Sunday, September 29, 2019

More Free Little Wordless Books!

These wordless books are great because:

  • Children love little books (my grandaughter squirrels them away in pockets or little bags)
  • Children love to sing (just eavesdrop on any child; you'll hear singing!)
  • Children love to have their own books (well, duh! Who doesn't'?)
  • Children love being able to read the pictures (Words aren't the only way to read!)
  • Children experience success as they sing, letting the lyrics of the song guide the turning of the pages
There are lots of tips and more books little wordless books to print here Printable Books to Sing
And don't forget, every book has a song to go with it which you can download next to the printable, or use the qr code reader on your smartphone to connect with the song using the qr code on each little book. So you can read and sing wherever you are!

Read to Sing and Sing to Read! Day 28 of 30: Exploring the Free Resources
These little wordless books (also called zines) are one of my favorite resources! The nursery rhymes are familiar to children, so they know the sequencing and when to turn the page. The QR code on each cover will instantly take you to the song simply sung. Or you can download the songs when you go print out the books. I created them for use with family literacy, but they are great for all children.  
To learn more about how to use and to download, print, and make them, go to

And here's a little trivia about these little books..
They were illustrated by my good friend, Charlie Williams, cartoonist, author, and sound impressionist, aka, Noiseguy. He also contributed to my Tips and Tricks from the Experts page. Read his wonderful article here. Tips and Tricks From the Experts

Thursday, September 26, 2019

What's Right With This Picture? Day 26: Exploring the Free Resources

When I started the community project I hadn't thought about the documentation I would need. I was unbelievably lucky to have two moms who were also photographers attend most of my events. Without any direction from me they snapped amazing photos of children and families, photos I couldn't have been able to move forward without. The photo below is possibly my favorite. For in the moment I hadn't realized what it so perfectly captured... do you see it?
All of these children and their grown-ups are engaged. Not one is on a cell phone; all are simply and incredibly present. I honestly got chills when I saw it and realized what I hadn't seen before. And I thought, it is possible to do this. This photo is my north star for this project. With deepest appreciation to Carey Moncaster, photographer, mother,  and human being extraordinaire.

All of the songs and printable books, and homemade instruments and information on Sing With Our Kids are simply there to support singing in real time, with our friends and families, so that we reap all the benefits it has to offer. Check it out, if you haven't already.- and sing to be present!

All are present and accounted for!

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Pop Goes the Weasel; A Canary in the Coal Mine

Sing With Our Day 25 of 30: Exploring the Free Resources

I started Sing With Our Kids with two broad goals:

  • Provide families with (traditional) songs to sing.
  • Provide  opportunities to sing them, so they are sung

Why? Because in order to sing together, we need to know the same songs. Songs are like familiar expressions. Just as most people know what the expression "canary in the coal mine" means, songs carry unspoken understanding of language, culture, and ancestry. The good news is, that there are so many songs to choose from that you can pick and choose the ones you like. So if a weasel isn't your thing, there are plenty more for you to share. Keep singing to keep these songs around for our children's children,.

In my work as a songwriter and performer I see every day which songs are slipping away from our collective memory. Pop Goes the Weasel is one of those. Whenever I do this event with a parachute and a ball (to pop at the appropriate time), I spend some time teaching the song to many of the people gathered. These songs that have been around for hundreds of years have served us well; connecting one generation to the next and giving us a common thread. I hope they will be there for our children's children. I hope I'm doing my part to make sure they are. If you don't know Pop Goes the Weasel! you can of course hear and download it and many other traditional songs on Sing With Our Kids .

Perfect Song for a Windy Fall Day!

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Timing Is Everything! Day 24 of 30
Exploring the Free Resources

Since I'm doing my community project in real time, things crop up that are new and will be added to the website. And sometimes you find the perfect book (of sources this is subjective, but nevertheless..). At Island Books last week I was introduced to one of these perfect books. Beautiful illustrations, rhyming text that's fun to read, a very sweet story, and of course- it's about singing..singing together! I can't wait to share it tomorrow, and coincidentally my free song of the month is  Everybody Has a Song to Sing . I plan to read the book and sing the song, and I invite you to do the same.

