Songs for a better world T

Taking turns

The best things in life are free

The bundle of sticks

The Earth is our Mother

The family of man

The garden song

The lovely land of lullabies

The moon shines bright

The river is flowing

The sun is in my heart

The sun that shines across the sea

The world turned upside down ****

This pretty planet

Tiffy one and Tiffy two

Time just slips away



Treasure hunt

Tree of hope

Two little boats

Last updated: 3/20/2023 9:38 AM

The songs below are compiled, adapted and illustrated by Dany Rosevear

*** Original songs by Dany Rosevear

Return to the ‘Singing games for children’ home

To listen to music from these songs click on 🔊

To watch the author sing a song click on the title at:


© Dany Rosevear 2008 All rights reserved

You are free to copy, distribute, display and perform these works under the following conditions:

·       you must give the original author credit

·       you may not use this work for commercial purposes

·       for any re-use or distribution, you must make clear to others the licence terms of this work

·       any of these can be waived if you get permission from the copyright holder


Your fair use and other rights are no way affected by the above.



Taking turns 🔊



To listen and learn.

Speaking and listening is one of the most important parts of the school curriculum, children need to express themselves with clarity and care in order to communicate effectively with others but also how to listen with care.

Taking turns to speak can be difficult for both the young and us older ones too!

Sing one, two or three verses depending on the age of your children.

From ’Singing fun’ published 1962 Music by Lucille F. Wood and words by Louise B. Scott.  Additional verses added by Dany Rosevear who also arranged the music.
















Verse 1. Raise one finger. Place hand to ear. Point to self then another.

Verse 2. Raise one finger. Place hand to ear, nod. Put finger to lips, then hands in lap.















Only one can talk at a time,

So this is what we’ll do,

I’ll listen while you talk to me,

And then I’ll talk to you.


Only one can talk at a time,

So I’ll listen and I’ll learn,

I’ll sit as quiet as a mouse can be

And wait to take my turn.


Now its time to take my turn,

And I would like to say,

“Thank you for your great ideas, / lovely words / things you’ve said

I’m glad you’re here today!”




The best things in life are free 🔊




Appreciate what we have and make the most of our natural world.

Written for the 1927 musical ‘Good News’ with lyrics by Buddy DeSylva and Lew Brown and music by Ray Henderson. There was a revival of the song in the 1950s by a number of well known singers. Find out more.











































The Moon belongs to ev'ryone,

The best things in life are free.

The stars belong to ev'ryone,

They gleam there for you and me.


The flowers in spring,

The robins that sing,

The sunbeams that shine,

They're yours, they're mine!

And love can come to ev’ryone,

The best things in life are free.


The stars in the sky

The Moon on high

They're great because they're free.



The bundle of sticks 🔊




The ‘Bundle of sticks’ is an Aesop’s Fable and the moral: ‘In unity there is strength’. It is a story regularly told in primary school assemblies as it is such a powerful message.

We all need each other in order to survive on this world of ours using our diverse talents and strengths, as a family and friends and as a global family.






































One stick all alone, on the forest floor,

All around you can find many, many more;

One stick on its own breaks so easily,

You need a bunch to make them as sturdy as can be.

Gather them up, bind with a string,

Each stick together is a mighty, mighty thing.

A powerful bundle, a strong and tight bundle,

A wonderful bundle of sticks!


One child all alone, sitting by the shore,

All around you can see many, many more;

Each child welcomes good friends and company,

And ev’ry child needs to have a caring family.

Gather them up, bind with love and fun

Everyone together is the way to get things done.

A powerful bundle, a strong and loving bundle,

A wonderful bundle of fun!


On one small island in an ocean far away,

Seas are rising slowly each and every day

Forest fires fiercely burn, ice caps crack and melt,

Each of us must show we care, the world cries out for help;

United we stand, divided we fall,

Onwards together is the mighty, mighty call.

Like that powerful bundle, that strong and tight bundle,

That wonderful bundle of sticks!


One world is all we have, there is no planet B,

Work as one in harmony to save Earth’s family.



The Earth is our Mother 🔊



A song for Earth Day. “The earth is not just our environment. The earth is our mother.” so said the Dalai Lama. This song was inspired by the 1854 speech of Chief Seattle of the Suquamish tribe, it is ‘a tribute to the seamless web of spirituality, life, and land.’




































The earth is our mother,

We must take care of her.

The earth is our mother,

We must take care of her.


Hey yana, ho yana, hey yan yan.

Hey yana, ho yana, hey yan yan.


