Category Archives: Holiday Songs

Caroling In Greece With A Musical Triangle!

greek carolersDid you know that many countries around the world have holiday caroling traditions? And in some places caroling is accompanied by unusual instruments or different superstitions and traditions?

My husband grew up in Greece and has fond memories of caroling with a triangle during the Christmas season. He and his brothers and sisters would go door to door and even on the bus to sing special songs with the accompaniment of a triangle. If you stopped and listened – you had to give a coin or a small donation to the carolers. What fun!

In Greece, Christmas carols are called calenda (or kalenda). Although you can hear them Greek Carolersthroughout the holiday season, there are three official caroling days – Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve and January 5, the Eve of the Epiphany. During the twelve days of Christmas (December 25 – January 6th), some people in Greece keep fires lighted because of the superstition that a goblin might enter a house (by the chimney) and play tricks on people. In more modern times, you will see brightly colored lights on Christmas trees and also on boats because Saint Nicolas (aka St. Nick, aka Santa Claus) is the protector of sailors.

You can see one of the traditional carols sung here along with photos of children out caroling with their little drum and musical triangle:

In this version you can hear the song and see the English translation of the lyrics:

Wishing you all – καλάΧριστούγεννα (pronounced) kalá Christoúgenna or Merry Christmas in Greek!

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Learn An Bilingual Christmas Song – Feliz Navidad

Did you know that singing the entire “Feliz Navidad” means learning only 6 new words in Spanish?

And these are definitely 6 new words and 2 phrases that you and your kids will love to use around holiday time.  Of course, you know the song. It goes like this:

Here’s our Feliz Navidad cheat sheet and a free lyric sheet below.

Feliz – Happy
Navidad - Christmas
Feliz Navidad - Happy Christmas/Merry Christmas

Prospero – Prosperous
Año – Year
Prospero Año – Prosperous Year/Happy New Year

Y – and
Felicidad – Happiness

Links And Resources

Free Lyric Sheet – Feliz Navidad – https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Feliz-Navidad-Lyric-Sheet-2214462

Grandparents Day Music Give-Away!

grandmother toya at the senior centerThis year National Grandparents Day is September 10th.  If you were wondering, in the USA it’s always celebrated the second Sunday in September.

And around the world, there are similar annual holidays and celebrations to honor grandparents   But; honestly, any time of year is a great time to appreciate the role of that special someone or group of grands in your child’s life.

One easy and fun way to bring generations together and make lasting memories is through sharing music, especially the simple or special songs that meant a lot to grandma or granddad. In our family, our Greek Xiaxia shared a version of patty-cake in Greek that the kids remember and sing to this day. Their other grandmother loved to tell them about the silly songs she sang at school like Grandchildrens Delight Cover“Three Little Fishies” and “Jadda, Jadda Jing Jing Jing!”. Because these songs mean so much to old and young alike, I created a CD of songs that were hand-picked by my fans and audiences in response to the question: “What songs would you most like your grandkids to hear”.

The result (and it’s a give-away below) was a CD called Grandchildren’s Delight and it includes songs like You Are My Sunshine, Grand Old Flag, This Little Light of Mine, Oh Susannah, Playmate and so many more. So please, enter to win below but also remember how music can bring old and young together.

I bet there’s a special song you recall from your childhood or memory that’s just waiting to be sung to your little one!

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Favorite Songs from Your Family Or Childhood

Yes, I am still asking folks about favorite songs from their childhood or their parent’s era. Either from the USA or anywhere around the world! Do you have a special song from jump rope, summer camp or a holiday you loved?   If so, let me know. I’d love to share it with my readers and my audiences.

A Song And Kid’s Music Video For Ramadan

Ramadan videoDo you celebrate Ramadan? If you don’t, you may wish to learn more about this beautiful holiday celebrated by Muslims in almost every country around the globe!

Here’s a lovely little song and music video about the month of Ramadan that is perfect for everyone to enjoy and share! We especially love this video because it shares images of a diverse group of girls and boys from various cultures (traditional and more Western), in different situations, all celebrating Ramadan.

We also love this video because it talks about the qualities expressed and cultivated during this special time of fasting and prayer. We see children in the video embracing patience, sacrifice, mercy, kindness, being humble, not losing Ramadan video 2their temper, helping others, reading, studying and doing good works. What a lovely message for children of all religions to hear and embrace.

Plus, we like this video because it may bring up many questions that will help people have accurate information about the religion of Islam and combat Islamaphobia in their schools, communities and in the world.