The perfect companion book to my new song, "Everybody Has a Song to Sing"

Monday, September 23, 2019

The Thing About Singing... Day 23 of 30
Exploring the Free Resources

The thing about singing is that no matter where you are, if you start doing it- and you sing songs people know, they will join in- especially if there are children! When I put word out to my community that I was doing a project and anyone could invite me to lead a sing-along, this is what happened. A block party, complete with street sign, fire engine, families, hamburgers, scooters and helmets, political signs, and singing! By holding singing events in unexpected places, I hope to get people thinking about how much fun it is to sing. And once that happens, the door is open.What songs would you sing in your neighborhood at a block party? Which songs would your neighbors know? Visit the Sing With Our Kids Song Library for ideas about traditional songs and roundup anyone who plays and instrument to join your neighborhood band. Every song has an mp3 and lead sheet with
chords to get you going.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Books With A Beat...(Beat... Beat) Day 21 of 30: Exploring the Free Resources

This smallish group of picture books pack a big punch! They have such a strong rhythm that it almost feel like you're singing them. You can't help but read them with extra inflection, drawing out some words and making other crisp and snappy. Children are absolutely riveted by them and it's worth seeking them out. After all, rhythm is the foundation of music and of language, and these books have it in spades. Just be sure to free your inner BEE-bopper! They are VERY fun to read and share, and when you see how mesmerized the kids are, you will be equally bitten by the beat!

To learn more about how to find and use these books, and to browse for more titles, go to the Sing With Our Kids bookshelf

Friday, September 20, 2019

Pete the Cat and More Like That! (Books With a Song in the Story) day 20 of 30: Exploring the Free Resources

Books like Pete the Cat, invite children to sing a song that is repeated several times throughout the story. Since the song punctuates something that happens, it usually lends itself to a little attitude! Children gain confidence singing the same song, like they're in on a little joke- and it builds listening skills since you have to.. well, listen!  These are also great for readers who are more comfortable reading with a little singing, as opposed to the other way around. So it has the added benefit of building confidence in the reader- even and adult!

If your kids like reading one of these over and over, try out a different "voice" every time your read it (for extra silliness)!
for information on finding and using these books, and to browse titles, go to the Sing With Our Kids bookshelf

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Picture books Based on Traditional Songs Day 18 of 30: Exploring the Free Resources

Nursery rhymes and folk songs come to life with traditional or new lyrics and a wide variety of illustrations. These are especially good for adults who aren't comfortable singing, as the tunes will be familiar. Also great for introducing ESL students to our folk songs and nursery rhymes. and when new words are put to familiar tunes, as is the case in so many of these, it taps in to the way we all learn best; by teaching new information to something familiar.

There are an infinite number of published titles!

Take, for example, The Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly. There must be fifty different illustrated versions of this song! Each version has a whole new set of words, and vocabulary explodes with each new story . We know the number of words a child knows when entering kindergarten is a leading indicator of success in reading. Illustrations define the words and they are accumulated and repeated with each new verse. Since children know the tune, they jump right in and sing- there is no teaching.

Because there are so many versions of these traditional songs, you can seek out topics that interest your child, In the picture above, you;ll see a version of the song, Baa, Baa, Black Sheep now Car, Car, Truck, Jeep. These books are always children's favorites; I think they think someone has personalized them just for them!

In a classroom situation, these books work magic on a restless group. As I visit preschools I always have a few tucked into my bag for a wiggly day emergency- and  they ALWAYS work!

The only tricky thing about these books is they can be difficult to find. Go to and look at the lists and suggestions. Ask your children's librarians to recommend their favorites. If you find one you love but it's out of print, go to It's an aggregate site, so it lists used and new books from all over the United States, Great Britain, and other places. I have been able to find every title I have looked for by checking frequently. New old books come up all the time, and used library books are constantly being weeded. 

