Baby Loves Dancing (and other Shortnin’ Bread Variations)

I learned the dancing and dressing variations on Mama’s Little Baby Loves Shortnin’ years ago from a favourite library school instructor, and now that I’m leading babytimes again, they’re back in my regular rotation. We’ll dance out wiggles and restlessness after presenting a book, or sing it to let everyone resettle and make room for new arrivals during the program. I invite caregivers to dance however they’re comfortable, whether that’s standing or sitting, holding a baby in the air, or holding the hands of a toddler. I don’t often use my ukulele on this one, as my strumming-while-dancing skills are inconsistent, but more coordinated storytimers can have a lot of fun. Each time we repeat this song we’ll dedicate it to a different loved one (Auntie, Grandpa, Nana, etc). If you’re leading a storytime for toddlers or preschoolers, try my friend Rachael’s Monday’s Little Toddler variation which includes a few changes to reflect children dancing on their own.

Other great songs that use this tune include the bouncing song Hello Little Babies which I came across via the King County Library System, and the welcoming/settling song Everybody Have a Seat. The earliest version of the latter I can find is from Marylee Sunseri’s 2001 album 1-2-3 Sing With Me, but it’s uncredited so may be older than that.

I like to sing this song with A and E7, but you can also play it with G and D7 or C and G7. I’ve linked a few videos in the song titles so you can see some folks singing the songs.


Baby Loves Dancing
A

(Daddy)'s little baby loves dancing, dancing
                            E7        A
(Daddy)'s little baby loves turning around

(Daddy)'s little baby loves dancing, dancing
                               E7         A
(Daddy)'s little baby loves to boogie on down

Lean to the left, lean to the right
               E7        A
Hug that baby nice and tight

Lean to the left, lean to the right
               E7        A
Hug that baby nice and tight



Monday’s Little Toddler Loves Dancing
A

Monday's little toddler loves dancing, dancing
                              E7        A
Monday's little toddler loves turning around


Monday's little toddler loves dancing dancing
                                  E7         A
Monday's little toddler loves to boogie on down

Swing to the left, swing to the right
               E7       A
Hug your body nice and tight

Swing to the left, swing to the right
               E7          A
Hug your body nice and tight


Verses
Other days of the week...



Baby Put Your Pants On
A
Baby put your pants on, pants on, pants on
E7      A
Baby put your pants on, 1 - 2 - 3

Baby put your pants on, pants on, pants on
                        E7      A
Baby put your pants on, 1 - 2 - 3

Legs to the left, legs to the right
                      E7           A
Wiggle and jiggle and put them on right

Legs to the left, legs to the right
                      E7           A
Wiggle and jiggle and put them on right


Repeat with shirt, socks, coat, etc

A

Now that you're all dressed, all dressed, all dressed
                             E7       A
Now that you're all dressed, let's go play

Now that you're all dressed, all dressed, all dressed
                             E7       A
Now that you're all dressed, let's go play


Undressing version:
Baby take your pants off... Now that you're all naked let's take a bath



Hello Little Babies
A
Hello little babies, let's go rocking, rocking
                              E7       A
Hello little babies, let's go rocking now


Verses
Clapping, bouncing, tickling...



Everybody Have a Seat
A
Everybody have a seat, have a seat, have a seat
                           E7           A
Everybody come and have a seat on the floor

Everybody have a seat, have a seat, have a seat
                          E7           A
Everybody come and have a seat on the floor

Not on the ceiling, not on the door
                          E7           A
Everybody come and have a seat on the floor



Other Variations Include
Sittin’ in A High Chair by Hap Palmer

I Love…

The original I Love… is a 1973 country song by Tom T. Hall. I found it via this sweetly gentle cover by the band Low, which sounds half like a lullaby already. I’ve been dreaming of writing it some babytime lyrics for years.

These are my own words, with direct influences from the original lyrics. I was aiming for a mix of lullaby-sweet and parent-relatable. There is so much potential for adapting this song to suit different ages, families, and children, and I’d like to invite you all to share any verses you might write for your own community.

