To warm children up and continue fostering a sense of community, introduce a couple of songs and rhymes with finger play. These not only expose children to the rhythms and sounds of the English language, they also help to synchronise the group into one community, much like a Mexican wave. Do not be afraid to sing each song or rhyme twice as such repetition helps children learn. You can also clap or tap to syllables in words while saying or singing them, and use finger play activities that engage children in moving their fingers.
With pre-school children, you could consider songs like ‘Willoughby Wallaby Woo’ to focus on rhyme and learn each child’s name. A soft toy elephant or puppet could make this song even more enjoyable.
With younger children, a popular song is ‘What do you think my name is?’. If the group is small, you could consider incorporating the rolling of a large beach ball into the song or the clapping of hands.
Before you start, to help coordinate the group, you could count to three. For example, ‘Let’s sing Open – Shut them. Are you ready? One, two, three.’ When you finish each song, clap and praise the children for participating, ‘Give yourselves a big clap! Yay!’. This can also function as a transition marker.