Tag Archives: playgroup songs

Farewell Orana Playgroup


Today was the last session of Orana Playgroup.

Closing a playgroup is kind of like killing a sacred cow, but what can you do when families in the area just won’t come along?

It’s been fun. A lot of fun.

When I started in July 2008, I had just one family coming to playgroup. Slowly it built up. Over the years the numbers have fluctuated. At its peak we had fifty people coming. The onsite preschool used to thank me for having such a structured playgroup where children did art and craft, sat to hear a story, and did songs and movement. They said the playgroup children had already formed lovely friendships and were in a better position to take advantage of the learning activities at preschool. Playgroup is important in the lives of children.

I have so many memories of kids being kids – creative, funny, clever, and completely awesome. This blog has recorded just a few of those magic moments.

One family gave me a card today. Three of their four children have grown up with Orana Playgroup. The mum said that they had a “remember when” session for playgroup at home.

They put some of their memories on the card…

P1030514     P1030515

Today we remembered certain children and parents who have come to playgroup over the years and we sang songs for them.

The last few weeks Shona (3) has wanted us to sing the train song, and so we did. Today she lined up the chairs and wanted us all to sit on the train, and so we did. She even wore the train hat and found a disc that she could use as a steering wheel.


We also sang The Wheels on the Bus.

The last few weeks Ruby (2) has wanted us to sing a funny monster song. But we don’t know any funny monster songs. This week I wondered whether we could adapt a song we already know, and thought Dingle Dangle Scarecrow might do. But one of the mums, Liz, suggested we adapt Down in the Jungle.

It was GREAT! Liz and I had such fun with it. Ruby looked at us like we were a bit crazy, but she did her funny monster dance after the song, and all was well.

I like the monster version much better, and couldn’t help thinking of the book “Where the Wild Things Are” as we were singing.

Here it is with just me singing it. The words are below.

Click here to play: Funny Monster song for Ruby

Down in the valley where nobody goes
There’s a big funny monster washing his clothes
With a scrubba-dubba here and a scruuba-dubba there
That’s the way he washes his clothes
With an i-tie growl growl growl
With an i-tie growl growl growl
With an i-tie growl growl growl
That’s the way he washes his clothes
Down in the jungle where nobody sees
There’s a huge hairy monster scratching his fleas
With a scratch scratch here and a scratch scratch there
That’s the way he scratches his fleas.
Down in the jungle where nobody hears
There’s a young funny monster cleaning her ears
With a flippety flap here and a flippety flap there
That’s the way she cleans her ears
Down in the jungle when nobody’s there
There’s a big funny monster combing his hair
With a comb comb here and a comb comb there
That’s the way he’s combing his hair
Down in the jungle it made me turn pale
I saw a slinky funny monster wiggling his tail
With a wiggle wiggle here and a wiggle wiggle there
That’s the way he was wiggling his tail
Down in the jungle when the stars are bright
I saw the funny monsters dancing all night
With a boogie woogie here and a boogie woogie there
That’s the way they’re dancing all night.


So much fun on our last day of playgroup.

Young fellas Aston (1) and Jason (17 months) have got used to singing the songs, and participating in group time. Jason is always on the go, but it has only taken him a few months to get used to circle time and participate. It took a while for him to get used to music in the raw, just human voices, with no accompaniment, rather than recorded music, but every week he has increased his focus and participated more. Sometimes it takes a while for little kids to get used to Circle Time. We just let them regulate how much they want to participate and eventually they get it and they love it. I remember one little girl who took about 18 months to fully get involved in Circle Time. It’s all OK!

Liam, Jason’s dad, discovered that the instrument we have been calling a ‘handbag‘ is actually called an ‘agogo’. So we sang “I am a fine musician” with the correct name, and the instrument felt much better about itself.

musical instrument

One song that I wanted to sing at the end of playgroup was I Have Made a Pretty Nest but I completely forgot. The children have loved this song, so here it is one last time…

Click here to play: I have made a pretty nest

Goodbye Orana Playgroup.

