Kindergarten - Music - Lesson 14 - Carnival of the Animals (Part 1)


Listen to the recording of Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saens.

Review and recognize basic musical instruments by sight.

Begin to recognize sounds of some instruments.

Respond to the music through movement.


Recording of Carnival of the Animals by Saint-Saens (recommendations below)

Books with pictures of musical instruments (recommendations below)

Video of Carnival of the Animals (recommendations below)

Recommended Recording

Carnival of the Animals. New York Philharmonic, Bernstein. CBS MYK-37765 [CD];

MT-37765 [Cassette Tape]

Recommended Book Titles

Hausherr, Rosemarie. What Instrument is This? New York: Scholastic, 1992.

Hayes, Ann. Meet the Orchestra. San Diego: Harcourt Brace, 1991.

Kuskin, Karla. The Philharmonic Gets Dressed. New York: HarperCollins, 1982.

Recommended Video

Carnival of the Animals, Bonneville Productions, Twin Tower Enterprises, 1984.

This video is both live action and animated. Ogden Nash's verses are included. The video is performed by a live orchestra and does an excellent job of displaying the instruments used to create the different animal sounds. It is available at some libraries.

Teacher Information

Camille Saint-Saens (1835-1921) was born in Liege, France. At six he could read a complete orchestra score, and was composing for the piano. He began his formal training at age seven, and gave his first piano concert at age eleven, when he played a Beethoven concerto.

Saint-Saens received many honors, both in France and throughout Europe. Besides music he wrote twelve books, mostly essays about music and musicians, and several volumes of poetry.

Carnival of the Animals was written in 1886 as a series of musical satires. Saint-Saens would not allow the work to be published during his lifetime. The American poet Ogden Nash years later wrote a series of short, witty poems to go with the music (see video recommendation above). Saint-Saens was noted for his wit, which is evident in this composition.

This lesson is written in two parts, as it is rather lengthy. You may wish to do the lesson in one session if your time permits.


Say: Today we are going to listen to a piece of music about animals. In this music we will hear musical instruments make the sounds of animals. The instruments will sound like the


Kindergarten - Music - Lesson 14 - Carnival of the Animals (Part 1)

way some animals sound, the way some animals move, and even the way some animals look.

Say: Let's think first about the ways animals move. Listen to this poem and think about the animals moving about as I read it.

On Our Way

What kind of walk shall we take today?

Leap like a frog? Creep like a snail?

Scamper like a squirrel with a furry tail?

Flutter like a butterfly? Chicken Peck?

Stretch like a turtle with a poking-out neck?

Trot like a pony, clip clop clop?

Swing like a monkey in a treetop?

Scuttle like a crab? Kangaroo jump?

Plod like a camel with an up-and-down hump?

We could even try a brand-new way

Walking down the street

On our own two feet.

Eve Merriam

Say: This is a poem about people moving like animals. Let's do some of the animal movements from the poem. (Reread the poem. Stop at each animal movement and allow children to suggest ways to move their own bodies to imitate the animal movements.)

Say: In the music we are going to listen to we are going to hear instruments make the sounds of a lion, elephants, fish, donkeys, birds, dinosaur bones, and swans. Let's think about how these animals move. (Children may want to demonstrate the movements of these animals.)

Prepare the children to listen to the recording of Carnival of the Animals. It is approximately 20 minutes in playing time. You may wish to play only the first 10 minutes of the recording this lesson. The segments go by rather quickly. You will want to be familiar with the piece prior to sharing it with the students. The following is the order in which the animals are presented. You may want to challenge students to guess which animal is being represented.

1. Introduction (Fanfare) 10. Cuckoo

2. Royal March of the Lion 11. Birds

3. Hens and roosters 12. Pianists

4. Wild asses 13. Fossils (Dinosaur bones)

5. Tortoise 14. Swan

6. Elephant 15. Fanfare/Royal March reprisal

7. Kangaroo

8. Fish

9. Donkeys


Kindergarten - Music - Lesson 14 - Carnival of the Animals (Part 2)


Continue listening to the recording of Carnival of the Animals.

