There are TWO fabulous classic folk songs about jingle bell horses and their fun sleigh rides.  While singing or listening to these fun songs, have some fun with different ways to make this song come alive for your child.

Over the River and Through the Woods”  is a Thanksgiving classic.  My FAVORITE book featuring this song is a Scholastic book by the same name, illustrated by John Steven Gurney. (It also comes with a recording of the song.)  After reading/singing it through once, we always go back through and talk about all the fun winter activities that are going on in the beautifully illustrated winter scenes.   Since we live in Florida, it helps to have a good reference into this mysterious world.

Jingle Bells” is simply a song about the same activity – sleigh rides with jingle horses.  It was originally written for a Thanksgiving program, but was so popular, it was revisited at Christmas and instantly became a favorite classic.

These are some fun ideas I’ve introduced in my Kindermusik classes.  For more information, see my website.

Sleigh ride fun while singing these song:

  • Use fingers to trot around on your child or on the floor while making a jingling sound.
  • Place them on your lap, and keep a steady beat bounce.  At the end of the song, make lots of fun HORSE sounds.  Let them hold some jingle bells while bouncing.  (Make sure the bells are safe for the child –  typical jingle bells may cut child’s tongue if mouthed). 

  • Use a blanket or towel and pull your child around  –  let them play with some safe jingle bells.  Enjoy making horse sounds.
  • Have the child use a blanket to pull their favorite stuffed characters around.

  • Use a long scarf as reigns for your little horse.  Wrap the scarf around the front of their body and under their armpits, with the long ends trailing in the back for you to hold onto.  Let them hold, or wear, bells if you have them.  Have your horse lead you around the room, or even the yard.
  • TRADE – the adult becomes the horse, and the child becomes the sleigh driver


I PROMISE these activities will leave lasting memories of the fun times that you and your child share, as well as provide them with the knowledge of the songs of our culture, and of our history. 

For more blog posts on Thanksgiving themes, click here.

I’d LOVE to hear if you know of additional songs about bell horses and sleigh rides – OR, if you have any additional ideas for interactive sleigh ride activities.