Time to sing: five in the bed

For ages 1 – 5 years

Did you know you can introduce your child to counting, basic maths and making lists, using a few toys and a blanket? And it’s a lot of fun singing together as they play and learn.

What do I need?

  • Five soft toys (one should be a lot smaller than the others)
  • A blanket, towel, or tea towel, to make a bed

How do I do it?

  1. Find a space on the table or floor. You could also use your child’s bed.
  2. Lie the blanket down to make a bed for the toys.
  3. Let your child put the toys in a row on the bed, counting them together. Make sure the smallest toy is on the end, because they will be the last one to roll out.
  4. Sing or chant the song, Five in the Bed.

There were 5 in the bed and the little one said, “Roll over, roll over“

So they all rolled over and 1 fell out.

There were 4 in the bed and the little one said, “Roll over, roll over”

So they all rolled over and 1 fell out.

There were 3 in the bed and the little one said, “Roll over, roll over”

So they all rolled over and 1 fell out.

There were 2 in the bed and the little one said, “Roll over, roll over”

So they all rolled over and 1 fell out.

There was 1 in the bed and the little one said, “I’m lonely”

So they all came back and jumped into bed.

There were 5 in the bed and they were all fast asleep.

  • As you sing, encourage your child to do the actions.
  • Count the toys each time one falls out.

There are plenty of other things you can do:

  • You could make a book about the story by drawing and writing in it together.  
  • You could sing Ten in the Bed using 10 toys.
  • You could watch someone reading Ten in the Bed by Penny Dale

Look at the different wording at the end and talk about the pictures in the book.    

No-one knows your child better than you.  So, choose and/or adapt ideas here to best suit you and your child. Remember it’s the talking and time spent together that matters most.

More activities to try

6 months – 8 years

Water xylophone

18 months – 8 years

Teddy bear bus trip

2 – 8 years

Spray bottle art