How much do you know about Ramadan and Islam? Check out our discussion questions below the video.

And, in the mean time, we wish you Ramadan Mubarak (Blessed Ramadan).

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After you watch the video, here are some great discussion questions to help you or your kids understand more about Ramadan.

When is Ramadan?

How long is Ramadan celebrated.

What occasion does Ramadan celebrate?

Is Ramadan a happy or sad holiday?

What does fasting mean?

How do people fast during Ramadan?

What is the Quran?

What things can children do to celebrate Ramadan… (for instance – acts of charity).

If you were celebrating Ramadan and wanted to perform an act of charity in your community – what might you do?

A Mother’s Day Song in Spanish

te quiero mucho mamaAll over the world, people celebrate a holiday that gives thanks to moms.  In many countries – that day is a special Sunday in May – Sunday, May 15th in 2017!

“Mamá te quiero mucho” is a lovely song that speaks from the heart of a child to their mom.  The song was written by Sara Quintanar, a multi-talented Elementary School Music Educator as well as a bilingual educator, songwriter, and performer.

Enjoy the song in the video above or check out more about this wonderful artist here: http://www.musicwithsara.com

Links And Resources

A Mother’s Day Song From South Africa http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/classroom-music/a-song-for-mothers-from-south-africa/

Mother’s Day Traditions Around The World http://www.mothersdaycelebration.com/mothers-day-around-world.html

Sing A Song For Earth Day – Free Music And Resources

whole world handsMany years ago I was lucky to write a song that has now become an anthem for Earth Day in over a dozen countries around the globe. A very simple song, it’s a musical parody of the beautiful African-American spiritual: He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands.  Borrowing that melody; as is often done in folk music, we changed the lyrics to reflect what children can do to show love and respect for the Earth in their daily lives.

Original ideas for the song came from school children during a workshop about Earth Day and I compiled them in a 23 verse song since there were lots of great suggestions.  Later, I edited the choices down to a smaller number so the song would a bit shorter and easier to remember. I’m really proud to think about how singing this song reminds kids of all ages that the small changes they make in their choices in life can make a big difference – on Earth Day and everyday.

Write Your Own Earth Day Song

Since the song has such a simple format, we’ve created an activity where you can write your own Earth Day song. Sing the same simple chorus, but add your suggestions to the verses.  And there’s free sheet music, too, just check the resource links below.

Spanish Translation

A lovely, easy-to-sing Spanish version was written by Cecilia Fencer, head and heart of Spanglish.house.com. Click on that link below to find the words to the Earth Day song in Spanish.

Video

Here’s the official video for “We’ve Got The Whole World In Our Hands”.   If you want to check it out on Vimeo, you can find it here: https://vimeo.com/18765345

We’ve Got The Whole World In Our Hands

Links and Resources

We’ve Got The Whole World In our Hands – Free Song, lyrics, and sheet music: http://www.dariamusic.com/earthday.php

Write Your Own Earth Day Song: http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/classroom-music/sing-your-own-earth-day-song/

Make A Rhythm Tree For Earth Day: http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/early-learning-with-music/a-rhythm-tree-for-earth-day-or-any-day/

Tenemos Todo El Mundo En Nuestras Manos – An Earth Day Song In Spanish
http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/classroom-music/sing-an-earth-day-song-in-spanish/

Make An Earth Day Nature Walk Rattle: http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/early-learning-with-music/make-an-earth-day-nature-walk-rattle/

Earth Day CD and CD Plus 10 Recycled Activities: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/EARTH-DAY-CD-PLUS-E-BOOK-OF-10-RECYCLED-MUSICAL-ACTIVITIES-658096

Official Earth Day Site: http://www.earthday.org

Sing A Silly Song For Groundhog’s Day

phil is too cuteDo you love doing tongue-twisters and silly songs with your child?  Then this is a perfect choice for celebrating Groundhog’s Day.

Sing this song and you may discover not only how much wood could a woodchuck chuck and how much ground can a groundhog grind as well as – how much sap a sapsucker can suck!  I dare you to sing it and now collapse in giggles!

But, before you do, here are some groundhog and groundhogs day FAQ’s.

When is Groundhog’s Day?     February 2nd.

Where is the official groundhog prediction?  The official celebration is in Punxatawney, Pennsylvania where our good pal; Punxatawney Phil, gets up early and gives us his prediction of when winter will end.

Where does Phil see his shadow? The special celebration of Groundhog’s day happens on a spot called Gobbler’s Knob, right in the center of the town of Punxatawney.

