Kid Music Series: 10 Traditional Fun Songs for Valentine’s Day
Why These Songs?
Most likely, the biggest memories you have from school are either doing something in a performance (hopefully positive) or having an accident (negative). Music has a big role for the former. Almost all of these songs I’ve listed are very easy to sing for children. The lyrics are fun, the stories even funnier or moving. The words make you think and recall your own feelings of love.
When you add a game or movement, you bring in a whole new dimension of experience. They may not remember the song when they’re older, but they might remember being in kindergarten and sticking pretend stamps on their head to become a Valentine letter.
How I Can Help
Sometimes CD compilations are not your best friend. You get a couple musical gems and then you never listen to the remaining tracks. As a music teacher, I’ve burned endless CDs of my own compilations so that ALL the songs are gems. After many professional years doing this I feel I can help parents and teachers pick inspirational songs for their own collections.
School of Positive Vibes
Come On Get Lovey
Valentine’s Day is a very popular holiday for elementary grades. Many schools still invite students to exchange cards and have parties. Although the holiday has gotten very commercial, I do like the idea of celebrating love and caring. There’s a reason these Valentine and Love songs are still around and deserve to be kept so. They are part of our history and help us celebrate being with each other.
Here are my song picks for a Kid’s Valentine’s Day. Use these for school or home. They are all sing along, dance along songs.
- Love Somebody - Jean Ritchie - Children's Songs and Games from the Southern Mountains
- There’s a Little Wheel Turning in My Heart - The Golden Gate Quartet - 24 Carrot vol. 4
- Mail Myself to You - John McCutcheon - Mail Myself to You
- The Riddle Song (I Gave My Love a Cherry) - John Feierabend - Frog in the Meadow: Music, Now I'm Two
- Five Little Valentines
- Rocky Mountain
- Scarborough Fair - Simon and Garfunkel - Canticle
- A Tisket A Tasket - Ella Fitzgerald - A Tisket A Tasket
- Skidamarink - Sara Dee - Born Curious: Sing-a-Longs & Lullabies for the Young and Young At Heart
- Happy - Pharrell Williams - Girl
Love Somebody - Traditional
This is a traditional folk song that has numerous versions, including simple adaptions for children. The song was turned into a pop song and made famous by Doris Day.
Love somebody, yes I do
Love somebody, yes I do
Love somebody, yes I do
Love somebody, could it be you?
Love somebody but I won’t tell who!
Love somebody how about you?
Children's Songs and Games from the Southern Mountains
I'm a big fan of Jean Ritchie. I went to one of her workshops in New York City. Her authentic singing of songs from her Appalachian background are a delight to listen to.
There’s a Little Wheel Turning in My Heart - African-American Folk Song
This song started as a religious song, but it can also be expanded to mean the love we have in our hearts for each other. It has such nice imagery and a lovely melody.
In the bible, the phrase “wheels within wheels” came from the visions of the prophet Ezekiel. They are subject to different interpretations. All the interpretations, however, have to do with Ezekiel’s witnessing of God’s fiery power. The visions were so intense that he could only describe them in metaphors.
Mail Myself to You - Woody Guthrie
Not only did Woody Guthrie write songs about the plight of the poor and disenfranchised, he also wrote light-hearted children songs. This song is perfect for Valentine’s Day because of the tradition of sending a card to a loved one. Children can act out the activity in the song (you may want to change the ice cream milk shakes to banana smoothies!).
Woody's 20 Grow Big Songs
This book does not include Mail Myself, but 20 other songs by Mr. Guthrie. He also drew pictures for this book. His children's albums are entitled Nursery Days and Songs to Grown On for Mother and Child.
The Riddle Song (I Gave My Love a Cherry) - Traditional
About 50 years ago this English song became a cliché for sappy folk songs. But if you can step back from that for a moment and listen closely to the lyrics, you’ll find it one of the most tenderest and endearing love songs. Luckily this new generation of kids hasn’t had as much time to develop a negative view. I used it in my Fall Harvest Assembly with our group of second graders singing and doing hand signs to the words.
Children don’t mind the sentiment of the song so much because its portrayed as a riddle. My classes loved singing it.
The Riddle song has English/Scottish roots and was brought over to the U.S. by immigrants in the 1800s. Although many people have recorded and sung this song, my favorite is the Appalachian (Appa lach an) Mountain Song version.
Five Little Valentines - Fingerplay
Alright you caught me, this isn’t a song it's a fingerplay. But I include this as a fun activity to do with children. There are a whole slew of ‘Five Little’ Fingerplays. The first one I heard of was Five Little Pumpkins. This is a very cute version.
Five little valentines were having a race
The first little valentine was frilly with lace.
The second little valentine had a funny face.
The third little valentine said, "I love you".
The fourth little valentine said, "I do too".
The fifth little valentine was sly as a fox.
He ran the fastest to the valentine box.
Rocky Mountain - Appalachian Folk Song
This is one of my favorite traditional folk songs. The whole premise of the song is that no matter where you roam, you always want your loved ones back home to remember you. The class would sing the 3 verses. I would have 3 volunteer singers, one at each section of the white board (one at the mountain, one in the valley and one on a boat in the ocean). They would sing their solo part at the refrain (Do, do, do, do, do remember me!) Rocky Mountain encompasses the Valentine's Day sentiment. Plus it teaches how to sing Do, Mi, So, La - Mi Mi, Re Re, Do!
Scarborough Fair - Traditional
This 18th century English Ballad falls in line with the traditional sequence song. In this one, the spurned man gives the woman impossible tasks to do and if she does them, he’ll take her back. Like sewing a line of thread, each verse leads to the next. This style is similar to songs like Hush Little Baby. Although not exactly a Valentine’s Day song, the melody is appealing and memorable.
The Best of Simon and Garfunkel
This version makes me nostalgic for my childhood. Paul Simons, writing and arranging and Art Garfunkel's voice make this the iconic modern version of this English ballad.
A Tisket a Tasket - Nursery Rhyme
Here’s a song that contains a letter written to a loved one in the subject. For the game, everyone sits in a circle and sings while one student skips around with a basket. At the end of the verse, the student drops or puts down the basket behind the nearest student and that new student picks up the basket and chases him or her around the circle. If the first student gets to the second student’s seat before being tagged - they stay in the circle. If caught they go into the center and become a letter in the basket. I have them chose who they want to be a letter to (mother, father, friend etc.). Then the song is repeated with the new student skipping and carrying the basket.
I changed this game a little. Kids were so disappointed to not be a letter if they weren’t caught that I would make them a ‘letter on the table.’
Skidamarink - Broadway Show Song
This Broadway song written by Felix F. Feist and Al Piantadosi is from the 1910 show The Echo. Over the years, its been used for many kid shows and finally found its way into the standard kid song repertoire.
Happy - Pharrell Williams
Hey, bring in a little new music by popular music artist Pharrell Williams. I can see kids get up and dance to this peppy song.