Henry plays the ukuleleHere’s a goofy seasonal song, “Jungle Bells,” that I made up, and started performing, about twelve years ago. I would bring out a big gray elephant puppet during my December children’s programs, who would tell the kids, in a deep, pompous tone of voice, how he had come all the way from Africa to sing them “our famous and extremely best-known holiday song from the hottest and stickiest jungles.” It’s a very silly take-off on that most common of secular holiday songs.

I tried to include some hints on how I’ve performed it in storytimes, and all I ask copyright-wise is if you reproduce it anywhere in print or online, please include my name as the author of the lyrics. Have fun.*

While we’re talking about music and its value with kids, I wanted to mention a book by Jackie Silberg and Cheryl Kirk Noll that I’ve found useful for musical program ideas for young children – The I Can’t Sing Book (Brilliant Publications, 2000). It includes lots of ways to introduce children to the mechanics of music – rhythms, tones, instruments, and games and activities that relate music to math and language skills, as well as the normal patterns of child development. A quote:

Children begin feeling and sensing rhythmic patterns at a very early age. A parent told me, “My baby adores music. Whenever I sing to her or play music, she jumps up and down in her crib, coos, dances, and giggles.”

It’s a great book for exposing parents and teachers who think they “aren’t musical” to the very real academic benefits of music.

*Thanks to Farida Dowler for making up a PDF version of the song for me.

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