If C isn’t a good key for your voice, try with D – G – A.


I Love…
C       F          C

I love little baby toes

F              C

Kisses on the nose

G7                         C

Sudden joyful laughs, and baths

         F               C

I love books we've read before

     F             C

The baby sign for more

G7                             C

Songs with made-up words, and birds

    F   G7      C

And I love you too


C       F             C

I love sleep without tears

F                 C

Friends who live near

G7                              C

Sunshine through the trees, and bees

        F                 C

I love laundry when it's clean

F                C

Band-aids and vaccines

G7                          C

Coffee when it's hot... or not

    F  G7      C

And I love you too

Rainbow Songs

My city celebrates Pride mid-summer, so all the rainbow (and love and family) songs I know are dancing through my mind.  Much credit for this goes to the amazing storytimers I work with who are so generous in sharing their knowledge and creativity. Thank you Suzy for the multicolour sheep idea, Jamie for inventing the rainbow verse in Rain is Falling Down, and Lindsey for introducing Colours Over You and Rainbow Dancers.

Rainbow Dancers is from Dr. Pam Schiller’s 2006 album Start Smart Songs for 1s 2s and 3s, and you can listen to a clip here. I think this song uses the tune of The Paw Paw Patch, but you can also chant it as per Jbrary. I’m posting a shortened version with just a few verses. For more directions and movements to try at your program see the lyrics at Storytime ABCs.

I usually sing Rain is Falling Down a capella so I can lead the hand gestures, but I’ve fumbled a couple chords that would work if you feel like strumming along. For this post, links in the song titles take you to Jbrary versions of the songs.


Rain is Falling Down
C                    (stop)

Rain is falling down. Splash!
C                    (stop)
Rain is falling down. Splash!
G7
Pitter patter, pitter patter
C                    (stop)
Rain is falling down. Splash!


Verses
Sun is peeking out. Peek!...
Peeking here, peeking there...


Rainbows everywhere. Wow!...
Rainbows here, rainbows there...



Colours Over You
Tune: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
C                  F          C

Red and green and yellow and blue
F              C       G7   C

These are the colours over you
C            F      C            G7

Red like an apple, green like a tree
C                F       C            G7

Yellow like the sun and blue like the sea
C                  F         C

Red and green and yellow and blue
F              C       G7   C

These are the colours over you



Rainbow Dancers
Tune: Paw Paw Patch
C
Rainbow dancers let’s get ready
G7
Hold your scarves nice and steady
C
You’ll hear the colours of the rainbow
G7               C         (stop)
Listen for your time to go


Shake red…
Shake orange…
Shake yellow…
Shake green…
Shake blue…
Shake purple…


C
Rainbow dancers, dance around
G7
Scarves swirl up and down
C
Overhead and on the ground
G7              C
Rainbows flying all around


Make a Rainbow
Tune: Skip to My Lou
C

Take a strawberry, put it in a pot
G7
Stir it, stir it, stir it a lot
C
Take it out and what'll it be?
G7                    C
The prettiest red you ever did see


Verses
Other food felts/colours until the rainbow or flag is complete

Felt Story Extensions
I made arc and flag rainbows for Make a Rainbow so I could use this set in different ways, and I paired it with the rainbow foods I made for Aiken Drum. Most versions of this story use fruits for all the colours.

If your preschoolers are as rainbow-enthralled as mine, consider enhancing familiar colour-themed songs and rhymes with bonus felts. I haven’t made my Little Mouse a rainbow house yet, but here are my felts for Take Me for a Ride in your Rainbow Car and Baa Baa Rainbow Sheep.

Why Oh Why

A reader requested (months ago), for a set of simple chords to this Woody Guthrie song that they’d heard covered by Elizabeth Mitchell. These ones match how I sing it. If it doesn’t sound right to you, try D G and A as per the Rise Up Singing project.

