Song of the Month

Every month the song/dance/activity will change. Many of the songs will be from my Recordings. Please print the page and do the activity with your child. Teachers may print the page to use with their classes. If you have questions, Contact Me.

January 2012

Red Red Robin Sticks Dance!

Listen to the whole song on Stinky Cake, or hear it here:

Here's a great music and movement song that uses claves or rhythm sticks.  It's a lively song with a cheerful message, written by Harry Woods in 1926.  I've added lots of instructions built right into the music.  See how well your child(ren) Listen and Do.  I use this song after we've done other, simpler songs using sticks.  I also talk through the movements that will be used, demonstrating for the children what "put your sticks on the floor, in a line" looks like.  Then, after handing out the sticks,  I invite them put the sticks on the floor and try standing so that your sticks are "behind, beside, and in front of you."  To ensure that children know what the expectation is, it's necessary to take the time to TEACH the moves without the music playing. It's about processing – remember, young children's brains take time to digest what we give them.  Everything can't be done on the spot!

I try as much as possible to present songs that you can do on your own, without my recordings.  This one, however, will really benefit from having the recording – and I guarantee you won't be sorry.  There are so many great songs on "Stinky Cake!"

CHOOSING YOUR INSTRUMENT:  If you already have rhythm sticks, you can certainly use them for this song.  I prefer claves (pronounced CLAH-vays.)  They are shorter, fatter, and children don't immediately turn them into weapons!  Also, you can make claves for your child(ren) by cutting 1" dowels from the hardware store into 9" lengths.  My 4's and K's sand the ends, paint them with acrylic paint and I spray them with polyurethane.  Be sure to put each child's initials on the end of each stick.  In a class, this makes a nice take-home at the end of the session.

I purchase economy claves from Rhythm Band, Inc:  

SAFETY FIRST!!!  When using instruments, I teach children to first find a "SAFETY ZONE" – space where they can be active with props without accidentally touching someone else.  Here's what I say:

"Once you have your instrument, find a place to stand.  Put your arms out wide and gently swing them back and forth.  If you can touch someone, you need to move to a place where you cannot touch a friend.  That's your Safety Zone."  

Even my 2's know how to find a Safety Zone!


When the red, red robin comes bob, bob, bobbing along, along
There'll be no more sobbing when he starts throbbing his old, sweet song!
Wake up, wake up, you sleepyhead
Get up, get up, get out of bed
Cheer up, cheer up, the sun is red
Live, love, laugh and be happy!
   (calls are here on the recording for tapping and manipulating the sticks)
I'm just a kid again, doing what I did again, singing this song
When the red, red robin comes bob, bob, bobbing a- along!


1.  During the first verse, establish the beat by tapping with sticks in an X shape.  Hold sticks at ends, or you may tap your own fingers – and that hurts!  Once the beat is established, usually by the end of the second line, you can lead children to tap overhead, then all the way down to the floor, popping back up on "Get up, get up!"

2.  The calls on the recording are:  
              Put your sticks on the side, side, side, Switch!
              Side, side, side, Switch
              Side, side, side, Switch
              Side, side, side, In Front - 
              Roll them round and round and round - good!

For this section, tap sticks at waist level on one side, then switch to the other, repeat.  To roll the sticks, think of the motion for "wheels on the bus" – put sticks parallel to each other in front of you, and roll them around each other.  This may take a little practice, depending on the age and ability of the child.

3.  Put the sticks on the floor, ends together, in a line – and follow the directions to step over the sticks, turn around and step back over the sticks, jump over the sticks, turn around and jump back over the sticks, and walk around the sticks.

Now we come to the directionals:  
       Stand so that your sticks are BESIDE you.
       Stand so that your sticks are BEHIND you.
       Step backward OVER your sticks.
       Pick them up!   (the sticks)

4.  Re-establish the beat, tapping in an X shape during the final vocals.  I instruct the children to tap from overhead to the floor on the last line, popping up and raising the sticks overhead for the final "along!"  This gives you silence in which to tell the children what to do next.

ADD-ON: I like to follow this song with "I Can Hammer", also on "Stinky Cake", which uses the sticks or claves while sitting on the floor.

Age Range: Older 2's - 6's (I have done this with experienced 2's that I work with on a regular basis. I recommend that less experienced teachers start using this song with older 3's and up)

Purpose: Steady beat work, coordination, prop manipulation, following directions, identifying directional words, listening and doing, and experiencing the joy of moving to a really great old song!

More Songs of the Month