The New Dinosaur

We have a special guest – my friend Jim – reading the story in our podcast this week. The podcast is called THE NEW DINOSAUR, and as you would expect has a story about dinosaurs, and two dinosaur songs. The story involves a group of young dinosaurs we meet in other podcasts. Mary’s Mother takes care of the little dinosaurs in her daycare. In this story a new dinosaur comes to join them.

One of the songs “I Like Dinosaurs” names lots of different dinosaurs and allows the listener to name a couple of his own favorites too. The song “Dinosaurs Lived Long Ago,” which Bethany sings for us, is one I composed. The format of the song is very simple and allows new verses to be added very easily.

Dinosaurs lived long ago,

Long ago, long ago,

Dinosaurs lived long ago,

They lived before you and me.

To create a new verse you need to replace the words in bold. Some of my verses are:

Some dinosaurs ate leaves from the trees, and

Some dinosaurs flew high in the sky.

Be creative and come up with your own ideas.

Children absolutely love dinosaurs, and always seem to know a lot about them. I’m sure your children will have ideas for both of these dinosaur songs. And does it matter if they “invent” a new dinosaur to sing about? Not at all! Who knows – it may be the name used for a future discovery.

So I Like Spikeasaurus” is just as acceptable as “I like Stegosaurus.”

Here is the barn

Action rhymes are so fun to do with children. After just a few repetitions, they will be saying it along with you, or joining in the actions. You can listen to the mp3 audio clip until you know the rhyme.

If your child has a favorite stuffed animal, he can pet and cuddle it in the rhyme. Any animal will do – just change the words if you like.




Here is the barn                     (make a roof shape with your hands)

Where I like to go.                 (walk in place)

It’s as tall as a tree                 (point up overhead)

And cozy, you know.              (hug body with arms)

Here is the barn,                    (make a roof shape with your hands)

I’ll go there with you              (walk in place)

To pet a sweet lamb,              (pretend to pet a lamb)

And cuddle it too!                  (pretend to hug a lamb)


You can listen to this rhyme on the accompanying mp3 file.


The Lost Lamb

The story in this week’s podcast called LAMBS was inspired by true events. When I was visiting my mother in the coastal town Grange Over Sands in England, we went in a shop where the back window had a view of the bay and we saw a small boat going in and out of the little inlets. Asking others in the shop what the boat might be doing, we were told it was probably looking for a sheep!

This particular bay, Morecambe Bay, is known to be very treacherous with the tide coming in and catching people, or sheep by surprise. The grass in the bay is good grazing and sheep can often be seen there, but the farmer has to be alert to the coming and going of the tide.

Indeed, over the years, many people have lost their lives in this bay. In the olden days, crossing the sands at low tide was a common short cut, but nowadays there are very few people who have the knowledge to safely cross the bay. Occasionally, it is possible to cross the bay with an experienced guide, but walkers have to be prepared to end up in waist deep water in some places!

I do not know if the missing sheep was saved in this instance, but it gave me an idea for a story, and “Jonathan and the Lost Lamb” is the result.

The podcast also includes two songs about sheep – the well-known Mary Had A Little Lamb, plus a song composed and sung by my friend Linda, called Counting Sheep.

Ten Little Fingers


Here is an easy finger play for you and your child to enjoy together. You can listen to the audio clip to learn the words, and then enjoy the rhyme together whenever you like.

The words suggest what actions you might do in the rhyme. I would start by holding out your hands and wiggling your fingers at the beginning of the rhyme to show that you are going to do things with your fingers. It also helps children if you pause appropriately in the rhyme to give them a chance to do the action.

Notice how expressive my voice is on the audio clip. I make the word spread stretch out. My voice goes up on the word high, and down on the word low. If you lead by example, your child will begin to be expressive too.

As with all poems and rhymes, if your child is ready, you can talk about the rhyming words. For example, you can ask, “What rhymes with me?” Or, once familiar with the rhyme, you can say, “Would you like to…? and give your child the opportunity to supply the next word. You can give visual clues with your hands and fingers to show the action. If successful, try another word. If not, don’t worry; save the activity for the future and enjoy saying the rhyme and doing the actions together.

Hide and Sleep

In this week’s story Kayla has friends over for a play date and does not want to include her little brother Mattie. She even calls him Mattie-complainer! This idea came from real life, when my sister used to call her little boy Mattie-complainer, because that’s what he did. A lot.

The first song is also a game. I usually play it with a scarf or piece of fabric that you hold in front of your face. When I sing “yes it is”, you pull the scarf away from your face. It is easy to put anyone’s name in the song. For very young children, I recommend a see-through scarf, or piece of fabric. This helps children pretend to hide, without feeling excluded.

Jared ends the podcast with a simple, short song called “Wake up you Sleepy Heads.” An easy sing-along.


Echo Game

Echo game – click the arrow


In my music classes I use a microphone. Not a real one, it’s made of wood. In actual fact it’s a short, tapered wooden leg for a stool with a wood ball screwed on the top. It almost looks like an ice cream cone. But when I say it’s my microphone, the children know exactly what I mean. Even the two year olds. I use it when we echo each other. When the microphone points to me it’s my turn. When it points into the group circle, it’s everybody’s turn together. With small groups individuals take turns. Children love the microphone. I’ve heard parents report their children practicing the “ba-bas” at home using anything that comes to hand as a microphone – a spoon, a stick or a toy.

