Thursday, August 16, 2012


HI!  It's Miss Carole of Macaroni Soup, mounting up for Horsey Rides!
    Do you remember bouncing along on Mommy or Daddy's knee?  How about Grandma or Grandpa's?  If you don't, it's not too late to give the gift of this wonderful sense-memory to the child or children in your care.
TRY THIS ONE:  Ride a little horsey, down to town
                            Better be careful so you don't fall D
   That's an easy one - just bounce, then dump the child forward - hold on tight!  Once they know what's coming, they may lean forward before you're ready!
   Many knee-bounces came from jump rope rhymes, or vice-versa.  Nursery rhymes, with their rhyme and rhythm patterns make great material for this activity.  The smiles and squeals start, and the kids beg for more!
    Put a child on your lap, facing away from you, straddling your knees.  Babies should be securely holding their heads erect before trying ANY lap songs.  Now, as you chant the following verse, lift one knee, then the other.  The child will rock from side to side - great for the vestibular system.  On "giddy-up. giddy-up, use BOTH knees to bounce, then wrap one arm around the child and pull back gently for "Whoa!"

photo of: Parent Involvement with Young Children in Music Activities (with Miss Carole)
Ricketty ricketty rocking horse
Over the fields we go
Ricketty ricketty rocking horse
Giddy-up, giddy-up, WHOA!

What do you need?  One child + one chair
How do you start?  Sit in the chair, child on your lap.  GO!
NOTE:  The child can sit facing you, or facing away from you.  I like to vary positions from rhyme to rhyme.

Lap songs are a great time to put a beat into our bodies.  Gently tap your child's foot for this one (or they can tap their own!)
Shoe a little horsey, shoe a little mare
But let the little pony go bare bare bare!
   Now do the other foot, then do both feet, tapping together!

Try the next one with the child facing you - make eye contact, smile, eyes big with anticipation (that's YOUR instructions - the child knows what to do - have fun!)
photo of: Early Childhood Rhythm Games with Lap Bounce Rhymes (via Miss Carole)
Who's sitting on WHO's lap???
This is the way the ladies ride
Side (che che) to side (che che)
Side (che che) to side (che che)
This is the way the gentleman rides
Front (che che) to back (che che)
Front (che che) to back (che che)
And this is the way the country boys ride:
Da da dum da da dum da da dum dum dum
Da da dum da da dum da da dum dum dum
Da da dum da da dum da da dum dum dum
Da da DA. da da dum dum dum!  (that's the William Tell Overture!)

What to do:  for the Ladies, lean child from side to side, Gentleman - pull child toward you, then away.  For the country boys - it's a wild bouncy ride!  At the end, slide your hand under the child's neck/head and lean them over backward - almost to touch the floor!  Come up gently!

And finally - my favorite, and admittedly many children's favorite:  "Walk Ol' Joe!" There are several different tunes for this one, or it can be done as a chant.  You can find it on my "Sticky Bubble Gum...and Other Tasty Tunes" cd.
photo of: Early Childhood Songs + Rhymes for Lap Bounce Games (Via Miss Carole)
    Put the child in your lap, facing out.  Hold them by putting your hands under their thighs, ready for the grab and lift!
Walk Old Joe, walk Old Joe
You walk better than any horse I know.
Walk Old Joe, walk Old Joe
You walk better than any horse I know.
Whoa, Joe!   WHOA, Joe!

Repeat with additional verses of "Trot Old Joe" and "Gallop Old Joe!", making the bounces bigger with
each verse!  Sorry the picture is blurry - they were really moving!

What to do:  Bounce along while singing the song.  When you get to "Whoa, Joe", while holding your child by the thighs, cradeling their head at your shoulder, lift their bottom into the air.  Remember - this is to delight, not scare the child.  If they don't like it, DON'T DO IT!

   LET'S GET FANCY!  There's also a move called "dandling":  while sitting in a chair, cross one leg over the other at the knee, then put your child on your foot and bounce your top leg (with the child on it) up and down.  WHEE!  I'm told that Dads are particularly good at this!

photo of: Lap Bounce Rhymes and Rhythms with Miss Carole at PreK+K Sharing (Examples + Benefits)

PERSONAL STORY:  I was presenting a workshop for teachers who work with Toddlers about 10 years ago in Indiana.  I taught this group of Lap Songs.  When I finished, an elderly teacher back in the crowd raised her hand to share:  "This is very important, what Miss Carole is telling us.  I am sitting here now, but I can feel what my mother's body felt on my back.  She did these lap songs with me over 60 years ago."  It stopped me cold.  Tears were on her face. She added quietly, "I miss her."

    DO YOU DO LAP SONGS?  I'd love to hear what you use!  TELL ME!
    If you don't, and try some of these - let me know how it went!
YES - you can do lap songs even if you have more children than adults!  Kids will gladly wait their turn, usually bouncing along on the floor and enjoying watching others!

Yours for a Song!
"Miss Carole" Stephens
Macaroni Soup! Active Music for Kids!


  1. I LOVE these types of activities! And the personal story is lovely ... it's so true that lap songs are important for young children. I pinned your post to my Toddlers Activities and Ideas Board at

  2. Thanks, Deb. Remember, as you can see by the pix - even 3, 4, 5's still love to bounce!


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