Summer songs A-E

A fish story

A little green frog

A picnic on the grass

A swarm of bees

Apusski dusky

Around and round Miss Maggie / On a long summer’s day

Bananas, bananas / Ampar-ampar pisang

Bees! Zum! Zum!

Before  the roses come

Blackberries / Berries turned green

Butterflies are better bugs?

Come bright butterfly

Daisy, daisy, open your eye

Dance with the sun

Dandelion clocks

Day oh! / The banana boat song

Donkey riding  - alternative version

Donna, donna

Down at the seashore

Down in the jungle (2)

Summer songs I-S, T-Z

Also see:

Down in the grass, curled up in a heap

Going down to Devon

My shadow

Over in the meadow

Rock gently sailboat

Scraping up sand (Shiloh)

She sailed away on a lovely summer’s day

Last updated: 6/27/2022 9:46 AM

The songs below are part ofAway we gocompiled, adapted and illustrated by Dany Rosevear

Return to the ‘Singing games for children’ home page

To listen to music from these songs click on 🔊

To watch the author sing a song click on the title at:

 

© Dany Rosevear 2008 All rights reserved

You are free to copy, distribute, display and perform these works under the following conditions:

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Your fair use and other rights are no way affected by the above.


 

 

A fish story 🔊

 

 


It was how big?!  A little action story about a big whale.

Not sure if this was written or translated by Susanna Myers as it is listed as a Polish folk song. It is from “A child’s book of songs” by Robert Foresman published 1928.

 

Mime fishing, move hands apart in increments until thoroughly stretched. Tap head, cross hands at wrists and flap. Nod, stretch again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


When I was fishing I saw a big fish,

A big one, I tell you, a very big, big fish!

Oh, this was its size, from its head to its tail –

I think it quite likely that it was a whale!


 

 

A little green frog once lived in a pool 🔊

 

 


You don’t need much to be happy!

A poem by Rose Fyleman

Music by Dany Rosevear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


A little green frog once lived in a pool,

The sun was so hot and the water so cool.

He stayed in the water the whole day long,

Singing his dear little, queer little song,

"Quaggery, quaggery, quaggery dee,

No one was ever so happy as me!"


 

 

 

A picnic on the grass 🔊

 

 


Eating in the open air. Written by Homer H. Harbour from ‘140 folk songs’ published 1921.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Were you ever on a picnic

When the summer sky is blue,

With the green grass for a table

And for tablecloth too?

 

With the platters made of oak leaves

Tied together with a string,

And with cups made out of birch bark

You can drink from the spring.

 

Picking flowers, picking berries,

Till the good things all are spread;

Eating dinner in the sunshine

While the birds sing o'erhead.


 

 

A swarm of bees 🔊

 

 


A traditional wisdom / folklore / rhyme. Oral nd a great discussion point about bees seasonal behaviour and their natural relationship with the flowers.

Music and arrangement by Dany Rosevear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


A swarm of bees in May

Is worth a load of hay;

A swarm of bees in June

Is worth a silver spoon;

A swarm of bees in July

Is not worth a fly.

Buzzy buzz, buzzy buzz,

Buzzy buzz, buzz!

Is not worth a fly!


 

 

 

Apusski dusky O

 

 


A traditional song, so it is said, but I cannot find out where this song originated. I found this calming gentle song from a sheet cut out of a schools song pamphlet but am unsure which one – it was p.18!

Hooray, I have recently been informed this is a Swedish children’s song ‘ I medelhavet’ words below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


In middle ocean, sardines are swimming,

Apusski dusky, apusskidu.

A boat sails over, down comes a net.

Apusski dusky, apusskidu.

 

One wise old sardine flicks out a warning,

Apusski dusky, apusskidu.

Swift through the water they dart away.

Apusski dusky, apusskidu.

 

With tails a-flashing, sardines are swimming,

Apusski dusky, apusskidu.

So full of joy that they’re swimming free.

