Counting on Spring!

The mouse glove is great for “Five Little Mice.”

Counting is often one of my themes for early childhood music in early March because … I’m counting on spring! Here are a few of my favorite counting rhymes. The first one features snow, because here in New England, the snow is still coming down in March 🙁

Five Little Snowflakes – Author Unknown

One little snowflake, with nothing to do. Along came another and then there were two!

Two little snowflakes, falling on a tree. Along came another and then there were three!

Three little snowflakes, looking for more. Along came another and then there were four!

Four little snowflakes, starting to arrive. Along came another and then there were five.

Five little snowflakes, having so much fun. Along came many more, for a great, big storm!

Or … Five little snowflakes, having so much fun. Along came the sun, and then there were none.

I’ve recently paired this rhyme with Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds.” Early March is often intensely windy here. The continued chilly temperatures and wind can be troubling for all ages. It’s good to remind everyone that spring will arrive soon, and “Every little thing’s gonna be all right.”

I made a visual with snowflakes for counting, putting three bird pictures on the back: a robin, a bluebird and a chickadee. It’s good to name different types of birds to develop children’s vocabulary and awareness of nature.

From birds, let’s turn to fish. Children always seem to enjoy the “One Red Fish” rhyme, which I learned from the great children’s library resource, JBrary. Again, I don’t know the author of this one.

One red fish, swimming in the water (repeat 2x) Bubble, bubble, bubble, bubble, pop!

Repeat verses up to five, with different colors of fish. You could add different kinds of fish for this one, but I generally just keep it generic.

I use a visual with this song: one sheet for each number and color, with accompanying text. We count the number of fish and name the color before singing. Then I always point to the words of text before starting to sing the verse. The library ladies of JBrary sing “one little red fish,” but I simplified the lyrics to keep my text simple on the card.

“One Red Fish” and “Five Little Snowflakes” are both “counting-up” rhymes, meaning they start at one and count to five. These are good starters, especially for children aged 2 and 3 who are still developing basic number sense. But older kids enjoy them, too.

For a “counting-down” song, my classes have recently enjoyed my original song and finger-play, “Five Little Mice.” I use a cat puppet and a glove with five mouse faces for this one. The song introduces the topic of bullying, and we usually stop the song and discuss what a bully is, and what the cat can do to stop being a bully. This song is on my album Once Upon a Tune. You can find the lyrics at this link. I often pair this one with my story songs about the Three Little Pigs or the Three Billy Goats Gruff. These stories feature notorious bullies, but the main characters come up with ways to outsmart them!

One of my favorite “counting-down” songs, which also features rhyming and movement, is my version of “Hey, Dr. Knickerbocker.” This song is on my album Singing All the Way Home, and you can find the lyrics here as well as a live-action video here, with me leading the movements.

I’m sure you’re counting on spring coming soon, too. Enjoy these counting songs and rhymes!

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