I’m including only the first verse and chorus. For the full lyrics, head over to the official Guthrie site. And to hear it, check out the album Songs to Grow on For Mother and Child, or listen to a clip via Smithsonian Folkways.


Why Oh Why
G7
Why can't a dish break a hammer?
C             G7
Why oh why oh why?
C                         G7

Because a hammer's got a hard head
D                G7

Goodbye goodbye goodbye

G7
Why, oh why, oh why oh?
C              G7
Why oh why oh why?
C                G7

Because because because because
D                G7

Goodbye goodbye goodbye

Sailing Sailing Over the Ocean

This gentle lullaby can be sung while rocking babies or playing pretend with preschoolers. I learned it from Kathy Reid-Naiman’s 2002 album, A Smooth Road to London Town, and you can listen to her version here. I believe this is another traditional tune, but always welcome credit corrections.

A number of my amazing library colleagues sing this at their baby or toddler storytimes, and one has kindly shared these chords. If you have a hard time singing high (as I often do), strum it with G/D/C instead.


Sailing Sailing Over the Ocean
C                G7       C

Sailing sailing, over the ocean
                  G7       C

Sailing, sailing, over the sea
                  G7       C

Sailing, sailing, over the water
F         G7      C

Sail back home to me

Verses
Floating, Swimming, Gliding, Flying...

Gilly Gilly Good Morning

This happy little morning song would be a great storytime opener, and my thanks to Jbrary for introducing me to it. Gilly Gilly Good Morning is cited as a traditional American tune in the sources I’ve found, but if you come across a credit for it, please let me know.

I prefer singing this song G/D, but it works with C/G7 or D/A7 too. If you’d like to play a slightly richer sound, Dany Rosevear at Singing Games for Children has a three chord version for you.


Gilly Gilly Good Morning
G
Gilly gilly gilly good morning
      D             G
Good morning, good morning
G
Gilly gilly gilly good morning
      D         G
Good morning to you

G

Mini mack mini mack mini mini mini mack
G                         D
Mini mack mini mack mini morning
D
Mini mack mini mack mini mini mini mack
D                         G
Mini mack mini mack mini morning

Pig on Her Head

This silly song has immediate toddler appeal. Throw a puppet up on your head while singing, and you’ll be golden. Pig on Her Head is by Laurie Berkner, from her 1998 album Buzz, Buzz. She plays this song with E/B7/A (as she’s kindly shared on her site), and I’ve transposed into our standard easy-ukulele chords. Head over to her site to read the rest of the original lyrics.

A couple of my creative and talented storytiming friends have been using this song in their programs, and now I’m keen to try it out myself. It could match well with Sean Bryan’s Girl and Her Gator/Boy and His Bunny books or Mo Willems’ There is a Bird On Your Head. If you have some felt hats (perhaps a set for little cat, little cat, are you in the ____ hat), then combine them with a face or two to make a great felt story (I’ve included my own felt & sharpie version below). Try the action song at the end if you need a challenge for school-aged kids. Thanks to Kate L. for thinking up the first two variations below, and Gina G. for the 3rd.


Pig on Her Head
C              G7

Laurie's got a pig on her head
               C

Laurie's got a pig on her head
               F

Laurie's got a pig on her head
     G7                C

She keeps it there all day



Baby Dressing Song
C            G7

Arjun has a sock on his foot
             C

Arjun has a sock on his foot
             F

Arjun has a sock on his foot
    G7                 C

He keeps it there all day

Verses
... toque on his head...
... a diaper on his bum...




Hats on Their Heads
  C                  G7

A builder wears this hat on her head
                      C

A builder wears this hat on her head
                      F

A builder wears this hat on her head
    G7                  C

She keeps it there all day

Verses
Princess, Chef, Ball Player, Pirate, Fire Fighter...



Movement Challenge Song
C                        G7

Yasmine can hop with a narwhal on her head
                         C

Yasmine can hop with a narwhal on her head
                         F

Yasmine can hop with a narwhal on her head
    G7                  C

She keeps it there all day

Verses
Dance, Skip, Twirl, Jump...