Singing songs and making up new words for them is fun and can help children learn many things, including creativity.

In preparation for your whānau visit, read the article Music with children aged 3–5 and Whakatipu Te Māhuri, page 14.

Conversation ideas

Ask whānau:

What sort of music do you and your tamaiti enjoy each day?
Does your tamaiti have a favourite song?
Do you sing together around the house?
What do you think your tamaiti is learning when you sing together as you work and play?

Making up songs is fun!

Look at Te Māhuri, page 14 under "Listening to music and singing waiata". Music helps children learn many things. Creativity is one. And making up songs can be a lot of fun, as it appeals to this age group’s sense of humour.

A quick and easy way to start is making up new verses to familiar songs, for example, The Wheels on the Bus.

  • How about including the nannies on the bus – what could they do?
  • Who else could be on this bus?

Another example could be The Hokey Tokey.

  • How about singing ‘To pōtae ki roto, To pōtae ki waho’ and then adding in other items.
  • How about changing ‘hope hope’ and ‘hurihuri’?
  • What are some other actions? Peke peke (jump!), hikihiki (shrug!), kopakopa (fly about!).

Whānau may feel they can try making up a song about what their tamaiti is doing, using a tune they know. For example, to the tune of Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush, you could make up a song for getting dressed: ‘This is the way we put on our undies (socks, shirt, skirt, pants)’, and so on.

The next step could be to make up a different tune to go with new lyrics. How about some lines about driving in the car or catching the bus?

When we go to town
We always catch the bus
First we pay the driver
And find a seat no fuss

When we get to town
I press to make it stop
Down the steps I go
We’re here at the shop

Children usually like songs with their names in them. Changing the characters in a song or rhyme and replacing the original with the child’s name can be fun. Some ideas of songs to play around with:

  • Jack and Jill
  • Two Little Dickie Birds
  • Little Jack Horner

The things to remember are:

  • Simple lyrics
  • Regular beat
  • Songs about the world of the tamaiti
  • Doesn’t have to rhyme
  • Don’t have to be able to sing in tune
  • Can be as silly as you like.

Helpful resources for whānau