Creatures great and small

1.     Balancing elephants

2.   Bow wow wow

3.  Six little frogs

4.  Brave brave mouse

5.   Shoo fly


Last updated: 17/02/2013 16:53


The songs below are part ofHop, skip and away we go!’ The original collection

compiled, adapted and illustrated by Dany Rosevear


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To listen to music from these songs click on the title at O


To watch the author sing a song click on the title at:


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1. Balancing elephants O


A traditional game from France. Before attempting this game practice walking heel to toe in time to the music as the movements demand a high level of physical control. You need plenty of room and a safe surface on which to fall at the end of the song. Remind children to be considerate of one another as they tumble.


Watch another version of this song at:


Sit in a large circle. Choose 4, 5 or 6 children to lead, depending on the number in your class – there will be ideally five in each group, though for the last verse all can join in. Leaders are spaced inside the circle.


















One little elephant balancing,

Step by step on a piece of string,

Found it such a wonderful thing,

Went to find another elephant.


Two (three, four) little elephants balancing,


Five little elephants balancing,

Step by step on a piece of string,

The string it broke…. they all fell in!

No more balancing elephants.

With an arm waving from the nose leaders plod along putting heel in front of toe.

The leader chooses another child from the circle who places their hand on the first child’s shoulder and waves their ‘trunk’.


Repeat sequence as above.


As before.

Encourage the leader of the line of elephants to search for a place away from the others where it is safe for the group to fall.













2. Bow-wow-wow O


A big favourite with younger children for the surprise ending when each original pair is re-united with a huge leap and shout of ‘WOW!

Divide the class into two or three groups (maximum six pairs). Pairs face each other in a group circle, back to back with other couples.










Whose dog art thou?

Little Tom Tinker’s dog,



Place hands on hips and stamp feet; left, right, left.

1. Shake finger at each other.

2. Hold hands, walk four steps round exchanging places.

3. Stamp twice then jump to make a half turn and face new partner.

Repeat this sequence round the circle each time meeting and greeting each new partner with a smile – it comes naturally!

Last verse: jump to first partner, shout ‘WOW!’ in recognition.




























3. Six little frogs O


This song by Ian Humphris was played on the BBC’s programme for schools Words and Pictures in the 1970s but remains as popular with young children today as it did in the past.

It is an echo song with the leader singing the initial refrain and the class copying. Some patience is needed and children will initially try to join in with the leader! The last line is sung together.

Children begin in a crouching position but will need plenty of room to jump high and low followed by big jumps from side to side. Keep very still at the end of the song as all the frogs are at the bottom of the well.



















Leader                                        Echo

There were six little frogs,      There were six little frogs,

Sitting on a well,                     Sitting on a well,

Two leaned over,                    Two leaned over,

And down they fell.                And down they fell.

Frogs jump high,                    Frogs jump high,

Frogs jump low,                     Frogs jump low,

All sing: Four little frogs jump to and fro.


There were four little frogs,   There were four

                                                 little frogs,

Continue as above

Two little frogs jump to and fro.


There were two little frogs,    There were two

                                                 little frogs, 

Continue as above

No little frogs jump to and fro.




4. Brave, brave mouse O


I’ve played this song since my five year old son introduced it to me after returning from school. A quiet shy child he marched around the house with great gusto singing at the top of his voice. It has had the same effect on many classes of children since this time especially the timid ones and also the more lively boys.


Watch it on Words and Pictures:

The words are by Julian Dakin and the music by Elizabeth Bennett.


Children need plenty of space to march briskly in and out of each other which they do for the chorus and refrain. Stand still during spoken parts and recite with expression.


























I’m a brave, brave mouse, I go marching round the house,

And I’m not afraid of anything.

For danger I’m prepared and I’m never, never scared,

No, I’m not afraid of anything.


Teacher: What about a cat?     Children: What – a cat!

Teacher: Yes, a cat! Big and fat. Indicate size with hands

Children: We - ell, except for a cat – I’m not afraid of anything!


Teacher: What about a trap?   Children: What – a trap!

Teacher: Yes, a trap! That goes SNAP. Children join in with the SNAP stretch and close arms

Children: We - ell, except for a trap – I’m not afraid of anything!


Teacher: What about an owl? Children: What – an owl!

Teacher: Yes, an owl! On the prowl. Put finger and thumb round eyes and look from side to side

Children: We - ell, except for an owl – I’m not afraid of anything!





5. Shoo fly O


This is mostly a moving in place game but will provide the exercise needed if the actions are exaggerated and vigorous. A good song for extending the vocabulary of movement. Do not necessarily use all the verses in this song as your children will have many ideas of their own, of animals and their actions. Foster creativity.


Listen at:




















Swat at fly, move finger

from side to side.

Point to self.

Shoo fly, don’t bother me,     

Shoo fly don’t bother me,      

Shoo fly don’t bother me,

For I belong to somebody!     


Hands and arms explode outwards with fingers stretching, sparkle high and low.

I sparkle, I sparkle, I sparkle like the morning star,

I sparkle, I sparkle, I sparkle like the morning star,

I sparkle, I sparkle, I sparkle like the morning star,


Crouch, jump up and down.


Little runs forward and back.


Quite difficult to do on the spot!


Open and close arms.


Use big over arm movements.


Arms slither high, low and in all directions.


Wave arm and plod on the spot.


I hop, I hop, I hop like a little green frog...


I scurry, I scurry, I scurry like a spider…                 


I gallop, I gallop, I’m galloping like a horse...          


I glide, I glide, I glide like a sharp toothed shark ...  


I prowl, I prowl, I prowl like a sleepy lion...                  


I slither, I slither, I slither silently like a snake...         


I stomp, I stomp, I stomp like an elephant...             


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