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Writing a Kid Song

Updated on March 5, 2014
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By Michelle Liew Tsui-Lin

If I were to ask anyone what they remember of their kindergarten years, one of the earliest memories they'd have is the times they spent in Music and Movement classes.

No one would argue that a good kid song is a vital part of childhood. It creates wonderful memories and makes the overwhelming event of school a little more bearable.

Writing one is easy enough for anyone to do, though it has a few key ingredients that must be remembered.

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The Need for Kid Songs

Any preschool teacher will attest that the school experience is incomplete without a song. Less explained, perhaps, is why.

Children need good memories.

Children need positive experiences that allow them to shape an upbeat view of life. A kid song, sung together in a group, develops a positive experience for a child.

Kids are active.

A child's attention span is shorter and less fully developed than ours. They need room to move in the middle of a long school day.

Kid songs are vibrant and usually have attention grabbing verses that prompt a little movement and dancing.

They make room for children to interact.

Singing a kid song gives room for the child to interact with other children in a group and develop important social skills like turn taking and respect for others.

Kids songs allow children to learn.

Singing a good kid song allows a child to learn about the world around him. The song Wheels on the Bus teaches a child about transport. A perennial favorite, Old Macdonald had a Farm, teaches the names of animals.

They are fun.

A child learns in the midst of fun as he sings his favorite kid song. There isn't the pressure of having to read correctly or do math with accuracy.

They embrace concepts, unconsciously, while having a little fun.

They are easily remembered.

A kid song is easily remembered and tends to stick. Children leave school singing its verses for a long time.

They are positive.

These songs are upbeat and have a way of simply pushing you on in the middle of a tiring day.

You'll notice a smile on your 3 or 4 year old as he singing because they've raised his endorphin level.

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How to write a kid song

A kid song should ..

  • Be catchy
  • Have repetitive yet engaging lyrics
  • Have an upbeat melody that is easily sung
  • Have an upbeat tempo
  • Embrace simple concepts
  • Be positive

What makes a good kid song?

For a kid song to make an imprint on a child's mind, the song writer has to note the elements that would give it impact.

It must be catchy.

The song should catch the attention of the child straight away. Long winded verses with lengthy words will certainly not help to make it more so.

The melody should be lively and engaging.

Unless it's supposed to function as a lullaby, a song for children to sing together should

not be draggy or morose, or it loses attention.

It should have an upbeat tempo.

Most children dislike moving to slow tunes. The ones they do like are usually energetic and elicit a little laugh after singing.

It should embrace simple concepts.

Lyrics that teach simple life skills or everyday concepts like transport, animals or even a trip to the supermarket make a useful and engaging kid song.

It must be positive.

The lyrics of a good kid song shouldn't have negative connotations, as these dampen the mood or even lead children to entertain negative ideas.


Kid Song Lyrics

Kid Song Lyrics


Here's a simple little ditty I wrote to teach 3 to 4 year olds about bath time.

Bath Time


Verse 1


We will hop right in,

and we will splish and splash,

splish and splash,

Splish and splash

We will hop right in

and we will splash and splash

All the time.


Versw 2


We will take the brush

And we wil scrub and scrub

Scrub and scrub

We will take the brush

And we will scrub and scrub

The dirt away.


Verse 3


We squeeze shampoo

And we will wash and wash,

Wash and wash,

Wash and wash

We squeeze shampoo

And we will wash and wash

Wash it clean.


Verse 4


We take a towel (1 syllable)

And we'll wipe us dry,

Wipe us dry,

Wipe usdry


We take a towel

And we'll wipe us dry

Dry it up.

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Which of these is your favorite?

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I've Been Working On The Railroad

Our favorite kid songs and their origins.

You're bound to remember these popular tunes for kids, which are deeply rooted in history and spirituality.

I've been working on the railroad

An American folk song that gradually became popular with children, the earliest version appeared as the Levee Song appeared in Camina Princetonia, a compilation of songs Princeton University published in 1894,

The earliest recording of the song was by Sandhills Sixteen in 1927. "Dinah won't you blow is a more recent addition to the song.

