Learning Direction – Music & Movement Lesson Plan

This week’s music and movement lesson is on learning Direction. As in – up, down, behind, left, right, in front of, etc.. Here’s a great topic to reinforce using music to help our kids understand us exasperated parents when we try to direct them to find their other shoe, sock or toy. Yes folks… this topic of Direction deserved it’s very own theme of the week! I can just imagine all the parents applauding the choice of theme, perhaps even shedding a tear of joy.

Materials Preparation: Print or draw a big, bold picture of an arrow on an A4 cardboard. You may even laminate it if you wish. Here’s one you could use:


Also bring a portable instrument or even a few (if you have) for the Musical Principle Activity. This could be a recorder, mouth organ, ukulele or guitar.

Prepare the songs included in the lesson outline below (you can buy them on iTunes or download them from YouTube). They are:

  • “Here We Go” Jack Hartmann
  • “Hickory, Dickory…Crash!” Super Simple Songs
  • “Upside Down” Jack Johnson
  • “One Little Finger” Super Simple Songs

As always, listen to and learn the songs prior to the class so that you know how the songs go. You may use other Direction songs if you prefer to use other songs of your choice. Bring along small percussion instruments for the children to use, such as small drums, maracas or bells for the Instrumental Activity.

  1. Hello Song/Warm-up Song:
    • Gather the children together in a circle and greet one another with the Hello Song/Warm-up Song you prefer to use.
  2. Circle Time Songs: 
    • These songs are the same ones you use every week just to help the children feel familiar and confident. You can rotate through a few different ones as you feel. You can use a parachute that all the children hold onto in a circle in different ways for each song. It’s okay too if you do not have a parachute – you may use a big colourful blanket or none at all. The idea is just to be able to draw all the children into the music and movement lesson as you do the same familiar warm-up songs. The ones I use with the parachute are:
      • Ring a Ring of Roses (Children hold the parachute and walk around in a circle, fall down, jump up, make the “wind” billow the parachute up and down quickly, etc.)
      • Row, Row, Row Your Boat (Children sway from side to side holding the parachute, like rowing a boat, then making big or small waves up and down, and even letting a stuffed teddy bear “float on the water” i.e. on the parachute – children love to make the stuffed animal bounce up and down on the parachute!)
      • The Grand Old Duke of York (children march in place, lift the parachute up then down, and then salute)
      • Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush (children go around in a circle holding the parachute for first verse, and then rub the parachute material together in their hands for the second verse – “This is the way we wash our clothes”)
  3. Introduction of Theme: DIRECTION
    • Introduce the Direction theme using the big arrow picture you made.
    • Ask the children what arrows are used for and what they tell us.
    • Do some activity examples using the arrow for the children to see – wave your hands up; shake your hands down; hide your hands away; move them to the left or right; spin around; and fold your arms in front of you.
    • Now use the song “Here We Go” by Jack Hartmann. I enjoyed using this song because it is upbeat and cool.
    • Ask the children to all carefully follow the direction you move as you dance to the song.
  4. Imagination Activity:
    • Song: “Hickory, Dickory… Crash!” Super Simple Songs
    • This is a fun song that teaches up and down, as well as counting.
    • Use the cues from the song to act out the different animals.
    • The song ends in everyone crashing to the floor because the elephant sat on the clock!
  5. Musical Principle Activity:
    • Music also follows direction! We think of the direction that pitch moves in, whether it is going up (high pitch) or going down (low pitch)
    • Use the portable instrument(s) that you brought to demonstrate high and low pitch.
    • Explain what pitch is: How high or low the note that is being played sounds.
    • Now it’s time to play the Pitch Perfect Game: When you play a high pitch, the children raise their hands in the air. When you play a low pitch, the children must touch the floor. It’s a cute activity that the children enjoy as they hear different pitches. This activity is important in developing the children’s ear for different pitches.
  6. Instrument Activity:
    • Play instruments to the song “Upside Down” by Jack Johnson.
    • Make sure the children are able to learn how to play on the beat. Count 1-2-3-4 aloud as you play along with the song. You can decide if the children should sit or stand for this activity.
    • Mix up things with doing different actions while playing the instruments, like playing above your head, behind your back, turning around, playing fast or slowly, etc. Be creative with using all the directional terms the children will understand.
  7. Conclusion/Gross Motor Activity:
    • “One Little Finger” Super Simple Songs
    • Here’s another song that teaches up and down, as you use your one little finger to point.
    • Use the cues from the song to point to each different part of the body: head, nose, chin, arm, leg and foot.
    • This song ends with “Goodbye” which makes it a very suitable concluding song.
    • Sing your Goodbye/Winding-down song in your circle.

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