This now ends five-and-three-quarter years of my involvement in Kingswood Park, and I have truly loved every minute of it.

Until we meet again.


Narelle Smith ♥


Book – Green Eggs and Ham


Yesterday (2nd March) was Dr Seuss’ birthday.

He was a genius!

He put into his books what we now know contributes to children’s building blocks for learning how to read – vocabulary (including ‘rare’ words), rhyming, concepts such as near and far etc, and making up silly words and having fun with language.

Research shows that the more we talk, sing, and read with our children, the better their outcomes in all areas of their development (Hart & Risley being the most well known). Studies have shown that children who grow up in a language-rich environment have grown up to have more satisfying lives than those children who don’t. And don’t be afraid to use words that your children don’t know. Exposure to big words and ‘rare’ words increases their vocabulary which is great for developing their reading, speech, and language skills.

This week we read Green Eggs and Ham.

green eggs and ham

Do you like them? Have you tried them?

Here is an interesting fact about the book…

Bennett Cerf, Dr. Seuss’ editor, bet him that he couldn’t write a book using 50 words or less. The Cat in the Hat was pretty simple, after all, and it used 225 words. Not one to back down from a challenge, Mr. Geisel (Dr Seuss) started writing and came up with Green Eggs and Ham —which uses exactly 50 words.

The 50 words, by the way, are: a, am, and, anywhere, are, be, boat, box, car, could, dark, do, eat, eggs, fox, goat, good, green, ham, here, house, I, if, in, let, like, may, me, mouse, not, on, or, rain, Sam, say, see, so, thank, that, the, them, there, they, train, tree, try, will, with, would, you.

Source: http://mentalfloss.com/article/28843/10-stories-behind-dr-seuss-stories

So, Green Eggs and Ham isn’t all that great for extending children’s vocabulary, but it has lots of concepts, it’s really good fun, and it reinforces what parents say to children at the dinner table “how do you know you don’t like it if you haven’t tried it?”.

I mentioned to some of the parents that I love the very short story (more like a poem) titled ‘Too Many Daves’ by Dr Seuss, and they said they hadn’t heard it. So I’ll read it next week. It’s about a Mum who names all 23 of her children ‘Dave’.

Narelle Smith


Song – Tight Rope Walking


This week…

We did some tight rope walking…

Click here for the song – Tight Rope Walking

This song is from a Channel 10 children’s programme. The show is called something like “Wubble Woo” – I can’t look it up at the moment because the Winter Olympics is on the TV instead.


Seasonal songs – Cold



Click to Play – Cluck Cluck, Mother Hen

Written by Zoe McHenry, performed by Fay White

Cluck cluck cluck cluck
Mother hen, mother hen
Call your little chickens now
Because the sun is setting
And the grass is wet with dew
Cluck cluck mother hen
Cluck, cluck, cluck, cluck
Mother hen, mother hen
Tuck them underneath your wings
And keep them warm till morning
When the sun will shine again
Cluck, cluck mother hen
This song has been placed here with the very kind permission of Fay White. Fay is an Australian singer and songwriter who has recorded the songs of Zoe McHenry on an album called “Did you See the Wind Today?”. Zoe McHenry was a writer of children’s songs for ABC Radio’s “Kindergarten of the Air” programme in the 1950’s. They are beautiful and I am grateful to Fay for rekindling these songs. Fay’s album is my hands down favourite album of songs for young children http://www.faywhitemusic.com/catalogue.html.

It’s difficult to find a song which relates to our experience of Winter. Most songs come from the Northern hemisphere where Winter is at Christmas time and  the snow falls.

The Mama Lisa‘s website has come to the rescue though. I found a little piece of Australian history via an American website!  Why have these songs been lost to us? Just like Zoe McHenry’s songs from the preschool of the air programme in the 1950’s they are not widely known to the general public.

