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Familiar Favorites With A Twist

May 14, 2020

Do you find yourself singing the same familiar tunes with your kids, over and over? 

Do you get bored of doing the same old thing, and wish you had some new material? 

We are here to help!

    • First of all, be reassured: It is great to sing the same song again and again! Kids love repetition and continue to learn as they hear songs repeatedly. 
    • Next, we’re guessing you actually know more songs than you realize. We’re sharing a list below, of songs that we and many of our Clap for Classics! followers sing regularly, that you may know too.
  • This is the main point of this blog post: Today we have a few ideas for how you can spice up these old favorites in a new way. Watch Elizabeth’s video, and/or keep reading below for some simple ideas that will bring new life to your at-home music making!
  • And finally, we’ve gotta mention-- here at Clap for Classics! we have a huge repertoire of great quality children’s songs at our fingertips, and we hope you’ll follow along with us to get new song ideas for your rotation. Find them in our Monthly Music Courses, our weekly Mini Classes (on FB and IG), and here on the blog.

Elizabeth does a great job in today’s mini-class, teaching these concepts and demonstrating them for your kiddos to enjoy. (Most of our mini class videos are directed directly toward kids -- this one has some extra content for parents, just FYI!) Here’s a quick recap:

Ways to add variation to your favorite songs:

  1. Change the way you experience the beat. Most kids’ songs have a very steady beat, and young children can never get enough practice feeling and keeping that steady beat. Clap the beat, step or march or dance to the beat, tap different parts of your body, play a simple rhythm instrument, or try a hand-clapping partner activity.
  2. Change up the style of the song. This activity builds in music vocabulary and the opportunity for your kiddo to make choices about how you sing. 
    1. Shall we sing it with our treble (high) voices or our bass (low) voices? 
    2. Shall we sing it presto (super fast) or adagio (slow)? 
    3. Shall we sing it legato (smoothly) or staccato (bouncy and detached)? 
    4. Shall we sing it forte (loud) or piano (soft)? 

These types of changes are SO easy, and kids find them to be so silly and fun. I love using this idea when we’re in the car and need some entertainment. Another bonus about getting your kids familiar with this vocabulary set, is that these musical terms can be fun to incorporate into daily life (IE: instead of “quiet down now!” you can say “use your piano voices!”)

3. Change the actions. Many children’s songs have actions built into them. Elizabeth took the “Grand Old Duke of York” and changed the word “march” to “spin” and then to “hop”, for a fun and active twist. We’ve done “Tiptoe/Stomp/Run around the rosie, pocket full of posie…”. You could even get your itsy bitsy spider to run, dance, or fly up that water spout. Again, let your kids choose the action! (We’re not parenting experts, but we’ve been told that giving kids lots of choices throughout the day gives them a needed feeling of control, and makes it more likely that they’ll cooperate when you do give them a command! It has definitely helped in our households, )

4. Change the words. Find any opportunity you can to personalize a song just for your child. Can you include their name in a song? Can you include their favorite animal or favorite food? (“This little piggy ate chocolate chips” is a popular adaptation at my house)

Hope you have some fun with these ideas! Tell us in the comments what your go-to songs are to sing with your kids, and how you plan to try changing them up!

Songs that are included in the video:

Miss Mary Mack, Grand Old Duke of York, Itsy Bitsy Spider, Twinkle Twinkle, Did You Ever See a Lassie?

Familiar Song List:

You may not know all of these, but I bet there are a few in here that you know, but haven’t thought about for a while! Thanks to some of our followers on social media for contributing their ideas to this list!

  • Twinkle Twinkle
  • Row Row Row Your Boat
  • ABCs
  • Baa Baa Black Sheep
  • Old MacDonald
  • Itsy Bitsy Spider
  • Wheels on the Bus
  • Head, Shoulders Knees and Toes
  • I’m a Little Teapot
  • If You’re Happy And You Know It
  • You Are My Sunshine
  • London Bridge
  • This Old Man
  • Pat-a-Cake
  • Take Me Out to the Ballgame
  • Pop! Goes the Weasel
  • Farmer in the Dell
  • Mary Had a Little Lamb
  • Yankee Doodle
  • The Ants Go Marching
  • Do You Know the Muffin Man?
  • Are You Sleeping?
  • On Top of Old Smoky?
  • Skid-a-marink a Dink
  • Baby Beluga
  • Hey Diddle Diddle
  • Down By the Bay
  • Grand Old Duke of York
  • 5 Little Ducks
  • Have You Ever Seen a Lassie?
  • I Love You a Bushel and a Peck
  • Little Bunny Foo Foo
  • Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush
  • 5 Green and Speckled Frogs



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