Songs and activities that teach numbers to young children are great! They combine learning with music with fun, and that makes them one of the most effective teaching tools a teacher of young children can possess! Ironically enough, some are no longer socially acceptable, such as the Ten Little Indians song (one little, two little Indians…) as they are deemed racial in nature, and no one should teach children racial discrimination.
There is always the “Ants go Marching Song”, no problem with prejudice with against ants1 You can also get the students to do funny things and collect items while singing. This interaction will make everything more fun as well as stimulate them to learn to count even better. “The Ants go marching one by one and the little one stops to have some dancing fun” should be followed by a short dance, the Two by two could be they stop to tie their shoe. The neat thing about this song is that it lends itself to different things, so you can challenge the children to create their own version. Instead of dancing fun, it could be to look at the sun or to chase some one! Two could be to find some blue, or even shout shout “Boo Who!”
Counting songs can be fun and used for all sorts of occasions. Think about, the Twelve Days of Christmas” is just an adult counting song, but it could be made into a children’s song! It is not to complex for young children, and it can be modified just like the Ants Marching song. In the Caribbean it was converted into a parrot in a palm tree with Rastas dancing and Jumbies jumping. This made it more culturally appropriate and gave the children a lot of fun suggesting new ideas!
Marching songs and seasonal songs can become counting songs and are always exciting as well as fun for the children, and they do actually teach the kids how to count, and get excited about learning! To make them more fun, you should create associated activities. These associations will last the children a lifetime and be fondly remembered as they get older and move on with their education. Of course then they may get to even more counting songs such as “Ninety-nine bottles of Beer on the Wall”!