Boating Songs

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In the summer my family loves kayaking. We started taking my son when he was only about six months old, so he is very comfortable on the water, and so is our daughter. Like all children, however, sometimes they struggle with the b-word- boredom! When they were each very little and got uncomfortable in their vests or too cranky to enjoy being out on the water, I would sing to them while we paddled. It helped calm them down, gave me something to listen to besides their wailing, and often with the combination of the gentle rocking of the boat, put them to sleep.

Now that they are old enough to really enjoy being on water, observing nature, and learning about boating, they spend less time asleep and less time crying, but we still sing! Can you guess what their favorite boating song is?

“Row, Row, Row Your Boat” lends itself to repetition, and also apparently, shouting at the top of your lungs to scare away all of the fish that Dad is trying to catch. We also enjoy “Michael Row Your Boat Ashore,” and “My Paddle’s Keen and Bright,” as well as non-boating-related songs.

The great part about “My Paddle’s Keen and Bright” is that while my children (2 and 4 years old) are still to young to sing in canon, they can sing the ostinato of “dip, dip, and swing” while I sing the melody:

My paddle’s keen and bright
Flashing with silver
Follow the wild goose flight
Dip, dip, and swing

You can hear the round and the rest of the lyrics here.

Try this one at home. It is a lot of fun to sing while pretending to row. In class, I use a big rubber band to have the children feel the beat with their torsos. You can use scarves to make rowing motions by rocking back and forth with a partner.

Let me know which songs accompany your favorite summer activities! Do you have beach songs? Pool songs? Car-ride songs?

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