January 1st, 2016
First-foot is a tradition in Great Britain where the first person who enters a person’s house (the “first-foot”) in the New Year will bring good or bad luck. Rosetta Ceesay wrote, “New year in Northern Ireland it’s still seen as bad luck if your first visitor in the new year is a female, so people ensure that the […]
November 4th, 2015
Guy Fawkes Night is celebrated in England every year on November 5th. It’s also known as Bonfire Night and Fireworks Night. It commemorates the thwarted attempt in 1605, known as the Gunpowder Plot, to assassinate King James I and destroy the Houses of Parliament. Guy Fawkes was the first person arrested in the conspiracy and […]
June 9th, 2014
The expression "to tie the knot" means "to get married". There are several places where tied knots have been connected to marriage and love. During Roman times, brides wore a belt or girdle at their wedding tied in a Hercules Knot. Only the groom was allowed to untie it (the unloosening was supposed to be […]
June 17th, 2013
Have you ever wondered what is the difference between the United Kingdom and Great Britain? This video explains it, plus a whole lot more! Enjoy! Mama Lisa
April 26th, 2013
Booktrust did a survey of over 2,500 people in the UK to determine the top nursery rhymes. Here they are with links to their lyrics (most of the links have mp3’s or videos too): 1. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star 2. Incey Wincey Spider 3. Round And Round The Garden 4. Baa Baa Black Sheep 5. […]
March 12th, 2013
Here’s an Irish Blessing just in time for St. Patrick’s Day… Irish Blessing May your pockets be heavy And your heart be light. May good luck pursue you Each morning and night. Happy St. Patrick’s Day! -Mama Lisa
February 27th, 2013
Song of The Leprechaun or Fairy Shoemaker was written by Irish poet William Allingham (1824 – 1889). Leprechauns are known to be shoemakers. At the end of the work day, they hide away the money they earned in a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. Song of The Leprechaun or Fairy Shoemaker […]
February 25th, 2013
There are many variations in different languages of "mother" and "father". These are formal words that people use when referring to their parents. But most words used to address our parents directly are less formal. In the US, most people don’t say "mother’ and "father" when talking to their parents. Even when I was a […]
December 30th, 2012
Towards the end of WWI two cousins, young girls, took photos with fairies they said they had met. Later they admitted they faked the photos. Yet many people at the time believed they were real, including the author of the Sherlock Holmes stores, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle! The fairies came to be called the "Cottingley […]
December 24th, 2012
I asked people informally how they tip for services for the holidays at the end of the year. Answers varied. So don’t feel like you have to go by a chart! Part of the answer had to do with a person’s economic condition. So people receiving tips should keep this in mind! Some people will […]
December 22nd, 2012
It’s a tradition in the US and the UK to tip people at the end of the year who perform services. Some of the people who are tipped are: Mail Couriers, Sanitation Workers, Hairdressers, Milkmen, House Cleaners, Nanny’s, Music Instructors, Dog Groomers, Teachers, etc. Many people wonder if they’re tipping the right amount. This seems […]
December 21st, 2012
Boxing Day is the day after Christmas when tradesmen and servants were traditionally given tips or gifts for their service. Here’s what Rebecca wrote about it from the UK… The ‘Christmas box’ was traditionally for those who serviced your house; bin men, milkmen & coal men! Well, in the last century. Before that, it included […]
October 18th, 2012
Here’s a fun illustration called "A Tour in the Toy Country" by British illustrator Randolph Caldecott (1846 – 1886). Caldecott illustrated many books for children.
October 16th, 2012
For all you fans of the animated show The Simpsons, check out these opening credits done with real live people…. (via Kottke) Pretty cool! But where’s Marge’s tall blue hair? Enjoy! Mama Lisa
September 27th, 2012
There’s a sense of joy in making a Halloween costume for your child… not to mention the pride you feel when you see them wear it. The site No Twiddle Twaddle has links to 50+ easy to make Halloween costumes for kids that you don’t have to sew! Enjoy! Mama Lisa
May 22nd, 2012
Have you ever heard of Fairy Rings? In real life, Fairy Rings are a naturally occurring phenomena where mushrooms grow in a circle. In folklore, Fairy Rings are an enchanted place where fairies gather at night and dance under the moonlight. John Milton mentioned dancing Fairy Elves in the first Book of Paradise Lost… Fairy […]
May 16th, 2012
Here’s a poem about a man who tries to catch a Leprechaun so he can become rich! It was written by the Irish poet William Allingham (1824–1889). I’ve included definitions of any uncommon words below the poem. After that you can hear a recording of it. The Leprechaun or Fairy Shoemaker I. Little Cowboy, what […]
April 1st, 2012
The history of April Fools Day…
September 26th, 2011
We’ve had many, many comments on our post about the song The Worms Crawl In, The Worms Crawl Out. Here’s a new one by Kai Patsches (U.S.), that I found particularly fun and interesting… When I was younger, every time we would pass a graveyard in the car we had to put one foot in […]
June 1st, 2011
How is the old nursery rhyme "See Saw Sack-a-day" connected to a recent royal groom? Find out on Mama Lisa’s House of Nursery Rhymes!
