Baby SOH was over for tea, last night, which was a treat. She is much bigger than a baby these days, but still the baby of our family!

We exchanged the stories of the day, and after the meal was over, it was time for some singing.

“Down by the Bay” is a song I have sung many times with groups of children and adults, and the time was right for introducing Baby SOH to this great song.

Children have the opportunity to create their own verses, by choosing an animal to sing about. They also explore the sounds of language, by finding words to rhyme with that animal. This is wonderful preparation for literacy, for reading and spelling.

Children also have the opportunity to sing by themselves, in this “Call and Response” song.

This song is great fun!! There are so many different animals to choose from, and so many rhyming words to explore too!! And so many laughs to be had, together as a family.

Find out how to sing this song, at, and many others, that develop your child’s musical skills, and are also great preparation for the first years at school.

Keep singing Baby SOH, I really enjoy hearing your beautiful and tuneful voice.

Love from Nannyjay

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Speaking Voices and Singing Voices

Children’s Voices

Our voice is a very important part of our identity.   We communicate emotion and meaning with our voices, and it’s one of the ways we connect with others.  The amazing thing is that all voices sound different!!

The children, and ourselves, can experience all the elements of music with their voices and the movement of their bodies.  This develops an inner musicality which enriches their lives, whether they learn a pitched instrument or not, and nurtures a love of music and the sense of well being only music can bring in every day life.

What are the elements of music?

  • Duration: Beat, Rhythm, Tempo
  • Pitch
  • Dynamics
  • Tone Colour
  • Structure

Children learn about the elements of music using rhyme and song with the Kodaly philosophy

Baby SOH came home after school this afternoon wearing a crown that she had made for the day.

She was very excited about this crown, and we started talking together about the rhymes we knew that had a queen in them.  Of course Baby SOH loves to make up her own rhymes which is great, and she loves playing with rhyming words!!

What a great way to become familiar with the sounds of language.

One of her favourites is Pussycat Pussycat Where have you been?  This is a great rhyme, because it is a question and answer rhyme, and adult and child/group can take turns to be the cat.  It also gives lots of opportunity to use expressive voices, to experiment with the pitch and dynamics, and experience the beat and rhythm of the text.

Pussycat pussycat where have you been?

I’ve been up to London to visit the queen.

Pussycat pussycat what did you there?

I  frightened a little mouse under her chair! (traditional)


Using puppets, the hand-made version with a paddlepop stick or the commercial variety, provides the opportunity for FUN, and encourages less confident children to speak by themselves, as their attention is on the puppet.


Speaking Voices and Singing Voices

It takes time for children to develop an awareness of their singing and speaking voices.

Baby SOH found some sentences she had brought home from school a while back, and starting reading them in her speaking voice.  I started singing them with a simple melody just for fun.

She said she was singing too, although she was speaking.

After a few turns, she intentionally used her singing voice rather than her speaking voice and made up her own melody.  Children are music makers!!

As a grandmother and teacher

I really find it very  enjoyable and rewarding to facilitate opportunities for young children to develop confidence and musicality (exploring pitch, in-tune) when using their voice.

I love to hear you sing Baby SOH!  Nannyjay

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Rainy day singing for a 5 year old

Baby SOH has just turned 5!!

She had spent the day at OOSH, and it was an aweful wet and cold afternoon. When driving home, I said “Rain, rain go away come again another day”

And Baby SOH said, “Little … wants to play”

Just like we used to. We kept singing it on the way home, and then we added “Little Daddy wants to play” and then “Big Daddy wants to play”.

We know this game well. Then we went inside, and and Baby SOH said she wanted to go to bed and listen to lullabies. Hooray!! I thought, she still likes those.

First of all, she wanted lots of stories. Then I sang “Sleep, children, sleep.
Your father tends the sheep, Your mother shakes the dreamland tree, And down come all your dreams for thee. Sleep, children, sleep.”

A version of a German Lullabye.

It’s so lovely to still share these warm moments on a cold, windy and wet day!!

Love from Nannyjay

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The Swan from Saint Saens

Baby SOH just loves to move to music. We visited her home on Father’s Day, and she was bopping along to some great music.

Baby SOH loves classical music too. She has loved Dance of the Toy Flutes, by Tchaikovsky, and her movements in our loungeroom have reflected how she has felt the music inside herself.

Today, she asked for Track 9 too (Dance of the Toy Flutes), and we tried The Swan today also. I thought it might be a bit slow, but she loved it, and moved gracefully with her whole body using movements of her own creation. She keep asking “Play it again”. And finally said in a big voice “I love that song!”. WOW!

She remembered her dancing when we were talking before she went to sleep. We talked about it with big Daddy.

Keep dancing through life, Baby SOH! love NannyJay

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I am the Music Man

I am the Music Man I come from far away …. A Child’s Play picture book, illustrated by Debra Potter.