I use the microphone to echo parts of songs, but I also use it to practice musical concepts. We echo rhythm patterns a lot. The rhythm patterns exist alongside the steady beat. Throughout the game, I keep a steady beat by tapping gently on my leg. The children can feel it with the first ba – ba, which indicates the steady beat. Sounds complicated but it’s not. Play this echo game and you’ll discover how easy it is. When I first introduce the game to very young children, I get very little response, so we do it again and again. By the end of a couple of weeks, lots of children are joining in, learning fundamental concepts via a fun game.

Have fun!

Let’s make a cake together…

Teri sings a song called “I Can Clap My Hands” in this week’s podcast called CAKE. There are lots of other actions in the song too – tap your foot, nod your head, jump and many more. I expect you can think of your own ideas to put in the song.

Our story is called “Katie And The Cake.” We have a special guest reading it for us – my friend Jim. Katie saves up her pocket money to buy a fancy cupcake for her Mom’s birthday. She is sure her Mom will love it. Listen to the podcast to find out what happens.

Have you ever made a cake, or helped someone in your family make a cake, or some cupcakes? It is fun to do. You can pretend to make a cake with Anneliese as she sings “Let’s Make a Cake Together.” You get to add ingredients to the bowl and stir, stir, stir! I hope you have fun with this song.

This podcast is available to subscribers, who have access to four original podcasts every month, at the cost of a one-time charge of only $35. If you are not a subscriber yet, you are welcome to listen to the sample podcast free of charge. This one is called RABBITS and can be found on the main page or by clicking “samples” on the menu.

Herdwick Lambs

Our Herdwick lambs feature in their fourth adventure together in this week’s podcast in a story called “The Rescue.” The adventure was inspired by a true story where I read about a sheep in Wales getting stuck in a stream, unable to get out because of the weight of his sodden woolly coat.

Jared sings our first song where the rooster crows early in the morning. (In fact, it is the rooster crowing that awakens Fenton and sets off the whole Herdwick adventure.) It is a counting song, where you can count the “cock-a-doodles” for the time before the final “cock-a-doodle-doodle-doo.” This song works well with a group of children. I use a large die that each child rolls in turn, and we sing the number on the die for the time with the appropriate numbers of “cock-a-doodles.”

Anneliese sings the second song about mother animals searching for their little ones. I use this song as an opportunity to note that young animals often have a different name than the adults. Children find it amusing when they discover young goats are kids too! In the podcast, I give you an opportunity to think of your own animal (and sound) to add to the song.

This podcast is available to subscribers, who have access to four original podcasts every month, at the cost of only $35 for a whole year. If you are not a subscriber yet, you are welcome to listen to the sample podcast free of charge. This one is called RABBITS and can be found on the main page or by clicking “samples” on the menu.


In our story this week, our group of school friends goes on an ice skating field trip. Zoe is usually good at everything and expects she will find ice skating easy. Things do not go as she thinks they will.

The first song is called “Skating.” I hope the waltz dance-like feel makes you want to pretend to skate as you “push and glide” along with Anneliese who sings this song.

Our second song is called “Five Little Snowmen.” It is a counting song, starting with five and counting down until our last snowman melts away. This song can also be an action song, with children taking turns at being one of the snowmen, melting at the right time, or even being the sunshine. I will put the words and suggested actions on the Crispy Crow page for you.

A Winter’s Day

The story I wrote for this podcast is called “Oliver Waits For Snow.” In this story I have used some repetitive and predictable language as Oliver tells about the things he wants to do – if only the snow would arrive. Children love to be able to anticipate some of the language in stories and say the words along with the reader.

I have also included a short activity for children just before the first song. We pretend to get ready to go outside to play in the snow, putting on snow pants, coat, boots etc., and get busy zipping and snapping. This is followed by Bethany singing the song “What Shall We Do When We Go Outside?” Children enjoy acting out the activities from the song. You may notice that Bethany sings about some of the things Oliver wants to do in the snow.  I encourage you to make up your own words. Many of the songs I compose for LISTEN TOGETHER PODCASTS encourage creative participation on the part of our listeners. The podcast just gets you started!!

The second winter song that Alex sings is about animals that hibernate in winter. I chose animals that really DO hibernate, as I always want songs and stories to be accurate. So we have frogs hopping, bats flying, snails crawling and snakes slithering around in summer and fall, and then hibernating in winter. This is fun song that I have used many times with young children from preschool age all the way up to third grade and they absolutely love pretending to be the animals and hop, slither, crawl and fly to begin each verse, and then hibernate in winter.

I really enjoyed putting this podcast together and hope you enjoy it too.

This podcast is available to subscribers, who have access to four original podcasts every month, at the cost of only $35 for a whole year. If you are not a subscriber yet, you are welcome to listen to the sample podcast free of charge. This one is called RABBITS and can be found on the main page or by clicking “samples” on the menu.