May 2nd, 2011
Jane Miller wrote to me from a library in Canada asking for help with a song. Here’s her email: Dear Lisa We have had an inquiry on the following folk song. Our inquirer’s mother sang it to him in the 1930’s. She emigrated to Canada from Scotland aged 10, so he thinks the song could […]
April 25th, 2011
1. Put your eggs in a single layer in a pot. These are Large Eggs… 2. Cover with cold water. The water should cover the eggs plus go over them by an inch. Some people add salt to the water to make it easier to peel the eggs later. 3. Bring to a boil on […]
April 20th, 2011
I received this question in my email recently: I am trying to remember a story or poem from my childhood in the early 60s about a talkative little girl who got the nickname Chatter Chin. I have tried googling it without any luck. Can you help? If anyone can help, please comment below. Thanks! Mama […]
February 13th, 2011
Bernard’s daughter used to sing the song below with an American friend of hers. Could anyone record the tune or point to an online recording? Thanks! When Billy Boy was one, he learned to suck his thumb, Thumb Billy, thumb Billy, half past one. When Billy Boy was two, he learned to tie his shoe, […]
January 23rd, 2011
Sheila wrote from North Carolina asking about a circle dance song: I sang this in kindergarten 55 years ago. I don’t know the correct spelling of these words, but this is what the refrain sounded like… Mumbo, hot-toe, mata relay, relay Mumbo, hot-toe mata relay relay roan. It was a circle dance with one child […]
January 1st, 2011
Here’s a selected passage from a poem about the new year… THE NEW YEAR Who comes dancing over the snow, His soft little feet all bare and rosy? Open the door, though the wild winds blow, Take the child in and make him cosey. Take him in and hold him dear, He is the wonderful […]
I found this little Welsh New Years Day song in British Goblins, Welsh Folk-lore, Fairy Mythology, Legends and Traditions (1880) by Wirt Sikes… "A Welsh song sung on New Year’s Day, in Glamorganshire, by boys in chorus, somewhat after the Christmas carol fashion, is this:" Blwyddyn newydd dda i chwi, Gwyliau llawen i chwi, Meistr […]
December 31st, 2010
I found this shortened version of the New Years poem Ring Out, Wild Bells by Tennyson in a children’s book. The shortened version is nice and short and concise… RING OUT, WILD BELLS Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky, The flying cloud, the frosty light: The year is dying in the night; Ring […]
December 24th, 2010
Come get into the spirit of the Christmas holiday! Listen to some carols below… Boar’s Head Carol – Sung by Ruth Golding – Lyrics Here I Heard the Bells by Henry W. Longfellow – Sung by Megan Kunkel – Lyrics Here Silent Night by Franz Xaver Gruber – Sung by DL Pead Sleep Holy Babe […]
December 18th, 2010
It’s Christmas all around the world! Here are links to Christmas carols, rhymes, poems, crafts and recipes from across the globe. Feel free to share your favorite Christmas recipe, song or rhyme with us by emailing me or commenting below. Merry Christmas! Mama Lisa
December 15th, 2010
People around the world leave different "treats" for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. In the US and Canada, we put out milk and cookies for Santa. I have to say when he comes to our house, he leaves a big mess of crumbs on the table… but he always writes us a note of […]
At this time of year, we hear Christmas carols wherever we go. Sometimes it’s fun to hear a parody of one for a change! David Solomons came up with his own particularly British spoof of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. You can listen to it below… Enjoy! Mama Lisa
December 3rd, 2010
Who’s That Up the Chimney? is a Christmas song written by Scottish singer Ewan McVicar. Ewan sent this song to us when we asked him if he knew of any Christmas songs from Scotland. Here’s what he wrote: I was on a tram in the Urals city of Perm (Russia), and the teacher conveying me […]
December 1st, 2010
It’s still sweet potato season here. What a great time for a Gluten-free Sweet Potato Pie. This dish is so versatile, you can serve it for dinner or dessert. My friend Judy gave me this recipe. She makes it for Thanksgiving for her relatives on a gluten-free diet. They serve it with dinner, sometimes melting […]
November 29th, 2010
Noche de paz is the Spanish version of Silent Night. This Christmas Carol was originally written in German in 1816 by Joseph Mohr. It was called Stille Nacht. Below you can listen to Noche de paz, read the Spanish lyrics and then a literal English translation of the Spanish version. MP3 Recording of Noche de […]
November 27th, 2010
A Visit from Saint Nicholas is a classic poem that has been read for nearly two centuries at Christmastime. You may know it as It Was the Night Before Christmas or Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore. It’s believed to have been first published in 1823. Below you can hear 3 different […]
November 11th, 2010
The expression Like a Bull in a China Shop literally refers to a lumbering, clumsy person damaging things… imagine someone stumbling around a shop full of delicate items, flailing, knocking things over and breaking them. That’s what you’d think would happen of you let a bull loose in a real china shop. Wouldn’t he charge […]
November 4th, 2010
Mandi Robinson wrote: I spent 2 years in Tanzania with my children, we used to sing baa baa mbuzi, unfortunately I only know a little bit of it could someone help me with the words tafadhali, :D I found this version by Sajida on Youth Community: Baa baa black sheep in kiswahili goes: Baa Baa […]
November 1st, 2010
