Tag Archives: childrens music.

Take A Nature Walk/Make a Recycled Rattle!

Nature RattleLooking for some fun activities for April to celebrate Earth Day?  This project combines getting outdoors, exploring nature and having some musical fun at the same time.  Here’s what you need for this eco-friendly project that is just as easy and as much fun as a walk in the park!

Any see-through recycled container, preferably with a large “mouth” opening

Curious kids

Backyard, park, beach or other great natural place to walk

Sturdy tape (like electrical tape) for sealing the instrument when completed

Rattles made from gourds, seeds, feathers and a donkey’s jawbone


Rattles are one of the simplest instruments to play and can be found around the world.  They appear in different forms and are made of some really diverse materials. Take a look at some of the examples here.  They can be made from dried gourds, seashells, clay, bark, coconuts, and a variety of other natural materials. Caixixi (pronounced “ka-she-she”) rattles from Africa are made from woven fiber.  In India, there are rattles made from colored palm fronds woven together in clever patterns – as beautiful to see as they are to hear.  On the coast area of Peru,

there’s rattle made from the jawbone of a donkey with the loose  teeth making the vibrating sound.  In short, people generally make instruments from materials that they have found in abundance near their home.  We are going to take that same approach in creating recycled “nature walk” rattles!


Since most families probably don’t have coconuts in their front yard or gourds or palm leaves drying in their ceiling rafters  – we’ll opt for materials that can be found in most homes – recycled containers.  Start with a clean, clear, see-through container with a lid and you are ready to go!

While walking in your backyard or the park, look for items that might make a wonderful sound when placed inside your recycled container and shaken. You can stop by your bird feeder for a handful of sunflower seeds, look for pebbles, acorns or small twigs.  Are there any small pine cones, dried berries or other seeds from plants you find?  If you are passing by a stream, you’ll find smooth pebbles that the water has polished for you.  By the shores of a pond or lake, you might find driftwood, shells from small fresh water clams or unoccupied snail shells. If you’re lucky, you might find a colorful feather or a unique rock to add, making your rattle truly special for you!

Did you find something you don’t recognize?  If you’re in a larger park or have one nearby, stop and talk to the naturalist or some of the park rangers, staffers or volunteers on duty.  They can often help you identify nuts, seeds, plants or other items found on your walk making this trip an educational exploration as well.

Two recycled rattles with birdseed, craft materials and beads.

Two recycled rattles with birdseed, craft materials and beads.

When you’ve finished adding items to your rattle, seal it with some sturdy tape, such as electrical tape.  This helps keep the contents inside and generally makes it a safer activity for younger children. Then what?  Then, it’s time to have fun!  Play your rattle along with your favorite music.  It will fit in with any music from slow and quiet to happy and upbeat – even wild and crazy tunes.

I particularly like to play my recycled rattle with music about the Earth or nature.  Some of my favorite songs are below such as “We’ve Got The Whole World In Our Hands” and “Wild And Free”, about caring for dolphins, whales, manatees and creatures that live on the land as well.  But my rattle has a particular favorite song that makes it dance with joy.  It’s called:  “Be Kind To Your Web Footed Friends”.  Why?

Look closely and you’ll see that this rattle has a small mallard duck feather in it!


Best Songs For Babies And Toddlers: Kumbayah

No matter where you live, you’ve probably heard the song Kumbayah (or Kumbaya).  It’s one of those classic folksongs that brings back memories of summer camp, bonfires, campfires or family reunions.  And it’s incredibly easy to sing and make new for your family or children.  The song starts with a chorus of the main phrase, “Kumbayah”, which means “Come By Here”.  In fact, the first title of the song when it was published in 1936 was: “Come By Here”.  After that, each verse tells a story that someone is crying, laughing, smiling, etc.

What a joy to sing a version of this simple song where you can act out what is in the song, or add new verses about what your child or someone in the family loves to do.

Someone’s riding on their bike today, Kumbayah.

Someone’s playing on their drum today, Kumbayah.

Someone’s dancing with their friends today, Kumbayah.

It’s wonderful to watch a child’s eyes light up as the song tells a story about them or someone they love.  They quickly get the idea that they can help create songs and music and lyrics, too!