Apusski dusky, apusskidu.

 

Swedish version:

I medelhavet sardiner simmar apu, apu, apu, apu,

Men i mitt hjärta där simmar du apu, apu, apu, apu.

In middle Ocean sardines are swimming, apu, apu, apu, apu,

But my heart is swimming to you, apu, apu, apu, apu.

 

In MittelMehre Sardinen schwimmen, apu, apu, apu, apu,

Aber in mein Herz da schwimmst ja du, apu, apu, apu, apu.

I medelhavski sardinski simmski, apusskidusski, apusskidu,

Men i mitt hjärtski där simmski dusski, apusskidusski, apusskidu.

 

I Norska havet små torskar svömme, apu, apu, apu, apu,

Men i min blopump, där plasker du, apu, apu, apu, apu.

 


 

 

 

Around and round Miss Maggie /

On a long summer’s day  🔊

 

 


A game song from ‘The Handy Play Party Book’ published by the Cooperative Recreation Service in 1940.

Children hold hands in a circle and moves to the right; one child in the centre skips round in the opposite direction. On ‘Break the ring…’ ‘Miss Maggie’ takes one from the circle as their partner and swings them into the centre with a right arm hook. S/he then moves to the one who was standing on her partner’s right and swings them all the way round with a left elbow swing, then back to her partner with a right elbow swing. This continues all round the circle.  When everyone in the circle has been swung by ‘Miss Maggie’ she then steps into the circle and her partner becomes the new ‘Miss or Mr. Maggie’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Around and round Miss Maggie, on a long summer’s day,

Around and round Miss Maggie, on a long summer’s day.

 

Break the ring and take a swing, on a long summer’s day,

Break the ring and take a swing, on a long summer’s day.

 

Miss Maggie knows how to swing ‘em, on a long summer’s day,

Miss Maggie knows how to swing ‘em, on a long summer’s day.


 

 

Bananas, bananas /  

Ampar-ampar pisang  🔊

 

 


A traditional Indonesian nursery rhyme, and like many rhymes the lyrics don't make complete sense. Translated into English by Dany Rosevear.

It's cheerful bouncy melody however can be used as a finger play or this simple clapping game (to come)

Or a brilliant dance with sticks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Ww8RNi-x4E

This video, song and music was sent to me by a very kind young teacher and her colleagues; I am most grateful to Grace Sandy, Mr. Rudy, Ms.Tere and the rest of the team; thank you!

Ampar-ampar pisang” is about the making of the very popular traditional South Kalimantan food ‘rimpi’. To make rimpi bananas are spread on a sheet and dried under the sun. Both fruit flies and children are attracted by the sweet scent,

The elders often scare the children with stories of a giant lizard who like to eat the legs of those who steal.

The monitor lizard is native to South Kalimantan and can grow 3 metres in length but thankfully do not attack children!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


We’ll peel and slice bananas,

Then spread them out to dry;

When they have ripened

The fruit flies come on by,

When they have ripened

The fruit flies come on by.

 

Snap, crackle pop! Snap, crackle pop!

The firewood bends and cracks;

See the fierce flames lick and spit

Before slowly dying out,

See the fierce flames lick and spit

Before slowly dying out.

 

Oh, watch out for that lizard,

It looks for legs to bite!

Oh, watch out for that lizard,

It looks for legs to bite!

 

Ampar-ampar pisang

Pisangku belum masak

Masak bigi dihurung bari-bari

 

Manggalepok manggalepok

Patah kayu bengkok

Bengkok dimakan api

Apinya cangcurupan

 

Nang mana batis kutung

Dikitipi dawang


 

Bees! Zum! Zum! O

 

 


A song from ‘Infant Joy’ by Desmond MacMahon published in 1954.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Bees! Zum! Zum! What a merry hum.

There’s no reason for alarm,

For we won’t do you any harm!

Bees! Zum! Zum! What a merry hum.

