Many years ago, I wrote a simple parody of the beautiful song “He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands” and I’m proud to say that it has since become an Earth Day anthem used all over the world.
From Singapore to South America, from Scotland to China and all across the USA, people are humming this familiar tune and have added new verses about what it means to care for and protect the Earth. Although you can hear the recorded version on Spotify and Apple Music (free links below) plus check out the official video, I’d like to encourage you to write your own unique version. The chorus is oh-so-simple:
We’ve Got The Whole World In Our Hands
To write your own version of the song, ask your kids or classroom to suggest their with ideas for protecting and nurturing Mother Earth. They can be as simple as “don’t throw trash” or “make more parks”. Or they can share more complicated ideas such as “stop global warming” or “use more solar power”.
After you have a list of ideas, pick one phrase and work it into a sentence for the verses. For instance, the suggestion of “use more solar power” could turn into a verse like this:
Use the power of the sun or the wind for our homes.
Or the idea of having more parks:
Build more parks where all the people can play.
You get the idea. Each line is about 10 – 12 syllables long, but if you sing it out loud, it’s so easy to adjust any phrase until it becomes a singable sentence!
Whatever you do this year, remember that these little changes can make a big difference. We do have the whole world in our hands!
Holidays are a wonderful time to explore both music and world cultures with your young child. Here’s a super-easy kids drum craft for St. Patrick’s Day – a drum that originally was a farm sieve for separating grain! A kid’s size bodhran (pronounced bow-ran) can be easily made from a pie tin or a metal take-out container. And definitely make the “tipper”, too. It’s a special kind of drum beater that is tapped back and forth and it great for teaching motor skills to kids! Step-by-step directions can be found in the tutorial below from the TPT website.
What do the classic Irish symbols mean? Naturally, you’ll recognize shamrocks as symbols of good luck. The Celtic Cross often represents religion and spirituality. A harp is often pictured because it is the national instrument of Ireland and the Claddagh (two hands joined by a crowned heart) is a beautiful symbol that represents the bonds of friendship, love and loyalty.
Wondering what a bodhran looks or sounds like? Watch these three young boys showing off their formidable drumming and Irish dancing skills. Plus, feel free to check out our round-up of Irish music-related crafts and posts for kids, listed below.
Have you heard? February 8th marked the beginning of the Chinese Lunar New Year and it’s the year of the Fire Monkey.
If you’re unfamiliar with Chinese New Year, here is our compilation post that shares some wonderful ways to learn more and celebrate right in your home or classroom. The first group of posts are music and music-related, but we just could not resist adding ones about food, fun and other festivities!
And stay tuned for our next post that teaches you a very familiar and easy-to-learn Chinese New Year song!
Want to hear an absolutely beautiful version of the song Silent Night in Mandarin? Thanks to our friend; Toni Wang, you can visit the website – A Little Mandarin – and hear her beautiful translation of this classic Christmas song. Just click here to enjoy and share:
Does your family celebrate Hanukkah? Or do you want to learn more about the Holiday of Lights to share with your child?
Hanukkah (or Chanuka) is a beautiful celebration that marks a special miracle that happened long ago and still is inspiring today! And for young kids, one of the things they love with most about this holiday is the little spinning top, called a dreidel, that is both a song and a game.
Is it Dreydl or Dreidel?
The word dreidel comes from the Yiddish verb “dreyen” which means to twist or turn, so it’s a perfect name for this little top. Because Yiddish and Hebrew words are written several different ways to reflect sounds that aren’t in the English alphabet, you’ll often see various spellings of the same word, such as Hanukkah and Chanuka or dreydl, dreidel and dreidl.
Watch The Video
What do each of the Hebrew letters on the spinning top mean? Watch this short, sweet video to find out! Also feel free to check out any of the resources below to get the song as an mp3, game instructions or free coloring pages.
Little Dreidel Song Lyrics
Although people are most familiar with the first verse and chorus, here’s the longer version of the lyrics heard in the video above.