When I recorded this song, I had just finished working with the STOMP/PULSE program and had the honor of hearing some amazing percussionists from South Africa.  Since the song is so well-known in it’s folksong or sing-around-the-campfire form, I put a different spin on it and created a version with a South African feel.  You can check out the song and the video for it here:

Sometimes it’s the simplest songs that become childhood or family favorites.  As a parent, you should feel free to play with other songs you remember and make them fresh and new again for your kids. What a great way to become part of the folk process and bring the magic of music into your child’s life at the same time!

-Daria Marmaluk-Hajioannou


Song Lyrics Online

Downloadable Song Lyrics

Daria’s Kumbayah on Itunes

Daria’s Kumbayah on Amazon mp3

(as sung by Peter, Paul and Mary)

Kumbaya my Lord, kumbaya

Kumbaya my Lord, kumbaya

Kumbaya my Lord, kumbaya

Oh Lord, kumbaya

Someone’s singing Lord, kumbaya

Someone’s laughing, Lord, kumbaya

Someone’s crying, Lord, kumbaya

Someone’s praying, Lord, kumbaya

Do Your Ears Hang Low?

Do your ears hang low?  Have you checked lately?

This is one of those wonderfully funny songs that draw a smile from babies, toddler, moms, dads and grandparents alike!  It’s often listed as a kids song, a folk song, a summer camp song, a scout song and also as a song that is accompanied by hand motions and all of these are true!

While it’s related in lyrics and melody to the famous fiddle tune “Turkey In The Straw”, no one really knows who wrote it and the song has certainly been handed down to so many people that a variety of different versions have survived.  You can look below for a version that I like to sing and also one that Wikipedia lists as alternate lyrics.

How do you do the hand movements?  They are really easy.  Check out the link below to see the guitar chords and hand movements explained.  Or download the free sheet music.  Or download my free mp3 of this song from that great kids song resource – Kiddiddles.

So, go ahead.  Get silly.  And let your kids see you getting silly! Challenge them to learn the hand movements – they will probably master them before you!  Just one warning here – it may not be a good idea to sing this song while you have a cold. Have you guessed why?  If not, check verse five below and get ready to catch some run-away appendages!

Hear Daria’s version on Kiddiddles here:

Do Your Ears Hang Low?
On Itunes

Do Your Ears Hang Low?
On Amazon mp3

Do Your Ears Hang Low Lyrics, Sheet Music and Misc.
Printable lyric Sheet
Free Sheet Music For Piano
Hand Motions

More Silly Songs from Daria’s website:


Do your ears hang low?
Do they wobble to and fro?
Can you tie them in a knot?
Can you tie them in a bow ?
Can you throw them over your shoulder?
Like a continental soldier?
Do your ears hang low?

Do your ears flip flop?
Can you use them for a mop?
Are they stringy at the bottom?
Are they curly at the top?
Can you use them for a swatter?
Can you use them for a blotter?
Do your ears flip flop?

Do your ears hang high?
Do they reach up to the sky?
Do they droop when they’re wet
Do they stiffen when they’re dry?
Can you semaphore your neighbor
With a minimum of labor?
Do your ears hang high?

Do your ears hang wide?
Do they flap from side to side?
Do they wave in the breeze
With the slightest little sneeze?
Can you soar above the nation?
With a feeling of elation?
Do your ears hang wide?

Do your ears fall off?
Does it happen when you cough?
Do they lie there on the ground?
Or bounce around at every sound?
Can you stick them in your pocket
Like a little Davey Crockett?
Do your ears fall off?

Wikipedia lists this as another set of verses:
Do your ears hang low?
Do they wobble to and fro?
Can you tie ‘em in a knot?
Can you tie ‘em in a bow?
Can you throw ‘em o’er your shoulder
Like a regimental (or continental) soldier
Do your ears hang low?

Do your ears stand high?
Do they reach up to the sky?
Do they droop when they are wet?
Do they stiffen when they’re dry?
Can you semaphore your neighbor
With a minimum of labor?
Do your ears stand high?

Do your ears flip-flop?
Can you use them as a mop?
Are they stringy at the bottom?
Are they curly at the top?
Can you use them for a swatter?
Can you use them for a blotter?
Do your ears flip-flop?

Do your ears stick out?
Can you waggle them about?
Can you flap them up and down
As you fly around the town?
Can you shut them up for sure
When you hear an awful bore?
Do your ears stick out?

A Lullabye To Make Your Own

Recently a wonderful website called Mama Lisa’a World posted a great question. She asked if any dads (or granddads) sang lullabyes to their babies? Answers came in from all over the world showing that lullabyes are still alive and well, not only as special moments between mommies and babies but also among dads, siblings, grandparents and anyone else who might want a baby to fall sleep!

