Hokey Pokey Song: Listening to Directions


  • To listen to, sing, and act out an action song
  • To begin to understand concepts of left/right and in/out
  • To follow directions


left   right  
in out
around        names of body parts

Literature Suggestion
Read a book or books that discuss parts of the body.

Have the children form a circle and do some simple exercises. (Examples: Bend your knees; touch your nose; stand on your toes.)
For English Language Learners: use the opportunity to introduce the names of parts of the body.


  • Introduce the "Hokey Pokey" song.
  • Ask children to listen carefully as you sing and demonstrate the movements.
  • Invite children who are familiar with the song and movements to demonstrate with you.
  • Sing one verse, doing the appropriate body movements. (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, yeah!)
  • Have all children join in singing and performing the movements. Try arms, feet, legs, knees, elbows, head, chin, hair, fingers, ears, and tummies. Invite volunteers to suggest the body part for the next verse.

Ask the children to take turns singing the song as they hold a favorite toy and put it "in" and "out" while singing an appropriate verse. (Example: You put your dinosaur in; you put your dinosaur out...)

Observation Assessment
  • Proficient - Child actively joins in the activity, sings the song, and follows the movement directions correctly most of the time.
  • In Process - Child participates, but has difficulty singing the song, following the directions, or staying involved in
  • the activity.
  • Not Yet Ready - Child does not yet sing or follow the movements.

Excerpted from School Readiness Activity Cards. The Preschool Activity Cards provide engaging and purposeful experiences that develop language, literacy, and math skills for preschool children.

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