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...

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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...

Take It Easy

Caspar Babypants’ Take It Easy is so soothingly satisfying, I’ll play it at home even when my child isn’t around. I enjoy the instrumental imagery of the original, but for storytime I wanted something that could involve the audience more, so I’ve swapped the actions for movements that toddlers can perform.

And as usual, I’ve significantly simplified the chords. Head on over to Caspar Babypants’ site to read the full lyrics and chords or to this site to hear a sample of the song. Make sure that your library holds a copy of the source album, Night Night! to put in your patron’s hands after you’ve sung it together. Also playable (and closer to the original) in G/D/Em.


Take It Easy
       C

Gonna clap my hands in the forest
                     G7

Clap my hands in the wood
       C  

Gonna clap my hands in the forest
                 G7        C

So the deer can feel real good
C

Oh oh, some say it's easy
                    Am

So take it easy for me
       C

Gonna clap my hands in the forest
                 G7        C

So the deer can feel real good

Verses
Gonna shake my shaker in the mountains, shake my shaker on the ground... So the bears make a growly sound
Gonna splash my toes in the water, splash my toes in the sea... So the fishes can dance with me
Gonna sing my song in the city, sing my song in the town... So the babies can all get down

What Are You Wearing (and variations)

I love how songs evolve as they’re passed between musicians, children, and storytimers.  This 1969 Hap Palmer tune has been reinterpreted numerous times. The original song is about clothing, but most storytime versions I’ve heard are about colours. There’s also a Spanish version, and a phoneme-focused version. In all instances, it’s a wonderful up-and-down, moving about, participatory song.

I’m not sure who originated the colours and actions I’ve included below, but the earliest recording I’ve come across is Kathy Reid-Naiman’s 1999 album, Say Hello to the Morning. The movements can be a bit complicated for wee little ones, so I’ll usually sing “nod your head” the whole way through to facilitate easier learning and quicker participation. I post coloured circles on the felt board to show what we’ve already chosen, and for the finale we sing, “if you’re wearing clothes” or “if you’re wearing colours,” so everyone can take part.

Thanks to my creative colleague Kate for the weather and feelings variations. These chords are simplified and transposed from Dany Rosevear’s Singing Games for Children site. To hear the tune, listen to a clip from a Rainbow Songs album here.


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What Are You Wearing?
C                      F

What are you wearing, what are you wearing
G7                     C
What are you wearing, today today?
                       F
What are you wearing, what are you wearing
G7                      C
What are you wearing today?

C                       F    C

If you're wearing red, stand up
                           G7        C
And if you're wearing red, nod your head
                        F     C
If you're wearing red, turn around
   G7                                C
And if you're wearing red, sit back down

Verses

Blue... touch your shoe
Green... be a jumping bean
Pink... give a wink
Black... pat your back
White... be a bird in flight
Clothes... touch your nose



How Are You Feeling?
C                     F

How are you feeling, how are you feeling
G7                    C
How are you feeling, today today?
                      F
How are you feeling, how are you feeling
G7                     C
How are you feeling today?

C                              F      C

If you're feeling mad, make a fierce face
                        G7         C
If you're feeling mad, stomp your feet

Verses

Other emotions and matching actions...



What is the Weather?
C                     F

What is the weather, what is the weather
G7                    C
What is the weather, today today?
                      F
What is the weather, what is the weather
G7                     C
What is the weather today?

Loo La Lay

Sing this gently like a lullaby, or loud and silly. Suzy, the amazing librarian I learned this from, switches up the phonemes to play subsequent verses with different consonants. How perfect for little babies learning their sounds! You can make it extra goofy by singing as cows (moo ma ma), ghosts (boo ba ba), babies (goo ga ga), or anything else you think up. Listen to it here.

Thanks to Els for reminding me what a great ukulele song this is, and to Julia who mentioned that she could use a few more lullabies for her babytime.


Loo La Lay
C                         G7

Loo la la la, loo la la, loo la la lay
                         C
Loo la la la, loo la la, loo la la lay
                     F 

Loo la la loo la la loo la la lay
       C         G7      C
La la loo la loo la loo lay

Verses
Babies: Goo ga ga ga, goo ga ga...
Cows: Moo ma ma ma, moo ma ma...
Ghosts: Boo ba ba ba, boo ba ba...
Sounds: Any consonant...

Farmer Brown Had Five Green Apples (and variations)

This mathematical harvest song was requested by my colleague Kate, the author of the pumpkin variation below. I’ve made a couple simple felts to use alongside, as a visual aid is particularly helpful when adding or subtracting with little ones (or reminding distracted adults whereabouts in the song we are). My friend Francesca encourages discussion and emotional awareness when she sings this, asking the children how else they might eat their apples (excitedly, quickly, sadly, etc).

If you’d like to de-Halloween the pumpkin version, sing “cooked” instead of “carved.” Then generate a little thought by asking what that pumpkin might be cooked into. You can listen to it via our song inspiration, Sharon Lois and Bram.

Farmer Brown
Farmer Brown Had Five Green Apples
C                                  G7           C

Farmer Brown had five green apples hanging on a tree
                                   G7           C

Farmer Brown had five green apples hanging on a tree
           F           C             G7           C

Then s/he plucked one apple and s/he ate it hungrily
                           G7             C

Leaving four green apples hanging on the tree...



Farmer Brown Had Three Orange Pumpkins
Farmer Brown Has Three Orange Pumpkins
C                                       G7          C

Farmer Brown has three orange pumpkins sittin’ by a tree
                                        G7          C

Farmer Brown has three orange pumpkins sittin’ by a tree
         F           C                G7        C

So s/he grabbed one pumpkin and s/he carved it happily
                               G7             C

Leaving two orange pumpkins a sittin’ by the tree...





For more storytime felting ideas, see this week’s Flannel Friday roundup at One for the Books

I’m Gonna Count

I was so smitten by the poetic and playful imagery in this song by The Harmonica Pocket that I simplified, transposed, rearranged, and felted it for storytime. And some time ago the post was lost through a synchronization error. So here it is again.

The full lyrics feature creative and complicated counting systems for the delight of older children, and I encourage you to give it a listen.




I’m Gonna Count
C                        F

I'm gonna count all the stones on the beach
C                         G7

Do you want to count the stones with me? (repeat couplet)
C       F

1 2 3 - 4 5 6
C       G7

7 8 9 - 10 11 12 (repeat couplet)
C                        F

I'm gonna count all the stones on the beach
C                        G7          C

Do you want to count the stones with me?

C                        F

I'm gonna count all the leaves on the trees
C                         G7

Do you want to count the leaves with me? (repeat couplet)
C       F

2 4 6 - 8 10 12
C                                    G7

If you don't sing it with me, gonna sing it myself (repeat couplet)
C                        F

I'm gonna count all the leaves on the trees
C                         G7         C

Do you want to count the leaves with me?

C                        F

I'm gonna count all the stars in the sky
C               G7

I never counted up that high (repeat couplet)
C        F

10 20 30 40 50
C     G7

60 70 80 90 (repeat couplet)
C            F       C           G7

One hundred stars up high in the sky
C            F       C           G7 C

One hundred stars up high in the sky