So what songs can you sing? Many folks suggested traditional lullabyes from their own country or culture and a few folks; especially dads, seemed to like modern or pop music – songs that they found soothing and held good memories for them.

Are you looking for a simple lullabye to make you own? You can easily take a popular folksong like “My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean” and turn it into a great bedtime lullabye. But, why sing about Bonnie? Why not add your child’s name to the song and take it from there. If your child’s name is short, you can sing it with the “my” or add “sweet” to make it fit in. For instance:

My David lies over the ocean
My David lies over the sea
My David lies over the ocean
Oh bring back my David to me

Bring back, etc.

Sweet Sarah lies over the ocean
Sweet Sarah lies over the sea
Sweet Sarah lies over the ocean
Oh bring back Sweet Sarah to me

Bring back, etc.

If your child’s name is longer, you can omit the “my”, shorten the name a bit or get creative and fit it in. For instance:

Anastasia lies over the ocean
Anastasia lies over the sea
Anastasia over the ocean
Oh bring back Anastasia to me

Bring back, etc.

Elias lies over the ocean
Elias lies over the sea
Elias over the ocean
Oh bring back Elias to me

Bring back, etc.

Whether you have a newborn, a toddler or even a slightly older child, there’s something very precious about a parent creating a simple song for their child as a happy way to end a busy day or to make a special bedtime moment.

If you want to get even more creative, you can dive in deeper as well. Using the same tune of “My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean”, why not try these lyrics but adding your own children’s names, stuffed animals or other special elements that talk about your home and family.

(To The Tune of My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean)
New lyrics by Daria A. Marmaluk-Hajioannou

It’s time that you sleep now, my darling
(or put in your child’s name)
It’s time that you sleep now, my dear
It’s time that you sleep now, my darling
And know that your mommy (or daddy or…) is near

Sleep well, sleep well,
And know that your mommy (or daddy or…) is near
Sleep well, sleep well,
And know that your mommy (or daddy or…) is near

Your pony (or teddy bear or special toy) is nearby my darling
Your pony is nearby my dear
Your pony is nearby my darling
Your pony and mommy (or daddy or…) are near

The stars keep their watch from the heavens
The stars in the heavens are clear
The stars keep their watch from the heavens
The stars and your mommy (or daddy or…) are near

You can add children in the house:

Soon your sister Anna will sleep, too
Your sister is nearby my dear
Soon your sister Anna will sleep, too
Your sister and mommy are near

If you like, you can add verses like:

Outside the crickets are chirping
Outside the train, it’s a rumbling
Outside, it’s quiet and peaceful
Outside, I hear cars on the highway

With very little effort, you can create a memorable new song that’s all about your family. And it’s verses can go on long enough to put almost any child to sleep!

So, go ahead, croon a lullabye. No matter how tired you may be at night, the sound of your voice singing to your child will be a memory that will always be treasured!

-Daria Marmaluk-Hajioannou

Mama Lisa’s World can be found at:

Daria’s website can be found at:

Daria’s online songbook (with lots of lyrics) can be found at:

A wonderful site with lots of lyrics for simple songs can be found at:

When To Introduce Music To Your Child?

When to Introduce Music To Your Child?

You’ve Already Begun!

One of the things that surprises and delights most new parents is how awake and aware their infant or young child is. Although they can’t walk or talk like an adult, it is still clear that they are responding to their environment; learning, growing and taking in what is around them. So what is the right time to introduce music…? The answer to that you’ve already begun!

Even while your baby was still in the womb, he or she basked in the beauty of your voice and moved to the rhythm of your heartbeats. So; without knowing it, you’ve probably already opened their world to the wonder and sound of music. Now it’s just a matter of building on that great foundation and exploring more ways that baby, Mom and the whole family can enjoy and share some musical fun.

So, let’s start with the obvious.

Music helps set the pace when you want to get things done and get moving. Your child will easily connect with the beat in the same way they’ve already begun to follow your voice, your tone of voice and your verbal cues. If you sing with them or tap out a rhythm, they will focus on the activity even more and it’s a nice way of drawing their attention to words or rhythms. And don’t feel self-conscious. Not only do you have a captive audience – you have an adoring one. Nothing will ever sound as sweet to a child as the sound of the voice of someone that loves them.

