A Song About Different families:  Over In The Meadow by Daria on Tuneful Tuesday

This is a cross-post from member Daria’s blog, Tiny Tapping Toes, a wonderful resource for multi-cultural early childhood music and crafts. 

over-in-the-meadow-counting-image

Have you ever heard the song “Over In The Meadow”?

The neat thing about this song is that I’ve adapted a folk song to talk about families that have different caregivers, so no child feels left out.  I hope other singers/performers will be inspired to use familiar songs to reflect more of the world we see around us and not just “societal norms”

No one knows exactly where the song came from but the best guess is that this imaginative tale of different animal families came from the British Isles and has been teaching English-speaking children to count for at least several hundred years!

It’s a quiet, adorable song that counts from one to ten – originally with mommies and their babies. But while singing it at a local school, I found I needed to adapt it a bit.  One of the children was a friend of my son and was being raised only by her father.  She was saddened when people talked about their mommies and I wanted her to see a dad as a parent reflected in this song.  Similarly, other families had grandparents as caregivers and I added them to the other verses.  Since folksongs are adaptable, I wanted the song to reflect more of the different configurations of families so that no child would feel left out or that their home situation was any less of a family.

Here’s a list of the families in my version of the song, plus the last verse that I’ve added.  You can watch the Youtube video of the entire song below.

1       Froggy Mom and her one little frog

2       Mother Cat at her two little kittens

3       Father Bird and his three little birds

4       Mother Worm and her 4 baby worms

5       Queen Bee and her five little bees

6       Grandfather dog and his 6 grandpuppies

7       Grandmother owl and her 7 owlets

8       Mother duck and her 8 ducklings

9       Father Mouse and his 9 baby mice

10     Mother Spider and her 10 baby spiders

Last verse:

No matter where you go, everyone you see

We all fit together in one big family

Although we may look different, our love is still the key

It’s the way we live together in peace and harmony

A Song For Teaching

As a mom, I loved songs that taught empathy and encouraged my children to understand the value and consciousness in all living creatures. For me, songs like this helped teach that all creatures have a story and that their lives are connected with our own and that they matter!

If you check out this song in my TeachersPayTeachers store you’ll find a wonderful activity list for using the song in homeschool or an early education classroom.

5 comments

  1. Daria and all,

    I love the inclusiveness of this song and how you changed it. I too wanted to tackle this issue of “what is family?” with my song “Family”, and how it can mean all different sizes and configurations, with non-blood relations figured into it. Thank you for posting this.

  2. Beautiful recording and video! Thank you for reintroducing me to this old classic.

  3. Wonderful! Enjoyed the song, the video, and the lovely connection.

  4. Oh I love this! I have used the original many times to reflect different kinds of animal families, but never changed the care-giver. I will certainly adopt your version.

  5. I loved this too! The small but important changes help reflect many family constellations, and teh illustrations were just so engaging—I loved the squirming worms! Here is my song that also had those goals:

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