Primary

Activities for Key Stage 1 home music lessons

Do you want some lively key stage 1 music lesson ideas for your home-schooling timetable? Would you like fun activities which can be used at any time of the day to engage and refresh your child? Would you like to develop all-round skills which help enhance learning across other subjects?

Did you know?

Regular music-making provides many well-documented benefits for children (and adults!), including improvements in:

  • concentration
  • listening and sound discrimination skills
  • aural memory
  • physical co-ordination
  • self-confidence
  • and, very importantly, enjoyment, leading to mental well-being.

These activities are taken from Music Express, an award-winning educational resource used by thousands of EYFS practitioners and primary school teachers to deliver classroom music.

Music Express is currently available to access for free while schools are closed. Free access for parents can be obtained by vising our learn at home page and using the login details provided. To set up free access for your school, or if you are an independent music educator, visit our teacher support page.

Music Express

Year 1 (ages 5-6)

Huff puff click click

Listen and join in with a rap version of the Three Little Pigs to help children understand how music can tell a story

  • Together, listen to The three little pigs, encouraging your child/children to join in with the wolf’s huffs and puffs and the building rhythm patterns – sh, click, build.
  • Make up your own hand signals to mime as you become familiar with the words, e.g. for the house building:
    straw – straight fingers, palms down
    sticks – forefingers tapped together
    bricks – fists stacked alternately
  • You may like to repeat these steps on separate occasions as your child becomes more familiar with the lyrics. Eventually, they may be able to recite the whole rap with mime or sound-makers!

What next?

  • Make a set of sound-makers to play along with the three house building sounds, e.g.
    straw – rice or lentils shaken in a small container
    sticks – chopsticks or wooden spoons tapped lightly
    bricks – toy building blocks or plastic beakers tapped together
  • Practise then perform the whole rap to a family member, or video it to send to grandparents or friends!

The resources for this activity can be found in the Music Express Lesson Bank, Year 1, unit ‘Storytime’, lesson ‘Three Little Pigs’, activity 2.


Year 2 (ages 6-7)

The lion sleeps tonight

Perform a physical warm-up to ‘Wimoweh’, responding to the steady beat of the music

  • Look at the movements shown on the lion sleeps tonight graphic. Listen to the music and begin with a big stretch upwards. Lead your child in performing the other actions in turn:
    clapping,
    wiggling fingers,
    patting legs,
    tapping feet,
    shrugging shoulders.
  • Make up your own movements to the beat for your child to join in with and sing along if you like.
  • Invite your child to make up actions to the beat for you to follow as you listen again.

What next?

  • Make a sequence of actions to memorise, repeat and perform along with the music.
  • Give a performance of Wimoweh to family and friends via a video call, then teach your sequence to everyone so they can all can join in with the movements and singing!

The resources for this activity can be found in the Music Express Lesson Bank, Year 2, unit ‘Animals’, lesson ‘The jungle’, activity 1.


This blog is written by Helen MacGregor, an award-winning music education author with many years’ experience of teaching music in Primary schools, teacher-training and leading children’s music festivals and holiday courses. She is passionate about giving all children the opportunity to experience and enjoy making music. Her publications include the ‘Listening to Music’ series (Primary Music Magazine Best Listening Resource 2019) and she is co-author of the Music Express scheme of work and three of Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhyme musicals.


Collins Music are offering free access to Music Express while schools are closed to support teachers, parents and pupils. Music Express is a digital resource for teaching primary music that’s easy to use and accessible to non-musicians as well as music specialists. Set engaging music lessons from home with a wealth of songs, games and activities with simple, step-by-step instructions. Free access for parents can be obtained by visiting our learn at home page and using the login details provided. To set up free access for your school, or if you are an independent music educator, visit our teacher support page

Find out more about Music Express

Collins Primary

Collins Primary is the home of innovative learning resources for all stages of primary and early years education. We support thousands of teachers and pupils who are using our award-winning materials every day, and provide what you need to enhance the learning experience with our easy to use and flexible programmes.

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