There Was A Tree
(traditional song)

This is a wonderful song I learned as a child at camp. We would just sing it with the echoes, but I have added felt board pieces and hand motions. This works with 2-6 year-olds, using the variations listed below:

2-3year-olds: Sing the song with the felt board pieces. Begin with the tree in place, and add the other pieces as you sing. Little ones won’t understand how to echo the lines, so you can just sing the song slowly, pointing to the felt pieces as you sing. Sing slowly and pause, giving toddlers a chance to name the parts. The repetition gives them a chance to learn the words.

3 - 4 year-olds: Sing the song, trying out the echoes (some 3-year-olds will be able to do this with some practice), and use the felt shapes and or hand motions below.

4-6 year-olds: Do the hand motions below with or without using the felt board and shapes.

Hand motions:

Tree: Bend one arm with fingers open for leaves; rest elbow of “tree” hand in palm of other hand
Nest: cup hands
Egg: make a fist
Bird: bend arms and flap “wings:
Wing: flap one arm only
Feather: wiggle one finger
Bug rub thumb and index finger together as if rubbing a tiny bug between your fingers.

Add and repeat these motions every time the word is sung

Hint: For more factual information about trees, go to the Song of the Month Trees!

Many more songs and music activities are available at