Te Kotahitanga
Manu Reo o Aotearoa

Year 3-4 Singing

Snip  From  Rickson ,  Reynolds , And  Legg  2018

Keep it fun

  • They respond well to moving with music - choreography and actions - or using instruments when they sing.

  • Use singing games, or songs with simple actions, for example, Hello Hello song.

  • Songs that stimulate the imagination are great for this age too, for example, The Penguin Song.

Focus on tone

  • By Year 4, students can start to distinguish whether something is "in tune" as their aural awareness is improving.

  • Choose recordings where the singing tone is light and clear (or try to model this) so that students develop their listening skills and ability to sing in tune.

  • Remind students not to shout-sing as this is damaging for their voices.

  • Check that accompaniments or backing tracks are quiet enough that the students can be heard without shout-singing.

  • Get the students to describe what they hear to encourage listening - getting used to listening can help pitching for students who "drone."

Make singing part of the day

Singing can be used in many different ways - building it into your daily routines can be really beneficial!

  • Sing or play a song at the beginning and end of the day so students start and end on a high point.

  • Use songs as transitions between activities.

  • Songs with actions or movements are great as "brain breaks" when students need a chance to re-focus.

  • Sing instructions to get students' attention without shouting, for example, "who is listening," with students singing a reply like "I am listening."

  • Have specific songs for activities and classroom routines like tidying up at the end of the day.

Fish  And Chips Are For Me

Use songs to reinforce literacy and learning

  • Use songs as a hook to learning, especially if the song includes information relevant to a topic you are studying.

  • Use chants and rhymes to reinforce literacy.

  • Chanting and singing with a steady pulse will help students with word emphasis.

  • Print out the lyrics of songs and get students to - for example - find certain words, or underline capital letters. 

  • Singable books - many picture books can be "sung" and there are a number of examples on YouTube, like Over in the Meadow (sung.) 

Explore sound

Year 3 and 4 is a great time to get students singing - they are enthusiastic and confident, and they will enjoy getting to use their voices. 

  • Give students guided opportunities to experiment with using their whispering, speaking, singing, shouting and "thinking" (inside their head) voices, and using different sounds and noises.

  • Echo games, where the students copy back noises, phrases, or sounds are a great way to help them explore their voices, for example, E Toru Nga Mea or Copycat Rap.

  • Use games to show sounds physically, like marching with big steps when the song is loud, and small steps when it is soft.

  • Make physical movements that represent sounds, like move like a snake, an elephant, or grow like a tree, in response to music.

You'll need:

Yourself! And your tamariki. Songs from Spotify and YouTube are great - and a projector and speaker are helpful for these - but all children need to get singing is a voice they can join in with. For learning tasks, you may want to print out the lyrics of songs for the students, but otherwise get them to sing from memory. For further information, see Hear Our Voices by Megan Flint, Mary Cornish and Maria Winder, or get in touch.

Song ideas for Year 3-4

Baby 123 – Sing up

  • Good vocal range
  • Fun activity – movement; partner work options
  • Clear melody, not overpowered by harmonies or instruments
  • Repetition helps with ease of learning
  • Jazzy character; interesting melody
  • Cumulative

Ko ua ko koe Hei waiata Hei whakakoakoa

  • Stepwise descending melody; repetition aids learning
  • Good te reo vocabulary
  • Recording is low – suggest transposing up 

Koromiko – Kiwi kidsongs

  • Lyric video
  • Good vocal range
  • Repetition aids learning
  • Uses both call/response and unison singing
  • Good vocabulary
  • Clear melody, not overpowered by harmonies or instruments
  • Interesting melody; gentle, slower tempo

Wiggle Jiggle – Sing up (free but sign up required) 

  • Good vocal range
  • Fun activity – movement; body percussion with a teaching video
  • Clear melody, not overpowered by harmonies or instruments
  • Repetition helps with ease of learning
  • Performance track plus backing track; lyrics; teacher activities
  • ‘Pop’ music character; catchy

Warm pacific greetings - Kiwi kidsongs

  • Good vocal range
  • Good vocabulary – greetings in Pacific languages
  • Interesting melody
  • Opportunity for choreography


Mr Clickety Cane  - Peter Combe

  • Good vocal range
  • Fun, silly nonsense song; movement
  • Cumulative; lots of repetition
  • Lyric prompts – not full lyrics

Additional songs:

Do your ears hang low? 

Sprinkle a Little sunshine – Kath Bee and Suzy Cato  

The Kindness Song – Kath Bee and Rainbow Rosalind 

Do it yourself – Kath Bee (A fun chant-like song – great for getting  reluctant kids into singing)

Just Sing – Out of the Ark  

Websites for more Y3-4 songs

Children Love to Sing NZ - songs by topic and year group

#VFVirtualSing - YouTube classroom/virtual singing assemblies with action songs

Kiwi Kidsongs re-released with songs for all age groups including Sausages and CustardDad I want to be a camel and Two Legged Mice   

Kiwi songwriter Kath Bee's YouTube channel including songs about paper planesbugsdragons, and dancing kākāpō 

 Kiwi Children's Music duo Itty Bitty Beats' YouTube channel including songs about the solar systemmixing coloursa tiny pirate and Tekau ngā Kiwi Iti e (Ten Little Kiwi Birds) Counting Song 

HNU Singplaymove has unaccompanied songs with simple messages and hand movements, including 5 Speckled Frogs (with puppets) and the Fingers Like to Wiggle Song 

The Singing Space has fun videos for younger learners too, including singing stories There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly and The Wonky Donkey 

Michal's YouTube channel is a great place for fun songs with puppet friend Moe, including Old MacDonald Had a FarmSing the Alphabet, and Wash Your Hands