If you have a class set of jingle bells, jingle sticks, cluster bells, wrist bells, etc., here’s a list of musical activities you can do with pre-k and kindergarten. This is especially helpful when teaching music during COVID if you aren’t allowed to sing or if you only want to hand out one instrument per lesson. You could do jingle bells with one class, and shaker eggs with another. Most of the jingle bell and shaker egg activities can be used with either instrument.
“Shake It, Don’t Break It” by Clifton Chenier
This is a humorous way to introduce the instruments. Go over how to play the different types of bells and how not to play them. In other words, shake them, don’t break them! This song is a good way to have the kids explore the bells. Give them the freedom to shake away. After a bit, they can even stand up walk around the room in a jingle parade, or you can have each child take a turn demonstrating how they “shake it.” It’s also great to add zydeco to your lessons if your kids have never heard it before. There’s a faster version by the Zydeco Hounds that you can use for freeze dance. Older students can listen to and compare the two versions. There are differences in tempo, instrumentation, backup vocals, intro/outro, and more.
“Shake Those Bells” by Lynn Kleiner
Lynn has a wealth of resources for early childhood. I like this song because it’s an easy way to introduce the bells to toddlers and pre-k. For “around we go,” I have the kids draw a big circle with their bells if they are seated. Lynn has kids spin if they are standing. This is can be a fun one to personalize by taking suggestions from the kids as to what they would do for the words ” high,” “low,” and “around we go.”
I Love to Hear the Sounds by Kathy Reid-Naiman
I found out about Kathy’s music from Moriah at HolmesSweetMusicHome. Kathy’s album, I Love to Hear the Sounds, is full of classroom instrument songs for littles. Here’s a YouTube playlist of the album. I’ll list of few of her jingle bell songs below!
“Jingle, Jingle Little Bell” by Super Simple Songs
“Shake Your Bell in the Air” by Jbary
This is a storytime song performed by 2 librarians to the tune of “If Your Happy and You Know It.” I don’t recommend playing the video, but you won’t need it for this piggyback song. The lyrics can be found in the video description.
“Shake Break” by Pancake Manor
I have never heard of Pancake Manor but found this 1-minute song and thought it would be perfect for jingle bells (or shaker eggs). This would be a good one to end the lesson on a fun note. Just shake the bells on “shake” and do the other movements like jump and turn. They could practice this by sitting on the floor first and shaking their bells as if they were people, then having their bells jump and turn before standing up and trying it with their whole bodies. The ending is weak so I just say “tuuurn aaaaround….sit down!”
“Put Your Instruments Away” by Ella Jenkins
This is a nice calm song to use during transitions. Kids know where to place used instruments in my room, and while they are doing that and returning to their seats, I can prep the next activity.
I hope list is useful if you are in need of a handful, or just one jingle bell activity. Happy jingling! If you are looking for more Preschool and K activities, you can find them in my shop!