I told you yesterday that I believe that play is paramount to learning and development. When a child learns a silly diddy, there is so much going on – and so much groundwork being laid for future learning. Let’s look at Miss Susie had a baby. You know it, right? If not, here’s a sneak peek at Episode 2: Water, water everywhere. Skip to 6:40.
So we’ve got a baby who drinks all the water and the soap and tries to eat the whole bathtub. It’s ridiculous and totally silly. I bet a lot of kids have wondered what soap tastes like, but they probably haven’t considered eating the whole tub.
This diddy starts with a very real life scenario that kids can connect with – a text-to-self-connection: bath time – and ends up with a cast of characters with different diagnoses and outcomes.
There’s repetition with the doctor, the nurse, and the lady with the alligator purse. There’s rhyming. There’s vocabulary. There’s alliteration “Tiny Tim”, “knocked the nurse”, there’s assonance “Miss Susie kissed”. There’s sequencing – first the baby tried to eat the tub, then she called the experts, they gave opinions, Miss Susie liked one best and dramatically dismisses the others.
In terms of rhythm and the logic behind the words, there’s an interesting pattern developed:
- 7 quarter notes, rest Miss Susie had a baby
- 6 quarter notes, rest, rest She named him Tiny Tim
- 7 quarter notes, rest She put him in the bathtub
- 6 quarter notes, rest, rest To see if he could swim
And in terms of tone, I really like how the first two lines end with a minor key progression while the second two lines resolve that tension. I’m sure there’s a technical name for that, but the singsong quality is light and fun and you know that the verse hasn’t ended until the chord is resolved, building a child’s ability to anticipate and seek a satisfying resolution.
NOT TO MENTION: comprehension! Listening to something, making sense of the words, seeing the picture in your brain… essential skills for language development and future reading and writing skills!
The best part about singing these songs is that there are no workbooks, no screens involved. You can sit and sing, but you can also bounce on a ball to the rhythm, you can twirl and jump. You can sing while you’re making your bed or putting away the dishes. You can sing while you’re stirring a mud pie.
Yesterday I overheard my three year old making up rhymes in her closet with both real and nonsense words to the tune of Yankee Doodle – a song we recorded last week for the podcast. Makes my heart happy.
Reason #6 why I podcast: Children’s songs are meaningful play, saturated in language and logic skill building.