Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

I'm Doing a Kiddies' Singalong at the Y on Thursday--Advice?

Hello, Pickers! Wayne B. here.

Turns out I’m doing a kiddies’ singalong at the Y on Thursday morning for a group of about twenty 3-, 4-, and 5-year olds. My plan is to dress funny (bow tie and funny hat) and work my way through these songs:

Shortenin’ Bread
If You’re Happy and You Know It
This Old Man
Twinkle Twinkle
Itsy Bitsy Spider
Camptown Races
Oh, Susannah
This Land is Your Land
Old MacDonald Had a Farm
Sweet Betsy from Pike
Home on the Range
Frere Jacques

That should about do it. The good news is that I can play these fairly well. The bad news is that I can’t sing worth a flip.

Any advice? I thought I might print out lyric sheets and get the minders who work there and who will be on hand (as well as any parents that might be there) to help with the singing part.


Howdy Wayne,
I am certainly not the kiddo expert, but I have found that the young kids enjoy doing hand motions and such with songs. For example, we did “This little light of mine” and “He’s got the whole world in His hands” and they seemed to enjoy the choreography as much as singing. I seem to remember from my younger years that there was choreography for a few of the songs you have listed. Most notably “Itsy Bitsy Spider” (aka Eeentsy Weentsy Spider). If you can get a helper or two (maybe a kid you can rehearse with) to do the hand motions while you play and sing, it might help them get into it. Yes, I think I just suggested that you get a “plant” in the audience. Alternately, you could show them the hand motions before you do the song.

I felt odd searching youTube for children’s songs with hand motions, but I did it nonetheless. Here’s one example of hand motions for the spider song:

Excellent, thanks Mike…W.

I’m a little tea pot short and stout…

Jesus loves me this I know…

Has anybody seen my Kitty, has anybody seen my cat…

The more fun you have the more the kids will have, so enjoy and have a great time!

From my experience with the kiddos (limited to pretty much teaching at Bible Camp and a few school gigs here and there) they love when a volunteer is selected. Arms shoot up, hands wave faster than a rattlesnake tail, and a wave of “me! me! me! me!” hits your ears. They also like to see their peers that are picked up in front of everyone doing stuff. Sometimes they’re amazed, sometimes they get to laugh at each other, but either way they stay engaged pretty well.

Also, at the beginning introduce your banjo and ask questions about it. Start off with “Does anybody know what this instrument is?” and then go from there to how do you play it and stuff like that. This peaks their interest about the instrument and engages their interest to watch just how you play this weird contraption that you just described.

Key of G might be difficult for little kids, C is probably easier for them to sing in.