Children’s musicians Erin Lee and Marci bring us the next of their regular posts with thematic recommendations for kid-friendly music, plus activities to make the songs an interactive experience for the whole family. This month’s highlights include one song that “celebrates the friendship and tenacity of two birds that are told their relationship is ‘obscene’ by the rest of their bird-brained society,” and manages to do so in a way that is both kid-appropriate and non-preachy. Look for Erin Lee and Marci here on the first Monday of each month, or visit their homepage, www.gottaplay.org.
I’ve created links to Amazon for the full albums (click the album image or name), plus links to iTunes for those who want only the singles.
As the year winds to a close and children hear about “Peace on Earth, Good Will toward Men”, it’s sometimes easy to forget that peace and good will begin very close to home – on your street, in your class, at your hockey game or at your gymnastics practice. So this month we’ve highlighted some songs that indirectly teach about good will, tolerance, and the value of friendship.
“The Ostrich and the Owl” (Steve Weeks, Alphabet Songs Vol. II)
Steve Weeks’ alphabet songs are so witty that you sometimes forget you’re expanding your vocabulary while listening. This celebration of the letter O also celebrates the friendship and tenacity of two birds that are told their relationship is “obscene” by the rest of their bird-brained society. Both birds deal with the outrage and opposition of the bird community with an open mind. We love, love, LOVE this song!
“What Do I Do?” (Ruth Pelham, Under One Sky)
No one writes about the topic of peace better than Ruth Pelham – especially for your early elementary-aged children. Through thirty years of teaching kids about peace and social justice, Ruth is the recipient of countless awards and August 28th is officially “Ruth Pelham Day” in her hometown of Albany, NY! This simple song reminds us how easy it is to comfort someone you love and teaches a big lesson about the value of both giving and receiving love. The lyrics are easy to learn and adapt– you’ll find yourself singing this song often and making up new verses for every member of your family!
Our song “Next Year,” (Erin Lee & Marci, Snowdance) is about a child taking stock of this year’s accomplishments: he can play the piano, ride a bike, write poems, but has problems making friends. As the year comes to a close, he sets an even more meaningful goal for the next year: learning how to get along with others.
Activity: Sometimes kids have trouble making friends. Talk about ways you could help out another kid who is struggling to make friends. What new skills did you learn this year? What are your goals for next year?