Dancing feet get children moovin' and groovin'.The sounds created by these elastic toe tappers provide children with an invaluable insight into understanding and recognizing rhythm and beat.

Remember when you were a child and you put on a concert for your family? At Educational Experience, we remember delving into the “dress-up” box or mum and dad’s wardrobe. We would set up the lounge room or the back patio as a stage. Sheets and the family’s prized furniture would double as props and the adjoining laundry or garage as the backstage area from where we would make our grand entrance. Catchy tunes would blast from the tape player. With an announcement and a quick clap of the hands to signal our performers, otherwise known as our younger siblings, to take their places the show would commence. A convoluted jumble of steps, lyrics and pounding of instruments would follow with the chorus quite often the only coherent words – sung at a boisterous decibel.

Children respond to music before birth. Beats have them bouncing before they can even begin to walk or talk!

Here’s a little ditty you can perform with your children at home to help them find their rhythm.

Jungle Beat lyrics

Deep in the jungle, hear jungle beat

Dance around & tap your feet

Clap your hands up in the air

Wriggle all around, wriggle everywhere.

Deep in the jungle hear the jungle sounds

A great big elephant is stomping around

Stomp, stomp, stomp, stomp...

If we listen, what can we hear?

There’s lots & lots of monkeys chattering near..

Che che che che...

Look who’s next, it’s crocodile,

Don’t get too near, or you’ll lose your smile...

sssss-SNAP, sssss-SNAP

There’s a great big lion who thinks he’s king

He roars and roars with a great big grin...

Roar…..... roar….....

Deep in the jungle hear the jungle beat

Now it’s time to go to sleep

We sang and we danced, we played along.

Suggested actions

On the chorus try these actions:

• “Deep in the jungle” – stretch out arms in front

• “Hear the jungle beat” – hand to ear

• “Dance around”, tap your feet – hands on hips – skip on the spot

• “Clap your hands up in the air”!

• “Wriggle all around” – moving hips and jumping around

Adaptation for young children

Simplify the chorus movements and move to each animal on the verses.

Extension for older children

Create whole body movements for the animals, adding in the chorus movements as described above. Dance with a partner. On “claps your hands up in the air” clap partners’ hands in the air, on “wriggle everywhere” take partners hand and wriggle with them.

Introducing instruments

When children are familiar with whole body movements, select appropriate instruments as representations of the animals for children to play on the animal sounds e.g. a drum for the elephant, bells or maracas for the monkeys, guiro or clap sticks for the crocodile and a piano, keyboard or xylophone for the lion.