Variations and Recombinations – Part 1

Music Lesson Plan for nursery school

cover image: Photo by Jelleke Vanooteghem on Unsplash

Ways to play with themes
and variations for different age groups,
from babies to preschoolers

A series of 4 posts, each covering different age groups, starting from babies all the way up to preschoolers. Each post builds onto the previous one.

As always, each group of children you have will respond differently so use these activities as a guide and modify them for your and your specific group’s needs.

And of course, prepare your session to fit in with health and safety regulations. Download my Pied Piper lesson plan for a list of recommendations of making a session Covid-19 safe

0 – 20 months old


  1. Twinkle Twinkle little star
  2. ABC song
  3. Ba ba Black sheep
  4. Make up words to fit the song. It doesn’t have to make perfect sense as long as the words match the main melody and rhythm

Keep activities simple and use colours, or shapes, or sizes to show variations visually as well

While singing the songs you can:

  1. Use different coloured scarves for each song and the children can wave 
  2. Blocks of different shapes, stack them and knock them down at the end of each song
  3. Give a block to each child and ask them one by one to give you back the blocks while you are stacking them or placing them in a specific pattern. This can be in between songs.
  4. Have different sized balls to roll around


Create simple patterns with blocks making a tower (1 big, 1 small and repeat) and then expect the children to knock them down. Create a second tower using the same blocks but rearrange them (1 big followed by 2 small). You can accompany this activity by singing what you are doing (style of twinkle, twinkle: one big, one small, one big, one small…). Or make up your own melody and rhyme. Something short and simple will do.

Don’t miss the next post where we will look into possible ways of using Theme and Variations. At the end of the series I will discuss why theme and variations and recombinations are important developmentally and musically!

Copyright © 2020, Rania Chrysostomou, lesson plan for nursery schools music  

3 responses to “Variations and Recombinations – Part 1”

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