I read it to Baby SOH when she was much younger, and she loved it then.

She has rediscovered the book this week. I have been singing this song with my preschool classes in early learning centres.

After hearing it a couple of time, she now can sing it herself. She sang it to Mum and she sang it to Pa when they came home.

We discovered all sorts of hidden treasures in the pictures, such as the music notes on each level of the house. The different ways the instruments arrive at the house. The animals on each page. And the percussion instruments on the last page.

It’s so wonderful to hear you singing this yourself, Baby SOH.

I love you. Love from Nannyjay

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Bye lo Baby O

I love this song, and we sang it at playgroup today.

It is beautiful in its simplicity, and so versatile with young children.

They love to hear their name in any song.

This one is a lullabye, however can be used to send children off to lunch or whatever.

Today we went around the circle and put everyone’s name in the song, one by one.

Bye lo Baby O off to dreamland you must go.  I heard someone singing Bye Lo as they rode their tricycle.  Even 5 year old boys like this one.

Baby SOH and I sang it when we came home, and we put lots of different names in the song – friends, family, pets.

When Mumma came in the afternoon, Baby SOH sang it to her and put Mumma’s name in there and other names as well.

What a great song to share, Baby SOH.  Love from Nannyjay






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I’ve got a Teddybear

We followed up Rickety rickety rocking horse, with this great song by Julie Wylie from New Zealand.

Children start by dancing with their teddybear on their head, and then teddy does a great little jump!

Teddies go on each shoulder, and behind their back and pop out with a lovely BOO!  The music is fun with a good sense of beat.

This song is from Julie’s latest CD, Magical Musical Play.  I really find Julie’s work so appropriate for young children, and very enjoyable for all.  Even the big play partners were enjoying it.  The bears all went to bed with Rock a bye Baby.  I said who knows that song, of course Baby SOH did, because I have sung it to her since she was a baby.

The vocals are clear too in the teddybear song.  I know Baby SOH enjoyed it, and we had it on at bathtime as well, and she was grooving in the bath.  I had it on so I could learn the words of the other songs as well. 

We cant wait to do it again next week!  love from Nannyjay


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Rickety Rocking Horse

Baby SOH and I have really enjoyed playgroup, and I have often led the music for the group.

It’s one of my most enjoyable music experiences.

This week I took my big bag of teddybears.  Teddies are great fun at music, and often the favourite is the one that’s a little bit different, such as the orange one, or the little one. 

We bounced our bears on our knee, just like Mums bounce their babies. 

Rickety rickety rocking horse, over the fields we go.

Rickety rickety rocking horse, giddy up, giddy up, WHOA!  (get faster on the giddy ups)

This was a great follow up to the story we had just heard, Fast faster.  What a great way for young children to experience and talk about tempo.

Baby SOH had fun, and I did too. 

Love from Nannyjay



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Fun with Rhyming Words

Baby SOH – such a grown up baby of 4 years now!!

The other day I heard Baby SOH playing with words – she repeated two of them over and over, and then said “They sound the same”. 

I explained these were rhyming words, words that end with the same sound.   Familiarity with rhyming words builds a knowledge of language.

Playing with rhyming words is also lots of fun for children.  There are particular songs which encourage children to create their own verses using rhyming words in particular phrases.   One that comes to mind is Down by the Bay.  Children love that song, and they love creating new verses for other people to respond to and enjoy the humour that is often part of the whole process. 

Boo to a Goose, by Mem Fox, is a wonderful picture book, with lots of rhyming words for children to explore. 

Happy Birthday Baby SOH, I know you will enjoy this book.  Love from Nannyjay








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My little red wagon

It is such a lovely day in Sydney.

Baby SOH and I are sitting on our back porch painting. 

I started singing Jolting up and down in my little red wagon.

I have sung that song in music class for many years and the children love it. 

It has that lovely repeated line “Wont you be my darling”. 

Jolting up and down in my little red wagon,
Jolting up and down in my little red wagon,
Jolting up and down in my little red wagon,
Wont you be my darling.

SNAP!  Children love the snap and clapping their hands loudly, and talking about a broken wheel.  Change of tempo!

Then we talk about who is going to fix it.  Daddy, Mumma, Pa, Granny and on it goes.

One wheel’s off and the axle’s dragging,
One wheel’s off and the axle’s dragging,
One wheel’s off and the axel’s dragging,
Wont you be my darling.

Daddy’s got a hammer and he will fix it,
Daddy’s got a hammer and he will fix it,
Daddy’s got a hammer and he will fix it,
Wont you be my darling.

Going to the party (or wherever) in my little red wagon,

Its fun talking about all the places we could go.

Where are you going?

What fun, love from Nannyjay

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