Frere Jacques (and variations)

There are dozens of songs based on Frere Jacques, and these are the ones I’d be most likely to use at storytime. Click the titles to see my sources, and stay tuned for a couple related felt stories next post.

Some of my favourite variations are better with hand gestures (Roly Poly, Fruit Salad), actions (Walking, Walking), shakers (Popcorn Kernels), scarves (Make a Circle), or felts (Two Tigers, I Am Hungry), so I’d be inclined to introduce many of these without the ukulele the first time we sing them in a storytime series.

Note that while this version includes a lot of transitions, you can also play the entire song strumming a single chord.  It’s the easiest song ever.  Try it with C.


Frere Jacques
C  G7  C          G7  C

Frere Jacques, Frere Jacques
    G7  C        G7  C

Dormez-vous? Dormez-vous?
       G7      C            G7    C
Sonnez les matines, sonnez les matines
     G7    C          G7   C

Ding dang dong, ding dang dong



Bear is Sleeping
C    G7  C             G7 C

Bear is sleeping, bear is sleeping
      G7   C           G7   C

Bird flew south, bird flew south
             G7      C                   G7      C

Squirrel is storing acorns, squirrel is storing acorns
   G7  C         G7  C

In her mouth, in her mouth



I Hear Thunder
C  G7   C         G7   C

I hear thunder, I hear thunder
      G7    C         G7    C

Hark don’t you? Hark don’t you?
        G7     C                 G7     C

Pitter patter raindrops, pitter patter raindrops
    G7   C          G7  C

I’m wet through, so are you!

C  G7  C            G7   C

I see blue skies, I see blue skies
    G7  C        G7  C

Way up high, way up high
      G7     C               G7     C

Hurry up the sunshine, hurry up the sunshine
       G7   C          G7   C

We’ll soon dry, we’ll soon dry



Peek-A-Boo
C   G7  C       G7  C

Peek-a-boo, peek-a-boo
   G7  C      G7  C

I see you! I see you!
            G7     C                G7   C

I see your button nose, I see your tiny toes!
    G7  C     G7   C

Peek-a-boo! I see you!



Popcorn Kernels
C  G7   C            G7   C

Popcorn kernels, popcorn kernels
   G7   C      G7   C

In the pot, in the pot
            G7           C

Shake them, shake them, shake them
             G7           C
Shake them, shake them, shake them
      G7   C         G7   C

Till they pop! Till they pop!



Roly Poly
C G7  C      G7 C

Roly poly, roly poly
   G7 C      G7 C

Up up up, up up up
      G7   C          G7   C

Roly roly poly, roly roly poly
      G7   C          G7   C

Down down down, down down down

Verses
In/Out...
Fast/Slow...
Left/Right...



Walking Through the Forest
C        G7          C               G7          C

Walking through the forest, walking through the forest
     G7    C         G7    C

What do I hear? What do I hear? (hiss)
          G7     C                 G7      C

I think I heard a snake, I think I heard a snake
      G7   C          G7   C

Hiss hiss hiss, hiss hiss hiss

Verses
Other animals and their sounds



Walking Walking
C  G7   C            G7   C

Walking walking, walking walking
    G7   C       G7   C

Hop hop hop, hop hop hop
         G7      C                G7      C

Running running running, running running running
    G7  C        G7  C

Now we stop, now we stop

Similar: Run run run


Where is the Letter
C     G7  C         G7  C

Where is “A?” Where is “A?”
      G7 C         G7  C

There it is, there it is
           G7          C                     G7         C

What’s the sound that “A” makes? What’s the sound that “A” makes?
    G7  C        G7  C

Aah aah aah, aah aah aah

Verses
Other letters and their sounds



Where is Baby
C     G7  C            G7  C

Where is ______? Where is ______?
       G7    C          G7    C

There she/he is! There she/he is!
          G7      C                 G7     C

We’re so glad to see you! We’re so glad to see you!
    G7 C        G7 C

Peek-a-boo! Peek-a-boo!



Where is Thumbkin
C     G7  C              G7  C

Where is thumbkin? Where is thumbkin?
    G7 C       G7 C

Here I am, here I am
        G7     C             G7      C

How are you today sir? Very well, I thank you
    G7 C      G7 C

Run away, run away



Other Variations Include
Fruit Salad
Leaves are Twirling
Tops and Bottoms Handwashing Song
I Am Popcorn
Let’s Go Riding
Make a Circle
Shapes
Snowflakes Falling
Where is Puppet

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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...

