Singing Games

Young children especially will love singing games, and most will be familiar with these traditional rhymes and songs. Don’t forget to include any actions that you think might be appropriate!

If You’re Happy and You Know It

Age: 1+

Equipment: None

Sing the verses below adding in any appropriate actions. You have lots of scope here to make up your own verses and actions.

If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands (CLAP, CLAP)
If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands (CLAP, CLAP)
If you’re happy and you know it,
And you really want to show it,
If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands (CLAP, CLAP)

For the final verse, shout, “WE ARE!” Other actions could include:

  • Stamp your feet
  • Wave your hands
  • Nod your head
  • Turn around
  • Jump up and down

The Wheels on the Bus

Age: 1+

Equipment: None

This is ideal for very young children, and you’d be surprised how much the older ones enjoy it too. The children sit down and mime the appropriate actions to the song below:

The wheels on the bus go round and round,
Round and round,
Round and round,
The wheels on the bus go round and round,
All day long.

Other words and actions:

  • The windscreen wipers go swish, swish, swish (Actions, move your arms from left to right)
  • The people on the bus bounce up and down (Bounce up and down)
  • The mums on the bus go chatter, chatter, chatter (Make your hands go chatter)
  • The babies on the bus go waa, waa, waa (Pretend to rub your eyes and cry)

Oranges and Lemons

Age: 3+

Equipment: None

Two adults or two children make an arch with their arms. The children line up, and pass through the arch one at a time while you all sing:

‘ Oranges and lemons’
Say the bells of St. Clement’s;
‘You owe me five farthings’
Say the bells of St. Martin’s;
‘When will you pay me?’
Say the bells of Old Bailey;
‘When I grow rich’
Say the bells of Shoreditch;
‘When will that be?’
Say the bells of Stepney;
‘I do not know,’
Said the great bell of Bow.

Here comes a candle to light you to bed... (Lift arms)
Here comes a chopper to chop off your head!

(Bring arms down over the child currently under the arch to ‘chop off their head’. The decapitated child can form the arch for the next round of the song, should you wish to sing it a few times )

Hokey Cokey

Age: 3+

Equipment: None

Everyone stands in a circle and makes the actions appropriate to each verse. Doing the “Hokey Cokey” involves joining your hands and rocking them from side to side.

At the chorus, everyone joins hands and rushes in and out of the circle for the first three lines, makes the appropriate knee bending and arm stretching actions for the fourth line and waves their hands in the air while shouting the final line “ra, ra, ra!”

Verse: You put your right arm in,
Your right arm out,
In, out, in, out and shake it all about.
You do the Hokey Cokey and then you turn around...
That’s what it’s all about!

Chorus: Oh, the Hokey Cokey Cokey,
Oh the Hokey Cokey Cokey,
Oh the Hokey Cokey Cokey,
Knees bend, arms stretch,
Ra, ra, ra!

Other verses:

  • Left arm in
  • Right leg in
  • Left leg in
  • Whole self in

Nursery Rhyme Pop Stars

Age: 3 - 5


  • A pretend microphone (or a hairbrush if you don’t have one!)
  • Small prizes for each pop star volunteer

The more confident children will love to show off for this singing game. Don’t force the less confident children to sing if they don’t want to.

  • Sit the children in a group in front of you and start the game by asking, “Does anyone know a song called Twinkle Twinkle Little Star?” (or some other well known nursery rhyme)
  • The children should all answer “yes!”
  • You then say “There’s a prize for the person that can stand up here and sing the nursery rhyme on their own!”
  • Hopefully you’ll have a volunteer who will take the microphone and sing the song in front of the group. If children aren’t readily volunteering, you could suggest that they sing with a partner, and perform a ‘duet’.
  • When the volunteer has finished, everyone gives him a big clap and he gets a prize.

Other popular nursery rhymes to suggest include Humpty Dumpty, Jack and Jill, Baa Baa Black sheep, Incy Wincy Spider.

Old MacDonald

Age: 2+

Equipment: None

Give all the children an animal to be in the song e.g., cow, and ask one child to start as Old MacDonald (maybe the birthday boy/girl).

  • Everyone forms a circle with Old MacDonald in the centre and sings the song
  • When it comes to the animal name, all the children who are that animal e.g., cow come into the middle of the circle with Old MacDonald and make their animal noise
  • At the end of the verse they rejoin the circle, and a new set of children join the farmer for the next verse.
  • Everyone joins in making animal noises in the last verse.

Old MacDonald had a farm
And on that form he had some cows
With a moo, moo here, and a moo, moo there
Here a moo, there a moo, everywhere a moo, moo,
Old MacDonald had a farm

Other verses:

  • Sheep (baa, baa)
  • Hens (cluck, cluck)
  • Horses (cluck, cluck)
  • Horses (neigh, neigh)
  • Dogs (woof-woof)
  • Pigs (oink-oink)
  • Cats (miaow, miaow)
  • Ducks (quack-quack)
  • Lots of animals (variety of sounds for the last verse)