 

Bees! Zum! Zum! What a merry hum.

Working all the sunny hours,

Sipping nectar from the flowers,

Bees! Zum! Zum! What a merry hum.


 

 

Before the roses come 🔊

 

 


A song for early summer from ‘The progressive music series’ published in 1922

By Elsie Cobb. Adapted and arranged by Dany Rosevear.

It could also easily be used as a hand play.

 

Verse 1. Draw sun and move fingers upwards. Open and close thumb and forefinger. Draw smile.  Put hand to ear. Verse 2. Throw out hands. Cross forefingers. Draw earth and move hands outwards. Smell rose.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The world is bright with sunshine,

The birds sing all the day;

The buttercups are laughing,

To hear their roundelay;

The birds sing all the day;,

Oh, hear their roundelay.

 

You’ll see life overflowing,

When bees begin to hum,

To fill the earth with beauty,

Before the roses come;

When bees begin to hum,

Before the roses come.


 

 

Blackberries / Berries turned green 🔊

 

 


Two berry picking verses: one sung, one recited with actions.

Melody arranged by Dany Rosevear.

 

1.Turn to the right, turn to the left. 2. Turn right. 3. Mime picking, point to self, nod head. 4. Make circle with arms then rub tummy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Blackberries, blackberries on the hill,

How many pails can you fill?

Briars are thick and briars scratch,

But we’ll pick all the berries in the blackberry patch.

Blackberries, blackberries on the hill,

How many pails can you fill?

 

Berries turned green, berries turned red,

Berries turned blue, then Mama said,

“Pick me a few.” I said, “Yes, Ma’am!”

So Mama made pie and blueberry jam!


 

 

Butterflies are better bugs / An insect jamboree 🔊

 

 


A homage to our flying garden friends. And a change of heart.

Words and music by Dany Rosevear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Butterflies are better bugs than any one of these:

Blue bottles and fleas, even bumble bees;

They may not buzz like hornet does, make honey from the flow’rs;

But our fragile friends they cheer no end our precious garden hours.

 

Mosquitoes, midges, moths indeed cannot quite compare

With butterfly so fair, in the summer air.

Damselflies and dragonflies they shimmer so I’m told,

But butterfly is pure delight with a beauty to behold.

 

Just watch them chase with gentle grace then settle one by one,

On flowers in the sun, sip nectar ‘til day’s done,

But ladybird and all the rest we love their company,

For a happy garden needs a world of every kind you see;

For a happy garden we all need an insect jamboree.


 

 

Come bright butterfly 🔊

 

 


A poem from the Waldorf tradition that can be used used as a hand play or for movement with scarves.

Let your garden grow wild and watch creatures such as the beautiful butterfly thrive.

This lovely little poem was written by Novalis: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novalis

Music by Dany Rosevear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Come bright butterfly, close to me,

Your beautiful wings I’d like to see.

You fly like a bird, you sip like a bee,

But you're really a flower the wind set free.


 

 

 

Daisy, daisy, open your eye 🔊

 

 


When the sun is out the daisies open. Not so sure about daisies foretelling Summer, out on my walk today I saw a bank of daisies and it is only mid March here!

Like sunflowers daisies open as the sun comes up and during the day their heads follow the sun across the sky. At dusk their petals slowly close inwards to make a cup. Daisies will only open when the sun is full, keeping closed in wet weather.

The author of this poem is unknown.

Music and second verse by Dany Rosevear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Daisy, daisy,

Open your eye.

The sun is shining

So high in the sky:

Daisy, daisy,

Close your eye.

The moon is shining

So high in the sky.

 

Pick a daisy,

Make a chain:

For the sunshine

Has come once again;

Thread each daisy,

One by one.

For now we know that

Summer has come.


 

 

Dance with the flowers 🔊

 

 


Summer brings with it light, warmth, sunshine and a lift in spirits.

Written with happy memories of Summers long past and those more recent with the grandchildren. Words and music by Dany Rosevear.

