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Ava makes up a song – Fishes for wa tea

Two year old Ava is on a walk with her Mum and a friend. They stop and she makes up a song based on a well known rhyme.

Good for looking at

  • Early literacy
  • Rhymes
  • Singing
  • Socialising
  • Having of own ideas


  • What cues can you see that show what Ava is interested in? (Look out for non-verbal and body language as well as spoken language)
  • In what ways does the adult support the child’s interests and understanding?
  • How does the outdoor environment support the children’s learning?


  • What does this sequence show you about Ava’s understanding of how a song is structured?
  • What are the different parts of her song?
  • What is Ava directing Esther and Mum to do, because that is how you should behave when you sing a rhyme?


When young children have had plenty of experience of songs and rhymes, they start to make up their own. It is lovely to watch and listen when children like Ava make up their own original songs and tuneful ditties. But it is also important to admire just how much they have learned in order to create in this way.

  • Have you observed children like Ava who understand how a song should work: the repetitive nature of different lines in the song and the fact that you usually have movements that accompany the different lines as they are sung?
  • Do children show you that they are able to use their spoken language in a deliberate and playful way, with a sharp ear for rhythm and flow?
  • Young children who are confident in their spoken language often start to play around with words. They deliberately say a familiar word in a different way or make up words of their own, sometimes in a tuneful fashion. Be pleased when you hear this kind of word play, because it shows that children are sharp listeners and sharp producers of sound.
  • Once children understand the written word, then they often want you to write down (scribe) their made-up songs as well as their stories. It is a good idea to write down the made-up words when that makes sense. That action gives you a good opportunity to demonstrate how you think carefully about how to write a word that you do not know.