A Season For Singing Activities and Notes

Companion to recording by Nancy Stewart 
(206) 232-1078

Many of the songs on this recording are familiar holiday songs, and children will simply listen and enjoy (songs with no additional activities have been omitted from these notes). Others provide opportunities for related discussion, activities, or movement. Several holidays and customs presented in these songs may be unfamiliar to children. Therefore, some explanation and or supplemental materials will be helpful. It is only by learning about each other that we can teach tolerance and peace to the children in our care.

(Music and Sheet Music can be found in the Song of the Month section)

Since most children ( and adults for that matter! ) don’t know what Kwanzaa is, this is a great opportunity to introduce this wonderful holiday to children.

Kwanzaa is a time for African Americans to honor their people, their past, and their unique culture. It lasts seven days, from December 26th to January 1st. Have children hold up seven fingers every time the word seven is sung, or a picture of the number seven. Gather several traditional African instruments to play. Or make special shakers decorated with African designs.
See the Homemade Instruments page for suggestions.

Have three pictures of African Americans to represent family, history (example: a picture of Martin Luther King), and creativity ( example: African textile ). Three children can be given the pictures to hold up during the corresponding words in the song.

Discuss the following:

Kwanzaa is celebrated by African Americans to honor their families, their history, and creativity.

Kwanzaa lasts seven days, and a different principle is honored each day

Kwanzaa and the many words associated with it are Swahili. Kwanzaa means “first fruits of the harvest”.

* note: although there are 7 different principles of Kwanzaa, for the purposes of simplicity when teaching young children, family, history, and creativity are used in the song.

Recommended for more information and related activities:
Kwanzaa, by Sharon Gale (paperback $1.95)

Angel Band

Give children rhythm instruments and assign each a number. As the numbers are sung, children can play their instruments in their “angel band”

Or place ten angels on a flannel board, and have children count on their fingers.

Chinese Lanterns

Make Chinese lanterns out of colored paper following directions below. Children can walk or dance freely with lanterns as the song is sung.

1. Fold a piece of colored paper in half the long way

2. Make cuts inch apart through the fold, and to about 1/2 inch from the edge of the paper

3. Open paper, and staple the top and bottom so that fold goes around the middle

4. Make a handle out of yarn or paper.

* Every year, lanterns are decorated with a different animal. You can draw this on thepaper before folding and cutting it, or glue an animal face on the lantern after it is done.

I Am a Camel

Discuss the following with children:

Camels are called ships of the desert because they are used to carry things and people.

Camels stand seven feet high (show children how high that is, and therefore how high they would sit on top of a camel)

Riding through the desert at night, there are no roads and no lights, and one must steer by the stars.

Camels, unlike horses, do not lift one foot at a time when walking. They lift both left, then both right feet. So they rock back and forth. When singing the song, have children pat one leg, then the other as they rock back and forth like a camel. This should be very soothing and restful.

Jingle Bells

Thread jingle bells on 1/4 inch wide elastic and sew ends together to make bracelets. Children can wear these as they sing, clap, and dance.

Up on the Housetop

Snap fingers, or clap hands on “click, click, click”

We Wish You A Merry Christmas

Circle dance: Children hold hands and walk in a circle during chorus.

During verses stop and use following motions:

Verse 1- We want (arms open wide) some Figgie pudding (hug self)

Verse 2- We won’t go until we get some ( hands on hips, and stamp foot on “won’t”)

Jolly Old Saint Nicholas (fingerplay)

Jolly old St. Nicholas, lean your ear this way cup hand over ear

Don’t you tell a single soul what I’m going to say shake finger and nod head

Christmas eve will soon be here, now you dear old man hands form big tummy

Whisper what you’ll bring to me, tell me if you can cup hand over ear and lean forward

When the clock is striking twelve, hands in praying position moving back and forth

when I’m fast asleep lay head on hands in sleeping position

Down the chimney with your pack, softly you will creep fingers creep down arm

All the stockings you will find hanging in a row point to stockings in a row

Mine will be the shortest one, you’ll be sure to know point to “Santa”

Johnny wants a pair of skates, Susie needs a sled two fingers skate on other hand

Nelly wants a storybook, one she hasn’t read open hands in front for book

As for me I hardly know, so I’ll go to rest hands up, head cocked

Choose for me, dear Santa Claus, what you think is best point to “Santa”

Eight Days of Light

Tell the story of Hanukkah. Have or make a small menorah (you can use eight birthday candles stuck in clay) Light the candles one by one as the sung.

Recommended for more information and activities: Hanukkah, Happy Hanukkah, by Jeff O’Hare paperback $4.95

Star Shine Bright

Have four felt stars in red, blue, purple, and yellow. Place on a felt tree as each verse is sung.

Stars shine bright on our Christmas tree form diamond shape with hands over head

Tell me what color star you see place a star on the tree

Red star shine, red star shine, twinkle and shine all through the night open and close stars to in the air to “shine”

(repeat with other colors

Rub a Dub Dub

Children follow directions and “scrub” themselves clean for the holidays! You can give children wash cloths to make it more fun!


How we take lots of baths in this country, but in many countries baths are saved for special occasions.

Christmas Bees


In some parts of England it’s believed that the bees sing lullabies on Christmas Eve, and beekeepers place holly on the hives in late December.

Listen to the song and then have the children be the singing bees by buzzing Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.