Take Me Out to the Ball Game (and variations)

I’d never thought of Take Me Out to the Ball Game as a storytime song, but colleagues of mine have convinced me otherwise. As only the chorus is well known, that’s all I’ve included here. Song credits belong to Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer from 1908.

I learned These are the Toes of My Baby way back in library school, and have sung it at many happy baby and toddler storytimes. It’s tickly and playful, and makes everyone smile. Jbrary has it too, if you’d like a little inspiration. Take Me out of the Bathtub is from one of Alan Katz’ books of humorous piggyback songs. The complete song is longer than I would use at storytime so this is just the first verse, but you can listen to it all here.

These chords are slightly simplified from the Bytown Ukulele songbook. You can also play in A or C, or ignore the 7s if you prefer standard chords.


Take Me Out to the Ball Game
G                   D7
Take me out to the ball game
G                     D7
Take me out with the crowd
E7                       A7
Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack
                   D7
I don't care if I never get back
        G                       D7
Let me root, root, root for the home team
    G                      C
If they don't win, it's a shame
                          G7
For it's one, two, three strikes, you're out
        A7  D7   G
At the old ball game



These are the Toes of My Baby
G                        D7
These are the toes of my baby
G                         D7
These are the toes of my guy/gal/child*
E7                              A7
These are their feet and their tiny knees
                       D7
I can’t help it, I’ll give them a squeeze
            G                     D7
And they've got two arms just for hugging
     G                   C
And hands that clap and wave
                            G
But it’s their eyes, ears, nose and their chin
      A7     D7      G
That really draws me in

*vary pronouns as appropriate, male, female, or neutral


Take Me Out of the Bathtub!
G                   D7
Take me out of the bathtub
G                   D7
Take me out of the suds
E7                            A7
I've been here soaking since half past two
                     D7
I feel so sudsy and wrinkle-y too
      G                  D7
Oh, I washed all over my body
   G                   C
My head, my toes, in between
                  G
I used one, two, three bars of soap
        A7      D7  G
Take me out... I'm clean!



Other Variations Include
Take Me Out to the Barnyard by Judy Hall
Take Me Out to the Ocean

If All of the Raindrops

One of my colleagues noted that as storytimers we get excited about new songs, but until the kids warm up to them, they are often not as engaged as we might expect. With this in mind, when I introduce this tune to my toddler group next week, I’m only planning to sing the first verse. We’ll sing the song at least twice, so the second time through we can replace “lemon drops and gum drops” with their own suggestions, but stick with “rain” until they know the song well. Later in the session, if it becomes a favourite, we’ll give the other verses a try.

These lyrics are so evocative and modern that I was sure there would be a songwriter credit, but I haven’t found one yet. My favourite early source is this 1955 Camp Song album by Pete Seeger. For more contemporary recordings (with lyrics closer to the ones below), listen to this or this. These chords are from traditionalmusic.co.uk.


If All of the Raindrops
C                             G7              C
If all of the raindrops were lemon drops and gum drops
           G7            C

Oh what a world it would be
              F            C          G7

I'd stand outside with my mouth open wide, going
C         F       C        G7

Ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah
    C                         G7              C

If all of the raindrops were lemon drops and gum drops
           G7            C

Oh what a world it would be


Verses
Snowflakes... candy bars and milkshakes
Sunbeams... bubble gum and ice cream
Hurricanes... popcorn and candy canes

Down on Grandpa’s Farm (and variations)

Yes, it’s another song about animals and their many sounds (like Old Macdonald, When Ducks Get Up in the Morning, I Love My Rooster, or Little Cat). There sure seem to be a lot of these around, and they’re mostly about farms. Of course, you can switch things up to sing about animals in other places (ie Grandpa’s beach, Grandpa’s forest, Grandpa’s desert). You can listen to Grandpa’s Farm via KCLS.

Going for a Walk is based on a song my colleague Marilyn wrote to promote BC Summer Reading Club, the province-wide reading program here in British Columbia. I added a few more verses to explain SRC when I promote it at elementary schools this month. So far the kids think it’s funny. I tell them that I can’t remember how SRC works, but I have a song to remind me, and then I stop between each verse, “remembering” more details to share with them. If you repeat “going for a walk” instead of “walking on the wild side,” in the first verse and tweak the prize line as appropriate, then you could probably use this with similar reading incentives in your own geographic area.


Down on Grandpa’s Farm
C
We're on our way, we're on our way
                        G7
We're on our way to Grandpa's farm


We're on our way, we're on our way
                         C
On our way to Grandpa's farm

C                                  G7          C
Down on Grandpa's farm there is a wooly white sheep
                                   G7         C
Down on Grandpa's farm there is a wooly white sheep
                                  G7
The sheep, it makes a sound like this, Baa baa
                                 C
The sheep, it makes a sound like this, Baa baa

(Repeat Chorus)

Verses
Grandpa's farm: Farm animal names and sounds
Grandpa's beach: Ocean animal names and sounds
Grandpa's woods: Forest animal names and sounds



Going for a Walk
(for BC Summer Reading Club 2017)
C
Going for a walk, going for a walk
                    G7

Going for a walk today

We're walking on the wild side
                  C

At our local library

C
Going to get some books, going to get some books
                           G7
Going to get some books today

And magazines and comics
                  C
At our local library

C
Going to play some games, going to play some games
                            G7
Going to play some games today

And maybe even win a prize
                  C
At our local library

C
Going to read a bit, going to read a bit
                    G7
Read a little every day

So I can win a medal
                   C
From my local library

Repeat 1st verse

Won’t You Be My Neighbor

The theme song to Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood was written by Fred Rogers in 1967. For a refresher on the tune, or a dose of sweet nostalgia, watch this cool video of Mr. Rogers singing it through the decades. 

