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 Playsongs Bounce and Rhyme Time

This sample session of songs and rhymes was devised for libraries, and has been delivered at library settings on request. We're glad to accept invitations from any part of the UK ~ our Playsongs bear has his box and his bells, and is ready to travel.

Please enjoy all or any part of this sample session, which ~ with lots of repetition (which we can't overemphasise!) ~ fits roughly into 30 minutes. Better to do fewer items slower, and repeat them often. Babies need time to absorb the patterns of actions and sounds, and they love repetition. So don't worry about getting through all these items in one session.

The session follows an arc of energy and activity from low/slow/intimate through to higher/faster/rowdier and back to a low/slow wind down.

Welcoming the group

Say hello, Hello,
Say hello, Hello,
Say hello, Hello,
Say hello, Hello.

Hello, everyone, Hello,
Hello, everyone, Hello,
Hello, everyone, Hello,
Hello, everyone, Hello.

Wave hello, Hello…

Clap your hands, Clap clap clap,
Clap your hands, Clap clap clap…

Beep your nose, beep beep beep…

Tickle your toes, tickle tickle tickle…

Be a cat, meeeow…

Be a mouse, squeak squeak squeak…

Say hello, Hello,
Say hello, Hello,
Say hello, Hello,
Say hello, HELLO!

Words and melody: Maggie Anwell, Tony Coult, John Rust and Charlie Stafford
From: Game-Songs with Prof Dpgg's Tr
oupe, first published by A&C Black Publishers Ltd, © 2001, 1983  Collins Music.

Say Hello

Welcome everyone to the group, and welcome the babies individually (you can get four names into each repeat of the verse):
 

Hello, Isabel, hello,
Hello, Ayesha, hello,
Hello, Tom, hello,
Hello, Clinton, hello.

Repeat the song with as many variants of the words as you like: tap, pat, stroke, tickle different parts of baby from head to toe to promote engagement between baby and their grown up right from the start.

Peekaboo play

Where oh Where?

Where oh where is our little baby,
Where has the baby gone? BOO!
Where oh where is our little baby,
Where has the baby gone? BOO!

Words: Sheena Roberts
Melody: Tamar Swade
© 1988, 2015  Playsongs Publications Ltd.

Peekaboo! Demonstrate the song to the group, hiding your face behind your hands and peeking out on 'Boo!' Invite the grown ups to turn their babies to face them (sitting on the floor facing baby works well) so they can play the game together. Repeat several times.

Can you Play at Peekaboo?

Can you play at peekaboo?
I can play at peekaboo.
Are you there?
Yes I am.
Are you there?
Yes I am.
Peeka-peeka-peeka-peeka BOO!

Words: David Evans, from Sharing Sounds by David Evans
Melody: Oats and beans and barley grow

Demonstrate the song to the group, hiding your face behind your hands and peeking out side to side. As above, invite the grown ups to turn their babies to face them (sitting on the floor facing baby works well) so they can play the game together. Repeat several times.

Rocking and rowing

Row row row your boat

Row row row your boat, gently down the stream,
Merrily merrily merrily merrily, life is but a dream.

Rock rock rock your boat, gently on the tide,
Merrily merrily merrily merrily, rock from side to side.

 

Words and melody traditional, adapted by Playsongs Publications

Encourage the grownups to sit on the floor, and form a boat with their outstreched legs around baby sitting in between. Take baby's hands and gently row back and forth to the beat of the song. Keep it slow, smooth and calm and repeat the rowing verse two or three times. Change to rocking side to side, still holding hands and keeping it gentle and calm. Repeat a few times then go back to rowing for the last time through.

Very little babies who aren't sitting up yet can be rocked side to side ~ it's an important stage of their development in which they are learning to turn themselves over from back to front. They may like to grip the grownup's fingers as they rock.

Touchers and ticklers

This little piggy went to market

This little piggy went to market,
This little piggy stayed at home,
This little piggy had cheese on toast,
And this little piggy had none!
And THIS little piggy went wee-wee-wee-wee
  All the way home!

 

Words traditional

Encourage the grownups to cradle or sit baby on one lap, while they cup one of baby's hands and touch or tweak each fingertip in turn, starting with the thumb and ending with the little finger, followed by running fingers up baby's arm to tickle a chin, neck, ear. 

Repeat lots.

There was a little mouse

There was a little mouse,
Who sat in a chair.
When the cat said, MEEEOW,
He ran right up the stair.

Words traditional

Encourage the grownups to cradle or sit baby on one lap, while they cup one of baby's hands in theirs. With the other hand, the grown up, using finger and thumb, makes a little mouse to sit in baby's palm. On 'Meeow', run the mouse up the baby's arm to a tickle spot. 

Repeat lots of times, changing 'up' to 'down' in order to tickle baby's toes.

Fruit salad

Let's eat an apple,
Let's eat a plum,
Let's blow a raspberry on your tum!

