Variations and Recombinations – Part 2

Music Lesson Plan for nursery school

cover image: Photo by Jelleke Vanooteghem on Unsplash

Part 1

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

This is the 2nd of 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

16 – 26 month olds


  1. Down by the station
  2. See the little bunnies sleeping 
  3. Twinkle Twinkle little star
  4. ABC song
  5. Ba ba Black sheep
  6. 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

Activity (considering most children can walk):

While singing the songs you can:

Sing the song while marching, jumping (you can jump every 2 beats, 3, 4…), squatting, and so on.

Activity 2

If there are bigger building blocks available this will work better or with gym soft play blocks, but small ones can work as well, arrange them in different order on the floor leaving a sizable gap between each one so there’s space for someone to go through. Like creating small courses. 

With this age group and especially the younger ones you may have to hold them by the hand, not everyone will be an expert mover yet so they may be walking slowly. And expect blocks to be knocked over, courses to change along the way and some children not going through your super-duper obstacle course at all.
This is fine!

Sing a song to go with this, or have a drum beat which I, personally, would prefer for this activity. Make your drum beat catchy and simple. And if you feel brave enough you can sing / rap / chant what is happening: Lucy is going around the purple block, Evan just kicked the blue one, and so on.

Once all children had a go with the first obstacle course, quickly rearrange the blocks to make a new one. You will need the physical assistance from other adults in the room so you can carry on singing and observing what is happening while the other adults guide the children through the course. 

Don’t miss the next post where we will look into possible ways of using Theme and Variations for the next age group. 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  

2 responses to “Variations and Recombinations – Part 2”

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