I finally mustered up the courage to start playing ukulele during storytime and it was magical! I am by no means a great ukulele player, but children's songs are quite simple to play and the kids and caregivers enjoy it even if you aren't great. When I brought out my uke for the first time the kids were enthralled. I think we could have probably done this activity for the entire storytime if I had wanted to. They were that into it! If you have a ukulele and haven't used it for storytime yet, do it! If you don't have a ukulele I definitely recommend getting one. I have a ukulele beginner's guide that I wrote after buying my first ukulele to help get you started. The ukulele I bought for myself is not the one I use for storytimes though. I was fortunate enough to have some grant money left over to buy a ukulele to keep at the library. I bought a durable polycarbonate ukulele from Outdoor Ukulele for my in-house uke. I'll do a review of their ukuleles later!
I came up with a really fun way to get the kids involved in the ukulele activity beyond just singing. Eventually I will be making a song cube, but for now I put icons representing each song in a bowl and have the kids pull one out to decide what we should play. Almost all of the songs I chose to use are pretty ubiquitous children's songs. Because they were such familiar songs, the kids could easily tell what the song was just from the simple icon on the paper.
I chose six different songs to use for this activity, though I'll come up with more to use in the future to help keep things fresh! The songs I used are:
- Pop! goes the Berry
- You Are My Sunshine
- I'm a Little Teapot
- Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
- Itsy Bitsy Spider
- Mary Had a Little Lamb
All of these songs can be played with just three chords: C, F, and G
Fingering charts from Coustii
In all of these songs you can replace the G chord with the G7 chord if you prefer it. I used to find G7 much easier to play than G. Some of these songs had G7 instead of G when I looked up the chords, but after practicing other songs, I find G easier to transition to, so I switched it for my preference. Use whichever you are more comfortable with! There will be songs where you can't switch G and G7 and still have it sound right, but I have yet to find a children's song where this is the case!
For chord charts for six different songs, click read more!
I made these charts using Canva. I printed these out and laminated them so I'd have nice permanent chord charts to use for storytimes. I will probably make more for other songs in the future so I'll be sure to post any new chord charts I make. I printed out the individual icons at the bottom of each chart and cut them up to pull out of a bowl. In the future, I hope to make a song cube with interchangeable icons to use instead!
Feel free to download and use the pdf of these charts from my Google Drive if you would like!