Saturday, February 20, 2010

Songs to Sing About Peace and Love

Baby L. loves it when Daddy B. and I sing to her, so naturally we sing all kinds of songs: counting songs, alphabet songs, silly songs, animal songs, and sweet soft lullabies, just to name a few.

Our favorite songs of all are the ones that carry a little meaning - but are still really easy to learn and remember. Here's our gift to you: Ten easy-to-remember songs to get you thinking (and singing) about peace on earth with your little one. To hear each song, just click on the titles!

Peace Like A River by Elizabeth Mitchell: Elizabeth Mitchell is our favorite children's artist to listen to in our house. Check her out and you'll see why! On her website you can listen to songs, and even download a songbook so that you can sing along.

We Shall Overcome, Pete Seeger's version: Baby L.'s favorite civil rights anthem, along with This Little Light of Mine. Still appropriate today, don't you think?

Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles: When I taught fifth grade, this was one of my students' favorite songs to study. Kids love the Beatles (and so do I!). More recently, this has become one of my favorite songs to sing to Baby L. - it makes a great lullaby!

Imagine by John Lennon: Need I explain? Of course this song is on our list of favorite peace songs!

Give Peace a Chance by John Lennon: Yes, I realize this is the third Beatles/Lennon song on the list. So what?

We Are the World: When I was a kid, we did the "Hands Across America" thing at my school. Remember that? Around the same time, we all learned We Are the World. The video is awesome.

From a Distance by Better Midler: Cheesy, I know, but kids still dig it!

Where Have All the Flowers Gone? by Peter, Paul and Mary: To this day, I have my elementary school teachers to thank for all the Peter, Paul and Mary songs I know like Puff the Magic Dragon, Leaving on a Jetplane, and this one.

With My Own Two Hands by Ben Harper & Jack Johnson: Some of the first graders I taught didn't even know that there were Curious George books-- they had only seen the movie! But along with the movie came a really good children's album - so we have that to be thankful for.

What A Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong: These days, when I do workshops for teachers, I often use What A Wonderful World as an example, because everyone loves this song, no matter how young or old. Even adults will sing along to this song-- and that's saying something.

As a teacher, I always used songs throughout the day, especially for what we teachers call "shared reading," to study how words and language work and to spark conversation. Singing not only helps babies and children develop phonemic awareness, but the songs we sing also introduce new vocabulary and ideas. For more songs about peace and love, try these resources: Culture of Peace, Spinner, and Rolling Stone.


  1. I need these songs (I didn't know it until I read your post) for my 4th grade classroom right now. Yes. A small unit of study on lyrics as poetry, with the subversive message of peace and love. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    (and welcome to the Kidlitosphere!)

  2. Mary Lee you are soooo welcome. So glad that you will be using them with 4th graders! We don't sing to the older kids enough! Yay!

    Hint - once you introduce What a Wonderful World your kids will not want to sing anything else, so you may want to hold off until you're ready to sing it over and over and over and over ; )

  3. I used to sing "What a Wonderful World" to my little girl when she was a baby! Beautiful song! Thanks for stopping by my blog and following!

  4. I just discovered your blog. It's wonderful!
    Welcome to the Kidlitosphere.

  5. We like to sing, "Blue Skies"...the first part, at least. It gets a little tricky in the middle. I love "What a Wonderful World." It was the last song we had the DJ play at our wedding reception.

  6. I love the whole of the second side of the Beatles' Abbey Road. Great songs for older kids to ponder over the lyrics.

    I love the way music impacts literacy. Love to hear kids using clapping rhymes and skipping chants because it helps them internalise language and rhythm and rhyme.

    Looking forward to seeing you around the Kidlitosphere.

  7. We love the Curious George album, too, and particularly With My Own Two Hands...such a sweet, gentle and hopeful song.

  8. Thanks for all the great comments! Hope to hear more favorite songs from other commenters!!