John Brown's Baby

John Brown's Baby - The Kid's Version

John Brown's Baby

Popular during the American Civil War, this song was about the abolitionist John Brown.

The lyrics the begin the chorus, Glory Hallelujah, have become a popular refrain that has been added, as a medley, to other songs Like O When the Saints Go Marching In.

The song teaches children a little history. It also has a catch tempo and melody in spite of its rather serious theme.

She'll Be Coming Round The Mountain

She'll be Coming Round the Mountain

This is an uptempo song with cool, repetitive, catchy lyrics that are easily echoed in good fun.

It has greater spirituality than we first thought. It originally referred to the second coming of Christ. "She' in the song refers to the chariot returning Christ, imagined as driving.

The religious verses are not often taught in secular settings. Regardless, it's become a kid song we all remember.

Pop Goes The Weasel

Pop Goes the Weasel

This is usually played to the opening of the Jack in the Box, which is often referred to as the "Weasel". A Jack in the Box originally referred to a nasty instead of a pleasant surprise.

The song seems to have begun in 1853 as an Old English Dance performed by courtiers.It grew in popularity and even became featured in the Church of England's pamphlet.

In spite of it's slightly adult or darker origin, it's now a catchy, fun, popular kid song.

On Top of Old Smokey for Kids

On Top of Old Smokey

Old Smokey may refer to a high mountain up in the Appalachians. The tune bears remarkable resemblance to the Scottish and Irish ditties brought in by the people who populated the region.

It's not clear when the song was first recorded, though recently deceased folk singer and activist Pete Seeger said that he learned a version that was played to a banjo up in the Appalachians.

The Modern Kid Song

The ever popular Hi Five delivers what kids really want these days, with upbeat tempos, catchy melodies and repetitive though groovy and updated lyrics.

Do enjoy their compilation.

Modern Kid Songs By Hi Five

Conclusion

Kid songs are fun, a positive learning experience for a child and relatively easy to write. Some of the ones we know are steeped in rich history.

Original work by Michelle Liew Tsui-Lin

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    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      What makes a good kid song rock?

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Very nice tutorial here Michelle! I'm not a songwriter but I agree that music is crucial to a child's development.

    • janetwrites profile image

      Janet Giessl 3 years ago from Georgia country

      I can see it with my son and daughter how important kid songs are. Thank you for sharing this interesting and informative hub.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 3 years ago from london

      All extremely crucial to the kids development. Your poems are 'cool' too. Great ideas here. Blessings ...

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 3 years ago from United States

      I love making kids songs esp since they are so much fun to create and not a cell in the brain gets ruptured.

      loved your take on this :)

    • jhamann profile image

      Jamie Lee Hamann 3 years ago from Reno NV

      What a great hub! I find myself creating kids songs all day long as I play and take care of the children. I need to start paying attention and writing these down. Jamie

    • kerlund74 profile image

      kerlund74 3 years ago from Sweden

      I agree with you, songs for kids are a great way for them to learn. They have fun and learn in the same time. Fantastic hub, filled with creativity:)

    • kidscrafts profile image

      kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      I love this hub about children's songs, Michelle! Songs can be a great asset for kids to learn more efficiently for sure and on top of it's fun! What I like also about children songs, they are often associate with gestures. It's a way for children to move and make exercises as well!

      I remember that a student in high school was turning all her latin learning into songs; she said she remembered better that way :-)

      I love your picture with all the little kids playing the violin... my younger son played for 10 years with the Suzuki method ... it brings me back quite a few years :-)

      Have a great day!

    • Sam Hawkins profile image

      Sam Hawkins 3 years ago from Georgia

      Quite agree with this hub. My son is 3+ and I get him to do his home work through kids song and he is quite catching up. As a parent, I had to learn all of these to flow better with him especially the phonics aspect

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Bill!

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Janet!

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Manatiba!

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Ruchira!

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      That's cool, Jhamman!

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Yes, they certainly are fun. Thanks, Kerlund!

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Yes. Songs are a great learning strategy. Thanks for sharing, Joelle!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Great songs and kids do need the entertainment

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, DDE!

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      You know I am a big kid over thirty and I still remember the kid songs I learned as a kid. They are very important and fun! ^

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Jackie!

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