Row Row Row Your Boat


This activity invites children to experiment and explore the use of sounds and melodies. Music is a universal language catering to all ages. It forms an important part of a child’s development by stimulating the speech and thinking areas of the brain. By including music in your playgroup session you are providing an opportunity for children to develop listening, language and physical skills as they learn to cooperate and take turns.

What you need?

  • Lyrics to Row Row Row Your Boat (“Row row row your boat, Gently down the stream, Merrily merrily merrily merrilyLife is but a dream.”)
  • Music (not essential)


1. This game is played in pairs. The older children may choose a friend as a partner; the littler ones may prefer to be with their parent/carer.

2. Partners sit on the floor, facing each other with legs crossed and holding hands.

3. Young babies and children who can’t sit on their own can stay in their parent/carer’s arms or laps.

4. Everyone rocks back and forth to the beat while singing the song.


Use cardboard boxes to create boats for the children to row in while singing the song.

Extension of the activity

  • Vary the song a little, include: If you see a crocodile, Don’t forget to scream (everyone screams!).
  • Sing the song as a round in two groups. One group starts, with other group coming in as first group sings ‘Merrily merrily…’. Change it up after a couple of rounds.

Language Structure / Keywords

Use rhythm vocabulary, fast, slow, faster and slower. Vary the delivery of the songs by singing softly, high or low.  Mathematical concepts are incorporated into this activity using rhythm and patterns.