Musical Story for Preschoolers to Perform: "Little Children in the Rain Forest"!


Photo from the artists at Dollar Photo Club

One of my favorite activities traditional to the Montessori Preschool curriculum is gathering the children together to place the signs of the four directions on the appropriate walls of the room. East-South-West & North. Here's a link for more about this lesson: Map Study & the Cardinal Points in the Classroom.

When we are exploring the seven continents, its fun to make up a drama play about walking in the direction of "South" for a very long time until we get to South America... 

Our little drama play has the rich addition of musical instruments and can easily turn into a little classroom performance!

Here's how it goes:
Let's pretend that we are hiking for a long, long time to the continent of South America. First, we pack up our clothes & camping gear and then we begin our  very long hike down South all the way to South America. We can even go to the Rainforest and see all the many animals and beautiful trees & flowers that live there.
All photos are from the artists at Dollar Photo Club unless otherwise noted

When we finally arrive in South America, we're all really tired, so we set up our tent and go straight to bed! 

It's here that we all discuss what animals we might find in the Rainforest of South America and what sounds they might make in the morning when everybody wakes up! 
I show the children the various rhythm instruments I have set out on the rugs in the middle of our circle:

  • Bells
  • Maracas
  • Guiros
  • Afuches
  • Tambourines
  • A "Stir Drum"
  • A Child-size Frame Drum
  • Rainsticks
  • Several Rainbow Wrist Ribbons
(See the photos below)

I always make sure there are enough instruments/ props for each child to have something to play in our little musical story. 

Now back to our little musical story!

And, in the morning, just as the sun is coming up, we hear the first sounds of the day. 



There are even LIZARDS scampering around!

We all decide that its time to get up, get dressed and take a walk to the river. On the way we see... THE MONKEYS! They're very lively and making lots of noise!

Soon, we hear the sound of THE WATERFALL at the river!

We hear ALL THE ANIMALS making their sounds. It's like a beautiful concert! (Now all the children play their instruments.) Just as we arrive at the river, we look up at the sky and see storm clouds and even hear THE THUNDER!

All the sounds of the rainforest suddenly stop and everything is still! (Here everyone stops playing and there is silence.) It's just about to rain, so we run up the river bank and huddle under the tree branches that are like our umbrellas. Then, we see and hear... THE RAIN!

It rains and rains and rains and then... it stops! We come out from under the branches of the trees and look up into the sky to see... THE RAINBOW! So, of course we dance a beautiful rainbow dance and all the rainforest creatures make their lovely, happy sounds. (Here all the children play their instruments while the "rainbow dancers" do their dance.)

At the end of the rainbow dance, all the instruments are put to rest and the children take nice long bows after such a lovely performance! 
Then, it's time to travel back to our school & hometown!

I've play-acted this little musical story (and lots of variations) many times over  the years with children as young as 2 1/2 and all the way to 8 yrs old. And, it is always a big hit! Some groups love performing it so much, that we have scheduled it into our end of the year performance celebration. Then, we even have an older child tell the story to the audience as the rest of the children play the various instruments to go along with the sweet little musical story. It's always a big hit with the parents, too!

The instruments I pictured in the above story can be found at Amazon and also at my favorite music supplier at this link: The rainbow ribbons I like best can be purchased in lots of six at this link: Discount School Supply.

The animals pictured above are:

You can click on the links for more info on each animal!

This little musical story is quite versatile and you can vary it with the animals your group wants to feature, and there are many, many more instruments that can be included, as well! The more involved the children are in designing the musical story...the more success (and fun!) everyone feels.

I am delighted that you are reading this post and hope it inspires you to create musical stories with your group! I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Just leave a comment or two in the section at the end of this post!

This photo was taken by Jeri-Jo Idarius during a fun  children's summer music festival at the Muse in Willits, CA. You can check out her portfolio at this link: 

In my upcoming posts, I'll be writing more about the Muse  children's summer music festival activities featuring puppets & puppet making from the rainforest of South America. (and more!)

I hope your little ones enjoy the "Rainforest Musical" Story Activity as much as we have!

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  1. I love this!! I need to collect more of those instruments for our co-op. I know the kids would love them. :)

    1. I love co-ops! My own children went to Noe Valley Co-op in S.F. and that is when I discovered I really wanted to be a Preschool teacher!
      Also, you can substitute for the instruments you don't have with ones that you do have. Shaker eggs sound great for insects. Rhythm sticks (my all-time favorite) can be tapped for the lizard scampering. Triangles or jingle bells can be used for the waterfall....anyway, you CAN vary these in a gazillion ways. Kids are very good with coming up with ideas for the sounds in the story! I'm glad you like it and hope you all have fun with musical stories, Andrea.

  2. Wow! VEry interesting! There are not really much information I see about music education and your attitude seems very innovative and I am sure children really like it! I collects all the knowledge that I read on your site for future usage. Thank you!

    1. Hi Katherine, I'm delighted that you like this idea. It's fun alright! I'm biased, I know, but there is so much research out there now about the benefits of music in the early I am happy to write about the fun music adventures I've had. And, I honestly do see children really shine in music class. Hope you have fun with this activity.

  3. I love this idea! We love this kind of instruments at home and this story is a great new way to use them!

    1. Hi Cristina, I'm so glad that you enjoyed this post and I hope that you have a great time with this little musical story...I'd love to hear how it goes and also any new ideas your children come up with!

  4. I can't even tell you how much I love this! My son adores both music and animals! Plus, I plan to explore all of the continents next year :) This post has so much inspiration!

    1. Wow! I'm so glad you got something from this is always a big hit with the kids. Incorporating music, dance, drama, & art into the Continent studies is just about my all-time favorite part of teaching! Your son and I are like-minded!

  5. Very nice reviews about Montessori Preschool curriculum!! I have heard a lot about their curriculum and was just thinking to use some of these activity ideas in my Phoenix pre-k class. Thanks for the post!

    1. Thanks for your comment, Joshua54, and I really like the work you are doing at your school. I especially like the Prek Lemonade Stand to collect cans of food for the Homeless Program at St. Mary's. And, the visit from Clare Walker Leslie sounds awesome!