You’ll Sing a Song and I’ll Sing a Song

My wonderful colleague Els reintroduced me to this classic Ella Jenkins song.  It’s quick to learn, participatory, highly adaptable and very catchy. Perfect for storytime. You can listen to a sample of it here. Or check your library collections. Everyone should have some Ella Jenkins; she’s an institution.

You can sing this as an action song, a daily activity song, an opening/closing song, or whatever else you might come up with.

Els worked out these chords in C. I’m including a 3-chord F version as well for those (like me) whose vocal range is reduced by endless winter colds. It sounds better with that 4th chord, but I can’t bear to fumble with a B during storytime.


You’ll Sing a Song and I’ll Sing a Song (C)
C

You'll sing a song
    Am

And I'll sing a song
    F                   G7

And we'll sing a song together
C
You'll sing a song
    Am
And I'll sing a song
   G7              C
In warm or wintry weather



You’ll Sing a Song and I’ll Sing a Song (F)
F

You'll sing a song
    Dm

And I'll sing a song
    F                   C7

And we'll sing a song together
F
You'll sing a song
    Dm
And I'll sing a song
   C7             F
In warm or wintry weather


Variations Include:
Actions: You dance around… / You wave your scarf…
Babytime: You peek-a-boo… / You roll your hands…
Daily Activities: You wash your hands… / You put on socks…
Musical: You hum along… / You snap your fingers…
Opening/Closing: You say hello… / You wave goodbye…

More Halloween Songs

Last year I collected a great big round up of slightly spooky songs, and I’ve come across a few more fun ones that I wanted to share.

For all these songs, you can click the song titles to see my sources. I altered the first song a little (green ghosts didn’t match my felts, and kids seem more rambunctious than delicious). Scroll down to the bottom for more about the felts.


5-grey-and-spooky-ghosts
Five Grey and Spooky Ghosts
Tune: Five Green and Speckled Frogs
G

Five grey and spooky ghosts
C

Doing what they love most
G                              D

Scaring some most rambunctious kids (Boo! Boo!)
G

One flew into the sky
C

Where it was nice and dry
G              D                G

Now there are four grey spooky ghosts (Boo! Boo!)

4... 3... 2... 1...


Flap Flap Flap Little Bats
Tune: Ten Little…
C

Flap, flap, flap little bats
G7

Flap, flap, flap little bats
C

Flap, flap, flap little bats
G7           C  

Early in the evening

Verses
Dance...
Wiggle...
Soar...
Sleep... early in the morning



haunted-barn
Old MacDonald Had a Haunted House
Tune: Old MacDonald
C                   F       C              G7      C

Old MacDonald had a haunted house, E - I - E - I - Boo!
                        F     C            G7      C

And in that house there was a bat, E - I - E - I - Boo!
C

With a flap flap here, and a flap flap there
C

Here a flap, there a flap, everywhere a flap flap
                    F       C              G7      C

Old MacDonald had a haunted house, E - I - E - I - Boo!

Verses
Owl... hoot...
Mouse... squeak...
Spider... creep...
Cat... meow...
Ghost... boo...



The Spooky Pokey
Tune: The Hokey Pokey
              C

You put your foot bones in, you take your foot bones out
                                                    G7

You put your foot bones in, and you shake them all about
G7

You do the spooky pokey, and you turn yourself around
                      C

That’s what it’s all about!

Verses
Hand bones...
Funny bone (elbow)...
Back bones...
Neck bones...
Skeleton...



Felt Story Extensions
The ghost felts are borrowed from my Ten Little Ghosts set, while Old MacDonald is an extension of the Old MacDonald guessing game. Owl, bat, and mouse templates are from Pattern Universe. I’d like to make a set of haunted houses as well, but for now we’ll sing it as “haunted barn.”

You can also use the barn/animal set with the rhyme, “Little ghost playing hide and seek… Are you in the orange barn? Let’s take a peek.”

For more Halloween felt ideas, check out this week’s Flannel Friday round-up over at Thrive After Three.

The Hokey Pokey

This old classic is best if you have a little room to move. However, we don’t have enough space to form a circle at my cozy programs, and standing in an uncoordinated cluster works just fine for us.

The Hokey Pokey is the ultimate in adaptability. You can invent a variation for any theme or concept you might have in mind. All you need is a set of clothing, items, or creature with enough body parts (no snakes or worms!) and off you go. I’m linking to a couple alternatives at the bottom, but there’s no limit to this one, and it’s so familiar that your audience can generally follow where you’re going with it.

Do you have a favourite variation? Please share it in the comments.


