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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: Wild Animals of Africa

Lesson: Wild Animals of Africa

This week's theme is the Wild Animals of Africa. How lucky we are to live on this awesome continent with several game reserves just a few hours away from our playschool here in Johannesburg! And what better way to learn about the animals of Africa than to use the music of Africa?! So let's get moving, roaring and trumpeting to the beat!

Welcome Song

Sing the Rocking the Playroom Welcome Song.

Rhythm: Rita the Cheetah

Play the first minute of Rita the Cheetah from Even More Beautiful Creatures. Explain that this song is a very fast song because the cheetah is a very fast animal - in fact the fastest animal on land!

We're going to learn some of the basics of keeping a beat and of rhythm by clapping along to Rita the Cheetah. 

First, we're going to think of three different animals and clap along to the rhythm of their walking...


A warthog running along the road. The warthog has short little legs that he has to take lots of little steps to get where he needs to go. Clap 1-2-3-4-, 1-2-3-4-


A giraffe striding through the bush. The giraffe has longer legs, so she doesn't have to take as many steps as the warthog. Tap 1---3---, 1---3---

An elephant trudging across the land. The elephant is a big animal with thick long legs. One of his steps gets him a long way. Tap 1-------, 1-------

Practice each of the animal's rhythms again.

Now we're going to use these animal's rhythms to clap along to Rita the Cheetah. Play Rita the Cheetah on the music player and then shout out the animal's rhythm before each section of the song.

  • Intro: Warthog rhythm (clap each beat).
  • Verse 1 (first half): Elephant rhythm. [As a rough guide, you will tap on the following words: dawn, an(imals), none, (me) tap, fast(er), an(gry), fast(er), see].
  • Verse 1 (second half): Add a beat to form the Giraffe rhythm.
  • Pre-chorus: Elephant rhythm.
  • Chorus: Warthog beat.
  • Repeat in the same pattern for the rest of the song.

If you don't want to use Rita the Cheetah, you could use any wild animal song that you like. Just make sure it has a 4/4 or 2/4 beat (if you can clap 1-2-3-4- to it, it's good to use!).

Movement: Imvubu the Happiest Hippo

We're going to dance to "Imvubu the Happiest Hippo" from Beautiful Creatures. We'll use some of our Dance 'n Beats moves, and in the chorus, we'll jump three times to the left, then three times to the right, and then "waggle your tail in the sunlight"!

Rhythm: Siyahamba - Improvisation with Shakers

Play Siyahamba from Drum Like and Animal by Tom Foote. Get the children to shake along with shakers, but encourage them to play the shakers in any way they wish (as long as it is safe). 

Strangely enough, I find that when I tell the children to play the shakers in any way they want to, they are possibly a little intimidated by their many options and don't play much! (This is after they come up with all sorts of ways of playing when I hand out the shakers and don't give any instruction). So what I'm doing now is going through a few "options" for shaking before the song e.g. shaking in our three "animal rhythms", rubbing the shakers up and down your arm, shaking up in the air, shaking low close to the floor, tapping the shaker lightly on the floor, stirring with the shaker, etc.

Singing: The Lion Sleeps Tonight

Last week, we used the tune of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" for our Healthy Song. This week, we'll sing the original song.

It's a good opportunity to extend the musical terminology that we learnt in the Opposites lesson. I'll point out the different between the low "a-wheemohweh" part and the high "eeeee" part. These parts can be sung over each other, with the verse. All of these parts work together to form a harmony.

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

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