Easy-to-teach, easy-to-learn educational resources for young children.

Old McDonald (Learn It)

Language Focus Other songs about: animals & insects, intonation/rhythm

"What does a _____ say?" "Here." "There." Farm animals (cow, horse, pig, sheep, duck, rooster) and the sounds they make.

Old McDonald (Learn It) Lyrics and Actions

Key Gestures
Farmer - Pretend to hold on to your overall straps.
Cow - Pretend to milk a cow.
Horse - Use the ASL sign. Place your thumb on your right temple and bend your index and middle fingers up and down.
Pig - Push the tip of your nose up with one finger.
Sheep - Pretend to pet a sheep.
Duck - Open and close your full hand in front of your mouth, imitating a duck's bill.
Rooster - With your fingers spread wide, touch your thumb to your forehead, representing a rooster's comb.

What does a COW say? [Cow gesture.]
Moo. [Say, "Moo" while making the cow gesture.]

Old McDonald had a farm. E-I-E-I-O. [Farmer gesture.]
And on that farm he had a COW. E-I-E-I-O. [Cow gesture.]
With a moo moo here. [Continue making the cow gesture and "moo, moo" to the left.]
A moo moo there. ["Moo, moo" to the right.]
Here a moo. ["Moo" to the left.]
There a moo. ["Moo" to the right.]
Everywhere a moo moo. ["Moo, moo" as you move your head in a circular motion.]
Old McDonald had a farm. E-I-E-I-O. [Farmer gesture.]

What does a HORSE say? [Horse gesture.]
Neigh, neigh. [Say, "Neigh, neigh" while making the horse gesture.]

Old McDonald had a farm. E-I-E-I-O.
And on that farm he had a HORSE. E-I-E-I-O. [Horse gesture.]
With a neigh neigh here. [Continue making the horse gesture and "neigh, neigh" to the left.]
A neigh neigh there. ["Neigh, neigh" to the right.]
Here a neigh. ["Neigh" to the left.]
There a neigh. ["Neigh" to the right.]
Everywhere a neigh neigh. ["Neigh, neigh" as you move your head in a circular motion.]
Old McDonald had a farm. E-I-E-I-O.

What does a PIG say? [Pig gesture.]
Oink, oink. [Say, "Oink, oink" while making the pig gesture.]

Old McDonald had a farm. E-I-E-I-O. And on that farm he had a PIG. E-I-E-I-O. [Pig gesture.]
With an oink oink here. [Continue making the pig gesture and "oink, oink" to the left.]
An oink oink there. ["Oink, oink" to the right.]
Here an oink. ["Oink" to the left.]
There an oink. ["Oink" to the right.]
Everywhere an oink oink. ["Oink, oink" as you move your head in a circular motion.]
Old McDonald had a farm. E-I-E-I-O.

What does a SHEEP say? [Sheep gesture.]
Baaa, baaa. [Say, "Baaa, baaa" while making the sheep gesture.]

Old McDonald had a farm. E-I-E-I-O.
And on that farm he had a SHEEP. E-I-E-I-O. [Sheep gesture.]
With a baaa baaa here. [Continue making the sheep gesture and "baaa, baaa" to the left.]
A baaa baaa there. ["Baaa, baaa" to the right.]
Here a baaa. ["Baaa" to the left.]
There a baaa. ["Baaa" to the right.]
Everywhere a baaa baaa. ["Baaa, baaa" as you move your head in a circular motion.]
Old McDonald had a farm. E-I-E-I-O.

What does a DUCK say? [Duck gesture.]
Quack, quack. [Say, "Quack, quack" while making the duck gesture.]

Old McDonald had a farm. E-I-E-I-O.
And on that farm he had a DUCK. E-I-E-I-O. [Duck gesture.]
With a quack quack here. [Continue making the duck gesture and "quack, quack" to the left.]
A quack quack there. ["Quack, quack" to the right.]
Here a quack. ["Quack" to the left.]
There a quack. ["Quack" to the right.]
Everywhere a quack quack. ["Quack, quack" as you move your head in a circular motion.]
Old McDonald had a farm. E-I-E-I-O.

What does a ROOSTER say? [Rooster gesture.]
Cock-a-doodle-doo! [Say, "Cock-a-doodle-doo" while making the rooster gesture.]

Old McDonald had a farm. E-I-E-I-O.
And on that farm he had a ROOSTER. E-I-E-I-O. [Rooster gesture.]
With a cock-a-doodle-doo. [Continue making the rooster gesture and "cock-a-doodle-doo" to the left.]
Cock-a-doodle-doo. ["Cock-a-doodle-doo" to the right.]
Cock-a-doodle-doodle-doodle-doodle-doodle-doo. ["Cock-a-doodle-do" as you move your head in a circular motion.]
Old McDonald had a farm. E-I-E-I-O. ♫

Preparation

Before singing the song, learn the gestures for the farmer and each of the animals. Use pictures or stuffed animals to introduce the animals. As you introduce each animal, teach the gesture for that animal. Have the children do the gesture and say the animal's name at the same time.

Of course, you can create your own gestures. In fact, it's best if you create gestures for the animals together with your group/class. Or follow along with the gestures we've suggested.

Classroom Benefits

"Old McDonald" is a classic kids' song for learning about farm animals and the sounds they make. Our "Learn It" version is perfect for even very young learners to join in with. This song is also good for practicing rhythm.

For very young ESL/EFL learners, understanding that English-speakers make different noises for animals than they might in their native language (for example, in English, a pig says, "Oink, oink," while in Japanese a pig says, "Buuu, buuu") helps them conceptualize that English is truly a different language and not just a funny sounding variety of their own language. Children love learning the sounds animals make, and knowing those sounds in English (something many adult ESL/EFL speakers don't even know) can give young learners a lot of confidence in their ability to speak English.

Activity Ideas

While singing the song, pause the music at the part where it says, "What does a cow/horse/pig/etc. say?" Elicit answers from the kids. Make some silly noises, like an elephant, or an ambulance, or a popular cartoon character! Encourage the kids to say, "No!" and give you the correct answer. After the kids say the correct animal noise, everybody moves around the room pretending to be that animal and making those noises. 1

Before or after singing the song, play animal charades. One person looks at a picture or flashcard of an animal and makes that animal's noise. The rest of the group/class try to guess which animal it is. 2

See our Pinterest board on animals for more ideas and storytime books. 3

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