Environmental Songwriting Ideas for Kids

1. Write a parody where new words are devised to an existing melody.

2. Write an original melody that can be altered or created along with the lyrics.

3. Have one class write words as poetry and pass them along to another class to be set to music (or have the teacher make up the melody).

4. Melody construction: Pair numbers with the notes of the musical scale. Have students create melodies by selecting random sequences of numbers, and play the corresponding notes.

5. Have students analyze the meter and rhyme of poetry.

6. Give guidance in maintaining clarity and continuity of the message without losing the meaning. (Don’t let the process of rhyming make poems lose their punch).

7. Have children write songs which reflect the following:

a. A bright commercial with an ecological or anti-pollution message.
b. A sad song of a future worse than today.
c. A hopeful song of how we can change the future.


Ellenor Yahrmarkt, Boston Harbor Islands State Parks, 349 Lincoln St. Bldg. 45, Hingham MA 02043

“We tend to think of folksongs as traditional music such as “Row, Row Your Boat, but I think of folksongs as a style that anyone can adapt to. I, myself, am not a gifted musician. I play no instruments, but I try to put music in my programs. A woman at the Boston Harbor Educators Conference got me into doing “rap” songs with students. Many children these days seem to relate to it. The children can usually come up with a rap about a topic you give them within 15 minutes. Even if they are too young to write, you can always help them out.”

1. Demonstrate a rap someone else or yourself has done.

2. First select a topic.

3. Write down words relating to it.

4. Have the children in small groups (4-5) work on theirs. Or have a group effort.

5. Repeat lines as you get them so the children can begin learning the song.

6. If possible, have a cassette tape of rap music to play or give the students recycled instruments.

7. Write it down and send it to them later.