Games & Play / Singing Together

Song Guide Based on “The Hokey Pokey”

Explore math while singing and moving to the music.


Activity Summary

The Hokey Pokey is a song and a dance. It’s also a way to learn about math.

Song Lyrics

Everybody form a circle
Put your left foot in
Your left foot out
Your left foot in
And shake it all about
You do the hokey pokey
And turn yourself around
That’s what it’s all about.

Now put your right foot in
You put your head in
Put your right hand in
Now put your tongue in
You put your whole self in

Let’s do the hokey pokey (x3)
That’s what it’s all about.
Listen to the song on YouTube

About the Math

The bolded words below help children think about geometry ideas like space and place. From this song, your child can learn how to:

Describe how they move their bodies in space.

  • Everybody form a circle.
  • You put your head in, you put your head out.
  • And turn yourself around.

Math Sing and Play

Sing the song and do the dance with your child until they know it. Then try these ideas:

  • Act out the song with a toy doll or stuffed animal. Move the toy’s feet and other body parts in, out, and around. Before each verse, stop and ask the child to show the correct body part on the toy. “Next, the bear will put his right hand in. Where are the bear’s hands? Which is the right hand?”
  • Ask your child to suggest other body parts that could be used in the song, such as moving their ear, elbow, two hands, or whole self. Sing the song using the suggested body part.

Activity After the Song

You can keep the song and dance interesting by making a simple musical instrument.

  • Take a circular paper plate or cut out a circle from cardboard. Decorate the back with crayons, markers, stickers, etc.
  • Fold the circle in half and staple or tape together the edges, leaving a small hole open at the top.
  • Pour a handful of small things, like pebbles, in the hole and then staple or tape it shut. Shake it to make sure nothing falls out. (Small items are choking hazards so make sure to supervise carefully during this step.)

Instead of dancing to the song, shake the instrument with the beat. Learning to keep a steady beat is mathematical, too!

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