Down on the farm with Bangers & Smash!

This June, we’ve been down on the farm with Bangers & Smash!

We’ve started each session with a nursery rhyme about four animals: a kitten, a dog, a hen and a duck. The children have enjoyed mimicking the sound each animal makes as Cathy lines four soft toys up in a row before the song starts. As the children have become familiar with the words, they’ve been able to sing and make the animal sounds (miaow, woof, cluck, quack) in the correct place. Some of the older children have had fun playing a game where they swap the sounds around so that, for example, when Cathy points to the dog, they make the sound of a hen etc.

We’ve followed this with the well-known finger rhyme, Five Little Ducks. Once the children have become familiar with the actions, we’ve developed the song by introducing a Mummy duck, a Daddy duck and five baby ducks (again, using soft toys) and experimenting with the high, middle and low parts of our voices by trying out ‘quacks’ in different duck voices.

Next, we’ve looked at a book, Noisy Farm. The children have been able to associate the sounds made by pressing a series of buttons with (i) the pictures on the buttons and (ii) the photographs in the book. Each week, the children have taken it in turns to choose a button. Some have gone for the nearest one (we’ve heard a lot of mooing as the cow button is the most accessible at the bottom!) while others have spent time considering which animal they would like to hear. Cathy has encouraged the children to join in with each animal sound and, by listening carefully, we’ve been able to make the sounds of a noisy farmyard.

We’ve followed this with two songs about horses, Horsey Horsey and Giddy Up, I'm A Cowboy – the first slow, the second fast. In both, one child has led the others round in a circle while 'riding' a toy horse. As well as singing the songs, we’ve made the sound of the horse neighing and of his hooves as he trots and canters round the room. We've also learned how to throw a lasso which has come in handy during our next piece of music, Hoe Down from Rodeo by Aaron Copland. During a lively rendition by the New York Philharmonic, the children have galloped, reared up and even attempted some jumps!

Finally, everyone has chosen an instrument from Cathy's percussion basket to play during Old Macdonald Had A Farm. Cathy has placed all the toy animals in a row and the children have decided which animal to sing about when. From babies to pre-schoolers to staff, everyone has enjoyed performing this timeless classic – a definite hit!