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 first hand …. 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)
    • (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)

Extension 1

In the roadways and animal crossings lessons, we discovered that cars and animals can go slow/ fast and high/ low.

Sound Roadways:

  • We sang the song as always the first time around
  • I then asked the kids to tell me what car drove fast and which drove slowly
  • They yelled out the race car went fast!! So we moved very quickly while I played the song faster than usual
  • We then moved around the room slowly while I played slowly and acted like the large slow car (sometimes I will play this in the lower register for fun)

Animal Crossings:

  • Again, we sang the song without changes the first time
  • I then had the class name the animals we spoke about that day
  • One by one, the kids told me and we moved accordingly
    • I made sure to change the piano part, as needed.
      • I played in the higher registers for the baby animals and in the lower registers for the larger animals (like the dinosaur!) …. as well as fast and slow when needed!

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 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 remembering the animals in the books, we sang “Hop Old Squirrel”!

Kids had no trouble remembering the animals, but the actions sometimes took awhile! There were a couple of times I was stuck in a Alberti Bass pattern while they were thinking about it!

Examples:

  • Sleep Old Monkey, Eidle dum, eidle dum…
  • Hop Old Hare…
  • Squawk and fly Old Eagle… (sometimes I add an action if the book only mentions a sound, but usually the kids will move anyway 🙂

I am always on the look out for this kind of song, so if you have one, PLEASE SHARE!! They are priceless!!