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Welcome to Rocking the Playroom!

Here you'll find songs for babies, toddlers and preschoolers that you can sing whenever you feel like it.

There are also more structured Playschool Activities that parents or teachers could do as a playtime activity.

And finally, there are the Playschool Lessons, which group a few Playschool Activities together and follow the themes that the kids are doing at my local playschool.

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Lesson: The Gruffalo - We love books

Lesson: The Gruffalo - We love books

We're back after our Easter holidays and ready to sing again! Last week, we repeated our Autumn Rustle lesson and this week, the theme is "We love books", so we're going to do a music lesson around a modern-day classic, The Gruffalo!

I'll read The Gruffalo, and add some sound effects, movements, and lots of expression to make the story as engaging as possible for the kids.

Stroll rhythm

One of the reasons why The Gruffalo is awesome is because of the rhyming. The rhymes create a musical rhythm to the story, so I'm going to teach the children a simple rhythmical pattern that they will clap at first, and then stamp out. This is how we'll learn the rhythm.

  • Practice the “stroll rhythm” – 1 - 2 - 1, 2, 3 – "Let’s - all - take a stroll" by clapping.
  • Practice stopping immediately when (instead of saying “take a stroll”) the teacher says "gruff-a-lo".
  • Children stand up in a circle and walk to the left, stamping in the “stroll rhythm”. The teacher can play a drum to keep children in time. (Of course, if the children can't keep time, it's no problem - the idea is just to expose them to rhythm in language).
  • Practice stopping immediately when (instead of saying “take a stroll”) you say "gruff-a-lo".
  • After a few repetitions, the teacher can start reading the story.
  • Children must stop in their tracks on the word “gruffalo”.

Musical instruments for "sound effects"

As I read the story, I'll use various musical instruments to add sound effects. Scroll through the gallery below to see the instruments I'm planning to use.

Feel free to use any instruments that you have available to add your own sound effects. And you don't have to limit yourself to musical instruments - use other objects to create sound effects. For example, crunch a handful of autumn leaves, bang on a pot, hit an empty ice-cream container, or whistle if you can!


To keep the kids focussed and engaged, I'm going to get them moving at various points in the story:

After the line: "'Roasted fox! I'm off!', Fox said. Goodbye little mouse, and away he sped," we will run on the spot and chant:

Run, run, run like a fox! Run, run, over these rocks.

After the line: "'Owl ice cream? Toowhit toowhoo! Goodbye little mouse,' and away Owl flew," we will make a big flying motion and chant:

Fly, fly, fly like an owl! Flying around like you're on the prowl.

After the line: "'Scrambled snake! It's time I hid! Goodbye little mouse,' and away Snake slid," we will make a sliding motion with our feet and chant:

Slide, slide, slide like a snake! Slide like a snake on the side of a lake.

"Fill in the blank"

It's great for literacy skills if the children can start predicting the rhyming words in the story. To introduce this concept, I'm going to read the line, "there's no such thing as a gruffalo," but stop before "gruffalo" and let the children fill in the gap themselves.

Parallel activities

This lesson is very much pitched at the older kids, so it'll be important to have some parallel activities for the little ones:

  • There are various "versions" of The Gruffalo e.g. touch and feel, pram book, puzzle book, etc. - try and get a few of these books for the little ones to browse through.
  • There are lots of free Gruffalo activities here - and also activities from Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler's other books, which are all wonderful. For these very little ones, the colouring activities will probably be the best.
  • Make Gruffalo finger puppets and then act out some of the lines from the book. Let the children play with the puppets as a free play activity.
  • Do the "movement" activities from the main lesson (see above).
  • Play with rhythm instruments and sing a song like Jingly Jangly Joe, or My friend Shakey.

Looking for more fun musical activities to do with your kids?

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