The Hokey Pokey
             C

You put your right foot in, you put your right foot out
                                                  G7

You put your right foot in, and you shake it all about
G7

You do the hokey pokey, and you turn yourself around
                      C

That’s what it’s all about!

Verses
Left foot...
Right/left hand...
Head...
Whole self...



Other Variations Include
Animal Hokey Pokey
Campfire Pokey
Pirate Pokey
Winter Pokey

Zoom Zoom Zoom (and variations)

I sing Zoom Zoom Zoom several times every week (and I’m sure some of you do too). It’s my second-to-last song at most storytimes, giving the kids one last big wiggle between the final book and the goodbye song, and signalling the approaching end of the program.

I’m including a couple extra verses and versions as well. I wrote the plane song myself, as I have a vehicle-obsessed three-year-old with a pilot for a grandfather. I can’t recall who I learned the pirate version or extra verses from, but they’ve been big hits at my storytimes. And I’ve noticed that Jbrary has a different pirate version, so I’ve linked that at the bottom. Do you know any other Zoom-inspired songs? I’d love to learn them!

I couldn’t find the chords posted online, so I played around and came up with these ones. When I play at storytime I may use G and D instead as that’s closer to the way I usually sing the song. The nice easy chords F and C7 will also work.


Zoom Zoom Zoom
C                        G7          C

Zoom, zoom, zoom, we're going to the moon
                         G7           C

Zoom, zoom, zoom, we're going to the moon
G7              C           G7              C

If you want to take a trip climb aboard my rocket ship
                         G7          C

Zoom, zoom, zoom, we're going to the moon
STOP

In 5... 4... 3... 2... 1... Blast Off!

Verses
Fun, fun, fun, we're going to the sun...
Far, far, far, we're going to the stars...



We’re Going Out to Sea
C                  G7           C

We, we, we, we're going out to sea
                   G7           C

We, we, we, we're going out to sea
G7               C          G7              C

If you want to take a trip climb aboard my pirate ship
                   G7           C

We, we, we, we're going out to sea
STOP

In 5... 4... 3... 2... 1... Splash!



High High High
C                        G7            C

High, high, high, we're soaring in the sky
                         G7             C

High, high, high, we're soaring in the sky
G7              C            G7             C

If you want to go somewhere, fly a plane up in the air
                         G7             C

High, high, high, we're soaring in the sky
STOP

In 5... 4... 3... 2... 1... Take Off!



Other Variations Include
Pirate Zoom Zoom Zoom

Sleeping Bunnies

Sleeping Bunnies is one of my favourite action songs for toddlers and preschoolers, and here’s why: The kids love it so it focuses their attention better than anything (other than Zoom Zoom Zoom or The Elevator Song). It helps them practice self-regulation and instructional listening skills (now we sleep, now we hop, now we stop). The song is adaptable, and encourages discussion. My preschoolers yell out requests (Cat! Dinosaur! Robot!), and we decide what action they should perform when they wake up. There are several minor variations on the lyrics, and many of my storytime kids have sung it elsewhere, so we also talk about how there can be different ways to sing the same song.

My chords are largely indebted to Miss Mary Liberry who includes a very useful instructional video for the song and some beautifully simple finger picking in the middle, and to The Show Me Librarian for including Mary’s transcript. The version I sing is slightly different so I’ve adjusted it accordingly. I’ve also omitted the finger picking for simplicity’s sake (but I highly recommend you head over to Mary’s page and try it out). And for once, I’m including two different keys. C is definitely the simplest ukulele key, but I prefer to sing Sleeping Bunnies in G.

Not sure how the song sounds? Listen to Mary, Jbrary, or KCLS’ Tell Me a Story.


Sleeping Bunnies (C)
C              [G7]               F               C

See the little bunnies sleeping, till it's nearly noon
G7        C         G7           C

Shall we wake them with a merry tune

C

Oh, so still. Are they ill?
G7   C

Wake up... and

C

Hop little bunnies, hop, hop, hop
C                   G7        C

Hop little bunnies, hop, hop, hop
C

Hop little bunnies, hop, hop, hop, and
C                     G7         C

Stop little bunnies, stop, stop, STOP!



Sleeping Bunnies (G)
G               [D]               C                G

See the little bunnies sleeping, till it's nearly noon
D         G         D            G

Shall we wake them with a merry tune

G

Oh, so still. Are they ill?
D    G

Wake up... and

G

Hop little bunnies, hop, hop, hop
G                    D         G

Hop little bunnies, hop, hop, hop
G

Hop little bunnies, hop, hop, hop, and
G                     D           G

Stop little bunnies, stop, stop, STOP!