Her sacred ground we walk upon,

With every step we take.

Her sacred ground we walk upon,

With every step we take.



The earth is our mother,

She will take care of us.

The earth is our mother,

She will take care of us.




The family of man 🔊




A song for our times - together we can make a difference.

Words and music by Karl Dallas.

This song from ‘Come and Praise’ BBC radio for schools, was very popular in assemblies all the years I taught and always sung with much gusto.

The second verse resonates very personally as my larger family is spread around the world including Perth and Paris!

I have very gently tweaked some of the less contemporary words and replaced them with more inclusive language; deleting ‘coolie’ and culling ‘men’! Though the ‘man’ of the title of course refers to ‘mankind’.  

I loveThe miner in the Rhondda’ / but if you wish to be more up to date sing ‘The miner in Wyoming’ as most coal is produced there.

Apparently the songwriter sings it differently each time so I would imagine this version is an acceptable one! See discussion at:















































I belong to a family, the biggest on the earth;

Ten thousand every day are coming to birth.

Our name isn't Davis, or Groves, or Jones,

It's a name everyone can be glad we own:


It’s the family of man, keeps growing,

The family of man, keeps sowing

The seeds of a new life every day.


I've got a sister in Perth, a brother in Paree,

The whole wide world is mum and dad to me.

Wherever you go you will find my kin,

Whatever the creed or colour of skin:


The miner in the Rhondda, the builder in Beijing,

Those across the ocean who plough, reap and spin,

They've got a life and others to share it,

So let's bridge the oceans and declare it:


Now some people say the world is a terrible place,

But it's just as good or bad as the human race;

Dirt and misery or health and joy,

We can build or we can destroy:



The garden song / Inch by inch, row by row 🔊



A song for the growing season written by David Mallet. It has been sung by Pete Seeger and John Denver among others.































Inch by inch, row by row,

Gonna make this garden grow.

All it takes is a rake and a hoe

And a piece of fertile ground.

Inch by inch, row by row,

Someone bless these seeds I sow,

Someone warm them from below,

'Til the rain comes tumbling down.


Pullin' weeds and pickin' stones,

We are made of dreams and bones,

Feel the need to grow my own, for the time is close at hand.

Grain for grain, sun and rain,

We are part of Nature's chain,

Tune my body and my brain to the music from the land. CHORUS


Plant your rows straight and long,

Temper them with prayer and song,

Mother Earth will make you strong, if you give her love and care.

Old crow watching hungrily,

From his perch in yonder tree,

In my garden I'm as free, as that feathered thief up there. CHORUS

Just found this extra verse!

Brothers, sisters all around

This is where our garden’s found.

Side by side we work the ground to help these seedlings grow.

Water them with love and care,

Trust the promise that we share.

Keep them healthy and prepare for our first fruit to show.




The lovely land of lullabies 🔊



We all wish for Utopia sometimes!

When things aren’t going so well with our planet and Mother Nature’s welfare is in retreat we dive into our imaginations and think how things could and might be with a little care and thoughtfulness from our divisive politicians.

Words and music by Dany Rosevear.





































In the lovely land of lullabies the nightingale gently sings,

The lion and lamb lay talking of wise and wondrous things,

The dragon sleeps in slumber deep and sheds a starlit tear.

Sweet magical moonbeams weave through your dreams;

Follow, follow those rainbows here.


In the lovely land of lullabies it's never too hot or cold.

The little folk think it’s a joke to care for silver and gold;

For Nature’s store is worth so much more, such beauty they hold dear.

Sweet magic and moonbeams weave through your dreams;

Follow, follow those rainbows here.


In the lovely land of lullabies shadow rabbits tarry awhile,

The mice play round the old grey cat whose whiskers twitch beguiled,

Wild creatures roam through green forest homes where air is pure and clear.

Sweet magic and moonbeams weave through your dreams;

Follow, follow those rainbows here.


In the lovely land of lullabies there’s a companion for every child,

Who’ll tell them cosy tales of old and rhymes to make them smile;

Who’ll listen when they’re worried and chase away scaredycat fears.

Sweet magic and moonbeams weave through your dreams;

Follow, follow those rainbows here.




The moon shines bright 🔊



We have but one life so make the most of it! The traditional hymn is rather sombre and funereal, based on the brevity of our lives. This version arranged by Dany Rosevear leans towards the hopeful and optimistic aspects of our journey through life for a younger audience. There are many different tunes used for this hymn – this one is as heard from Keith Kendrick’s singing.



