Follow on Instagram At #SingWithOurKids  and Facebook at Sing With Our Kids

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Books That Sing! Day 17 of 30: Exploring the Free Resources

Thousands of picture books incorporate songs or rhythm making them irresistible and invaluable. There are so many of these, that in researching the for, I decided to break them into four categories. Each has unique characteristics with different benefits beyond wonderful illustrations, text, and songs. 

Books Based on Traditional Songs : Nursery rhymes and folk songs come to life with traditional or new lyrics and a wide variety of illustrations. These are especially good for adults who aren't comfortable singing, as the tunes will be familiar. Also great for introducing ESL students to our folk songs and nursery rhymes

Books Based on Original Songs: If you have a favorite original children's song, there's a good chance it's been published as a picture book! Whether it's a classic like You Are My Sunshine, or contemporary song or show tune, the variety is amazing! It's a wonderful way for adults to share a favorite song that isn't typically thought of as a children's song. The illustrations bridge the generations.  

Books With a Song In a Story: Books like Pete the Cat, where the song is repeated and children spontaneously join in. Having the repeated song builds listing skills and makes them truly interactive.They build listening skills as children will listen for the repeated song or phrase. These are great if you're more comfortable reading most of the story.

Books With A Beat  There are a small number of books with such a strong rhythm that it almost feel like you're singing them. You can't help but read them with extra inflection, drawing out some words and making other crisp and snappy. Children are absolutely riveted by them and it's worth seeking them out.

So now that you know about these, go to the website and read more about how to choose and find them, and more of the benefits.  Books That Sing But be forewarned- once you read and sing a few, you'll become addicted!

Monday, September 16, 2019

Early Literacy from an Empty Kleenex Box and a Song Day 16 of 30: Exploring the Free Resources

The best games and activities are the ones that children invent during the process of self discovery. My granddaughter discovered that she could drop some small toys into an empty Kleenex box and shake it to make sound. The plastic stretched across the top kept the toys from falling out. She then started singing to the rhythm. It was brilliant (let's face it- children are brilliant)! She generously allowed me to start singing the ABC song, shaking the box in rhythm until we would stop in the middle, reach into the box, and pull something out. Seeing a opportunity, I suggested we put her magnetic letters in the box. When she stopped and she pulled a letter out, I named it along with a couple of words starting with that letter. And just like that we had played rhythm, shaken the box to match the syllables in the song, named letters, and words. All of this from an empty Kleenex box that would have been discarded by anyone but a small child! Who says early literacy is dry and boring?We played until it was time for the Kleenex box to become something else. And that's how the magic happens! Download the ABC song and get more ked-tested ideas from the "Gift Shop" page on

Sunday, September 15, 2019

A Gift Shop, Where Everything is Free! Day 15 of 30: Exploring the free resources

We had a lot of fun creating a "gift shop" made of free resources from the website (DIY CD' s and books, teacher gifts), and a few random "free" things to make. The printable gift card is one of my favorites.The "library card"  is actually a card good for trips to the library, and getting to choose your own books. When my kids were little and we had no money, I would check out a bunch of books on topics they loved, put a bow around it, and give it, along with the promise of more trips to the library. In a time when many parents have even less time than money, this is truly a gift- of so many things! Here is where you can find the printable card
Of course, you can always make your own! 

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Go Where the Kids (and Parents) Are!

When I launched Sing with Our Kids eight years ago one the goals for my community project was to "go where the kids are," instead of only having them come to me in the library or other typical setting. I wanted to reach the families who didn't know about the power of singing with their kids, especially in building early literacy. By opening myself up to the possibilities, the possibilities became reality! I even found myself in a backyard, with tots and parents, dogs and hot dogs on the barbeque.

You would think this would be the worst place to try to give a talk about early literacy skills and singing. But even with the tots and trikes, these parents were focused and eager to learn. They had lots of questions and I was happy to have lots of answers! Thinking outside of the box is what Sing With Our Kids is all about. And with the website, you have access to all the materials I use in these talks  Here's a page to get you started... Look for more information on this and other events, and how you can do them in your own community!

Yes, that is a real dog in the bottom left corner!

