A note about using worksongs with kids.

In my experience, working with Kids is always more about finding ways to make the work fun than setting out to achieve a strict production goal. So there is a little more room to play around.

That said, working with kids always requires a little extra attention and guidance, so it can be hard to get "in the groove".  Here are a few tips to help you find that groove and make a fun working experience.  

Below the tips is a list of songs on this site that I have found can work with kids. 


  • Try teaching the songs in the shade at the field's edge before you start working.  It's hard to learn two things at once and so if the songs are in the kid's heads when you go out into the field you'll be that far ahead
  • The simplest call and response songs work best, where they sing back to you exactly the line you sang to them.  
    • You: "I had a dog and his name was blue" 
    • Them: "I had a dog and his name was blue"
  • Lots of traditional children's songs are about food and farming, and even if they're not, don't shy away from classics like The Wheels on the Bus, You Can't Get To Heaven, and Miss Mary Mac- the kids already know 'em... but I'll bet they've never sung 'em in a potato patch!
  • I've Been Working on the Railroad! Kids are nuts about trains. And this one is even *about* worksongs!  Same for Row Row Row Your Boat.
  • Some songs have a little dance that goes along with the song... Oats Peas Beans and Barley Grow is a good example. These are great songs because it keeps the kids involved while you teach them, and they get used to moving and doing something while singing.  That will be helpful later in the field.      
  • Kids love animal sounds... any song that can incorporate animal sounds is a winner.  
  • Kids also love talking about their pets... so songs that could include their pets (by name) in improvised verses... golden!

Hope this is helpful.  It's obviously a much bigger topic (and I hope to address it in a book sometime soon!) but for now, here are some songs to get you started.  Feel free to change around the lyrics of some of the songs to make them kid friendly.

Songs that could work well for your kids:

Black Betty
Blackbird Get Up
Bring A Little Water Sylvie
Can't You Line 'Em (Trackalacka)
Circle of the Sun
Cornbread, Peas, Black Molasses
Go To Sleep Little Baby
Gotta See It To Believe It
Hollow Leg
Lightning Long John
Rosie in the Posie
Sheep Sheep Doncha Know The Road
This Train
Tiny Bubbles  
Walkin' Down the Line
Warm Them Pipes  
We All Need a Fruit 
Yomo Begga

Other good kids songs I don't have pages for yet:

A Tisket, A Tasket
All God's Critters
Alphabet Song
Amazing Grace
Ants go Marching
Baa Baa Black Sheep
Baby Bumble Bee
Be Kind to Your Web-Footed Friends
Bear Went Over the Mountain
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Bile Them Cabbage Down
Billy Boy
Blow the Man Down
Buffalo Gals
Bushel and a Peck
Chickens Get Into The Tomatoes
Cluck old Hen
Cockles and Mussels
Crawdad Song
Do Re Mi
Do Your Ears Hang Low
Don't Disturb the Ladybug
Down by the Bay
Down in the Valley
Eensy, Weensy Spider
Farmer Brown
Farmer in the Dell
Five Little Ducks
Five Little Fishies
Five Little Froggies
Five Little Mice
Five Little Monkeys
Five Little Pumpkins
Found A Peanut
Froggie Went A Courtin
Go Bananas
Go to Sleep My Little Buckaroo
Going on a Bear Hunt
Grandfather's Clock
Great Big Gobs
Green Grass Grows All Around
Had a Little Rooster
Happy Trails to You
He's Got the Whole World
Head, Shoulder, Knees, and Toes
Here Comes Peter Cottontail
Hickory Dickory Dock
Hokey Pokey
Hole in the Bucket
Hole in the Middle(Bottom) of the Sea
Home on the Range
How Much is that Doggy in the Window
Humpty Dumpty
Hush Little Baby
I'm a Little Teapot
I've Been Working on the Railroad
If I Had a Hammer
If You're Happy and You Know It
In Some Lady's Garden
Itsy Bitsy Spider
John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt
Littlest Worm (Echo Song)
London Bridge
Mary Had a Little Lamb
Merrily We Roll Along
Miss Mary Mac
Mister Duck
Mister Sun
Muffin Man
My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean
Oats, Peas, Beans and Barley Grow
Oh Susanna
Old Blue
Old Joe Clark
Old MacDonald
On Top of Spaghetti
One Bottle Of Pop
One, Two, Buckly My Shoe
Peter Cottontail
Picking Apples
Please, Woodcutter
Polly Put the Kettle On
Polly Wolly Doodle
Pony Boy
Pop Goes the Weasel
Rattlin Bog
Red River Valley
Ring Around the Rosies
Row, Row, Row Your Boat
She'll Be Coming Round the Mountain
Shoo Fly
Shortnin' Bread
Sippin' Cider Through a Straw
Skip to My Lou
Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
Ten in a Bed
The Ants go Marching
The Bus Song (Wheels on the Bus)
The Farmer in the Dell
The Itsy Bitsy Spider
The Muffin Man
The Wheels on the Bus
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly
There's a Hole in the Bucket
This Little Light of Mine
This Little Piggy
This Old Man
Three Blind Mice
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
Waltzing Matilda
Wheels on the Bus
When the Saints go Marching In
Yankee Doodle
You Are My Sunshine
You Can't Get to Heaven

Have any suggestions?  Please, drop me a line: bennett at worksongs dot org

Or comment below!