Oh, the moon shines bright and the stars give a light,

Just a little before the day,

The voice of love, it calls on all of us,

And bids us awake and arise.


Awake, awake, good people all,

Awake for the wonders fly,

And you shall behold the dawning of the day,

When you wake and open your eyes.


In yonder garden green doth grow,

As green as any leaf,

So cherish, love and teach your children well,

To do good to all those they meet.


Oh the life of a man ‘tis but a span,

It flourishes like a flower,

As tender as the heart into which you are born,

So treasure your every hour.


My song it is done, I must be gone,

I can stay no longer here;

Blessings to you all, both great and small,

And wishing you another good year!




The river is flowing 🔊



The source of this song was probably a chant written in the 1970s by Sun Bear, a member of the Chippewa Tribe. He was born in the White Earth Reservation in the North of the United States on 31 August 1926 and died on 19 June 1992 at the age of 66 in Spokane, Washington. Additional verses have been added over the years and you can find several interpretations of the melody. Find more at: and

I have adapted the words of the final verse to lament a changing world and hope for the future of our children.

In German ‘der fluss der will fließen’







































The river is flowing, flowing and growing,

The river is flowing, back to the sea.

Mother Earth carry me, your child I will always be,

Mother Earth carry me, back to the sea.


The moon she is waiting, waxing and waning,

The moon she is waiting, for us to be free.

Sister Moon watch over me, your child I will always be,

Sister Moon watch over me, until we are free!


The sun he is shining, brightly he’s shining,

The sun he is shining, lighting our way.

Father Sun shine over me, your child I will always be,

Father Sun shine over me, until we can see!


The earth she is changing, her waters are rising,

The earth she is changing, her waters are tears.

Mother Earth, carry me, your child I will always be,

Mother Earth carry me, down through the years.



The sun is in my heart 🔊



A song of hope to lift the spirits.

Adapted, on a sunny day, from a poem by A.C. Harwood. Adaptation and music by Dany Rosevear.

Sitting outside one afternoon in the sunshine, reading and in social isolation, inspired this version. On the other side of the garden fence Corvid 19 haunts the world but despite such a sad and difficult situation for so many, many people there are still some positive things to inspire us and lift our spirits; music being one of them.





























The sun is in my heart,

It warms me with its power,

And wakens, wakens, life and love,

In bird and beast and flower,

In bird and beast and flower.


The stars above my head,

Are shining in my mind,

Like music, music of this world,

We leave our cares behind,

We leave our cares behind.


The earth is where I tread,

Let my feet be honest and true,

And mindful, mindful, where I step,

In every deed I do,

In every deed I do,


Then I must thankful be,

If those on earth that dwell,

With kindness, care, and thoughtfulness,

Greet every person well,

Greet every person well.


And we must thankful be,

As one on earth we dwell,

To know, to know and love this world,

And wish all creatures well,

And wish all creatures well.



The sun that shines across the sea 🔊



A song of gratitude.

There are so many things we take for granted but we need at times to stop our busy lives and dwell upon the things that make our lives good.

I found the first verse and chorus in ‘Someone’s singing, Lord’ published by A&C Black in 1973; here it cites the author as unknown and music a Dutch folk song.

I am not sure where the second two verses originated. It also was published in ‘Songs for primaries' published 1948.






































The sun that shines across the sea,

The wind that whispers in the tree,

The lark that carols in the sky,

The fleecy clouds a-sailing by,


O, I’m as rich as rich can be,

For all these things belong to me!

O, I’m as rich as rich can be,

For all these things are mine,

For all these things are mine!


The raindrops which refresh the earth,

The springtime mantle of rebirth,

The summer days when all things grow,

The autumn mist and winter snow,



The task well done, the fun of play,

The wise who guide me on my way,

The balm of sleep when each day ends,

The joy of family and friends,




The world turned upside down 🔊



A strange song inspired by a very odd year.

For those who have entered yet another ‘lockdown’.

While I was doing my morning excercises someone on the radio described 2020 as ‘the year the world turned upside down’ and hence this song was born. Celestial bodies, including the moon and the stars, somehow seemed to gain more significance in our troubled and socially isolated lives.

Words and music by Dany Rosevear.

































The moon, the moon shone big and bright,

As the world turned upside down;

The stars, the stars put out their lights

And the sun began to frown.



Hey, fiddle-dee-day,

There’s mischief on its way!

Hey, fiddle-dee-night,

Hold on tight! Hold on tight!


The birds and bees and tiny fleas,

Danced in time together;

The badger pranced then fled to France.