Review and recognize basic musical instruments by sight.

Begin to recognize sounds of some instruments.

Respond to the music through movement.


(This is a continuation of Part 1 Lesson 14.) If you have not played Carnival of the Animals in its entirety, complete it at this point. Continue to discuss the way the instruments are able to sound like animals.

If you have access to the video recording Carnival of the Animals (Bonneville Productions, 1984) show it at this time. It is a 30-minute, child-centered video that does an excellent job performing Saint-Saens and includes Ogden Nash's verses. This is an excellent way for children to see the instruments that make the different animal sounds. As the video plays, stop the tape and name each instrument as it plays its solo.

If you cannot find the tape, share with the children the books listed above. All three are excellent read-aloud books that introduce the different orchestral instruments through pictures and text. Following the reading of one of the books, play sections of Carnival of the Animals again. Stop the recording and identify the instrument for the children. Locate a picture of the instrument in the read-aloud book and show children its picture.

The following list is for your reference in identifying the primary instruments

for each section.

1. Fanfare and Royal March of the Lion Pianos and strings

2. Hens and Rooster String section

3. Wild Asses Pianos

4. Tortoise Slowed down can-can song

5. Elephant Bass

6. Kangaroo Piano

7. Fish Percussion (xylophone)

8. Donkeys Strings (violins)

9. Cuckoo Clarinet

10. Birds Flute and violins

11. Fossils (Dinosaur Bones) Xylophone

12. Swan Cello

Children will enjoy moving to the music. Encourage them to imitate the animals through movement and in response to the music. Teach children the can-can. Tell them it is a fast dance with lots of high leg kicks. Play the section of the Tortoise again and help them to hear how exaggeratedly slow the music is in response to how slowly tortoises move.


Kindergarten - Music - Lesson 15 "Old MacDonald"


Sing Old MacDonald.

Experiment with fast and slow tempos.


Say: We have listened to Carnival of the Animals. In that piece of music certain instruments sounded like particular animals. Ask: What animals did we hear in Carnival of the Animals? (Allow children to recall the animals and how they were portrayed musically.)

Say: Today we are going to sing Old MacDonald. This is a song about a farmer who had many animals that lived on his farm. Let's think about some animals that live on a farm.

Ask: Can you name some farm animals? (Record students' responses on the board. Assist children as necessary in correctly identifying typical farm animals.)

Say: Let's think about these farm animals and the sounds they make.

Go back through the list. Have children identify the sound each animal makes.

Sing Old MacDonald using two or three of the animals listed on the board.

Old MacDonald

Old MacDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O.

And on this farm he had some chicks, E-I-E-I-O.

With a chick-chick here and a chick-chick there,

Here a chick, there a chick, everywhere a chick-chick.

Old MacDonald had a farm E-I-E-I-O.

After singing two or three verses, go back through the list and ask the children to catagorize the animals into two groups: animals that move fast and animals that move slowly.

You may wish to mark the "fast" animals with green chalk and the "slow" animals with red chalk.

Say: We are going to sing Old MacDonald again. This time we will sing the slow animals at a slow speed and the fast animals at a fast speed.

Choose one of the animals marked "slow" and sing again at an exaggeratedly slow speed. Then select an animal marked "fast" and sing that verse much quicker. Point out to the children that music can move fast or slow.

Suggested Follow-Up Activity

Read the book Old MacDonald Had a Farm Illustrated by Prue Theobalds (Peter Bedrick, 1991.) Read other books about farming and farm animals. Two excellent choices about farm life are Farming by Dennis Fradin (Childrens Press, 1983) and The Milk Makers by Gail Gibbons ( Macmillan, 1985).

The Literature Lesson The Hare and the Tortoise also will explore the concept of fast and slow.


