What’s Simon Says got to do with self-regulation?

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I recommend using action songs of all sorts to teach self-regulation.

Learning to stop, start and change movements to music and songs is a lot of fun. Not only that, it’s a great way for them to learn how to manage their behavior, thinking and emotions. Bonus! That also leads to greater success in school.

All of this from playing Simon Says? Well, not completely but action songs are a fun way to start. When you play Simon Says (here are step-by-step instructions), children have to pay attention, listen carefully for the words “Simon says” before doing the action. Add in distractions and excitement and you have a great way to firm up your self-regulation skills.

Change how slowly or how quickly you sing each song or play each game. Change your voice to loud or soft or your ‘everyday voice’. Clap, stomp, jump or move quickly, softly, hard … any variation that helps children control their bodies. I’ve had a lot of fun when I asked the children to decide how they want to vary each song or chorus. Give them a chance to be leader and see if your self-regulation skills are up to snuff.

Any songs and games where you have to start and stop (that is regulate your attention and body) are excellent ways to work on self-regulation. Just make sure to stop while it’s still fun.

Here are some resources to help you get started:

For preschoolers and early elementary-age (Primary through Year 2) children

Nicky’s Nursery Rhymes: http://www.nurseryrhymes4u.com/NURSERY_RHYMES/

Early Years Experiences Songs and Rhymes – Action Songs http://www.bigeyedowl.co.uk/show_songs.php?t=3

Mama Lisa’s World International Music and Culture Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes http://www.mamalisa.com/?t=heh

Kiddles Kids’ Songs Complete List http://www.kididdles.com/lyrics/allsongs.html

Elementary School Music Early Childhood Songs and Rhymes


Action songs http://www.songsforteaching.com/movement.htm

Action songs http://kidsmusictown.com/childrenssongslyrics/actionparticipationmovement/

Action songs: http://preschoolexpress.com/music_station.shtml

Action songs http://www.kididdles.com/lyrics/busy.html

Clapping games, songs, and rhymes http://funclapping.com/about/

Songs and rhymes for older children

Scout Songs http://www.scoutorama.com/song/

Action Camp Songs http://www.my-favorite-camping-store.com/action-camp-songs.html

Dragon’s Campfire Songbook http://dragon.sleepdeprived.ca/songbook/songbook_index.htm

Songs, Nursery Rhymes and Lyrics http://www.educationdx.com/songs-nursery-rhymes-and-lyrics-elementary-school.html

lntimate Campfire Resource: http://www.ultimatecampresource.com/site/camp-activities/songs-with-motions.page-1.html

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