To escape the wild, wild weather. Chorus


And then before the Springtime came

Oh, the darkest days arrived,

Back to their holes ran mice and moles

To stay safe and snug inside.


And then along came Summer time,

Sweet flowers bloomed so fair;

The schoolbells rang, the children sang,

They found their friends, played games again,

They climbed the trees with careless ease,

The sun it smiled and watched beguiled,

Hope and joy had filled the air! Chorus


Hey, fiddle-dee-day,

There’s good times on the way,

Hey, fiddle-dee-night,

Hold on tight! Hold on tight!


The moon it laughed for down below

Mother Earth sighed happily!

And every creature, every child

Found the world as it should be!


Hey, fiddle-dee-dee,

Come dance away with me,

Hey, fiddle-dee-fum,

A new day’s come! A new day’s come!



This pretty planet 🔊



This wonderful song by Tom Chapin is more usually sung as a round. It is also sung as a lullaby.

This amazing song went round the entire world when it was one of the songs used to wake up the astronauts, including John Glen, on the Discovery 7 space shuttle!


1.Make a ball with hands, roll forearms round each other. 2. Make flower round face, arms make waves, hands together as in prayer. 3. Lift arms up and outwards, as in first line. 4. Hands to cheek, hold arms, Lift arms up and outwards.


































This pretty planet, spinning through space,

Your garden, your harbour, your holy place.

Golden sun going down,

Gentle blue giant spin us around.

All through the night,

Safe ‘til the morning light.



Tiffy one and Tiffy two 🔊




Here’s one for the saints and singers among us. Which one are you?! Every child needs to feel loved however they might have behaved; they need to know that in good or bad times someone will always be there for them.

There are discussion points here to decide why some behaviours might be deemed ‘good’ or ‘inconsiderate’.

Change ‘Tiffy’ to a child’s name or one chosen by that child and insert behaviours that might be relevant to a class or family group.

Words and music by Dany Rosevear inspired by a lively family visit.


Raise a finger each time a number is sung.

Make expressive faces or actions for each behaviour.





















Tiffy one is so much fun,

Tiffy two’s a crosspatch too!

Tiffy three shares chips with me,

Tiffy four stamps on the floor!

Tiffy five sings lullabies, (Golden slumbers interlude)

Tiffy six is up to tricks!

Tiffy seven was made in heaven,

Tiffy eight is always late!

Tiffy nine is very kind,

Tiffy ten’s in trouble again!


Tiffy ten or Tiffy nine,

Smile or scowl you’re always mine.

Growly grumps or cheerful you,

Happy hours or hullabaloo,

Love you, love you, yes I do!



Time just slips away 🔊



A nostalgic song - old friends, what would we do without them!

We make friends throughout out lives and many we remember with great affection.

As for many children, my father was in the RAF, there was constant movement throughout my childhood; sad though it was to leave friends behind there was always the excitement of making new ones. As I got older it was much easier to keep in touch in one way or another with those left behind; and even if decades had past, easy to pick up the familiar threads that bound us once we met again.

Words and music by Dany Rosevear.









































We need to talk, we need to walk,

We need a friend indeed;

At work or play to share the day,

To help us on our way.

But time slips by, the minutes fly,

The weeks, the hours each day,

Though love’s still there,

And we really care,

Time! Time! Time!

Time! Time! Time!

Time just slips away.



Tiritomba 🔊



An Italian folk song and a cheerful song of the open air. It is also a popular camp song and I became familiar with it at an International work camp in Turkey when I was a young student in the 1960s. The English words here are by Fred Rendell.


































Far above us, far above the sun is shining,

As we climb the mountain pathway.

High above us, high above the sun is shining,

As it warms us on its way.


Tiritomba, Tiritomba, It’s the open air for you and me,

Tiritomba, Tiritomba, Now at last we can be free!


In the clear sky we can see the eagle soaring;

As he scans the hill below him.

On his broad wings we could fly away for ever;

And never have to rest.



Far away there we can see the river flowing,

With the hills and trees beside it.

It will cool us as we rest beside the waters,

On our journey to the west.




Treasure 🔊



What is true treasure, the inheritance we wish to leave our children and grandchildren?

It’s Autumn here and there’s treasure to be found: conkers, fallen leaves, acorns, watching squirrels collect store them. Each season brings its treasure.

In our commercial world treasure is often defined as precious metal and gems rather than being thought of in a wider context as things we do for each other, nature’s harvest and our environment.

Look around and name things that might be precious to us individually and discuss your reasons for such a choice.