Little ‘poss, pretty ‘poss, much I want to know,
When the weather’s wet and cold, where do ‘possums go?
Hey, ‘possum’ ho, ‘possum, tell me, tell me true,
When the pleasant summer’s gone, what do ‘possums do?
I’ve a nest, little girl, in a hollow tree,
And I wear a winter coat, snug as snug can be.
Warm there, dry there, sleeping safe and sound,
I put my nose between my toes and curl my tail around.
Little ‘poss, pretty ‘poss, I should like to see
What you have for dinner when you’re living in a tree.
Hey, ‘possum; ho, possum, tell me what you eat,
Shall I give you bread and jam, or would you like some meat?
Little boy, little boy, if I say with you,
I must have green leaves to eat, and bread and biscuit too.
Green leaves, gum leaves, they’re the food for me;
But I’d rather scamper off and eat them from the tree.
Little ‘poss, pretty ‘poss, though the trees are tall,
You can jump from limb to limb and never, never fall.
Hey ‘possum; ho, ‘possum, tell me, tell me true,
When the branches sway about, what do ‘possums do?
Little boy, see my claws, they’re sharp and strong;
I can stick them in the bark as I run along.
Fine claws, good claws, and if they should fail,
I can spring from bough to bough and hold on by my tail.
It is sung to the tune of Nellie Bly…
The sheet music can be found here http://www.nla.gov.au/apps/cdview?pi=nla.mus-an6396812-s15-v. Oh what a treasure! This is a link to a book held by the National Library of Australia called Australian Songs for Australian Children written in 1902 by Maybanke Anderson. The whole book can be viewed and printed!


well, not a song but a poem …Author unknown

The day is cloudy and the wind is bold.
Dress up warmly, you mustn’t get cold!
Put on your coat and zip it up tight, put on your left boot, put on your right.
Put on your scarf and put on your hat, put on your mittens and clap-clap-clap!
Go outside and play and play.
Come in again, and then we’ll say-
Take off your coat that was zipped up tight, take off your left boot, take off your right.
Take off your scarf, take off your hat, take off your mittens, and then take a nap!
Narelle Smith

Song – The Train


Train Song

Click here to play – Train song

traditional, recorded by Fay White

Permission given by Fay White for use of the audio.

Clickety clack, kalump, kalump
The train is coming a-chunk a-chunk
Clickety clack, a mile away
It hasn’t a second of time to stay
It sings a noisy rackety song
A rickety rackety clackety song
Get off the track
It isn’t where you belong.
Over the bridge across the lake
A mile a minute it has to make
A terrible snake with glowing eyes
That wiggles and wriggles along the lines
Now we’re nearly home again
The tunnel is waiting to swallow the train
Goodbye goodbye, tomorrow we’ll come again.


Song – Funky Humpty Dumpty


When I ask the kids at playgroup which nursery rhyme they would like to sing, Humpty Dumpty is the first one they say. Followed by Twinkle Star, and then Baa Baa Black Sheep.


Humpty Dumpty
Sat on a wall
Humpty Dumpty
Had a great fall
All the kings horses
And all the kings men
Couldn’t put Humpty together again

Did you know that Humpty Dumpty was a canon? http://www.rhymes.org.uk/humpty_dumpty.htm

But sometimes they ask for the “long Humpty Dumpty”…

Wriiten by Genevieve Jereb
Humpty Dumpty, Hump Hump De Dumpty
Humpty Dumpty, Hump Hump De Dumpty
Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water
Jack fell down and broke his crown
Hey! Aint that funky now?
Mary had a little lamb
Whose fleece was white as snow
And everywhere that Mary went
Hey! Aint that funky now?
Little Jack Horner, sat in the corner
Eating his Christmas pie
He stuck in his thumb and pulled out a plumb
Hey! Aint that funky now?
Little Bo Peeop has lost her sheep
And doesn’t know where to find them
Leave them alone and they will come home
Hey! Aint that funky now?
Hey diddle diddle the cat and the fiddle
The cow jumped over the moon
The little dog laughed to see such fun
Hey! Aint that funky now?
Peter, Peter pumpkin eater
Had a wide and couldn’t keep her
Put her in a pumpkin shell
Hey! Aint that funky now?\\
Simple Simon met a pieman
Going to the fair
Sad Simple Simon to the pieman
Hey! Aint that funky now?
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.

