How to Write Children’s Songs

Song writing іѕ а probably the best way to express your thoughts and feelings in a creative and musical manner.  It’s good for your soul, and it can be a fun process as well. Still, there are certain songwriting rules.  You need tо consider the tune, lyrics and the overall feel оf the song as you write it.  

Kids Love Music!

One group of people who love to hear songs is, of course, kids!  Your kids, your friend’s kids – all kids love music!  Specifically, children love stories, songs, music, and dance, all оf which саn bе used аѕ effective mediums tо communicate with them.

Singing-to-your-children

When it comes to writing songs for kids, you need to consider some important things regarding the lyrics and tune.  You may have to write songs for children in Sunday schools, at school gatherings, or simply for entertainment.  You just never know when your skills as a songwriter will be needed!  Here are some tips:

Easy Tune and Chords

You might have noticed that all children’s songs have a simple tune with not too many singing or chord variations.  This is because children grasp simple tunes faster than complicated ones.  A kid’s song should only have two or three chords.  This will be helpful, if the song is to be performed by the children themselves either by singing it back or playing it on a musical instrument.  Starting the song in a major key will provide the song with a happy tone which kids will enjoy.  Keep the combination simple such as G-C-D.  A good idea is the Baa Baa Black Sheep song which has this very chord combination.

Easy Words in Lyrics

Including easy to remember and pronounce words in the lyrics is absolutely required when you are writing songs for kids.  The reason for this is that words may be new to children, and it is important for them to understand the words to develop language skills.  Moreever, the words should also be easy to pronounce and memorize.  Children would certainly enjoy memorizing the song if the words are easy to pronounce and learn.  For example, the words of the very famous London Bridge Is Falling Down rhyme.

Rhyme Scheme

A rhyme scheme in the verse and chorus is also as important as including simple words. A rhyme gives the song an interesting touch and helps connect the lines in a verse.  You can choose the very simple ‘AAAA’ rhyme scheme on a four-line verse.  Another good one would be ‘AABB’, which can easily be applied to a children’s song.  Children will find the song more enjoyable and easy to follow if the lines are connected logically and in rhyme. The Ding Dong Bell rhyme has a good AABB kind of rhyme scheme.

Song Theme / Interest Factor

To create an interest for children to sing a song and learn it by heart, the main topic should be compelling.  Of course, ideas that are compelling to us adults aren’t always interesting to children.  We want to relate to kids on their level.  You can write the song lyrics using ideas such as a day at school, the school bus, mom and dad, homework, things they like to eat like ice cream, and things like this.  You can even think of short stories, which will make them happy.  Nothing too long or complicated.  Whatever the theme is, it’s handy if it teaches them something – a morality tale.  One song I can think of that kids like is the Slippery Fish song.  It’s cute, it’s playful, and it’s a bit weird to be honest.  Remember that just because you’re writing a kids’ song, doesn’t mean you have to write a boring kids’ song.

Actions and Dance

Most children love to dance and to perform actions with music.  After you have written a song, you set up appropriate steps to the lyrics.  Actions and gestures in songs would greatly appeal to kids, hence encouraging them to participate.  These steps can be used to arrange a dance to that song.  Just like the words and lyrics should be made simple, so should the actions in dance songs for kids.  If not for the whole song, the chorus can surely consist of fun-to-do actions.  Along with the tune and lyrics, it’s a good idea to add rhythmic beats to the song.  An example of this type of song would be Going On A Lion Hunt.  This song has plenty of fun gestures you can do with your kids!

Practice Makes Perfect

Kids being kids, there are many chances for the song to get mixed up when children sing them.  To make the song perfect, you should thoroughly practice it and the actions as well with your kids.  With some practice, you will come to know the song inside and out and you will be able to help your kids learn the song better, until they know it off by heart too.  If there are gestures that go along with the song, practice will help them learn those as well.  If you are the one personally teaching the kids the song, you can do different things to make the song more fun, like adding your own special humour to different gestures, or sound effects, etc.  The more fun your kids are having, the better they’ll learn the song, and if they have to present the song at a recital or for a school assembly, they’ll do a better job!