I was talking with my British friend Chris on Halloween. He told me that Halloween isn’t really celebrated through most of Great Britain. Guy Fawkes Day is the most important holiday at this time of year. It’s celebrated on November 5th. People make barn fires and light fireworks. Kids also pull pranks which is why […]
The original meaning of Jack-o’-Lantern was night watchman. "Jack" was a term for any guy or fellow. A night watchman was a guy who would walk around carrying a lantern making sure all was safe. He was a Jack with a lantern. They were also called "Jack-a-lantern" and "Jack-with-the-Lantern". The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) has […]
The Ghosts’ High Noon is a ballad written by W.S. Gilbert, with the tune created by Arthur Sullivan. It’s from Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera called Ruddigore or The Witch’s Curse. Below you’ll find different renditions of the song. Sometimes it’s sung as a ballad, other times it’s read as a poem. Listen to The […]
October 18th, 2010
Here’s a song the kids sing on the bus to and from school… a true Bus Song! And the lyrics are… I know a song that gets on everybody’s nerves… Repeat the line ad infinitum! (Or until you’re thrown off the bus!) Enjoy (or not)! Mama Lisa
Heather sent me this Jack O’Lantern Song with the note: “When I was little my Mom taught my sisters and me several Halloween songs… Now I sing them to my daughter all the time. We are especially fond of Halloween and we like your website. Here is a song I thought you might like to […]
October 16th, 2010
The Talking Tom iPhone app is available free on the iPhone. It records what you say and repeats it back in the form of a high pitched Talking Cat. My daughter has been playing with it throughout the week. You can even record on it and upload to YouTube. I made two cat rhyme videos […]
October 13th, 2010
Old Abram Brown is an old nursery rhyme. In some versions, he’s called Old Grimes. Some people sing this rhyme as a song for Halloween. Here are the lyrics and a YouTube video… Old Abram Brown is Dead and Gone Old Abram Brown is dead and gone, You’ll never see him more; He used […]
October 12th, 2010
Gracie Gralike sent me this wonderful illustration for Halloween. I love the details! In order to help get you in the mood, I’m posting links to our Halloween songs, poetry and recipes below… Happy Halloween! Many thanks to Gracie for sharing such a great drawing! Feel free to share your favorite Halloween song, poem or […]
Alouette is NOT a Mean Song… REALLY! Most people think the French Canadian song, “Alouette” is very mean, once they learn what it means in English. It sounds like it’s about someone taunting a bird… “Lark, nice lark… I’ll pluck out your feathers… I’ll pluck your eyes.. I’ll pluck your wings…” It sounds really cruel. […]
July 30th, 2010
Librivox just released another bunch of recordings of fairy tales in various languages, including Hungarian, Russian, German, English, Italian and Portuguese (with links to the text of each tale). This is the 3rd collection they’ve posted. Fairy Tale Collection #1 also includes recordings in Latvian, Danish, Romanian, Yiddish and French. You can also check out […]
July 1st, 2010
“Pizza Pizza Daddy-O” is a cool circle dance game. Below are the lyrics to one version… many exist and you can add your own lines. The kids stand in a circle and one child goes in the middle. The child in the middle is the one whose name they say in the first line of […]
June 25th, 2010
Today’s the last day of school here. I can’t help remember our last day of school chant from when I was a kid… No more pencils No more books No more teacher’s Dirty looks. Kick the tables Kick the chairs Kick the teachers Down the stairs! Every kid in my generation sang this on the […]
Please contribute a traditional song or rhyme from your country.
A Mama Lisa Book
Over 50 songs and rhymes, in French with translations into English. You'll find well-known songs like Frère Jacques, Alouette, and Au claire de la lune, alongside many you may never have heard of. At the end of each item in this book, there's a web address to an online version of the song or rhyme. There we are often able to include sheet music, recordings and videos of performances. We hope this book will help foster a love of French songs and culture all over the world! Order Here!
Travel to far away places with our new E-Books Kid Songs Around The World and Lullabies Around The World
Whoever the children are in your life - your kids, your grandkids, your students, even yourself (in your heart) - Mama Lisa's E-books are wonderful ways to help them experience other languages and cultures.
In Kid Songs Around The World we've gathered 100 of our favorite songs and rhymes from all the continents of the globe.
Each song includes the full text in the original language, with an English translation, and most include sheet music. All include links to web pages where you can listen to recordings, hear the tune or watch a video performance. Each includes a beautiful illustration.
Many have commentary sent to us by our correspondents who write about the history of the songs and what they meant in their lives.
BONUS: Order now and receive Lullabies Around The World FREE!
$3.99 for Both Downloadable E-Books Order Here!
Over 50 lullabies and recordings from all over the world. Each Lullaby includes the full text in the original language, with an English translation.
Kid Songs Around The World and Lullabies Around The World are downloadable e-books, which you will gain access to immediately. (They are not physical books.)
We hope these books will help foster a love of international children's songs!
$3.99 for Both Downloadable E-Books Order Here!