Transitions So Smooth, They’ll Make You Want to Sing

Does it ever seem that some days are a lot like a roller coaster?

For example, does this sound familiar? The children are playing cooperatively and then when you announce it’s time to move outside, the struggle erupts. Eventually, it settles and everyone is running around outside with sounds of laughter and joy. Then, you announce that is time to go inside for lunch, and the struggle erupts. Again. It’s most definitely an up-and-down bumpy day!

In such situations, try music. Children naturally respond to music. Incorporating songs into your transitions sets a calm tone and a clear message of what is coming next.

Would you like a smooth way to transition from one activity to the next? Check out these three favorite transition songs:

  • Little Helper (a clean up song)
  • Circle Time song
  • Good-bye song

Cleaning Up

When it is time to pick up toys, supplies or snack materials, sing a song to signal the start of cleanup and to help children stay focused on the task at hand. Singing together helps establish a caring community where children feel they are important contributors to maintaining their learning environment. It gives them an internal feeling of self-worth, which will then extend outwardly as kindness, sharing and cooperation (Bailey, 2001).

Bailey, B. (2001). Conscious discipline: 7 Basic skills for brain smart classroom management. Oviedo, FL: Loving Guidance, Inc.

Little Helper

I’m a little helper

I can do many helpful things

Just for you

Ask me and you will see

I will do my very best

Just for you

Helper, helper

I’m a little helper

Greeting and Gathering

Circle time is the perfect way to gather children at the start of the day. Sing a short greeting song to signal that it is time to meet as a group. A familiar song that children can sing with you will help them feel more comfortable leaving parents or greeting unfamiliar people. A greeting song can also act as a “reset button” to help children move on from stressful feelings they might have brought with them that morning. Sing the Experience Curriculum Circle Time song.

Circle Time

1-2-3, come learn with me

4-5-6, calendar and weather picks>

7 8 9, it’s circle time

Clap, clap, clap-clap-clap

Jump, jump run in place

Turn around and then sit down

Dismissing for the Day

Sing a short dismissal song to signal the end of the day. Children will know that it is time to bring the day’s activities to a close, put toys or supplies away, and prepare to go home. Sing the Experience Curriculum Good-Bye song.


Our day is done; it was so much fun

Learning with you – a doodlee -do

Now we must say good-bye to the day

Good-bye to you, and you and you

A doodlee doo – a doodlee doo


Sing to engage your little ones and to involve them in the routines and transitions that happen throughout every day. Why say it when you can sing it?

Download Song & Transition Stick Toppers and make a set of transition song sticks for your classroom.


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