Musical Activities – Music to Enliven a Story

Musical Activities
  • Musical activities to support your story telling
  • Find out what PACEY recommends
  • Try a Boogie Mites resource for free!
Do you work with children who find it challenging to sit still at story time? 

Listening at story time is something that some children find easier than others. As Childcare professionals you will have lots of tricks for engaging fidgety children, but do you use music to enliven story-time? Incorporating music and movement into story-time not only helps hold their attention, but will also contribute to many other areas of development. Musical activities are scientifically proven to support:

  • Self-expression and confidence
  • Communication skills
  • Physical skills – including gross and fine motor skills that will eventually support writing
  • verbal IQ
  • the improvement of semantics (understanding language) as well as syntax (structure and grammar)
  • Development of phonological awareness: a key pre-literacy skill
  • Memory

Whether or not children are developing typically, including music making into literacy strategies increases engagement and provides many other benefits for all children.

Boogie Mites Tips: Bringing a story alive!

Using Junk percussion to Enliven Your Story Telling!

What you need – ‘rubbish’: a cardboard box/ plastic bag, paper, tubes, food packaging, foil… You are looking for anything that would make an interesting sound. As a childminder, you could perhaps make this a rubbish treasure hunt, raiding the recycling bin, exploring the sounds different rubbish makes as you go.

What to do – Empty all the rubbish collected onto the floor. Let the children explore it- some may mimic sounds, use it for role play, others may start folding, stacking or packing things away. See how they interact with it. Give them wooden spoons as beaters to tap the different materials.

Pick a favourite song with the children and encourage them to keep the beat with their rubbish. For example I Hear Thunder using a shoe box upside down and hitting it like a drum, with drum roll for the thunder and light pitter patter for the rain.

Now ask the children to describe the sounds they are making: loud, soft, scrunchy, scratchy, high, low etc. What animals do they sound like? Could crunchy paper be the sound of the sea or rustling leaves, mice or snakes in the grass? Once the children have explored the materials, introduce the junk percussion to your story telling.

Introducing to stories – This may be done with a picture book or a book with written text and pictures. Look at the first picture, ask the children; ‘what’s going on in this picture?’ ‘what do you think that sounds like?’ ‘how can we make that sound with the rubbish sack?’

Is it a picture of a dinosaur? Maybe stomping noises on a box. Or a butterfly? Maybe rustling paper in the air for fluttering wings.

Observe how the children match pictures to the sounds they are making – these can be verbal as well, such as roars, or squeaks. This gives a clue as to the extent to which the child can think about the picture.

There is no right or wrong way that children can participate in these musical activities! The main aim is creative engagement: at which point he/she will be having fun problem solving and developing their communication and language skills through playing with sounds and communicating ideas through actions.

Action For Children’s (A4C) top 10 tips for sharing a story

In A4C’s top 10 tips for sharing a story, music and movement are both mentioned as important aspects.

“Sing at story time – sing a song you already know which fits in with something in the pictures of the story. Or use a tune you know well and make up your own songs about something in the story.”

“Move about – Make stories for babies and young children active. Copy the movements in a book – bounce when the horse gallops or wiggle like a caterpillar in the garden.”

Read the other 8 tips that Action For Children suggests here.

Boogie Mites songs are written to engage young children, linking to themes that inspire them such as animals, transport and the environment. Our Annual Themed Song Collection offers a song, video and notes around a different theme for each month of the year.

Boogie Mites works alongside PACEY,

A ‘charity dedicated to supporting everyone working in childcare and early years to provide high quality care and early learning for children and families.’ We offer a 50% discount on practitioner packs to all registered Childminders. To request a discount code, fill out the webform here.

All children love The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. PACEY have a collection of wonderful resources and tips so that you can use to create a whole day of Spring themed activities. Check out their Hungry Caterpillar resources. You can also download our song Munch Munch Munch, which links to the story here (the Annual Themed Song for the month of May,) free.

You can view our programmes and musical activities on our website shop here. Just email your order to to claim the Childminder discount.

For enquiries, contact Sue Newman, Boogie Mites Director on 023 92 817274  or email her