Words and music by Dany Rosevear.












































Let the children dream of a world that’s green,

A world full of trees growing high;

Where treasure’s not gold but the hills of old,

Long walks on the wild, wild side.

Together awhile where there’s laughter and smiles,

And nights under the starry skies.


Let the children play and discover each day,

Where all kinds of books can be found;

Where treasure’s not gold but great stories told,

Where wisdom and wonder abound;

Where words ripple along as a river rolls on,

Weaving magical strands around.


Let the children go where the fair winds blow,

Where good health and happiness thrive;

Where treasure’s not gold but kind hands to hold,

Where love helps each day go by.

Where rainbows leap on through the big beyond,

And brave hearts take wing and fly.



Treasure hunt 🔊



A post nature walk circle game. Recognise nature’s treasures in your surroundings.

Words and music by Dany Rosevear.

Children need to appreciate what we have been gifted in this wonderful world of ours before they can start understanding the fragility of our ecosystems and the need to preserve its longevity. Start with that step out of doors. Children will need firm guidance on which things they can collect on a ‘nature walk’ and what should be left undisturbed but drawn or pictured in their mind.  

Some ideas: Stop every so often and count - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Can you name five treasures?

Spring: lichen on a twig, moss, new leaf, sticky buds, blossom

Summer: dandelion clocks, feathers, ladybirds, blade of grass, nettle

Autumn: acorns, conker cases,  coloured leaves, elderberries, old man’s beard

Winter: fir cones, bark, evergreen leaves, skeleton leaves, pebbles

Alternatively: Play I-Spy or a colour / texture hunt I love the imagination hunt suggested by the woodland trust:

A partner song that would work well with this is ‘Look up, look down’

Once back in the classroom from a nature walk each child holds their treasure, drawn, imagined or otherwise hidden in their hand. Children walk round first one way then back in a circle then take turns to enter the circle and say three things about their find, the others guess what it might be.


















































Let’s go walking,

Walking, walking,

Let’s go walking

We’ll see nature’s treasures all around;

When we walk back again,

Back again, back again,

When we walk back again,

We’ll draw all the treasures we have found.



Tree of hope 🔊



‘A tree of hope’ is often used by charities to raise the profile of those in need. This song was inspired by an Ukranian arts project in Exeter that I pass on my way to swim, there was a tree of hope standing in its window. This song is an appreciation of the wonderful work that so many volunteers out there do every day to give hope to so many.

The tree is also the strength and warmth that lives in all of us, the dove our hearts / conscience that gives us hope when we gather together to talk about injustice and help others.

Words and music by Dany Rosevear.

























There’s a tree, a mighty tree,

A tree of hope where you can find;

A steadfast strength and comfort

Seeking good for every kind.


Way up high in its branches

Sits a little white dove,

Gather round and listen well,

For it speaks of peace and love.


Gather round and listen well,

For it speaks of peace and love.



Two little boats 🔊




For all those wanderers on epic journeys.

A song inspired by recent sad events and strands of family history.

Words and music by Dany Rosevear.

Epic journeys have been common since humans began on the African continent, we are a wandering race for all sorts of reasons.

At this time of year we think of biblical stories such as the journey of the Magi, Mary and Joseph's trek to Bethlehem and their flight into Egypt; there are also magnificent journeys in the Old Testament and the scriptures of other religions.

In my family one Grandmother fled Russia during the Russian revolution, my other grandparent escaped famine in Ireland, her three daughters married immigrants from a Poland, Italy and France all with their own tales to tell.

My Polish father made an epic journey from a Russian gulag camp to England via Iran and Palestine with ‘General Anders' army.

In both the the UK and USA many families have similar tales to tell – all of us are immigrants or descendants of immigrants even if from the far distant past.

Sadly there are still many perilous journeys being taken to escape danger and poverty all over the world.

























There’s a star shining bright,

Way up high in the night;

Follow that star in its heavenly flight.

Where will it go?

Does anybody know?

But we know by its light,

There is safety in sight.


Off we sail in two darling little boats,

Bobbing across starlit seas;

One is called Courage, the other one Hope,

Carry us to sweet liberty.



Speed little boats, set your sails to the wind,

Run swiftly across stormy seas;

We’ll shout and we’ll sing as a new day begins,

For our hearts will be easy and free.



Thank you, dear star for your kindly guiding light,

Thank you for calming our fears,

For your comfort and presence this very long, dark night,

As the shore nears we weep joyful tears.



Return to the ‘Singing games for children’ home