How To Make Your Own Song Sack

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It’s a long story, but I have somehow landed the job of ‘song time leader‘ at mums and tots (and I only visited the baby group for first time 7 sessions ago!). It’s only a 10 minute slot each week but it’s just another thing to add onto the ‘to do’ list.

Then, I came across the idea of Song Sacks. They take all the planning out of song time (win for me!) and they can be used in a group setting or as a fun activity for you and your little one to do at home (win for me again!).

How The Song Sack Works

The idea is that you fill a sack (mine was a 30x45cm drawstring bag) with toys that each relate to a nursery rhyme. The children delve into the bag and pull out a toy and everyone sings the relevant song. (It is possible to just do it with pictures rather than toys, as described here, but I think children respond much better to something tactile.)

To put my song sack together, I just looked through my daughter’s nursery rhyme book and wrote down a possible toy for each one. I’ve added my list at the bottom of this post so feel free to use that.

Then I printed it out and hit the charity shops to see what they had! I managed to get 14 items for less than £10 so it really doesn’t cost a lot, and my 18mth old and 5yr old both love playing with it (as do the children at mums and tots).

How To Make Your Own Song Sack - 4 young boys laughing and singing and playing guitar

Photo by Robert Collins on Unsplash

Items To Go Into Your Song Sack

Here is my list of possible toys for your song sack (please add more if you think of any):

  • BOAT: Row, row, row your boat
  • FISH: 1-2-3-4-5 Once I caught a fish alive
  • WATERING CAN or SHELL: Mary, Mary quite contrary
  • RUBBER DUCK: 5 little ducks went swimming one day
  • TEDDY BEAR: Round and round the garden
  • SPIDER: Incy wincy spider
  • TRACTOR: Old MacDonald had a farm
  • RABBIT: See the little bunnies sleeping
  • BUS: The wheels on the bus
  • SHEEP: Baa baa black sheep
  • CLOCK or MOUSE: Hickory dickory dock
  • HORSE: Horsey, horsey don’t you stop
  • DOG: How much is that doggy in the window
  • HUMAN FIGURE: Head, shoulders, knees and toes
  • TEAPOT: I’m a little teapot
  • FRYING PAN: Five fat sausages sizzling in the pan
  • GLOVE: Tommy Thumb, where are you?
  • MONKEY: Five little monkeys jumping on the bed
  • FACE CLOTH: This is the way we wash our face (Mulberry bush)
  • SOLDIER: The grand old duke of York
  • INSTRUMENT: I am the music man
  • FROG: Five little speckled frogs
  • BUN: Five current buns in a baker’s shop
  • STRING: Wind a bobbin up
  • TEETHING RING: Ring ‘O’ Roses

How to use the song sack

Choose about 15 items to go into the song sack and try to start with nursery rhymes that the children already know.

Sit the children in a circle. Then ask for a volunteer to come and choose a toy from the bag. Let them stick their hand into the bag (without looking!) and pull something out. Then they need to hold it up for the rest of the group to see.

Now sing the relevant song all together.

I recommend arriving with the same 15 items for a few sessions, so that the children learn how it works. Once they’re confident with the process, you can start to swap new items in to keep the song session fresh. I would only add 2 or 3 new toys at a time, though, so that the children aren’t overwhelmed. They’ll also have their favourites that they’ll miss if they don’t appear! Ours were The Wheels on the Bus and Sleeping Bunnies. The children wanted these every week!

The song sack is a great way to get everyone involved in the song time – even small babies can grab onto a toy to “choose” the next song. This helps to give the children a feeling of control and independence. And, because the same songs are being repeated at each session, the children learn them and start to join in very quickly.

This is a snap of the items I currently have in my Song Sack:


How To Make Your Own Song Sack Nursery Rhyme Preschool Activity

Themed Song Sacks

Another idea is to make a themed song sack. There are two ways to do this – either make a whole sack for one song, or choose a theme and choose lots of songs that relate to that theme.

Single Songs

To create a song sack around a single song, it needs to be a song that has a lot of verses that can be sung in any order. Then at each verse, you choose an item out of the song sack to tell everyone what verse to sing next. For example, to make an Old MacDonald Song Sack, fill your bag with farm animals and ask the children to pick one out for each verse.

