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!
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.
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.
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 Time, Everybody Up, the ELTon award-winning course Oxford Discover, and Beehive, all published by Oxford University Press.
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