I have a little dreydl , I made it out of clay
And when it’s dry and ready, a dreydl I will play
CHORUS: Oh dreydl, dreydl, dreydl, I made you out of clay
And when you’re dry and ready, A dreydl I will play
My dreydl has four corners , and a letter on each face
To remind us of the miracle , that long ago took place (repeat chorus)
The letters also tell us , who will lose or win
I have a pile of goodies (walnuts) , I’m ready, let’s begin (repeat chorus)
Here’s wishing you a beautiful and inspiring holiday season!
This week we’re excited to have a Halloween guest post from a wonderful children’s artist who delights audiences near her home base in Florida – and around the world. Meet Alina Celeste and check out two of her favorite picks for English and Spanish Halloween musical fun!
Autumn is always a crazy time for teachers, parents and homeschooling families. Most people are still adjusting to a new school year and there are so many holidays and events! Halloween is a fun one, and lends itself to all sorts of lesson plans and crafts. I’ve recently posted these two songs on my YouTube page, they were always a big hit with my students and their families.
The first song, One Little Owl, is an old English Folk song, it has a slightly sad and spooky feel even in its original form, so it seemed an obvious transition to put Zombies, Ghosts and Witches in the tree along with the owls and bats. I love having the kids suggest what else should be in the tree; I’ve gotten everything from Dinosaurs to Trucks to Princesses, and all are welcome! Everyone’s favorite part is the end, when the poor tree can’t take anymore.
The second song uses the melody from Alouette, one that nearly everyone knows. I came across it when I was looking for pumpkin-themed songs. I was teaching a Spanish language music class at the time, so I translated it for them. I’ve found since that I like the Spanish version better!
This song is such a fun, simple way to learn some basic vocabulary. It might even spark a conversation; my students and I often discuss what they and the pumpkin do and don’t have in common, which is always entertaining. Unexpectedly, I’ve had several mothers of infants tell me this is the only song that will calm their children! I have no idea why but I’m glad it helps.
Alina Celeste is an internationally touring Family Musician and Teaching Artist based in Miami, Florida. She posts songs and storytimes on her popular YouTube channel twice a week. View and/or subscribe at: www.youtube.com/alinacelestemusic.
You can find more about her on her website: www.alinaceleste.comor become a Twitter fan at @tiaalina.
Take a nature walk and make a musical instrument! Here’s an easy and fun way to recycle a plastic container and spend some quality time outside all at the same time!
Clean plastic container (wide-mouthed plastic bottles work best)!
Small amount of sand (or salt or sugar)
Tape (to seal the rattle)
Find A Great Green Space
Can you connect with nature in your front or backyard? If so, head on out and enjoy. If not, there are always parks, play areas, nature sanctuaries and arboretums within a short distance from most homes. And even if you think you know your area, a quick internet search will probably turn up some new places to discover where you can have a picnic or snack, do a nature craft or simply enjoy the great outdoors!
Collect Your Treasures
Bring a small bucket or container to collect your treasures. As you walk, keep an eye out for interesting items such as acorns, nuts, leaves, seeds, seedpods or pinecones. You might come across a feather or small shells if walking by a lake or stream. You may find beautifully shaped rocks or pebbles or smooth sticks that you’d like to collect.
If you’re walking at a local park, there are often naturalists who can help you identify what you’ve found or tell you more about what you’ve just collected or discovered.
Make Your Rattle
Start each rattle by pouring in a small amount of sand (or salt or sugar). Then, carefully add each item you’ve chosen to the container. Although you can do this craft without the sand, it will add a soft whooshing sound and then each treasure you add to the bottle will appear and disappear into the sand as you shake the container.
Seal It Up!
Once you are finished, seal up your rattle with a sturdy tape, such as colorful duct tape or electrical tape. It adds a nice design element and keeps small hands from opening the lid and creating a safety hazard.
Play Along To Some Some Earth Day Music!
What does your rattle sound like? Is it soft or loud? Did a friend, sibling or parent make a rattle, too? Do their rattles look and sound, alike or different?
You can explore all kinds of listening skills with these quiet rattles and they are perfect for paying along with your favorite music. If you’d like some green musical inspiration, play along to the Earth Day anthem on the video below or click the link below for a free download of “We’ve Got The Whole World In Our Hands”.
Gongs are amazing, loud, inspiring instruments, but where can you find one? If you have some basic supplies, then you can craft one right in your own home or classroom. And you can decorate your new gong with a Chinese zodiac symbol or some other creative theme.
