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.

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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...

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?

Frere Jacques variations (with felts)

There are so many variations on Frere Jacques that I split these two felt-adapted songs into their own post. If you have clip-art or felt images that fit the descriptors, I Am Hungry can be nicely participatory, and encourage some discussion around foods we eat. I’m hoping to add more options to this set over time.

This translation and transliteration of Two Tigers is via Embracing Diversity, the Burnaby Public Library’s fantastic multilingual song and rhyme repository. I practiced singing the Mandarin words for over a week so I could attempt a semi-reasonable pronunciation, and posted the words in both languages at storytime so the grown-ups in attendance could sing along with me. Listen to it here

For felters, this free colouring sheet is the pattern for my tigers.  And  for beginner players, remember you can ignore the chords here entirely and just strum away on C the whole way through.


IMG_4255
I Am Hungry
C  G7 C         G7  C

I am hungry! (I am hungry)
      G7      C           G7      C

What should I eat? (What should I eat?)
           G7         C                G7         C

Think I’ll have some pizza (Think I’ll have some pizza)
        G7   C            G7   C

Without any meat (Without any meat)

Verses
Borscht... with purple beets
Cocoa... with lots of heat
Fresh Fruit... for a treat
Ice Cream... cold and sweet
Sandwich... on whole wheat
___________(any food)... that sounds neat



Two Tigers
Liăng Zhī Lăo Hŭ / Two Tigers
C     G7   C            G7   C

Liăng zhī lăo hŭ, liăng zhī lăo hŭ
    G7  C        G7  C

Păo de kuài, păo de kuài
       G7      C              G7      C

Yì zhī méi yŏu ěr duo, yì zhī méi yŏu yĭ ba
     G7  C         G7  C

Zhēn qí guài, zhēn qí guài!

C G7 C        G7 C

Two tigers, two tigers
  G7 C      G7 C

Run fast, run fast
        G7   C            G7    C

One without ears, one without a tail
   G7 C        G7 C

How strange, how strange!

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

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.