PBS has kindly shared the lyrics and sheet music to the song, but they’re far more sophisticated than anything I’d play at storytime. I’ve significantly simplified the chords into a “good enough” 3-chord rendition to make this more playable to less experienced musicians.

I personally find it easier to sing this in the key of G (use chords G/C/D7 instead of C/F/G7).  If you are an advanced player, you may also like to try Dr. Uke’s version.  

Simplified chords to Won’t You Be My Neighbor were requested by a reader, who had noted the difficulty of most versions available online.


Won’t You Be My Neighbor
C

It's a beautiful day in this neighborhood
  F

A beautiful day for a neighbor
C                            G7
Would you be mine? Could you be mine?

[For verse 2 lyrics: See PBS]

     F                                          G7
I've always wanted to have a neighbor just like you
                                                  F
I've always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you

C                              F         C
So let's make the most of this beautiful day
                        F             G7
Since we're together we might as well say
C                   F
Would you be mine? Could you be mine?
G7               C
Won't you be my neighbor?
C                 F
Won't you please? Won't you please?
G7                      C
Please won't you be my neighbor? 


Clementine variations

I wouldn’t consider Oh My Darling, Clementine to be a storytime song, but it is definitely a popular tune for storytime variations. My favourite of this set is a song I learned as Picked an Apple from KCLS and Picked a Strawberry from my colleague Lindsey. It’s perfect for spurring discussion and audience participation, particularly when it’s growing season and we can talk about our gardens or local farms.

I’ve previously posted See You Later Alligator to the tune of Happy Birthday. Clementine is an alternative tune to match the same words.


Picked an Apple

Picked an Apple
F

Picked an apple, picked an apple
                        C7

That was growing in the sun
                         F

Then I washed it, and I ate it
        C7             F

Then I picked another one

Verses
Any fruit or vegetable (ask the kids for suggestions)


Airplane
F

I'm an airplane, I'm an airplane
                   C7

Flying up into the sky
                       F

Flying higher, flying higher
      C7                  F

As I watch the clouds go by

I'm an airplane, I'm an airplane
                   C7
See me flying all around
                      F

Flying lower, flying lower
        C7               F

Till I land down on the ground


See You Later, Alligator
F

See you later, alligator
                  C7

In a while, crocodile
                F

Give a hug, ladybug
        C7         F

Blow a kiss, jellyfish

Take care, polar bear
                  C7

Out the door, dinosaur
                     F

See you soon, big baboon
         C7          F

Wave goodbye, butterfly



What’s the Weather?
F

What’s the weather, what’s the weather
                         C7

What’s the weather, everyone?
                    F

Is it windy, is it cloudy
          C7                F

Is there rain, or is there sun?



Other Variations Include
Found a Peanut
There are Seven Days in a Week


Felt Story Extensions
Any set of weather-related felts or images would nicely supplement What’s the Weather.

I made a handful of popular fruits to accompany Picked an Apple, and I’d like to add a few silly options like ice cream and teddy bears to make the kids howl with joyful outrage.  Preschoolers are excellent at shouting out suggestions without much assistance, but toddlers may not have the vocabulary yet to participate without visual cues to assist them.  I made this set primarily for them.

For more felt-related storytime ideas, see this week’s Flannel Friday, hosted by Shawn at Read, Rhyme & Sing.

When Ducks Get Up in the Morning

Tired of Old Macdonald? Try this instead.  Get creative, and your toddlers can practise sounds from any creature with a recognizable sound. There’s no need to stick to those same old farm animals. For added participation, the Loudest Librarian suggests asking the audience what to say when”kids get up in the morning.”

These chords come from the Loudest Librarian. To play a 3 chord version with more transitions see Nancy Stewart’s page. Don’t know what it sounds like? Listen to Nancy Stewart, Jbrary or some KCLS librarians.


When Ducks Get Up in the Morning
C                                     G7              C

When ducks get up in the morning they always say good day
G7              C

When ducks get up in the morning they always say good day
                                          G7               C

They say, "Quack quack quack quack," and that is what they say
                                          G7                C

They say, "Quack quack quack quack," and that is what they say


Verses
Other animals/sounds...

Hickety Pickety Bumblebee

Hickety Pickety Bumblebee is my favourite name-sharing tune. I love the way the syllables roll off my tongue, and how I can’t help but clap a beat.

Name songs work as a welcome, a chance for children to practice speaking, and an aid to some of the relationship and community building that caregivers do when storytime is over. When my audience is large, I don’t use them, as toddler attention spans only last so long, but with a small group, they’re magic.

This particular song has some exciting early literacy extensions, where you encourage the kids to break down the syllables and repeat the name in a variety of ways. See Jbrary for an example of this. I learned a different way to sing it from my colleague Saara, which sounds a little more like this, and is smoother if you’re playing an instrument.


Hickety Pickety Bumblebee
C

Hickety pickety bumblebee
C

Won't you say you name for me
C

Charlie... Charlie...
G7               C

What a beautiful name