Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes

Information About Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes

The origins of "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" are unknown but it has become a fun, interactive song and game for children to play and build their motor skills with while being able to learn body parts.

During slavery times when Black people were not allowed to learn to read, parents wanted their children to have knowledge so they taught them this song as a way of learning the parts of the body. This is one possible idea of the songs origin.

It is a repetitive song that can speed up as you sing along providing an upbeat and fun tune to make the movements with.

There are variations that add new body parts to the game to make it a bit more difficult or by changing the melody of the song, replacing or removing versus throughout.

Every time a body part is sung, the children then touch that area with both hands. So when it says "head" they put both hands on their heads, "shoulders" they do the same and so on.

The song is often used at schools and kindergartens with the children standing and following the action of the teacher.

One version of "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" is sung to the melody of "London Bridge Is Falling Down".

Zita Newcome has compiled a great little book of classic children's activity songs that also describes all the motions associated with each song, including "Head Shoulders Knees and Toes". You can read the full review on the Amazon site:  Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes: And Other Action Rhymes..

Alternative Lyrics & Related Songs

This version adds the parts of the face

Head and shoulders
knees and toes
knees and toes.

Head and shoulders
knees and toes
knees and toes.

2 eyes, 2 ears
A mouth and a nose.

Head and shoulders
Knees and toes.

Another version that has other body parts

Heads shoulders hands elbows
Hands elbows
Hands shoulders hands elbow
Hands elbow
And eyes and ears and mouth and nose
Heads shoulder hands elbow
Hands elbow.

Song Video

Listen to this song's music

37 Comments

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Tia, Australia

27 April 2013 at 12:27pm

I grew up with the version Head, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes Head, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes and eyes and ears and mouth and nose, Head, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes I love this song ^-^

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Ellie, Bahrain

15 February 2013 at 7:30pm

Wow, you are really TONE DEAF, lady. I'd be embarrassed to post this on the web. Gawd. Painful to listen to!

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Sarah, United States

22 January 2013 at 4:00am

I hated it because when it got to the knees and toes it got deep. #_#

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Lkl;o'k;m Jo;il, Barbados

19 December 2012 at 2:33pm

nvhjgklj.o;

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Bethany, United States

30 April 2012 at 6:37pm

i totally LOVE this song!& I am in the 7th grade! you can never be too old to love this song!

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Brennan, Canada

3 April 2012 at 8:47pm

cool

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The Epic Person, United States

20 March 2012 at 4:02am

i totally <3 this! im in 5th grade and my sub made us all dance and sing! lol @_@

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Rachal, Jamaica

16 March 2012 at 4:45pm

a baby song am just learning this song in french for my class a Assembly so go know some proper songs more than head what ever what ever what ever

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Shima, Iran, Islamic Republic Of

9 February 2012 at 5:02am

i cant download it!why?

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Nailah, United States

30 December 2011 at 4:52pm

head,but and hips but and hips head but and hips but and hips and thumb and and boys and girls and me. head,but and hips!

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Karen, United Kingdom

13 November 2011 at 2:57pm

Neck, elbows, fingers, thumb, fingers, thumb (x2) Chest and tummy and hips and bum Neck, elbows, fingers, thumb, fingers, thumb

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Selena, American Samoa

10 November 2011 at 6:17pm

i love head sholder knees and toes

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Shelby, Djibouti

18 August 2011 at 5:54pm

this is the dumbest song i have ever heard this music dont match if you are goin to post something on the computer make sure your stuff is right k thanks :)

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Ira, Ukraine

19 June 2011 at 9:52am

the musik doesn't fit the words of heads and shoulders song. It sounds more like ... my fair lady song..

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Cole, Canada

2 May 2011 at 11:02am

the lyrics are wrong and should actually be, "head, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes, knees and toes." Knees and toes 3 times not 2, then it goes with the rhythm of london bridge.

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Eilah, Philippines

24 March 2011 at 12:43am

love it! this song is good for the young ones..

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Megan, United States

7 March 2011 at 1:29am

This doesn't really answer my question... >.< I need to know who wrote it, not the lyrics or how to do the motions.

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Wendel, Antarctica

22 January 2011 at 9:22pm

Goung to use this song when teaching. Tanxx!

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Wendel, Antarctica

22 January 2011 at 9:21pm

Hi

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Mike, United States

18 January 2011 at 7:12pm

I believe I learned this from Sharon Lois and Bram, and the first line of the melody was Sol Sol La Sol Fi Sol Mi, Sol Sol Sol (not london bridge)

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This song has been printed from the BusSongs.com website.