It seems like yesterday I was singing these songs to my own daughter. Heck, it seems like yesterday I was learning them. And now it’s time to teach them to my children’s children.
For me, it’s for my great nieces and nephews, as I am sans grandchildren (hope springs eternal), and it’s never too early to prepare. Baby carriage styles, bottles, pacifier designs may change, but the songs that we love and know are the songs we want to teach and enjoy with our offspring.
We sing with our children to bond and help them grow. Even now, when I sing to a little one, they become fixated on my face. They quickly start smiling and bopping to the melody.
And if I have done my job right, when I finish, they look at me wide-eyed and say: “Again. Again. Again!” first with motions and then with their words. It’s priceless.
When my daughter was a newbie, I would rush home and head right out to the Children’s Museum sing-a-long around our corner (ahh city life). The truth is, I enjoyed it more than my daughter, but those were memory making times, and she knows all the words and always sings along.
Here is my no-fail list which meets all the criteria for perfect grandparent sing-along bonding with the little ones. The best news is that you can find all these classics and the associated movements on YouTube. Watch and don’t hesitate to improvise and make them your own.
Clearly a classic, although I still don’t know what it really means, is Itsy-Bitsy Spider. I do know that if you change up and improvise a bit on the hand motions, the other adults would all weigh in on how to do it properly, and it really does become a family event.
A little more of an obscure song but so fun is Going to Kentucky, Going to the Fair, and it’s worth the effort. Since it includes geography, Kentucky and the word Senorita, it starts the conversation about other places, people and things and introduces foreign words.
Most importantly, it has the cutest little twisting and rumble motions.
Chronicling the trip of a cowgirl bringing her horses home, She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain is equally calming and uplifting.
The words are so much amusing to belt out loud. And the best part is, you can add new verses relating to your world and family’s inside jokes. It’s even more entertaining when you make up your own hand motions.
How many things in life can you count on like Puff the Magic Dragon? Always magical, always mystical, always worth the long time it takes to sing it right. This song never disappoints.
It brings you back to a time when all is right with the world and there are endless possibilities. Who doesn’t want to give their little ones hope and possibilities? Sing this one often. It you can’t remember all the words, just hum and it will still be great.
Home, Home on the Range is a true lullaby. Rocking softly, you will also feel the urge to nod off while singing. Also works well just humming along. It will calm whatever ails you.
Given how busy and complicated life gets, with technology driving our daily routines, this song harkens back to an easier, simpler life, when home was where the family and heart were all the time.
The classic repeat song The Other Day I Saw a Bear not only demonstrates who the alpha is (hint, hint, that’s you grandparent) as it sets a tone for a partnership. If they don’t repeat, the song does not work.
I come from a long line of city folk and yet From This Valley, a cowboy lullaby, has always resonated with me. My daughter hates this song, but I love it. It’s out of character for my Mom, and I well with tears when she sings it, or I hear it. It’s a keeper and reminds your grandchild that they are loved and worthy just for smiling.
Use this list to get started and go belt one out. Sing out loud and sing out strong! Talk to your families, siblings and parents, and make your own list of family favorites.
Do you have a favorite kid’s song? How often do you sing it? Who do you sing it to? Add to our list here and tell us what moves you when you sing to those grandkids.
Red River Valley and When Irish Eyes are Smiling. Sang to my kids and now to their kids.
You are my sunshine, us a favorite from childhood.
I, too, would add You Are my Sunshine as well as The Wheels in the Bus, Baby Beluga, Oh, Mister Sun, Put Your Finger in the Air- too many to mention here!! Just sing! And change up the words to fit your child’s name in, if you can!!
Five Little monkeys jumping on the bed
I love the monkeys jumping on the bed!
The Wheels on the Bus