Kopf, Schulter, Knie und Fuß / Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes

Singing this classic children’s song is a great way to teach my pre-k/kindergarten classes about body parts.

I like to back into the song, teaching the parts of the face first. It’s nice to repeat these a number of times, because they only show up in the song one time, while the others repeat three times!

  • Augen (eyes)
  • Ohren (ears)
  • Nase (nose)
  • Mund (mouth)

We repeat those a couple of times. Then I point to them on me in a random order and ask if it is X? First I do it right, then I start to make “mistakes” 🙂 For example, I point to my nose and say: “Ist das die Nase?” They all say: “Jaaaaaa!” But later I’ll point to my eyes and say: “Sind das die Ohren?” Most of the children recognize the mistage and say: “Nein!”

Then we move on to the bigger body parts:

  • Kopf (head)
  • Schulter (shoulders)
  • Knie (knees)
  • Fuß (foot)

Once we have the vocabulary down, we sing the song! We usually start seated and then sing it again standing. This year we repeated the song one last time at the end of the lesson. It was a nice way to reinforce it. And next week, those facial features will come in handy when we start making our Kürbislaternen (Jack-o-Lanterns)!

It’s also fun to read Eric Carle’s book Von Kopf bis Fuß (From Head to Toe) with this lesson.

I always send home a coloring page for the children. Here is one with all 8 body parts. You can download it for free below!

Meine Finger / My Fingers

Another song I introduce early on with my pre-k/kindergarten classes is “Meine Finger” (My fingers).

First we practice counting to 5 on our fingers. Then when we do the actions at the end of each verse, we do them five times while counting to five again.

I don’t follow the original lyrics exactly. I like to reuse vocabulary that the children know and add in a few funny ones. So with our funny little fingers, we clap (klatschen), pat (patschen), and count (zählen). Sometimes we also tickle (kitzeln), fidget (zappeln), scratsch (kratzen), knock (klopfen), and even play the piano (Klavier spielen)! Just plug in the verb at the end of the last sentence!

Here are the lyrics:

Meine Finger, meine Finger
sind so lustig kleine Dinge
Ich hab' fünf an jeder Hand!
Mit meinen Finger kann ich ... klatschen!

I also always show each hand with the line “Ich habe fünf an jeder Hand!”

Here is a video of the original song. One day, I’ll record our class version!

Unser kleiner Bär im Zoo / Out Little Bear in the Zoo

I sing a lot of songs with my pre-k/kindergarten class. We always start by learning our Begrüßungslied – our Hello Song. I often pair that with a common children’s song: “Unser kleiner Bär im Zoo.” In the original song, the bear hops and stomps and dances. But I like to change the actions to practice the ones we use in our Hello Song. When we sing it, the bear claps, pats his legs, and stomps. It’s great for review. And the kiddos love it!

Here are the lyrics that I use:

Unser kleiner Bär im Zoo der schläft ganz tief und fest
Schnarcht mal laut, mal leise, nach der Bärenweise
Doch wenn unser Bär erwacht, dann schaut mal was er macht

Er klatscht, er klatscht, er klatscht, er klatscht, er klatscht den ganzen Tag
Er klatscht, er klatscht, er klatscht, er klatscht, er klatscht den ganzen Tag

Unser kleiner Bär im Zoo der schläft ganz tief und fest
Schnarcht mal laut, mal leise, nach der Bärenreise
Doch wenn unser Bär erwacht, dann schaut mal was er macht

Er patscht, er patscht, er patscht, er patscht, er patscht den ganzen Tag
Er patscht, er patscht, er patscht, er patscht, er patscht den ganzen Tag

Unser kleiner Bär im Zoo der schläft ganz tief und fest
Schnarcht mal laut, mal leise, nach der Bärenweise
Doch wenn unser Bär erwacht, dann schaut mal was er macht