Friday, September 13, 2019

Homemade Instruments That Sound Great! Day 13 of 30: Exploring the Free Resources

Sing With Our Kids is a community project AND website for free songs and resources(more about that in upcoming days). Here we made these great paper mache fruit shakers. It was such a beautiful day and such a great way to do an otherwise messy project! You'll find these and other wonderful homemade instruments and songs to sing with them on the activity pages here

Paper mache is messy business, but not a problem outdoors!

Thursday, September 12, 2019

and One More Photo Book to Read and Sing!  Day 12 of 30: Exploring the Free Resources

...One more photo book for you to make.
I'll Drive a Dump Truck!

What could be better than a collection of vehicles in your own community, with photos of your kids added. I am very low tech at heart, so I just cut out photos of the kids and glued them onto the pages once I printed them out. The pages then go into page projectors and a three ring binder. Done! You can get really creative and have the kids pose or put on all kinds of costumes - princess, super hero, whatever you have.
Here's the link to the book and full instructions.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Another Photo Book to Read and Sing! Day 11 of 30 : Exploring the Free Resources

Another Photo Book to Read and Sing!

"Let's Go to the Market" features photos of your own community. Simply take some photos of places you go with your children, insert them in the Word file, and change the text. Print the pages and put them into a three-ring binder and you're ready to read and sing! You can also cut out photos of your children and simply glue then onto the photos, like I did. Either way, children love having a book and song about them and their favorite places. The song is short and just right for singing once before you turn the page. 
More ideas:

  • For a classroom project to share with families, take photos in centers or other spaces where children work and play and use those for your pages. An example of  that would be ..."Let's go to the art table, let's go right away. We can paint and draw and cut, and then we'll go and play!" .you get the idea! 
  • Make a video with the photos and record children singing the song. 
  • Find the Word file and song here

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Sing Your Own Photo Book! Day 10 of 30: Exploring the Free Resources

Community Picture Books to Read and Sing!

Oh boy! Now we get to some of my favorite free resources; printable books to read and sing.
Of the many different kinds I have, the photo books are my favorite. Using your own photos, you can make a simple book that's about your family, or and your community. Download the templates in Word, replace my photos with yours, and change the text. For this one, I have photos of family members- including the dog. As you sit with your baby in you lap and sing they will hear all of their family names sung in a sweet song. By including family that lives far away, your baby will get to know them by hearing their names and seeing their faces. Sweet! This also makes a great shower gift.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Can You Hear Me Now? (and are you listening?) Day 9: Exploring the Free Resources

Taking steps to ensure a healthy voice is important,
but equally important is the belief and confidence that we can sing.

Protecting our ears in an increasingly noisy world is vitally important, but hearing is different than listening, and listening is what allows us to sing together.

(and yes, everyone can sing!)

So I've dedicated a couple of pages to laying it all out and offering some tips for your body and mind. You can read all about it here..

Add caption

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Help! I Can't Think of a Single Song!

Sing With Our Kids Day 9 of 30: Exploring the Free Resources

I’m sure I know hundreds, maybe thousands of songs ( and I’ve written hundreds), but sometimes I can't seem to think of  a single one! When that happens, or when I just need  a little inspiration (like at the beginning  of the school year), I go to my own website.

The Tips and Tricks From the Experts  page has short interviews with eleven of my favorite experts when it comes to singing with children- and they aren’t all musicians- or even singers! Anyone who works or lives with babies or young children knows you need a toolbox of songs to get you through the day. I asked these experts each three questions, and to name three of their favorite traditional songs. When you read their choices and why they love them you will want to sing them too! You may not know them..or you may have forgotten them.. But this is Sing With Our Kids, so of course I have recorded each song and put a link to it right there so you can strike while the iron is hot! Easy peasy.

So get yourself a cup of coffee or tea and take a few minutes to read and be inspired!

(and yes, it’s true. I really DO go to my own website to get inspired)

"Oh where, oh where have my little songs gone.. oh where, oh where can they be?"