What does it mean if he sees his shadow?  If the groundhog sees his shadow, 6 more weeks of winter are predicted. Not seeing a shadow means an earlier Spring (hooray!)

Is Groundhog’s Day an American holiday?  Yes, but it comes from a German custom and there are many different types of ways that animals are predictors of the weather around the world. This is a great topic to research!

What are Groundhog Lodges?  In Pennsylvania Dutch tradition there gatherings where there is food, entertainment and skits or plays at this time of year.  All who attend must speak only in Pennsylvania Dutch dialect or they are fined a nickel, a dime or a quarter for speaking English!

Are there great books about groundhogs and groundhog’s day?  Yes!  Check out our list below and “Go To Sleep, Groundhog” is a funny, cute and truly adorable pick for any home or classroom library!

Daria_GroundhogCover_WebGroundhog’s Day Song – Free Lyric Sheet https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Groundhogs-Day-Song-Lyric-Sheet-2357681

Groundhog’s Day Song and Pop-up Puppet Activity

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Groundhogs-Day-Song-and-Pop-Up-Groundhog-Puppet-Activity-484374

The Groundhog Song on Itunes

The Groundhog Song on Amazon.com

Great Books About Groundhog’s Day

Go To Sleep, Groundhog! by Judy Cox/Paul Meisel (Illustrator)
Screen shot 2017-02-01 at 4.54.38 PMA groundhog can’t seem to fall asleep when it’s time to hibernate and has a tough time getting up when his own special holiday comes.

Ten Grouchy Groundhogs By Kathryn Heling and Deborah Hembrook
A cute counting book for young children with some good groundhog facts sprinkled in!

Groundhog Gets a Say By Pamela Curtis Swallow/Denise Brunkus (Illustrator)
A groundhog thinks his holiday should last more then one day. His animal friends help make his case for the world to know more about groundhogs.
Groundhog Day! By Gail Gibbons
Wonderful fun and great facts about groundhogs and the Groundhog’s Day celebration.

The Groundhog Day Book of Facts and Fun By Wendie C. Old/Paige Billin-Frye (Illustrator)
A sampler of groundhog facts and a good description of the special day in Punxatawny, PA.

Groundhog Weather School By Joan Holub/Kristin Sorra (Illustrator)
A groundhog is encouraged to open a weather school everyone gets to learn more about hibernation, groundhogs and the holiday.

A happy Groundhog’s Day to all!

A Trip Around The World In Song!

mama-lisa-book-coverThis is my new favorite international kids song songbook!

To be honest, I’ve been a huge fan of the website – Mama Lisa’s World – for years, so I was thrilled to be able to review this new compilation songbook. It has 100 songs from global cultures – including indigenous cultures – along with descriptions, sheet music, translations and notes on where to find MIDI and recorded version for listening. This book simply could not be more complete – or more fun!

Many of the songs that Lisa has selected are not just great songs, they are also games and offer wonderful ways to combine music, language and movement. Because translations come with each song, you can also easily start learning  simple words and phrases in other languages as well.

Where does this songbook go? It opens in Africa with welcome songs, circle dances and call-and-response tunes. Next, the songbook goes to Asia, with songs of friendship, love and play. After that, you can find favorites from Australia and the islands of Oceania. In the songs selected from Europe, you’ll meet familiar characters like the Sandman and Little Red Riding Hood. Of course, there are mama-lisa-book-pagealso songs from North America, including an Iroquois lullaby as well as English and French Canadian songs. The book closes with songs from Central and South America, including music with roots in Hispanic, Afro-Hispanic and Indigenous cultures.

What more do you need to know? This is definitely a must-have songbook for anyone who loves children’s songs and world music! You can buy both digital copies or a full size physical copy at the links below.

Links And Resources

Digital Copy From Gumroad (352 Pages/5.64 MG/3.99) https://gumroad.com/l/GvQVT#

Kid Songs Around The World: A Mama Lisa Book (Physical Copy) From Amazon http://a.co/3mx1z0o

Make-Your-Own Confetti For Kids!

big-bottle-shaker-w-confettiConfetti!  Who doesn’t love it?

Although it can be messy, it’s a fun part of so many celebrations.  And we often add it to many of our recycled rattle projects to add color and a bit of extra merriment.