Conclusion

Children will certainly enjoy practicing the song you’ve written if it takes into consideration all of the things we’ve talked about: an interesting topic or theme, simple rhyming lyrics, a simple melody and chord structure, some element of learning, a sense of fun, along with gestures that make the song even more entertaining.  Writing a song for kids can be easy only if you make sure you simplify it, both for yourself and for the kids as well.  Let your inner child shine through, grab your laptop or pen and paper and get writing.  Good luck!

dave bio

12 Comments


  1. This is great advice. Especially the actions and dance part. My girlfriend teaches 1st grade and she shows me some of the songs that she plays for her students in class. Their favorites always involve a dance that goes along with the lyrics.

    From my personal experience, if you change the instrumentation of a song it may end up being a fun kids song. I’ve written songs that didn’t fit with any of the bands that I play with, but when I mapped the songs out in Reason (music software) and changed the instruments to 8-bit instruments they sound more appropriate for kids.

    Cheers.

    Reply
    1. admin

      Hey Garth! Yeah, the instruments and arrangement can make a big difference in how the song comes across. There are tons of videos showing this in Youtube, with people playing heavy metal on ukes and tiny keyboards and whatnot. Kids are generally a fun loving bunch and so action is a big part of it too, obviously. Do you have any links to songs you’ve made that you might be willing to share? 😀

      Reply
        1. admin

          Hey Garth, these are great. Love them. The second one reminds me of something off of Bjork’s Vespertine album from a while ago. But are they for kids?

          Reply

          1. The first one definitely is. I actually tried to get that one on to Yo-Gabba-Gabba when it was still on the air. The Yo-Gabba-Gabba live show toured through Milwaukee and some of the cast and creators came to my open mic (they were awesome). I ended up speaking to one of the creators about trying to submit music to the show. He gave me an email address to submit music to and I wrote and sent “Let’s Talk”. Unfortunately they never used it.

            The second song is supposed to be like a lullaby. It’s funny that you noticed the similarity to Cocoon by Bjork. Thats my favorite Bjork song.

            Sorry to be long winded about unreleased music. I never get to discuss it with anyone.

          2. admin

            Discuss away my friend.. yeah, me neither really. It’s hard to get a discussion going, I find. But yeah.. that yo gabba gabba thing sounds pretty cool, although i’m from Canada so i’ve not heard of it .. so you compose stuff, do you have a youtube channel or is it just scattered throughout the web or kept private or what?


  2. I only really promote music that I record with bands. The stuff that I do on my own is usually kept kind of private. Not for any good reason, im just bad with business. I have a youtube page but there’s not much on it.

    https://www.youtube.com/user/DickieMcJingles

    Do you have any project that you play with?

    Reply
        1. admin

          3 vids in 10 years. nice! ah, you guys are pretty groovy though. I enjoy some Grateful Dead as well. 🙂

          Reply

          1. That’s my downfall. Im a bad marketer. whenever I share music with non-musicians I feel like Im begging. My youtube page should be more robust but I talk myself out of posting stuff. Or I post stuff and then take it down.

            You have some cool stuff on your page. It covers some diverse ground.

          2. admin

            Garth, marketing is tricky. That’s what I do mainly nowadays. I used to teach more, now I run a bunch of websites. The positive thing is, it takes the pressure off of me having to support myself with my music, which would be pretty much impossible at this point. I was teaching music a lot more, but now I don’t even do that too much, because of all this web stuff. That said, I’m putting the money I make from marketing back into my music, slowly but surely. It’s a long term plan but it seems to be working. Thanks for checking out my youtube channel! Also, if you want to discuss marketing at all, I’m always up for that. Contact me here: davetimberwolf@gmail.com

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