Here are a few other ideas:

  • Old MacDonald Had A Farm
  • London Bridge Is Falling Down
  • The Wheels on the Bus
  • This is the Way I Brush my Teeth (here we go round the mulberry bush)

How To Make Your Own Song Sack - Nursery Rhyme Themes

Multiple Songs

Song sacks can easily fit into the themes that you are doing in nursery. Simply look at your theme and choose lots of songs that relate to it. Then find objects for each song.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Insect Nursery Rhymes

  • There’s a worm at the bottom of the garden
  • Incy Wincy Spider
  • Ladybird, ladybird fly away home
  • Little Miss Muffet
  • The ants came marching one by one, hurrah

Transport Nursery Rhymes

  • The Wheels on the Bus
  • The big ships sails on the alley, alley, oh
  • We’re driving in our car (the farmer’s in his den)
  • The runaway train
  • Row, row, row your boat

Animal Nursery Rhymes

  • Old MacDonald Had A Farm
  • Baa Baa Black Sheep
  • Nelly the elephant
  • Sleeping Bunnies
  • Hickory, Dickory, Dock

Food Nursery Rhymes

  • Pat-a-cake
  • Hot Cross Buns
  • The Muffin Man
  • Jelly on a plate
  • 5 currant buns in a baker’s shop

For a Christmas-themed song session, check out my post on Christmas Songs For Preschoolers.

christmas songs reindeer antler sheet music

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How To Make Your Own Song Sack - Check out these fun Nursery Rhymes Activities and Song Sack ideas. Nursery Rhymes are listed in themes to help you easily put together an EYFS curriculum


Add yours
  1. 1

    Wow you are the song leader? I so wanted to be a song leader when we were doing the playgroups! Serious mama envy right now..and you even have a song sack – LOVE! Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub lovely x

    • 2
      Lucy At Home

      Hahaha well nobody else volunteered at our group so they’re stuck with me! A song sack really does help, though, as the children enjoy choosing AND it means zero preparation time for me (always a bonus for us busy mums)! Thanks for commenting. L

  2. 3
    Silly Mummy

    Look at you go – you’ll be running the club soon! This is such a great idea! Great list you’ve come up with too – loads of good ideas. My youngest is in an obsessed with hearing nursery rhymes phase currently! #coolmumclub

  3. 8

    What a fantastic idea! – I have to try this and will be pinning this too. My little boy absolutely loves song time and we regularly sing songs. I’m now off to raid his toybox to see what I can requisition and then I shall go through all my knitting/crochet books to see what I can make quickly and easily. I guess I just need to find/make a sack now. #sharingthebloglove

  4. 10
    Laura - dear bear and beany

    I love this idea, so simple, but I bet the children love it. I know my girls would love to pull a toy out the bag and then sing along. This might work well at a children’s party too, I might have a think about doing this at the girls party next month. Thank you for joining us for #SharingtheBlogLove Laura x

  5. 11
    Katy - Hot Pink Wellingtons

    This is such a cute idea! And go you stepping up to be song leader! I’ve been to quite a few groups where noone wants to sing and everyone just kind of mumbles – takes the fun out of it a bit! Thanks so much for joining us again at #SharingtheBlogLove!

  6. 12
    Alice Mills

    Ooh I’ve used story sacks before, but not done a song sack! Amazing idea – I will definitely be adding this to what we do at home! Thanks for the list too, there are a couple of songs I’m a bit rusty on there, but will have to refresh my memory! Great tip! #SharingtheBlogLove x

  7. 18

    Wow that is a really brilliant idea. My friend runs a baby and toddler group and this would be perfect. Like you say it must really help with reducing the prep time but also adds a little something extra for the kids. Really fab idea. Thank you for sharing at #Familyfun, I hope you can come back again next week xx

  8. 20

    I love this idea!! I run a toddler group myself with a heavy music element and always wonder how I can get the children more involved. If you open it up to suggestions from the children they either get a bit silly or I don’t know the song! definitely going to try this out! #FamilyFun

    • 21
      Lucy At Home

      I’m usually met with silence if I ask for suggestions! Haha. Or if we’re doing Old MacDonald and I ask what animal we should do next, suddenly nobody can remember any animals! But yeah, the song sack works really well at our group. If you try it, let me know how you get along 🙂

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