The next time you’re preparing to belt out a tune with your tots, consider making it an opportunity to introduce music about the environment that will inspire and educate as well as entertain. Tom Chapin children’s songs are my family’s favorites, and they pass my Mom Test for quality of both lyrics and music. Here are some of his best. Please click the linked lyrics to listen.
This Pretty Planet
I sing this to our girls nearly every night at bedtime. The lyrics are simple, repetitive, and peaceful. “This pretty planet, spinning in space; you’re a garden, you’re a harbor, you’re a holy place. Golden sun going down, gentle blue giant, spin us around. All through the night; safe ’till the morning light. “
With humor and imagery, the lyrics of this song get kids thinking about the cycles of materials we use every day and the time it took nature to create what we take for granted. ” And if a dinosaur could see us pouring orange juice this way, From a plastic jug we made of her, well this is what she’d say: “It took me 80 million years to get to you today; So don’t throw that mug, don’t throw that jug, don’t you throw me away… “
“If I were an apple, I’d be very unhapple traveling 4,000 miles or more…” Word play runs amok in this fantastic song about eating local. This topic is relatively new and hard to grasp, even for adults. But Tom Chapin personifies our favorite foods and brings on the guilt trip in a big way. “So keep buying foods from regional dudes, keep your carbon footprint small…”
Walk the World Now Children
This tune is a mantra that lends itself to singalongs and rounds. “Walk the world now children, treat it lovingly, and the world will last forever and a day. Breathe the air now children…” It is soothing but rich, evoking a feeling of connectedness to ancient, wiser people who once lived on the same soil we now inhabit.
I dare you to not sing along with this pungent polka. “Good garbage breaks down as it goes. That’s why it smells bad to your nose. ” It’s a fun, basic lesson in what must be tossed versus recycled or composted. It plants the idea in the back of a kid’s mind that maybe you should shy away from products wrapped in landfill fodder.
These songs and more are available on Tom Chapin’s many albums of children’s music. I hope you are able to incorporate them into your lessons and daily lives. Learn more about Tom Chapin and his music by clicking here.