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On the Water, On the Sea

Like so many of our popular rhymes and children’s songs, Row Row Row Your Boat has its roots in the 19th century. Its simple melody makes it easy to learn and a favorite with young children. If you don’t know the tune, there are many videos on You Tube to help you learn it.

Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream,

Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.

Have some fun with this song:

Sing it in a “round!” One person starts the first line, “Row, row, row your boat …” and the next person starts the first line when the first person sings the second line. This will work best if there are some older children in the family to help out!

Act out the song! Pretend you are in a row boat together. To row, push down and away with your hands holding the pretend oars and then pull your hands and arms up and back, using your whole body. Sometimes little ones surprise us with what intrigues them – your little one might enjoy this video clip from on how to row a boat.

Make up new verses! Wikipedia lists some alternate verses for the song: Sing these together and then make up some of your own!
Versions include:

Row, row, row your boat,
Gently down the stream.
If you see a crocodile,
Don’t forget to scream.


Row, row, row your boat,
Gently down the stream.
Haha Haha I fooled you,
I’m a submarine!


Row, row, row your boat,
Gently down the stream.
Try to make it back to shore
Before your boat sinks.

What if your boat went to the park? Down the canal? To the store or down the shore? Play with language and rhyming words, and this will ultimately help your little one to develop a strong vocabulary and early reading skills.

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