See "Additional Information" for - context, level, topic, vocal range, voicing, duration
Share this page using these Social Links
Use camp songs at the beginning of the school year to “break the ice” and encourage students to join in singing. They are more likely to participate if their nervous laughter is covered by the laughter resulting from a silly song.
Camp songs can be used as warm-ups. Canons and rounds that are delightful around an evening campfire are also lovely as an easy harmony exercise and vocal warm-up. Action songs get students singing and moving to warm up (or wind down!) physically before singing.
Use camp songs as an end-of-year activity. Students anticipating the end of the school year may find it difficult to settle. Camp songs have a good combination of fun and exuberance to handle attitudes at this time of year.
Use camp songs to give your students a library of songs they can share in summer social settings when someone says, “Let’s sing something!” As much as the students learn from singing games and pedagogical songs, they are not the type of songs a student would suggest when they are contributing to a sing-along.
Read the lyrics carefully before using any camp song in this collection or anywhere else. Some lyrics that are acceptable to some may be considered inappropriate for others. You will need to make your own assessment of what is appropriate for your unique school population. “When in doubt, leave it out,” has always been sage advice.
Ask the students if they have a favourite camp song to share. Again, this is best done with some monitoring from the teacher!
Camp songs are fun to sing and can leave a lasting impression. I remember with great clarity being at camp and hearing "The Bear Song” for the first time. I listened in horror as that bear closed in on the singer. I could see that huge tree and the branch so far from the ground. When the runner jumps and misses, my heart was racing and I couldn’t figure out how this could possibly end well. The twist at the end when the singer actually missed the branch on the way up, but caught it on the way down was funny and a relief all at the same time. Fast forward to decades later, and I still love sharing this song with my students. The call and response format makes it accessible for the students with no words to remember (it’s all up to you, the song leader!). It is still a relief when the safe arrival on the branch concludes the song.
I also remember the crackle of the fire, darkness settling slowly and gently around us as we sang and roasted marshmallows. Singing songs in this setting is such a great memory.
Music and singing was a huge part of family life when I was growing up. My love of music has carried on to become my chosen profession, what I enjoy for fun, and my greatest joy. Perhaps young singers will learn a silly camp song, discover that they enjoy singing and include music in the activities they pursue for the rest of their lives. That’s a pretty big mandate for the lowly camp song, but you never know!
Camp Songs come in a variety of categories:
Songs with disgusting lyrics - that make us say, "Eeuw!"
Call and Response / Echo Songs
Sing-along Songs / Story Songs
Canons / Rounds
Composer, Elementary Music Specialist, Performer
Donna Rhodenizer loves playing singing games with her students. In addition to pretending to be a bird flying in and out of windows, an owl hiding in the forest, or a mother chicken calling to her chicks, Donna’s vivid imagination is put to good use composing songs for young singers. She has written over 500 pieces of music in the past four decades and, unless that pesky wolf in the forest causes an early demise, she has plans to write more songs in the future.