Add your own verses as there are so many things that makes Summer a special season.

This song was inspired by the Waldorf closing verse: ‘I dance with the flowers, I sing with the sun, My warmth I send to everyone.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


We’ll dance with the flowers.

We’ll sing with the sun.

Dance, dance, dance, dance everyone!

Warmth, joy and laughter,

Run, join in the fun,

White clouds and blue skies,

Summer has come!

Chorus

Summer has come, summer has come,

Sweet love and harmony,

Summer has come!

 

The world has awakened,

A spider’s web spun;

Hum, hum, hum, the honeybees hum.

Each buttercup shines like gold in the sun,

Wide-eyed are the daisies,

Summer has come!

Chorus

 

The blackbirds and thrushes

High up in the trees,

Sing, sing, sing in the warm gentle breeze;

Green leaves all a-flutter,

The west wind’s at play;

Long pleasant evenings

End wonderful days.

Chorus

 

We‘ll swim with the fishes,

Jump over the waves,

Creep, creep, creep in and out of dark caves.

Hunt in the rock pools,

Find fossils to save;

Make giant sandcastles,

On these great summer days!

Chorus


 

 

Dandelion clocks 🔊

 

 


Dandelion fun. It may only be a ‘weed’ but it is a magical part of childhood in the summertime when the golden flower turns to a silver puffball of seeds ready to be blown to the wind.

Written by Frances B. Wood to a Polish folk song, from ‘Sixty songs for little children’ published 1933.

After singing this song pick a dandelion and on each blow count the hours,  one o’clock, two o’clock  and so on until the stalk is bare.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


When I’m playing down the lane

And want to know the time,

I pick a dandelion clock

And sing this little rhyme.

Fairy clock so light and gay,

O, please tell me the time of day,

Before you fly away!

Spoken:

One o’clock, two o’clock…


 

 

 

Day oh! / The banana boat song 🔊

 

 


A traditional Jamaican folk work song that is often sung as a call and response.

Another calypso from my Birmingham teaching days in the 1960s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Day oh! Day oh!

Daylight come and I wanna go home,

Day oh! Day oh!

Daylight come and I wanna go home.

 

Work all night till morning comes,

Daylight come and I wanna go home,

Stack bananas till morning comes,

Daylight come and I wanna go home.

 

Come Mister Tally Man, tally me bananas,

Daylight come and I wanna go home,

Come Mister Tally Man, tally me bananas,

Daylight come and I wanna go home.

Day oh! Day oh!

Daylight come and I wanna go home,

Day oh! Day oh!

Daylight come and I wanna go home.

 

Lift one bunch, two bunch, three bunch, four,

Daylight come and I wanna go home,

Lift five bunch, six bunch, count some more,

Daylight come and I wanna go home.

Day oh! Day oh!…

 

Seven bunch, eight ‘til my arms are sore,

Daylight come and I wanna go home,

Nine bunch, ten bunch, go back for more,

Daylight come and I wanna go home.

Day oh! Day oh!…

 

A beautiful bunch of ripe bananas.

Daylight come and I wanna go home,

Hide the deadly black tarantula,

Daylight come and I wanna go home.

Day oh! Day oh!…

 

Come Mister Tally Man, tally me bananas,

Daylight come and I wanna go home,

Come Mister Tally Man, tally me bananas,

Daylight come and I wanna go home.

Day oh! Day oh!

Daylight come and I wanna go home,

Day oh! Day oh!

Daylight come and I wanna go home.


 

 

Donkey riding (2) 🔊

 

 


Seaside nostalgia, an alternative version to the classic song (which refers to a donkey engine aboard a ship English Folk Dance and Song Society - Donkey Riding (efdss.org))

So many of these words resonate as I grew up in Brighton and spent a lot of time on the beach

Donkeys in Brighton weren’t a big feature then, though some could be seen on the lower esplanade as the pebbles made the beach unsuitable for walking.