So what’s better then colorful confetti? Answer: recycling holiday wrapping to create your own endless supply of fun…con…fetti!  Here are three ways to make different kinds of confetti from extra holiday wrapping supplies.  Naturally, if working with younger kids, be aware of safety issues with scissors and substitute kid shears.  If working with very young children, you may want to make confetti in advance then allow them to choose or pour confetti through a large-mouthed funnel into your holiday rattles or crafts.

So don’t throw out that holiday packaging! Here’s how to make it part of your next celebration.

Hole Punch Confetti

hole-punch-confettiThis is clearly the easiest method and makes perfect little circles.  Just cut squares of used wrapping paper (the brighter, the better) and put several together before you start punching. You’ll easily find how many paper squares you can put together to get the most amount of confetti without straining your hand and your hole punch.

Other fun hole punches? Craft stores often have hole punches with different shapes and sizes, like stars and moons.  These make for wonderful additions to this project!

Cut Across Confetti

cut-across-confettiCut squares of used tissue paper or wrapping paper and put about 4 – 6 together.  Tape one side to keep the papers together.  Then make long scissors cuts up toward the taped side, but not into the taped area. Once you’ve made these long vertical cuts, you can cut straight across (in the opposite direction) and it will yield nice little uneven squares of confetti.

Snip-A-Ribbon Confetti

Have lots of used ribbon? This method yields a bit less confetti, but still makes snip-a-ribbon-confetticolorful little squares.  Simply hold 4 – 6 pieces of ribbon in your hand and snip across the top.  You can also cut longer pieces and make mock shredded paper.  Similarly you can curl ribbon and then cut the longer curls to add into your rattles.

Then, What?

By far, the two most popular confetti crafts are rattles and confetti poppers.  We have our rattle post below plus two different creative methods for MYO poppers (aka confetti cannons) in the links below.

Here’s wishing you a happy and joyful celebration!

Make Your Own New Year’s Eve Noise-Makers! http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/family-fun-2/make-your-own-new-years-eve-noise-makers/

Confetti Poppers From Push Pop Containers
http://www.thesitsgirls.com/diy/confetti-poppers/

Balloon Confetti Poppers From Adventures In Wunderland
http://adventuresinwunderland.com/balloon-confetti-poppers-new-years-eve-craft/

Make Your Own New Year’s Eve Noise-Makers!

big-bottle-shaker-recycled-rattleMany new parents – or tired parents – opt to stay home on New Year’s Eve and ring in the New Year with the kids! Even if you won’t stay up until midnight – you definitely need some fun noise-makers to mark the coming of a new year!

Here is a new New Year’s Eve project – big bottle shakers – as well as a list of favorite noise-making crafts from the past few years. Monkey drums and vuvuzelas, anyone?

Oh yes, and a very happy new year to all!

Big Bottle Shakers For New Year’s Eve!

sticker-shekere-pictureKids like to make lots of noise and these big rattles are perfect for safe and easy noise-makers. Start with a large recycled bottle (with a lid or cap) that’s clean and dry. Gallon milk jug containers and liter soft drink bottles work well for this craft.

Step One is to fill with whatever you have on hand. For louder rattles, add items like extra jingle bells, buttons, pebbles, dried macaroni or paper clips. For quieter rattles, add things like birdseed, sand, salt or sugar. Before you close the cap and seal the rattle, consider adding a bit of bling. Maybe some glitter that you have on-hand or some MYO confetti? (BTW, Our next post is MYO confetti – it’s messy but super simple!).

Step Two. Once you’ve filled your bottle with things that jingle and jangle, close the lid and seal with a sturdy tape, such as colorful electrical tape. This keeps the contents inside and makes the project more child safe.

screen-shot-2016-03-28-at-3-09-55-pmLastly; if you like, you can decorate the outside. You can add stickers, colorful tape or draw with permanent markers. You can also adorn the handle with streams of ribbon or yarn. This is a great way to recycle extra holiday wrapping and put it to a good use!

What else can you make? Check out these favorite posts from New Year’s Eves past.

New Year’s Eve Noise-Makers With Wrapping Paper Rolls http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/babies-and-music/noisemakers-new-years-eve-craft/

bolang-gu-craft-versionBolang Gu – A Chinese Monkey Drum Craft https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Monkey-Drum-Chinese-New-Year-Drum-Craft-1748044

Make Your Own Vuvuzela Stadium Horn https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/The-Vuvuzela-Make-Play-Your-Own-South-African-Stadium-Horn-1242716

kyra-plays-a-vuvuEverything But The Kitchen Sink Rattles  http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/early-learning-with-music/new-years-eve-noisemakers-recycled-rattles/