Articulation Therapy, Language Therapy, Little Friends, Music, Products

How to use Old MacDonald to Build Language (E-I-E-I Love This Song)

For kiddos with language delays, songs are pure magic. They provide an excellent avenue to use scripting both in the therapy room and in the home. This verbal routines are easy to implement because families and kids have probably already heard them. Score!

Let’s take Old MacDonald, for example. If I had a nickel for every time I sang Old MacDonald… I could buy a private island. Maybe. Probably not. I could buy a nice purse though.

There’s a reason that little farmer is so popular and can be heard ringing throughout my clinic on what seems like a daily basis. Not only are animals super fun, but the song itself is very flexible to suit a specific child’s needs.

That’s why I created a leveled companion product to go along with Old MacDonald. It’s designed to add layers of complexity to guide your little friends through child language development. My kids LOVE this activity! This puts them in control of the song. It’s portable and ADORABLE! With or without this packet, though, we will break down what Old MacDonald has to offer.




The packet contains 6 levels of visual lyrics:

  • Lyrics Level One: Vowels (9 to 12 months)
  • Lyrics Level Two: Nouns and Environmental Noises (12 months old)
  • Lyrics Level Three: Prepositions (12-24 months old)
  • Lyrics Level Four: Third person pronouns (31-34 months old) and third person possessive pronoun (35-40 months old)
  • Lyrics Level Five: irregular past tense (43-46 months old) and articles (43-46 months old)
  • Lyrics Level Six: full lyrics

Each new level adds additional visual supports to aid your chid reach his or her goals. Yay scaffolding!


The above picture is a prototype for Level One- to give you an idea! You can click here to see updated previews. Bonus: the little fenced in area lets us get in (and out! and on the paper!) some bonus prepositions! Double Bonus: you can use your own animal toys instead of the 3d animal setup and this becomes a NO PREP activity!

Enough product placement for the moment and back to my undying devotion to Old MacDonald. We can use this song (with or without extra visual supports) to take us even further through child development…

  • Promote gross motor imitation:
    • Gross motor typically comes along before fine motor. For this reason, if a kiddo will not imitate your actions, he probably will not imitate your sounds, much less words.
    • So clap along! Point to things! Exaggerate your movements and facial expression and make it S-I-L-L-Y. Adults being goofy is the BEST. You will feel like the most hilarious person in the world (assuming this kiddo has joint attention).
  • Produce Vowels:
    • This one’s pretty obvious, I suppose. E-I-E-I-OHHHHHHH
    • Although, for the animal sounds I sometimes take the consonants out to make them more manageable for my friends. Kiddos are much more likely to imitate (or at least attempt) if the task is “bite-sized”. So many of my kids won’t try unless they think they will be successful. Even a tiny two-year-old doesn’t want to fail! Scaffold for them. Make it doable and they will DO. I cannot recommend the Kaufman Kit 1 CV1CV 1 cards enough for this. I LOVE how they break words down and they pair great with this song.
  • Produce Consonants (and moving on into syllables):
    • We can modify the heck out of those consonants to work towards an individual child’s goals.
    •  For example, I have a little bitty late talker on my caseload right now who is working on mastering bilabials. No problem! We can talk about pigs, of course. Other animal names are a little tough but we can work out our meow, peep, baa, and moo. My little friend loves that “they” can participate!
  • Build Vocabulary
    • Again pretty obvious. I love working on naming animals with my kids. Animals are fuzzy, cute, and fun.
    • Once kids learn the party trick of telling people “what a (ANIMAL NAME HERE) says”… forget about it! They are the coolest kid on the block.


Thank you again very much for your interest in a product (and song) that is so near and dear to my heart. Please feel free to contact me with any questions! I hope you consider downloading the packet.

Happy, singing!



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