Er stampft, er stampft, er stampft, er stampft, er stampft, den ganzen Tag
Er stampft, er stampft, er stampft, er stampft, er stampft den ganzen Tag
Er patscht, er patscht, er patscht, er patscht, er patscht den ganzen Tag
Er patscht, er patscht, er patscht, er patscht, er patscht den ganzen Tag
Er klatscht, er klatscht, er klatscht, er klatscht, er klatscht den ganzen Tag
Er klatscht, er klatscht, er klatscht, er klatscht, er klatscht den ganzen Tag

Here is a little poster I like to use when I introduce the song. I talk about the little bear (kleiner Bär) and the zoo (Zoo). I ask the children what the bear does in winter. So many of them already know the word hibernate! Then I tell them that our bear is sleeping and snoring – sometimes loudly (laut), sometimes quietly (leise). But when he wakes up – just watch what he does! You can download the poster and teaching document below:

Here is a YouTube video that shows how the original song works:

Klingelingeling! Jingle Bells

While we may not be singing in the classrooms right now, that doesn’t mean we can’t have music! I usually teach the children the song “Kling, Glöckchen, Klingelingeling” at this time of year. In the past few years, I have made little bells at home to give to the children, so they can play along as we sing. But this year, I decided to let them make the bells. And then we said the words Kling, Glöckchen, Klingelingeling.

To make the bells, you need:

  • 2 pipe cleaners in two different colors (we used red & white this year)
  • three bells

That’s it! I get my bells at the Dollar Store. You have to make sure you get bells that have a big enough “loop” or “handle” at the top, so the pipe cleaner can go through.

For instructions on how to make the bells, see this post!

After I taught the children how to say “Kling, Glöckchen, Klingelingeling” we clapped out the rhythm as we said it. Then I told them that we needed bells to ring instead of just clapping! So we made the bells. And then I showed them one of my favorite things: and Advent calendar from our Swiss au pair. Each day plays a different song!

We listened to the German song for Day 2, of course – Kling, Glöckchen, Klingelingeling! And we rang our bells in time and spoke the words we’d learned.

(This Advent calendar plays 48 beautiful songs – 24 German and 24 English! It uses only 3 AA batteries. And the melodies are lovely to listen to! You can find more about them here! No compensation for me – I just like them!)

The children enjoyed the music so much, that we listened to several other songs. “O Tannenbaum“, “Stille Nacht“, and “Jingle Bells”.

Here is a coloring page that goes with the song:

Frohe Weihnachten!

Nikolaus – in 1st & 2nd Grade

In the afternoon on December 1st, I did a lesson with my 1st & 2nd graders on Nikolaus. Of course I told them a story first. I like to tell the story of how Nikolaus helped a poor family with three daughters.

For this class, I follow a format that I use from the beginning of the school year. On the first day, I told them the story Danke, Bär! (Thank You, Bear). So when I tell other stories in this first part of the year, I like to return to a similar format when I can. This story (as well as the Martin Legend) lends itself well to it, because a similar event happens three times. And at the end, the man and his daughters cry, “Danke, Nikolaus!” (Okay, that’s stretching it a little, as Nikolaus liked to work anonymously! But for the purpose of comprehension, I still like to use it!)

We skipped our drawing lesson for the day. Instead we went straight to our craft! For, as Nikolaus knows that the children of our school are learning German, he usually makes a special stop to drop off a little treat to each student. But he needs a place to put them! And as the kids can’t leave their boots in school, we make our own.

With these younger children, I still do the boot-lacing craft (see this post for instructions & free template). But we jazz it up a little! This year, they got white boots and sparkly red yarn. As I had recently told the story Puss in Boots, I asked them to decorate their boots to be as magnificent as the ones the shoemaker made in that story. And at the end, they got to glue cotton balls to the top for a little added warmth.

As we are not singing in the building right now, I played some Nikolaus songs while they worked. They couldn’t help themselves from singing along: “Lustig, lustig, Tra la la la la! Bald ist Nikolausabend da! Bald ist Nikolausabend da!” I have to admit, it warmed my heart!

Their wonderful teachers also put up a fireplace bulletin board where the children could hang their boots. It sure looks colorful and cozy!

I gave out a coloring page with words to the most common Nikolaus song for children who finished early or to take home to color. (You can download that from this post.)

