Every year around this time, many classrooms and early childhood centers gain some new friends in the form of caterpillars. The children love to learn about the life stages of the caterpillars and watch them while they grow.
“Caterpillar Walks Around” is a goal-based song that provides a full body learning experience about the life cycle of a caterpillar, simplified to a level that young children can understand.
Goals for this song include:
- Increase creative expression
- Improve gross motor skills
- Increase ability to follow clearly stated directions
- Increase directional awareness
- Increase socialization through peer interaction
Each verse of the song lends itself to fun movements that are easily adaptable to the specialized needs and strengths of each child. For young ones, simple hand movements such as using our hands to “walk” on our laps or spinning our hands in a barrel motion to “spin the cocoon” may be appropriate.
For older children, I request that they brainstorm ideas for movements that match each verse. This really allows their creativity to grow and may naturally facilitate conversation between peers.
This song can be used with or without accompaniment, so that movements can be modeled during each verse. Additionally, visuals for each verse can help children further make the cognitive connection between movements and caterpillar’s life stages. This targets three different styles of learning as well; visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learning are all utilized when singing, movements, and visuals are combined in a single song.
“Caterpillar Walks Around” can also facilitate fine motor movements when paired with sign language for each movement word in the song. Sign language is a motivating way to encourage young children to practice finger isolation, pincer grasp, and meeting their hands at midline. Practicing these hand movements in a fun song is a great way to target important fine motor skills, which are often essential for playing instruments and even help develop pre-writing skills.
A more challenging (but super fun!) adaption to this song is to match instruments with each verse in a song-story format. Each participant has an instrument that pairs with a verse, and when the children hear their verse, they have the chance to play! Each child has to wait, focus, and listen carefully for their lyrical cue.
A simple yet effective adaptation that can be used in all of the techniques above is to repeat the song several times, speeding up each time. It’s always entertaining to see the kiddos thinking hard and trying to remember the dance move for each verse or listening for their lyrical cue. By speeding up the tempo, children typically become captivated while also being cognitively and physically challenged. Talk about serious fun and seriously hard work, too!
“Caterpillar Walks Around” is a perfect addition to any summer class or therapy session, and has so many uses, it can be used with so many different children with a variety of needs. Tell me in the comments below: what’s your favorite adaptation to “Caterpillar Walks Around”?
You can listen to “Caterpillar Walks Around” in its entirety right here. Verses, chords, mp3, and instrumental track for this original song are available for download. As is the case for all Listen & Learn Music creations, we invite you to adapt this song as needed to best serve your students and/or clients.