I LOVE this song! “Hop Old Squirrel” can be used to solidify concepts that you have covered in the lesson, will encourage them to participate, and will get them up and moving!! (Which is always a plus!) As you know, we have been working on fast/ slow and high/ low with our “sound roadways” and “animal crossings” in Pre-K. We used toy cars and animals to introduce these ideas, but I also want my students to experience them firsthand …. and what better way to do that then to act them out!

Enter “Hop Old Squirrel”.

This song is simple to sing ~ thus, simple to change! Here’s the basic lesson:

  • Introduce the song by singing it and doing the movements in place
  • Create other actions, still staying in one spot
    • Run Old Squirrel
    • Munch Old Squirrel
  • Have kids do the actions moving around the room (usually in a circle around the rug)
  • Ask kids for different animals and the actions they will be doing
    • Waddle Old Duck
    • Scurry Old Lizard
    • Stomp Old Dino
    • (I will often ask kids what animals they have on their shirts, to help them)
  • Kids can sometimes have an easier time remembering animals, but the actions sometimes take a while, so I will play an Alberti Bass pattern while they think about it!

Extension 1

In the roadways and animal crossings lessons, we discovered that cars and animals can go slow/ fast and high/ low. We can apply these concepts to “Hop Old Squirrel”!

Sound Roadways:

  • We sang the song as always, the first time around
  • Just like in Sound Roadways, I asked the kids to tell me which cars, or animals in this case, move quickly, and which move slowly
  • They yell out the answers and I play the song faster or slower depending on the animal 
  • We move around the room slowly or quickly, depending on what we decided! 

Animal Crossings:

  • Again, we sing the song without changes the first time
  • As kids are choosing animals, we can decide if they need a high sound or a low sound. Birds, butterflies and other small animals/ insects are high and typically, dinos and sharks are played in the low register. 
  • Although we sing the song in the correct register, I play the piano octaves higher or lower to reinforce this concept

The kids have a blast, and they are using their whole body to reinforce these concepts!! Love this!

Extension 2

In Kindergarten we are getting ready to rewrite “Over in The Meadow”. We have read a few versions (Like “Over in the Ocean”) that I was able to get at the library (although there are a ton more!) and we will decide what habitat we want to use and go from there. To get the kids moving and thinking about what animals they want to include in a certain habitat, we will play “Hop Old Squirrel”! 

This is the kind of song that you can pull out at any time! You can keep this going as long as needed! It can be a great filler when you are finished with your lesson early or want to plug in a movement activity in between 2 sitting ones. 

Let us know in the comments below what you do with this song! We are always looking for more ideas!!