Article – The structure of Circle Time


At Orana Playgroup, Circle Time is one of the most important parts of the morning. Some things are fixed so the children know what to expect and some things change so the children and parents can learn new songs.


Let’s make a circle like the circle of the sun
Let’s make a ring that includes everyone
Good morning to the sun up in the sky  (arms open to sun)
Good morning to the birds as they fly on by  (arms at side futtering)
Good morning to the trees so straight and tall  (arms above head, straight and tall, palms together)
Good morning to the nests where the possums do rest  (hands cupped against chest at heart level)
Good morning everyone!  (outstretch arms)
I nod my head
I clap my hands
And then I stamp my feet
I reach up high
And bend down low
Then I take a seat


Open, shut them  (open and close hands)
Open, shut them
Give a little clap
Open, shut them
Open, shut them
Lay them in your lap
Creep them, creep them (creep hands slowly up body)
Creep them, creep them
Right up to your chin  (hands on chin)
Open wide your little mouth
But do not let them in  (hands behind back)
Shake them, shake them,  (shake hands)
Shake them, shake them
Shake them, just like this
Roll them, roll them  (roll hands)
Roll them, roll them
Blow a little kiss


Click here for a list of the Songs we sing at playgroup.

This list was updated on the 18th December 2013. Come back at the end of January 2014 for a more current version.

We sing a lot of Play School songs at playgroup. Play School is an Australian institution. It is a half-hour television show which has been running twice per day since 1966. It is estimated that 80% of Australian children under the age of 6 years watches Play School at least once per week. Singing Play School songs at playgroup reinforces the children’s learning of the songs they hear at home.

I prefer that we use our voices. I have never used recorded music or used instruments like guitars during Circle Time. Yes, sometimes I forget the tunes. Sometimes we muss up the words. That’s life – perfectly imperfect. We always have a laugh. By using only our voices, the children become so confident in their singing. Frequently they want to sing a song on their own in front of the group. They never say “I can’t sing”. If you have a voice you can sing.

The children choose the songs that they want to sing. They love this, even the little ones. Circle Time is always fresh, relevant (to the children) and spontaneous this way.


Head, shoulders, knees & toes
Knees & Toes
Knees & Toes
Head, shoulders, knees & toes
Eyes and ears and mouth and nose
Head, shoulders, knees & toes

A tensing, stretching, and relaxing exercise


Sometimes the same story is read for three weeks. This allows the children to become very familiar with it. By the third week the children feel comfy about acting out some parts of the story or talking about it in more depth. This expands their experience and awareness of language, story, rhyme, and knowledge, by relating what they are hearing, seeing, and feeling to what they already know. It’s amazing what young children can achieve when things are approached in a playful and emotionally safe way.

At other times, we will focus on one author for the whole term (about 10 weeks), reading a different story each week.

Or sometimes, we will read story books on one particular topic. One term we focused all of our art, craft, songs and story on the topic of trees. Another term we did bears.

I almost always use a technique called ‘interactive text reading”‘. In the USA, it’s called ‘text talk’. If you are interested, you can download an article on text talk here Article – text talk.

You can read posts about some of the books we have read at playgroup and the children’s responses to them at https://oranaplaygroup.wordpress.com/category/books-for-kids/.


to the tune of  “Here we go ‘round the mulberry bush”

Here we go around the Orana RoomOrana Room, Orana Room
Here we go around the Orana Room
Every Monday Morning
This is the way we play with our friends
Play with our friends, play with our friends
This is the way we play with our friends
Every Monday morning
Here we go around the Orana Room
Orana Room, Orana Room
Here we go around the Orana Room
Playgroup now is over