based on lots of interactive songs. My sister's kids did Tinytalk classes and know many, many songs with associated gestures (and laugh at me for getting 'ducks' and 'tweety birds' mixed up). They sell DVDs and so on on their website (I've never seen them myself) but are based on British Sign Language though, so it might be more helpful in the long run if there's an equivalent for the sign language of wherever you are.
posted by Lebannen at 6:12 PM on July 21, 2010

Whoops Johnny is a riddle, but it's still a fun rhyme for kids without the riddle part.
posted by unknowncommand at 6:32 PM on July 21, 2010

seconding 5 little monkeys...a perennial favorite with all my younger cousins (they especially love to yell the last "no more monkeys jumpin on the bed!")
posted by dayspteh at 7:12 PM on July 21, 2010

The first song I thought of when I read this was "Skinnamarink" by Sharon, Lois and Bram.
posted by kaudio at 7:43 PM on July 21, 2010

My 16 month old goes into hysterics when his grandma sings "I'm a little teapot." He puts up his little "spout" and goes running around the room.
posted by lexicakes at 8:11 PM on July 21, 2010

If you want to go beyond hand motions and use whole body, This is the Way the Ladies Ride gets motion from your lap as you mimic the styles of riding a horsie. My girls loved it. Don't forget to add Farmers (sway-backed mare) and Circus Clowns (crazy acrobatic motions) to the list of Ladies, Gentlemen, Little Boys, etc.
posted by CathyG at 8:38 PM on July 21, 2010

Way Up in the Sky video - my 20 month old has loved it for a long time
posted by k8t at 10:30 PM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

In a Cabin in the Woods FTW! My kid shall hear that tomorrow. #memories!
posted by k8t at 10:31 PM on July 21, 2010

Mine was hypnotized by Round and round the garden -- on the hand. If it clicks the hand will be proffered to you a ridiculous number of times a day, and be done to your own. (My feeling is that Wikipedia is in error and it is indeed "tickly under there.")
posted by kmennie at 11:59 PM on July 21, 2010

My name is Joe
I've got a wife and a dog and a family

I work
In a button factory.
One day
My boss came up to me and said "Hey Joe, are you busy?" I said "Heck no!"
Turn the nob with your right hand....
posted by Foam Pants at 1:05 AM on July 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

one of my favourites is One Little Finger

One little finger, one little finger, one little finger. (Hold up your index finger and bend it up and down.)
Tap tap tap. (Tap your finger against your other INDEX FINGER 3 times.)
Point your finger up/point to the ceiling. (Point up!)
Point your finger down/point to the floor. (Point down!)
Put it on your head. Head! (Put your finger on your head and say in a loud voice, “Head!”)
posted by ultrabuff at 2:47 AM on July 22, 2010

Five Little Ducks - and dude, you have to watch this video.

We sang a variant that uses more ASL sign:

sung Five little ducks went out to play
Over the hills and far away
Momma duck said quack, quack, quack
and 4 little ducks came running back

We also deviate in the last verse instead of singing we do
Momma duck got SCARED
(sung fast) And five little ducks came running back
posted by plinth at 3:27 AM on July 22, 2010

Apparently one of the reasons I got my job was the gusto with which I sang Five Little Ducks in a phone interview and my personal spin ("..and five NAUGHTY little ducks come running back because you never ever run away from mummy!) so I'm a big fan of that.

Open, Shut Them is good and has a bunch of variations. Hickory Dickory Dock, Grand Old Duke of York and Row, Row, Row Your Boat are some others. Check out your local library and see if they run baby sessions because they're usually centred around rhyme.
posted by geek anachronism at 4:03 AM on July 22, 2010

baby shark
posted by I am the Walrus at 6:59 AM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

+1 for Round and Round the Garden on the hand. When the girls were a bit older I also did it with them walking round me while I did the words, and then I'd grab one and tickle her at the end.
posted by crocomancer at 7:21 AM on July 22, 2010

Sit him on your lap facing you, hold his hands, and do "Row Row Row Your Boat."
posted by Knowyournuts at 4:58 PM on July 22, 2010

There are heaps of great CDs/DVDs for kids (and adults) with songs, rhymes and finger plays. My childhood makes me a BIG fan of the (Australian) ABC's Playschool series. Add now the Wiggles and The Fairies, and most of the ABC Kids artists. But in any store and most book shops, there are usually lots of CDs of nursery rhymes. Even if they aren't great recordings, it's enough to teach you the songs to enjoy with your son. Watching children's TV is a good way to pick up songs as well.
posted by liss at 8:43 AM on August 8, 2010

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