Nikolaus Lied / Song

Normally, I would teach the children the song “Lasst uns froh und munter sein” when we celebrate Nikolaus. (Check out this post to see how I teach it and get the free materials to go along with it!) However, as we are not singing in the classrooms right now, I just played the song for them as they work on crafting their boots.

However, I did send them home with a coloring page that also has the words to the song!

You can download the coloring page for free here:

Zehn kleine Zappelfinger / Ten Little Fidgety Fingers

I am quickly trying to find some finger plays that I can do with the little ones, now that we can’t sing for a while. Although “Zehn kleine Zappelmänner” is usually a song, it can be done as a finger play, too! I looked at a number of variations on the old favorite and came up with a version of my own.

First, I went with Finger instead of Männer. Especially for my youngest students, it made more sense to use the word for fingers. And isn’t it often our fingers that get fidgety?!

I made a little handout with the words that I am using for the fingerplay. The children can also color in the hands when they bring the coloring page home.

I will try to get a video of the fingerplay posted soon!

Fünf kleine Fische / Five Little Fish

In the fall, I love to read the books about Kleiner weißer Fisch (Little White Fish) by Guido van Genechten. They are sweet books that are perfect for early language learners. There is a whole series of the books, so we read 5 of them this year in Pre-k/Kindergarten.

To go along with the books, we also sing the song “Fünf kleine Fische”. The kids love it! They especially love the “blub blub blub” part. I have little hand motions that we do with the song, so the kids can play along, even before they have learned the words. Here is a video of how I sing the song with them:

Of course, we practice counting to 5 before we start singing! We count forward and backward, since the song starts with 5 fish and counts down to 1.

To go along with the song, I have a coloring page that also includes the lyrics to the song with an English translation:

You can download that PDF for FREE here:

I also have a simple coloring page of five fish. This coloring sheet includes the words to the song as well.

You can download the PDF for FREE here:

Finally, if you are musically inclined and would like the sheet music for the song, you can find it here from Sing Kinderlieder (PDF).

Viel Spaß beim Singen!

Mh mh macht der grüne Frosch im Teich

For the past two years, I have been singing the song “Mh mh macht der grüne Frosch im Teich” with my preschoolers and kindergartners. They LOVE it!

I usually do some lessons on farm animals in the spring, and we sing the song for several weeks in a row. I often bring a little canvas bag filled with my farm animal finger puppets (if you watched the video on counting farm animals, you know I have 12!), and I pull one out at a time. Then we sing about that animal.

Just because we’re learning from home right now doesn’t mean we have to skip the song! I made a video where I talk about the farm animals and what they “say” in German (yes! even animals speak differently in different languages!). Then I sing the song, using my finger puppets.

You can download the text to this traditional song here: Mh mh macht der grüne Frosch im Teich GitA

I also made a few coloring pages, a tracing worksheet, and a label-the-animal worksheet for the children to do after they watch the video.

You can download the PDFs here, too:

 

Farbenlied – Color Song

Since I started teaching German to children, I have been looking for an easy color song. So far I haven’t found one that is just right. So I’ve been using my own.

It’s very simple – to the tune of Ten Little Indians. It goes like this:

Rot, orange, gelb, grün, blau, lila
Rot, orange, gelb, grün, blau, lila
Rot, orange, gelb, grün, blau, lila
in dem Regenbogen!

Just make sure you sing the word “orange” on two notes (one for each syllable). It’s a simple song, but we make it lots of fun by starting slowing and then going schneller!!! (faster) I always have to remind the kids to stay with me, and I tap the colors to the beat as we sing them. It can quickly get out of hand! But the kids love it 🙂

I made this video for my young students while we sare having to do remote learning, so you can sing along:

 

In the video, I show some word posters to refresh the vocabulary.

Regenbogen-page-001

I also made the comparative posters – schneller & langsamer – since we always say “schneller!!” at the end of the song before we sing it again. Here are the PDF files:

I’ll also send along a coloring sheet for the children. I made one in color and one in black & white, since I don’t know what kind of printer they’ll have.

Here is the PDF for the coloring page: Farbenlied Malvorlage GitA