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  • Writer's pictureSheena at Playsongs

Everybody says sit down

Toddlers don't need any excuse to jump up and dance. It's we grownups, who are the chair sitters ~ we're the work-chair sitters, comfy-chair sitters, anywhere-there's-a-chair sitters.

So here is a little song for toddlers to show the grownups how to get themselves up and moving. No slacking! This one's for YOU!

It's by Malvina Reynolds, that great singer songwriter, who gave us Magic Penny, Morningtown Ride, Little Boxes, and hundreds more besides. She started writing later in life, and her songs found recognition and popularity when she and the 20th century were both in their sixties. She wrote for the rights of humanity and of the natural world and she wrote for the fun and laughter of little children. She was a star of Sesame Street and wrote many of her songs for those shows. You can find a complete list of her songs here.

Some of her lyrics and melodies are forever recurring in my mind. Her call to end the hunting of the whales, which were so reduced in numbers by whaling is particularly haunting, angry and sad. She wrote about this in The Whale, (link to Spotify), which begins:

The whale, the whale, The citizen of the sea, He has the right to live And so does she. In the ocean in the wild, She moves peaceful with her child Till the harpoon wounds her young, And she hovers to protect it, And she's done. (© Schroder Music Company)

She wrote many an angry song in protest at world wrongs, some of which have been righted, many of which remain today. And she also wrote with laughter and affection in her voice with her words for children about the natural world. I love the colourful imagery of Says the bee. It begins ~

Come with me, says the bee,

Into the daffodil.

All our house has yellow walls

And honey on the sill.

(© Schroder Music Company)

Then there's this one for reminding little children to be kind to other creatures ~ You can't make a turtle come out, which begins ~

You can't make a turtle come out,

You can't make a turtle come out,

You can call him or coax him or shake him or shout,

But you can't make a turtle come out, come out,

You can't make a turtle come out. (© Schroder Music Company)

An album of her children's songs was released by her estate in 2017. It's called Little Boxes and Magic Pennies. I found this Spotify link to it:

But enough of all this sitting down! Time to get back to the song which started all of this. You'll find it in our Playsongs collection, streaming here:

And the words go like this:

Put a reminder on your phone, on your dining table, on your sofa. Jump up! Dance around!

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