Find a picture of donkeys at Bognor Regis in the 1920s here: https://westsussexrecordofficeblog.com/2020/06/16/west-sussex-unwrapped-a-sussex-summertime/#:~:text=Whilst%20the%20only%20animals%20you,visit%20Bognor%20in%20around%201890.

This is a collaboration with Peter Adamson who wrote the song and produced the video. With his permission I have ‘tweaked’ some of the lyrics to engage a younger audience.

Riding donkeys was once a traditional holiday attraction in many sandy seaside resorts but sadly the donkeys weren’t always treated humanely and this activity gradually declined. Where they still exist rest times and kind treatment are now the norm. Perhaps a more acceptable option is a visit a donkey sanctuary.

See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donkey_rides .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Were you ever on the Isle of Man,

Making all your holiday plans?

Then up and away and across the sands,

Riding on a donkey.

Hanky on the head, sitting in the sun,

Deck chairs out and lots of fun,

Flask of tea and a currant bun,

And rides upon a donkey.

 

Chorus Heigh-ho, away we go,

Donkey riding, donkey riding.

Heigh-ho, away we go,

Riding on a donkey.

 

Were you ever in Blackpool,

Where the sea is nice and cool?

Out on a day trip with your school,

Riding on a donkey.

Punch and Judy shows are there,

Chips and ice cream for all to share.

You’ll see sandcastles everywhere,

Riding on a donkey.

Chorus

 

Were you ever down Bognor way,

Where the folks all shout, “Hooray!”

Here comes the Prince with a bucket and spade,

Riding on a donkey.

Chorus

Were you ever in Morecambe Bay,

Watching the sunset fade away?

For one last trip at the end of the day,

Riding on a donkey.

Chorus


 

 

Donna, donna 🔊

 

 


This song ‘Dos Kelbl’ was composed for the Yiddish theatre by Shalom Secunda; and the wonderful translation is by Arthur Kevess and Teddi Schwartz.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


On a wagon bound for market,

There's a calf with a mournful eye.

High above him there's a swallow,

Winging swiftly through the sky.

 

How the winds are laughing,

They laugh with all the their might,

Laugh and laugh, the whole day through,

And half the summer's night.

Donna, donna, donna, donna,

Donna, donna, donna, don.

Donna, donna, donna, donna,

Donna, donna, donna, don.

 

"Stop complaining", said the farmer,

Who told you a calf to be.

Why don't you have wings to fly with,

Like the swallow so proud and free.

 

Calves are easily bound and slaughtered,

Never knowing the reason why.

But whoever treasures freedom,

Like the swallow has learned to fly.


 

 

Down at the seashore 🔊

 

 


A summer seaside action rhyme.

Music by Dany Rosevear.

 

1. Wiggle toes. 2. Fill pail. Sweep arm in and out. 3. Splash with hands. Run forward and back. 4. Hold fist to ear. Put forefinger to lips.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Down at the seashore, isn’t it grand,

Wiggling your toes in the soft warm sand?

 

Building a sandcastle where the king and queen can stay,

But when the tide comes rushing in they’ll have to move away!

 

Splashing in the water of the cool blue sea,

Playing wave tag, in and out, “You can’t catch me!”

 

Holding up a seashell tightly to my ear,

Sssh! It’s telling me a secret that only I can hear!


 

 

Down in the jungle (2) 🔊

 

 


Clap and slap to the beat.

Have a selection of jungle creatures at hand to help children select an animal.

An excuse to revisit this tune, music by Dany Rosevear.

 

Children slap their hands on their knees and then clap to the rhythm of the music. Children take it in turns to choose an animal everyone makes suitable noises and actions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Down in the jungle with the beat in your feet.

Think of an animal that you’d like to meet.

Think of an animal that you’d like to meet.

(Child calls out the name of an animal)

A lion, a lion. She/he’d like to meet a lion.


 

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