October 3, 2012

Appley Dapply

From: Beatrix Potter's Nursery Rhyme Book (1984)

Appley Dapply, little brown mouse
Goes to the cupboard in somebody's house
In somebody's cupboard there's everything nice
[Cake, jam, biscuits] -- yummy for mice!
 Appley Dapply has little sharp eyes
Appley Dapply loves [blueberry] pies

Okay so I've changed a few words here and there. This would make such a sweet little participatory, rhythmic chant to share with parents and young children (or preschoolers) - they can tell what they might have stashed in the cupboard for Appley Dapply to find, and, if they were a mouse about to eat some pie, what sort of pie might they like to eat?

I love the empathy of this poem.

September 24, 2012

Dear Brother or Sister in the Big Wide World,

I'm going to continue my singing adventures on youtube. Won't you please follow me there?

Blessings and Peace,

July 14, 2012

Blow the balloon

Here is a little vocal ditty that preschool children especially love. It's very easy to teach, it's very easy to mimic, and children love piping in the answer to the question, "Where did my balloon go?" Try it today! Now! Do it! Cheers.

June 3, 2012

The Devil's Questions

This makes a lovely little lullaby - it can be shortened easily. And there's a mystery at the end: What is the ninth question? I can only imagine what a young child would say! Why not try this at preschool storytime? Ask children and parents to help you turn this into a proper call and response song by teaching them the repeating lines. Just sing to them. Not enough of us get read to, get sung to, especially the older we get. But we all need it so much. You know?

If you can't answer my questions nine
All: Sing ninety-nine and ninety
Oh, you're not God's, you're one of mine
All: And the crow flies over the white oak tree

Oh, what is higher than the tree... Sing...
And what is deeper than the sea?... And the crow...

Oh, Heaven's higher than the tree...
And love is deeper than the sea...

Oh, what is darker than the night...
And what is faster than a bird in flight...

Oh, raven's darker than the night...
And lightning's faster than a bird in flight...

Oh what is louder than the horn...
And what is sharper than the thorn...

Oh thunder's louder than the horn...
And hunger's sharper than the thorn...

Oh what is heavier than the lead...
And what is sweeter than the bread...

Oh grief is heavier than the lead...
God's blessings sweeter than the bread...

Oh you have answered my questions nine...
Oh you are God's, you're none of mine...

May 6, 2012


Here is a sweet and simple rima en español to share with children. It's easy even for those of us unlucky enough not to know how to speak Spanish!

Like this:

Tortillitas, tortillitas, tortillitas para mamá

Tortillitas, tortillitas, tortillitas para papá
Las quemaditas, las quemaditas, las quemaditas para mamá
Las bonitas, las bonitas, ¡las bonitas para papá!

A translation: Little tortillas for mother / for father / The burnt ones for mother / The nice ones (!) for father. Interestingly enough, this idea of leaving the scraps for mother extends to at least one other culture's nursery rhyme: Here's one from the Shona, only half of which I remember: Nyama ku varume; supu ku vakadzi; mabonzo kuvana -- meat for the men, soup for the women, the bones for the kids!

Teaching folks, a lovely thing to do when introducing this rhyme with children is to cut out oval pieces of felt, some in light brown and some in a darker brown, and allow the children to slap their felt tortillas around. It gives them something substantial to hold onto, adds a gross/fine motor skill to the mix, and I think it helps them concentrate when they do the rhyme. You could then ask: ¿Quién tiene las quemaditas? ¿Quién tiene las bonitas? 

It's simple and it works. Hope you can try it out and when you do, please let me know how it goes!

Mail myself to you

Here's a favourite song of mine. I think of it is a car song, or a long distance phone song, or a song to sing to an old friend you want to see. And of course, it's very singable with young children.


 I'm a big fan of Woody Guthrie's, and wish he were alive today.

[C] I'm gonna wrap my[G]self in paper,
I'm gonna daub myself in glue,
[C]Stick some [C7]stamps on [F]top of my head,
[C] I'm gonna mail my[F]self [G]to [C]you.

I'm gonna tie me up in a red string,
I'm gonna tie blue ribbons too,
I'm gonna climb into my mailbox,
I'm gonna mail myself to you.

When you see me in your mailbox,
Cut the strings and let me out,
Wash the glue off of my fingers,
Stick some bubble gum in my mouth.

Take me out of my wrapping paper,
Wash the stamps off of my head,
Pour me full of ice cream sodies,
Tuck me in my nice warm bed.

[C] I'm gonna wrap my[G]self in paper,
I'm gonna daub myself in glue,
[C]Stick some [C7]stamps on [F]top of my [C dim]head,
[C] I'm gonna mail my[F]self [G]to [C]you.

February 28, 2012

Gramma Grampa Tat

So here's a strange little chant I found quite randomly somewhere. Sorry, bad librarian that I am, not to provide a reference. I'd imagine chanting this song with preschoolers, starting out slowly, and then building up to a dizzying speed -- having the kids turing around for the last bits until they collapse on the floor. And then they'll get up and want to do it all over again. You could easily stretch this out longer - asking children what they would like to do with their bodies. Make it challenging, let them come up with ideas. And let's see what happens.

Gramma Grampa Tat
Wave one hand like that
Gramma Grampa Tat
Wave the other hand like that
Gramma Grampa Tat
Stamp your feet like that
Gramma Grampa Tat
Turn around like that
Funny old Gramma
Funny old Grampa
Sit back down like that!

Who knows where these things come from? I certainly don't. And that's the beauty of it.