Best of all, music is just amazing when setting a relaxing tone for naptime or bedtime… for both grown-ups and children. Although it isn’t a cure-all, if everything else is in order, a sleepy baby can be lulled to dreamland with just the right combination of sounds as part of a bedtime or naptime ritual. And relaxing music you enjoy can create a quiet oasis for mom or dad – even if you have to get back up and keep going after your child has gone to sleep.

Favorite naptime or sleepytime music? I’ll tell you about some of mine in future blogs. But for now, I’d love to hear what you parents have as favorite quiet time music choices. Please comment, drop me a line and let me know.

Have a great and musical day!

Acabas de comenzar!

Una de las cosas que mas impresiona a los padres es  darse cuenta de cuan despiertos y concientes sus bebes o niños son. Si bien  no pueden hablar o caminar como un adulto, es claro que estan  respondiendo  a su entorno; aprendiendo, creciendo y absorbiendo todo lo que hay a su alrededor . Entonces cual es el momento indicado de introducir la música…? La respuesta es que  ya lo has empezado hacer.

Cuando tu bebe todavía estaba en tu vientre, el o ella se deleitaba con tu bella voz y se movía al ritmo de los latidos de tu corazón.  Así que sin saberlo, probablemente  tu abriste la puerta  al mundo  sorprendente  del sonido musical . Ahora es cuestión de construir sobre esta estupenda  fundación y explorar los diferentes caminos que el bebe, la mama y toda la familia pueden disfrutar y compartir un poco de diversión musical.
Así que, comencemos con lo básico.

La música ayuda a marcar el ritmo cuando tu quieres terminar algo y ponerte en movimiento. Tu niño se conectara fácilmente a este ritmo, de la misma forma que el ha seguido tu voz, tu tono y tus gestos verbales. Si tu cantas con el o tocas un ritmo, ellos tomaran mas interés a la actividad y es una bella manera de llamar su atención a palabras o ritmos. No te sientas cohibido. No solamente tienes  un publico cautivo,  tendras un entregado a ti. Nunca nada sonaría tan dulce  a un niño como el sonido de la voz de una persona que lo ama.

Lo mejor de todo, la música es  asombrosa cuando es colocada en un tono relajante para una siesta o a la hora de ir a la cama…  funciona tanto para adultos como para niños. Si bien no es la solución para todo, tomando en cuenta que todo lo demás este en orden, un bebe somnoliento puede ser llevado a la tierra de los sueños con la combinación correcta de sonidos, como parte de la rutina para dormir o para su siesta. Y una música relajante puede crear un oasis de tranquilidad para mama o papa -  a pesar de que tengas que regresar una y otra vez después que tu bebe esta dormido.

Música favorita para la siesta o hora de dormir? Te lo diré mas adelante en mis futuros blogs. Pero por ahora, me encantaría saber las selecciones de música que utilizan para momentos de tranquilidad. Por favor  comenta, escríbeme una línea y déjame saber.

Que tengas un estupendo día musical.


You’ve got a baby, a toddler or a young child around the house. Congratulations. You’re ecstatic, you’re overjoyed and you’re probably … exhausted.

The last thing you need are more items on your to-do list. But here’s the good news. Making music with, for and around your little one can be a great process that not only awakens their senses, deepens bonds and increases brain power – it can also be relaxing, fun and nourishing for you, too. It’s one of those glorious win/win situations in life. The more art, music and creativity you bring into your family’s life – the more everyone will blossom and grow.

I created this blog as a nice little space for you to explore some fun ideas to make your day more happy and harmonious.

I hope you enjoy …Tiny, Tapping Toes! If you’d like to find out more about me, feel free to visit my music website for kids – winner of a 2009 Parent’s Choice award – www.dariamusic.com.

And please share your ideas, suggestions and feedback – I can’t wait to hear from you!


Multicultural performer, Daria (Daria Marmaluk-Hajioannou) has the most awesome job of traveling the world and singing for peace. She’s traveled to 16 different countries to share music in communities as diverse as World Expo in Seville, Spain, an Arab Peace camp in Israel, musical workshops in barrios of Lima as well as remote villages of rural Peru and on US Native American Reservations.

Her cd’s have won over five national awards and her original songs are used around the planet in “Teaching Tolerance” and “Respecting Others” curriculum. Her “I Have A Dream” song is used widely in the USA to celebrate Martin Luther King Day.

For complete information on DARIA, plus lots of great musical activities, check out her website at www.dariamusic.com.