Words: Kaye Umansky, wirtten for Livelytime Playsongs, published by Playsongs Publications

With baby facing them, their grown up takes first one of baby's hands, the 'apple', and pretends to gobble it up, then the other, the 'plum', gobble gobble. Then their grown up lifts or cradles baby where they can blow a raspberry on baby's tummy. Repeat at least three times as long as babies are enjoying it. (Giggle warning. Some baby games can be achingly, painfully funny or just uncomfortable for a little baby, and they have less power than a bigger child to say 'stop'.  As leader you can advise grownups to watch out for enough being enough with any tickling or teasing game.)

Lift

Jack in the box

Jack-in-the-box jumps up like this,
He makes me laugh when he waggles his head,
Gently I push him down again,
But Jack-in-the-box jumps up instead.

Words: traditional
Melody: adapted from Here we go round the mulberry bush

Invite everyone to stand, holding their baby securely under the arms and around the chest (this one is not for the tiniest babies - only for those big enough to enjoy a high lift). Crouch down together then rise and lift baby high into the air on the first line. Continuing to hold baby high, waggle baby in the air, then slowly come back down to a crouch, placing hand on head, then whoosh baby back above head on 'up instead'. Lead the song at a slow pace, and stretch out the last two lines to increase the anticipation. Repeat for as long as the grown ups have energy!

Leg walker and lift

Leg over leg

Leg over leg as the dog went to Dover,
When he came to a style, JUMP, he went over.

Words: traditional
 

Invite everyone to sit with baby on their knee facing outwards. The grown up takes one of baby's ankles in each hand, and crosses one ankle over the other on the slow beat of the rhyme:
       Leg over leg as the dog...
On JUMP, the grown up leans backwards, lifting baby's ankles high up in the air, while supporting baby's body against their chest. Roll back to an upright position and start again for lots of repeats. It's fun to start slowly and after a few repeats at that slow speed, move the pace right up for the last couple of repeats.

Knee bouncer

Father and Mother and Uncle Tom

Father, and Mother and Uncle Tom
Got up on the pony and rode along.
Father fell OFF (BUMP)
And Mother fell OFF (BUMP)
And Uncle Tom rode on and on and on and on and on
  and on and on…

Words: traditional
 

Invite everyone to hold baby securely on their knee, facing inwards or outwards for a lazy slow, hobbledy-hoy knee ride on the first two lines:
       Fath-er and Moth-er and Unc-leTom


The grown up then slides their baby off to one side as Father falls OFF, then to the other for Mother falling OFF, then away goes Uncle Tom, faster and faster and faster.

Sound effects are nice to add to this one. If you have a tambourine to hand, shake on 'Father fell', then tap loudly with flat of hand on 'OFF'.

Whole body movement

Go-Stop

Sing to the tune (roughly) of Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious:

We go and go and go and go and go and then we STOP
We go and go and go and go and go and then we STOP
We go and go and go and go and go and then we STOP
We go and STOP and go and STOP and go and go and STOP!
     Into the middle and say 'HELLO'
     Back to the outside, ready to go!
We go and go and go and go and go and then we STOP (etc)

Words: improvised
Melody: Sherman and Sherman for Mary Poppins

 

Invite everyone to stand holding their babies securely against them. The aim is for the babies to feel the whole body movement of their grown up as they bouncily step along to 'Go and go and go and go' then stop absolutely still on 'STOP'. This tune's bouncy feel works well for go and stop, but you can sing these words to just about any tune with a stepping rhythm - and you can put in extra stops wherever you like.

If space, the group can bouncily step in a circle. If space is limited, step into the centre and back. Swing the babies into the centre to say, 'Hello', then back to the outer ring, 'ready to go'.

Sound exploring

Here's a box and here's a lid

Here'a box, and here's a lid,
I wonder whatever inside it is hid?
Open the lid and see what's inside..............
Out jumps a teddy, hello hello hello,
Out jumps a teddy, hello hello hello.

Words and melody: Tamar Swade © Tamar Swade, from Playsongs
 

Hide a teddy toy or hand puppet inside a box, which is big enough to hold some instruments, like a little tambourine, or a shaker. Build the mystery and anticipation as you sing up to the big reveal: Out jumps a teddy. Use the song to explore sounds. It can be sounds of real instruments, which the teddy can play. Or if you have some other toy animals to hand, you might explore their sounds: 'Out jumps a squeaky mouse, squeak squeak squeak...' 'Out jumps a crocodile, snap snap snap...'

Starshine and Raindrops

Ten stars sparkling in the sky,
Ten stars to rock a baby by,
Puva puva puva little baby,
Ten stars sparkling in the sky.

Words: Helen MacGregor © Helen MacGregor, from Five Little Owls

...or

Twinkle twinkle little star,
How I wonder what you are.
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky,
Twinkle twinkle little star,
How I wonder what you are.

....then

 

We've grown so tall, it must be all the rain,
Falling and falling and falling down again.
We've grown so tall, it must be all the rain,
Falling and falling and falling down again.

Words and melody: Mavis de Mierre © the Estate of Mavis de Mierre, (Included in Playsongs Grand Exercise)

...or


Rain, rain go away,
Come again another day.
Rain, rain go away,
Come again another day.

 

Distribute a little handheld instrument to every baby. If possible give little jingle rings or tinkling instruments to one half of the group, and little wooden or plastic shakers to the other half.

