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

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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...

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?