Article 9 - Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Please note: All information is written with normally developing children in mind.

We all sing simple nursery rhymes to our children... now here are some ideas to extend a familiar rhyme into a movement and music activity for early childhood aged children.

I have chosen the nursery rhyme "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" to extend for you now.Did you know that this simple song was written by the great composer Mozart at the age of 4 years?

I would suggest you don't use all of the following activities at the one time. Just extend a few ideas at a time as children can be overloaded with varaitions and the learning does not imprint in the brain.Keep it simple,enjoyable and age appropriate for safety.

If you are unsure of any of the nursery rhyme tunes, there are many CDs and resources available to help you. The tunes are often very simple so it wont take you long to learn them. It is always better to sing unaccompanied anyway as it can then be sung whenever you wish... spontaneously.


  • Sing the song while both the adult and the child use a finger action to imitate the stars twinkling (simply wriggle all the fingers to make a twinkling action).

    If your baby is very young, parents/carers of babies can perform the finger actions at the child's eye level either while lying or sitting on your knee.(This enhances eye tracking and focus as well as exposure to the rhythm in the melody and the pattern in the words).

    If your baby is unable to use their own fingers for the actions, simple hold and wriggle one of their fingers at a time while singing the song. Don't forget to repeat the song and do the finger actions using the other hand.
  • A nursery rhyme book can be a wonderful to read and sing at bedtime where the children can visualise and see the concepts you are singing about together.

  • Learn sign language to accompany the song. This is a great way of communication but also a very effective fine motor action for your child to experience.

  • Make a star shape using the whole body. Sing the song while holding this shape. On the words "way up high" the child then moves to hold a tall shape. This actviity uses gross motor actions and enhances balance and body awareness.

  • Repeat the song with the child lying down on the back. Use both finger action and the gross motor actions. This body position allows the child to experience spatial and body awareness... their body is in a different position, and even though the actions and song are the same as when standing ,it feels so very different and they need to adjust their thinking. Try it and see for your self !


  • Place a star sticker on each pointer finger (or all fingers and the thumb if you choose) and repeat the song and finger actions. This gives the older child something to look at and extends the activity.

    SAFETY:The reason this actviity is suitable for 4-6 years only is younger children from birth to 3 years will put everything in their mouth and it then becomes potentially unsafe for a younger age group. Putting objects or fingers in the mouth is a natural part of learning and is how very young children determine texture, size etc. This urge to mouth everything usually disappears by about 3 years of age... but they need to be kept safe until then.

  • Purchase cardboard star shapes from a party shop or cut one out yourself from gold or yellow cardboard. Attach it to a plastic straw to create a wand. The child holds the star wand and moves it gently across the body to the rhythm of the song. This enhances eye tracking and hand movement across the midline.

    SAFETY:The reason this activity is suitable for 4-6 years only is because of the pointed ends of the star shape and the potential to poke their eye or face. Before using them,cut round the egdes of the stars (using scissors) as an added precaution. Younger children under 3 years also do not have a lot of hand and muscle control to ensure safe co-ordinated actions.

  • Repeat the song standing on a low bench beam, bricks edging a garden, the couch (if you don't mind furniture being used this way!) When height is involved it again changes the child's perception and spatial awareness. Repeat both the fine motor and gross motor actions.

    SAFETY: Children need to have a good sense of balance to do this actvitiy so it is only suitable for older children unless there is support continually from an adult while the child is standing performing the action.

  • Repeat the song and when standing in the star shape, transfer the weight from one foot/leg to the other so the child is rocking from side to side (this action enhances the vestibular system in the inner ear, which helps regulate balance).


Have fun !