7 Creative Ways to Use “The Ants Go Marching One by One” in Special Instruction

www.allthingsearlyintervention.com special instruction, the ants go marching one by one

Seven Creative Ways to Use “The Ants Go Marching One by One in Special Instruction

This song-of-the-month is “The Ants Go Marching One by One.”

This song-of-the-month is “The Ants Go Marching One by One.”

I always have a variety of children on my caseload: babies, wild toddlers, shy toddlers, babies on oxygen, babies with vision loss. The goals for each child are individualized, and I cater my activities to each one.

Singing Action Songs

I find that the activity of singing songs with actions is a strategy that is applicable to almost every single child, not every, but almost! Using the same song for all children helps me be consistent, but also allows me to be individualized.

Changing the song each month keeps me from going insane and adds variety to the children’s routine as well. I still use activity-based and transition songs all throughout the year for consistency.

I have changed the lyrics somewhat because… well, you’ll see.

A few lyric changes

The ants go marching 1 by 1, the little one stopped to suck his thumb. I changed to “show his thumb,” because I don’t want to encourage thumb-sucking. No, thanks. Let’s not open that can of worms.
“…2 by 2, tie his shoe…” Little ones can’t tie yet, so I change the words to “fix” his shoe.
“…3 by 3, climb a tree,” I changed to “touch his knee,” because I like more tangible and literal actions, and you can’t really climb a tree in the living room. You could still pretend to climb. Your choice.
“…4 by 4, shut the door.” I love it. I stop at verse 4. The rest of the verses are pretty abstract and too high up to worry with counting or holding attention. Take a dive? Pick up sticks? Pray to heaven? Uhhhh nevermind.

You can change the lyrics to anything you need. You don’t have to limit yourself.

Here are some ways I make September different, yet the same, with “The Ants Go Marching One by One.”

  • 1. Gross Motor: Marching and Dancing. During the chorus at “hurrah,” the arms go up. I can help them go up or children can copy me or they can predict. Hurrah!
  • 2. Repetition. We all know that repetition is the key to learning experiences. In this song “hurrah” and “boom, boom, boom, boom” provide opportunities for repetition for the singer, which provides opportunities for working on the child’s goal, which brings me to the next one.
  • 3. Pairing Motor Movement with Sounds. I am a big fan of pairing movement with sounds. I see it work every day. This song gives you an opportunity to pair a movement with “hurrah” and “boom.” You can get creative.
  • For example: For a child that is working on weight shifting while standing, I might gently shift their weight each time we sing, “hurrah.” We may do something playful like taking their hands off the couch and bringing them up for the “booms.”
  • For a little one on his tummy, I might put him on his tummy, then help him roll off his tummy at the hurrahs, then kick his legs for the “boom, booms.”
  • For a toddler running around the room, I will model the traditional marching motions, but encourage him to dance with me, maybe physically prompting them for the hoorays and stomping extra loud with a deep voice (like a giant) for the booms to make them laugh and want to join.
  • For a child sitting in my lap or beside me on the floor, playing with blocks, I may do the arms up at “hurrah,” then bang the blocks together for “boom, boom.”
  • 4. Counting on Fingers. I don’t push letters, colors, numbers or shapes on 2-year olds with language delays. I just don’t. I know parents find that stuff important, though. I will incorporate some of that when it is tangible and appropriate in our play. For this song, counting on fingers for a child that is ready for it is something I am OK with.
  • 5. Vocabulary. Naming body parts and objects is a language milestone. For a child that is not talking yet, we can simply point to the shoe, knee and door. For a child working on talking, we can model the words several times, then leave it blank and encourage them to name the shoe, knee, and door.
  • 6. Following instructions. Show his thumb, touch your shoe, touch your knee, and shut the door. These are GREAT little opportunities to work on following instructions with and without physical/visual prompts. “And they all go marching DOWN to the ground, to get out of the rain.”  What a better way to teach the concept of down than bending down touching the floor and crouching down?
  • 7. Art. I happen to have an ant-shaped hole punch that is both easy for children to use and makes shapes easy to pick up and glue. When I say easy, let me clarify, the tiny ant shape it produces is still a challenge to the pincer grasp, but a do-able challenge. If you don’t have this hole punch, you can tear snippets of black construction paper and pretend they are ants. Parents get excited when their baby makes art! Glue bottle squeezing is good strength building too. If you are working with a toddler that has no problems with strength building but struggles with self-control, you may want to use a glue stick. Children with tactile sensory defensiveness can work on tolerating the stickiness.

The ants go marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah
The ants go marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah
The ants go marching one by one,
The little one stops to show his thumb
And they all go marching down to the ground
To get out of the rain, BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!

The ants go marching two by two, hurrah, hurrah
The ants go marching two by two, hurrah, hurrah
The ants go marching two by two,
The little one stops to fix his shoe
And they all go marching down to the ground
To get out of the rain, BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!

The ants go marching three by three, hurrah, hurrah
The ants go marching three by three, hurrah, hurrah
The ants go marching three by three,
The little one stops to touch his knee.
And they all go marching down to the ground
To get out of the rain, BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!

The ants go marching four by four, hurrah, hurrah
The ants go marching four by four, hurrah, hurrah
The ants go marching four by four,
The little one stops to shut the door
And they all go marching down to the ground
To get out of the rain, BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!

September 3, 2016

Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *