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.

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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

Little Cat

My own preschooler adores this song so I’ve been singing it a lot at home. Little Cat is by children’s musican Nancy Stewart, and I found it via KCLS. Nancy kindly provides the chords on her site, and I’ve transposed and simplified just a touch. If you incorporate American Sign Language in your storytimes, see Nancy’s descriptions of the signs (or watch the King County video for an example).


Little Cat
        C    G7            C    G7

Little cat (meow), little cat (meow)
           C          G7           C
There’s a little cat walking all around
              G7           C    G7

Little cat (meow), little cat (meow)
            C        G7            C

There’s a little cat walking all around


Verses
Other animals...

Wake Up

After a winter of rain clouds in my lovely gray city, I’m happy to wake up to the extra light of a spring morning. Even if I need to get up an hour earlier. This Woody Guthrie song is for all of us in daylight savings zones who may be yawning a little more this week.

For the full lyrics, head over to the official Guthrie site. And to hear it, check out the albums Nursery Days or 20 Grow Big Songs, or listen to a clip via Smithsonian Folkways.


Wake Up
C
Wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up
                                G7
Wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up
     C                          F

Wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up
     C        G7                C

Wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up

C
Open eyes, open eyes, open eyes, open eyes
                                      G7
Open eyes, open eyes, open eyes, open eyes
     C                          F

Wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up
     C           G7                    C

Open eyes, open eyes, open eyes, open eyes


Verses
Stretch arms...
Stretch feet...
Stretch hands and toes...

Here We Go Looby Loo (and variations)

Looby Loo is a traditional movement song with a similar pattern to The Hokey Pokey. The verses are identical, though sung to a different tune. If you have room in your storytime space, try walking in a circle during the chorus, then stand in place for the verses.

Storytime-ready variations include This is Big by Melissa Depper and We Put Our Umbrellas Up by Heather McPhail. As usual, click on song titles to see my sources for particular lyrics.


Here We Go Looby Loo
C
Here we go looby loo
                 G7

Here we go looby light
C

Here we go looby loo
G7                 C

All on a Saturday night

C
You put your right hand in
                         G7

You take your right hand out
C

You give your hand a shake, shake, shake
G7                 C

And turn yourself about

Repeat chorus before singing each new verse


Sally Go Round the Sun
C
Sally go round the sun
                    G7

Sally go round the moon
C

Sally go round the chimney tops
G7          C

Every afternoon



Here We Go Up Up Up
C
Here we go up up up
                      G7

Here we go down down down
C

Here we go back and forth
G7                        C

And here we go round and around



This is Big
C
This is big, big big
                       G7

This is small, small, small
C

This is short, short, short
G7                   C

This is tall, tall, tall

C
This is fast fast fast
                     G7

This is slow, slow, slow
C

This is yes, yes, yes
G7              C

This is no, no, no



We Put Our Umbrellas Up
C
We put our umbrellas up
                       G7

We take our umbrellas down
C

We give our umbrellas a shake, shake, shake
G7                  C

And turn them all around



Here We Go Walking Slow
C
Here we go walking slow
                    G7

Here we go walking fast
C

Here we go walking round and round
G7                   C

Round the block and back

Verses
We hold hands walking slow...
We climb steps so slow...
We watch for cars going slow...

 Peace Like A River

I don’t know where I learned Peace Like a River, but it may have been from Elizabeth Mitchell’s You Are My Little Bird. She certainly has a lovely rendition. The song itself is much older, tracing back to an African American spiritual.

For storytime, I’ve replaced the word “soul” with “heart,” and added a couple qualities that feel more active to me. This disrupts the continuity of water metaphors, but I don’t think the kids will mind. If you’d like to try a few ASL signs instead of strumming, you can pick them up from my friends at Jbrary.


Peace Like A River 
          C
I've got peace like a river
          F            C
I've got peace like a river
                                   G7
I've got peace like a river in my heart
          C
I've got peace like a river
          F            C
I've got peace like a river
                       G7          C
I've got peace like a river in my heart


Verses
Love like the ocean...
Joy like a fountain...
Dreams like a forest...
Strength like a mountain...