Friday, September 6, 2019

A Baker's Dozen of Songs to Read and Sing Day 6 of 30: Exploring the Free Resources
Don’t know where to start when looking for books to read and sing? Well I’ve done the work for you, and the work is pure fun!
My Baker’s Dozen is a collection of 13 recorded traditional songs that have been published picture books. Most have new lyrics and  illustrations, taking these traditional tunes in every direction you can imagine! (think Old Macdonald Had a Farm, or a Workshop, or a Garden, or a Truck…). There are endless things you can do with just these thirteen songs and the picture books they have inspired. Endless topics, endless vocabulary, characters, illustrations… it’s endless! To make it even more fun. I have created thirteen fun activities you can do with them, and put them into automatic weekly e-mails you can sign up for. These are great for the classroom or for you to share with your children. And you can:

*Download the songs in one zip file or individually
*Sign-up for 13 weekly e-mails of fun easy  and silly activities you can do with these songs
*Print out CD cover and artwork and make your own CD and gather books for a gift
*Visit library and go on treasure hunt for titles
 For all this free stuff (no signup or password- it’s really free!) Here's the link

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Read to Sing , and Sing to Read Day 5: Exploring the Free Resources

I've never sung to my son," a mother told me I following a presentation I'd just given.  "I'm just not comfortable singing." 
Then she put her hand on this book I had used and said, "But I can do books, and with this-  I think I could sing..."  

Sometimes it takes a song to read. 
And sometimes it takes a book to sing.

Learn all about these "Books that Sing," and why they are so compelling. Then browse though the titles and hear the matching songs.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Look, Ma, I'm reading! (and singing)

Sing With Our Kids Day 4: Exploring the Free Resources

Picture books base on song are my obsession! There are so many reasons to love them (but that's for another post). But there are few picture books based on songs where the text follows the traditional lyrics. Why would you care? Because for emergent readers, non-English-speaking children, and family literacy programs,  these are a powerful doorway into our culture and language. I have collected them on, and most are widely available at local libraries and book stores. And here's the really neat thing; next to each book title is the mp3 which follows the exact traditional text in the book! So if you don't know the song, or you don't speak English, or you don't know how to read, you can hold a real book and hear the melody and words together. Cool, huh?

Here's a link to the page with these books and songs, all together.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

What the Heck is a QR Code? (and why should you care)

Day 3 Exploring Free Resources on

These weird little black squiggly boxes are the key to hearing and learning the songs your child sings at school or at library story time, so you can sing them at home! Every song in the SWOK song library has a poster with its own QR code that will take you to the song on your smartphone, no typing, just point and connect.

If you are a teacher or children’s librarian, print and post the sign for each song you sing (trust me, there are many you are already singing, and many adults don’t know or can’t remember them).
If you are a parent, grandparent, or care provider, just open the QR code reader on your smartphone (they all have one), and the songs will magically appear. Ta da! Didn't I say it was magic?
It’s all there. Nothing to buy. All you have to do is use it! 

Anyone can create and use this nifty tool.  Learn more about it here, and share this with your child's teacher or care provider.

Monday, September 2, 2019

It begins with the Songs!  Day 2: Exploring the Free Resources

On you will find over 100 free songs to download. Every song includes the mp3, sheet music with chords, and a song poster (more about the song poster in the next post!). These songs are recorded simply and slowly, so you can understand the words and young children and non-English speakers and learn them. You'll even song collections and printable booklets with lyrics like the campfire sing-along lyrics we used in the photo. Check it out! Sometimes the only thing you need to do to get people singing is to provide the forgotten lyrics!

Campfire sing-alongs indoors, or out- they are all magical!

Sunday, September 1, 2019

It Was Supposed to be a One-Year Project...

Eight years ago today, after months of planning, research, and an obsessive amount of work, I launched Sing With Our Kids. It was supposed to be a one-year community project and free resource website to promote early learning through community singing. Eight years later I can say it's been amazing journey, with exciting plans for the coming year! To celebrate, beginning today and throughout September, I’ll be highlighting the many free songs, activities, and resources available at While you're waiting for the next post... (tomorrow), have a look at the website. That should keep you busy until then!