Before beginning to sing, ask your jinglers and tinklers to explore making starry sounds and to keep this background of sounds going throughout the first song. Repeat the song two or three times, then, as the song ends, indicate for the jingles to stop and for the shakers to begin making a background of raindrops for the second song. 

There are many other songs and rhymes you can use, eg 'Starlight, star bright, first star I see tonight, I wish I may I wish I might, Have the wish I wish tonight.' and 'It's raining it's pouring, the old man's snoring'.

Go-Stop on instruments

We go and go and go and go and go and then we STOP…
 

Sing to the tune of Supercalifragilistic as above, but this time transfer the whole body movement of going and stopping to your instruments.  Tap your shakers and bells to the beat, stopping and holding them still on 'Stop'.

Circle songs and big actions

Kangaroos like to hop

Kangaroos like to hop, (hop hop hop hop)
And frogs like to leap, (wheeeeeeeeeee)
Horses like to trot. (trit trot trit trot)
But I like to fall in a heap! (Bump!)

Words and melody: Leon Rosselson © Leon Rosselson

Grownups stand in a circle, facing clockwise, supporting their babies facing away from them. Bigger babies from about 9 months up to toddlers can be held around the upper body, under the arms (for hopping etc), while littler babies can be held in arms where they'll feel the whole body movement of their grown up.

Follow the actions in the words, hopping, swinging in a high lift, trit trotting, then bumping down onto the floor together.

It's hard work for the grown ups, so repeat only as often as they have the energy. (Mind out for bad backs and suggest sitting to do the actions if safer. All the actions can be done as a knee rider if preferred.

Ring a ring a roses

Ring a ring a roses,
A pocket full of posies,
A-tishoo
A-tishoo
We all fall down. (Bump!)

Picking
up the daisies,
Picking up the daisies,
A-tishoo
A-tishoo
We all jump up.

Words and melody: Traditional

As above, grownups stand in a circle, facing clockwise, supporting their babies facing away from them. Bigger babies from about 9 months up to toddlers can be held around the upper body, under the arms, while littler babies can be held in arms where they'll feel the whole body movement of their grown up.

Step or bounce baby clockwise round the ring, swing baby into the air on each atishoo, and bump down at the end. Sit together on the floor, cup baby's hand, then pick and place pretend daisies  into baby's hand. Jump up together and start all over again for several repeats.

As above, mind out for bad backs and transfer the game to a knee ride if preferred.

Wind down

Mummy went up to the moon

Sing to the tune of  'The bear went over the mountain'
aka 'She's a jolly good fellow'

 

Mummy went up to the moon and back,
Mummy went up to the moon and back,
Mummy went up to the moon and back,
To see how far is far.

But____ it_____

Wasn't as far as she loves you,
It wasn't as far as she loves you,
It wasn't as far as she loves you,
So now she's off to Mars.


But____ it_____

Wasn't as far as she loves you,
It wasn't as far as she loves you,
It wasn't as far as she loves you,
So now she's trying the stars.


But____ it_____

Wasn't as far as she loves you,
It wasn't as far as she loves you,
It wasn't as far as she loves you,
Cos nowhere could be so far.

Words: Sheena Roberts © 2023 Playsongs Publications

Invite the grown ups to cradle their babies in their laps or on their shoulders for a gentle wind down. Some may like to stand with baby on shoulder, swaying themselves from side to side in time-honoured fashion. The melody is usually sung quite quickly for 'The bear went over the mountain' but for this use sing it at a soothing, slowly rocking pace.

Of course, 'Mummy' can be 'Daddy', 'Nanna', 'Grandpa' or any other carer name. Let everyone choose how they want to sing it for themselves.

Sualle

Soualle, soualle, soualle, soualle,  (group 1)
Soualle, soualle, soualle, soualle, (group 2)
Soualle, soualle, soualle, soualle.

Words and melody: traditional, from Sleepytime Playsongs

If time, or as an alternative wind down to the end of the session, lead everyone in this one-word. croon. Croons are a kind of lullaby-lite. They often consist of one repeated word to a very simple melody, perhaps one which simply rocks between two notes. They are hypnotic in nature, and can be as soothing and restorative to the parent or carer, after a long, perhaps stressful day, as to the baby, gently drifting into sleep.

If you like, you can divide the group in two. Start group 1 on the first line of the song and direct them to keep repeating it over and over again. When that's well established, turn to the other group and sing the second line with them, repeating until you're all nicely wound down and half asleep.

Say Goodbye

Time to go, Goodbye…

 

Goodbye, everyone, Goodbye…
 

Words and melody: Maggie Anwell, Tony Coult, John Rust and Charlie Stafford
From: Game-Songs with Prof Dpgg's Tr
oupe, first published by A&C Black Publishers Ltd, © 2001, 1983  Collins Music.

Depending on how well your wind down has worked, you may want to whisper this to everyone. We've come full circle to the song we started with, now sung as a goodbye song. Improvise your own goodbyes as you did your hellos: wave, clap, blow kisses, 'see you next time'. Bye Bye.

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