Large metal pan (like a recycled pie tin, pizza pan, or a turkey roasting pan) Pipecleaners or yarn Stick, broomstick or long cardboard tube Paint, stickers, glitter, glue or textured paint for decorating the gong 12 – 18” wooden dowel or wooden spoon (for the drum beater) Colorful tape (for the drum beater)
Step By Step Directions
You can find step-by-step instructions as a pdf on DARIA’s world music for kids website or in her TeachersPayTeachers store. Both are free, here:
In February 2015, we’ve entered into the year of the sheep or the goat. You can see an image of a ram on the pie tin gong at the top of this post! But, there are 12 Chinese Zodiac signs so you may also want to use any of the other animals as part of your design. You might also want to find out what year you were born in.
Take a look at the chart below and you can find out if you are a pig, an ox, a monkey or a rat!
We are so pleased to have a guest post about Chinese Lunar New Year by the very talented vocalist and musician Toni Wang, from A Little Mandarin. Make sure you read until the end to find out how to get a FREE download of her wonderful version of the traditional Happy New Year Song.
There are many ways to enjoy and introduce children to Chinese New Year but one of the nicest is through music. Much like Christmas music seems to permeate the air in the US and Europe for the month of December ‘New Years Music’ suffuses China during the 15 day New Year holiday. Holiday songs can be heard on the radio, in the stores and on the streets.
The Happy New Year Song (Xīn Nián Hǎo 新年好) is a great introduction to Chinese New Year traditions.
This song expresses the joy and fun of celebrating the New Year. Along the way it points out some of the many New Years traditions. The song opens with “Four seasons harvest is in”, like many cultures New Year is a time to celebrate the achievements of the past year and to look forward to the upcoming year.
“In the streets and alleys are firecrackers”, firecrackers are one of the many traditional ways to ring in the New Year. You may have noticed this tradition borrowed in your own country. During New Year people light firecrackers and hang red paper decorations or banners to ward off evil spirits.
“Dragon dances, stilt walking” are two more traditional activities. Stilt walking is a traditional Chinese folk art, practiced especially in Northern China. Dragon dances can be seen in many towns and cities in China and across the world. The dragon in Chinese culture is benevolent and thought to bring good luck. The dragon dance is a vibrant way to scare away evil spirits and bring luck for the coming year. One dancer controls the head and the rest make up to body. The length of the dragon depends on how many dancer the troupe has and can be over one hundred feet long! Proper timing and coordination is essential for the dancers to make the dragon shimmer and wave down the street. Look for the “Pearl of the Dragon”, a person in front waving a stick with a big ball on top. This person serves as a conductor showing the dragon which way to go. The dragon dance is usually accompanied by drums, cymbal or gongs filling the air with music.
“Welcome the wealth god, welcome wealth” The fifth day of the Chinese New Year is the day to welcome the god of wealth into your house. Better leave a door open or stay home to make sure he can get in providing prosperity for the next year. Children will have already enjoyed receiving Red Envelopes on the first day of New Year. The red envelopes have crisp bills tucked inside lucky red paper. “Wearing new clothes, wearing a new hat” During New Year people traditionally don their new clothing to symbolize welcoming new things.
There are many ways to participate in Chinese New Year celebrations around the world. You can see if your city or town has a Dragon dance or Lion dance show or perhaps a lantern festival celebrating the end on the fifteenth day of the New Year. You can listen to that song here and use it to discuss the many Chinese New Year traditions mentioned within the lyrics.
Free Download of Happy New Year Song, Xīn Nián Hǎo
Toni is a Shanghai-born NYC mom raising her three children in English, Mandarin and French. She produced A Little Mandarin as a way to provide high quality Mandarin language children’s music for her own children. Her album has fifteen tracks providing a modern update to classic Chinese children’s music. Anyone who has been to China will recognize these children’s songs and should enjoy the refreshingly modern take.
“The singer has a beautiful vocal range and the ability to sing popular children’s song in Mandarin. The music itself is cheerful, and upbeat! This is a perfect addition to anyone’s musical library, and a must when exposing children to different languages.” – Frances Evans, Discovering The World Through My Son’s Eyes.