Falling Leaves of Autumn


Autumn is one of my favorite times of the year. Here in Minnesota, we can see red maple leaves, yellow aspen, and brown oaks. When we lived in Tokyo, we witnessed such beautiful autumn leaves. Here’s a photo I took in Japan as the leaves started to change colors. People celebrate the season outside by enjoying picnics, taking hikes, and taking lots of pictures!

Photo by Kathleen Kampa, 2020, Showa Kinen Park

My Kindergarten students delighted in gathering the fallen leaves. Every morning they brought a collection of leaves to school. We sang many songs about autumn leaves, but this one is my favorite. I especially love the incredible instrumentation that Andre DiMuzio created to accompany this.

It’s fun to teach this song with a xylophone or glockenspiel. You can play it by starting at the shortest bar (C) (do), and going step by step to the longest bar. If you turn the instrument on its side with the shortest bar on top, it’s easy to see and hear the melody descending.

Falling Leaves Adapted by Kathy Kampa

Down, down, down, down, the leaves are falling to the ground. 

    do       ti        la       sol             fa              mi        re        do


Red, yellow, orange, and brown, the leaves are falling to the ground. 

  do       ti        la         sol             fa              mi        re        do


My students will sing this song over and over again. On the recording, the last time just slows down to signal the end of the song.

When I arranged this song, the children first sing the words to build their understanding of autumn. I also created a section where children can create their own movements. It’s important to give children opportunities to express themselves freely. They can spin fast or slow. They can pretend to blow in the wind.

Children love dancing with lightweight scarves. The color doesn’t seem to matter. They just love the way the scarves float so lightly. As students sing, they float their scarves back and forth (crossing their midline) moving their bodies lower and lower, just like the music. When they sing “Whoosh!” they scoop up the scarves and start again.

My students laugh when the scarf lands on their arm, their head, their shoulder . . . .

Here’s a video of my young learners.

I use small, lightweight hemmed scarves like these. Search for “hemmed scarves” or “juggling scarves.” Check the reviews. I like mine! Young children can practice naming the color, too.

Screen Shot 2020-03-19 at 16.55.57

Check out my Pinterest board for more autumn activities. This song is available on my album “Jump Jump Everyone.” For more kid-tested music and movement activities, check out my music on iTunes.

Jump Jump Everyone
Kathy has produced two music CDs for very young learners, Kathy Kampa’s Special Days and Holidays and Jump Jump Everyone, which build English language skills through movement while nurturing creativity and imagination! Grown and loved by real kids!

Kathy Kampa is a teacher, author, and teacher-trainer who specializes in working with young learners. As a PYP (Primary Years Program) teacher in Tokyo, Japan, she uses a globally-minded and inquiry-based approach to teaching through which students develop 21st century skills. She also supports the development of English language skills by creating songs, chants, and TPR/movement activities targeted to young learners’ needs.

Kathy and her husband Charles Vilina are also co-authors of Magic TimeEverybody Up, the ELTon award-winning course Oxford Discover, and Beehive, all published by Oxford University Press.


Let’s Do the Skeleton Dance


Skeleton Dance is definitely one of my students’ favorite songs! Why should you love it, too?

It teaches body parts.

It teaches directional movements.

It’s a great way to start your school day!

It’s an easy, energizing Brain Break.

It’s a perfect rainy day, get-your-wiggles-out song.!

It’s an effective activity for a health unit.

The song will stick in students’ heads.

It’s just what you need for your Halloween celebrations!

And you can invite parents to have fun dancing with their children!

The kids will ask for it again and again.

It’s so much fun!

Skeleton Dance is one of the first children’s songs that I wrote. And it’s certainly been requested over and over by children and teachers around the globe. I’ve taught Skeleton Dance to students in pre-kindergarten through junior high school. It was a favorite song with my online students from Ukraine. I’ve shared this song with teachers in America, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, The Philippines, Mainland China, Indonesia, Mexico, Finland, and Turkey.

Kathy Kampa’s Skeleton Dance has been performed by many students around the world. You can watch some of my students in Japan doing the Skeleton Dance, and read the lyrics below:

Here’s how you do the Skeleton Dance:

In this song, students will move four different body parts: shoulders, elbows, knees, and feet.
First, students move their shoulders to the beat. Explore different ways of moving each of these body parts.

 Move your shoulders . . .
A. Skeleton, skeleton, skeleton dance,
Move your shoulders, do the skeleton dance.
Skeleton, skeleton, skeleton dance,
Move your shoulders, do the skeleton dance.

Next, students move their whole bodies to the front, to the back, and to the side. I usually start by moving only my arms, but my students love to jump in each direction.

B. To the front, to the back, to the side, side, side,
To the front, to the back, to the side, side, side,

Next, students move their shoulders up, down, and around. Each time they repeat the song, they will move a different body part in these directions. When I teach this, I point with my finger to show the directions.

C. Put your shoulders up. Put your shoulders down.
Move them up and down and all around.
Put your shoulders up. Put your shoulders down.
Move them up and down and all around.

Finally, students move their shoulders in their own way.

D. Shoulders dance . .ch ch ch ch ch ch ch ch
Shoulders dance . .ch ch ch ch ch ch ch ch

This dance is repeated with the following body parts.
Before I play the music, my students and I figure out how we’ll move up, down, and around using each of these body parts.

2. Move your elbows . . .
3. Move your knees . . .
4. Move your feet . . .

You can download this song from iTunes (Track #15).

I hope that your students enjoy this as much as mine do.

Kathy and her English students
Kathy’s songs were written especially for young learners. Each song focuses on popular classroom topics and invites children to use their imaginations. Songs also support the development of English language skills through repetition and simple melodies. Students love moving to Kathy’s songs!

Kathy Kampa is a passionate educator of young learners. She seeks to nurture children’s imaginations and spark creativity through fun and engaging activities. Kathy believes that music and movement should be a part of every young child’s learning.

Kathy is the co-author of Magic Time, Everybody Up, Oxford Discover (ELTon winner), and Beehive (published by Oxford University Press). She has been teaching young learners in Tokyo, Japan for over 30 years. Kathy has composed educational music for Tokyo Shoseki and recorded songs for Learning World. She is active as a teacher trainer, inspiring teachers around the world. Kathy and her husband have currently returned to her home state of Minnesota in the US.

If you’re interested in more of Kathy’s work, check out her YouTube channel at Kathy Kampa