Kindergarten - Music - Lesson 16 "The Farmer in the Dell"


Sing The Farmer in the Dell

Play a game with the song

Participate in a sequencing activity


A piece of light-colored construction paper (12 x 18) one per student.

A copy of the characters from the song (one per student) attached

Crayons, scissors, glue


Say: Today we are going to sing another song about a farmer. What was the name of the song we already learned about the farmer and all his animals? (Old MacDonald)

Say: Today's song is called The Farmer in the Dell. A dell is a low place between two hills. (You may wish to illustrate this on the chalkboard.)

Organize the children in a circle facing one another and holding hands. Assign one child to be the "farmer." This child should stand in the middle of the circle. While singing the song, the circle should slowly walk around the "farmer." Verse two calls for the farmer to take a wife. The child in the middle should select another student to join him in the middle. These two children now form their own circle and should also circle-walk inside the bigger circle. Each verse another child is selected to join the smaller circle by the last child chosen until the final verse. After the "cheese" has been selected, the children in the small circle should drop hands and join in with the bigger circle, leaving the cheese to stand alone. The game can continue with the "cheese" assuming the role of "farmer" for the second go round.

Encourage children to sing along with you making this a fun, noisy, moving activity!

The Farmer in the Dell

The farmer in the dell,

The farmer in the dell,

Heigh-ho, the derry-o,

The farmer in the dell.

The farmer takes a wife,

The farmer takes a wife,

Heigh-ho, the derry-o,

The farmer takes a wife.

The wife takes a child . . .

The child takes a nurse . . .

The nurse takes a dog . . .

The dog takes a cat . . .

The cat takes a rat . . .

The rat takes the cheese . . .

The cheese stands alone . . .


Suggested Follow-Up Activity

Assist children in sequencing the song The Farmer in the Dell.

1. Duplicate and distribute the characters from the song.

2. Instruct the children to draw a simple farm scene on the light-colored construction paper.

3. Tell the children to color and cut out the characters from the song.

4. As a group, sing the song again.

5. Direct the children to glue the characters on their farm scene in the order they appear in the song.


Kindergarten - Music - Lesson 16 "The Farmer in the Dell"

Characters from the song


Kindergarten - Music - Lesson 17 "The Hokey Pokey"


Learn to sing the song The Hokey Pokey.

Develop awareness of body parts and their names.

Differentiate between the right and the left side of the body.


Ribbon or yarn

Large area to play the game

Teacher Information

This song is more a lesson in identifying right from left and gaining familiarity with body parts then it is a musical lesson. However, the words and tune should be taught and the children encouraged to sing along.


Organize the children in lines that face the same direction. This will aid in determining right from left. The teacher will stand at the head of the lines and model right from left. Remember if you stand facing the children you will have to do the opposite of what you sing (your right will be the children's left) as children will mimic your movements.

Children must know their right from their left in order to participate. You may wish to tie a ribbon on the children's right wrists to help them identify the right side of their body. As you sing you may need to call out "ribbon side" or "no ribbon side" to help children identify their right from their left.

Tell the class you are going to sing a song called The Hokey Pokey that will give them directions to follow. Alert the children to listen carefully so they will know what to do.

Encourage children to sing along with you once you have identified which body part to move.

Sing and demonstrate how to do The Hokey Pokey.

The Hokey Pokey

You put your right foot in,

You put your right foot out,

You put your right foot in,

And you shake it all about,

You do the Hokey Pokey,

And you turn yourself around,

That's what it's all about.

You put your left foot in . . .

You put your right hand in . . .

You put your left hand in . . .

You put your head in . . .

You put your whole self in . . .


Kindergarten - Music - Lesson 17 "The Hokey Pokey"

Suggested Follow-Up Activity

Once the children are comfortable with right and left, you may wish to sing the song again this time in a circle. Keep in mind that when the children are in a circle facing each other they have a tendency to mimic the children across from them, thereby confusing right from left.

Add more verses to the song to continue to develop body part awareness. Sing about the elbow, the knee, the wrist, the hip, etc.