Mar 1, 2012


Raffi Cavoukian is a Canadian singer-songwriter who has been enyoyed by children audiences for over three decades. Since one of his earliest album, Singable Songs for the Very Young (1976), he has delighted young listeners with his albums and music.

Many of Raffi's published songs have become staples for early childhood caregivers throughout North America and beyond. His folk style music with mainly his voice and a guitar is conducive to teachable moments with children. The adult can put his music on, and if uncomfortable with public singing, then simply use additional aids like felt stories to encourage learning for the young children listening. If the adult likes to sing, then with our without Raffi being played, she/he can use his songs in any early childhood settings at circle time, for creative movement and so forth.

Raffi Songs for Counting

Many songs by Raffi correlate well to counting activities, particularly the songs with Five in the title. All songs with five in them can be transfered to glove puppets and other fingerplay activities. Try making these songs into felt board pieces to place on the flannel board as the song is being listened to. Similarly, making or buying glove puppets work well with Raffi counting songs.

In this way, the young children can hear the words and visually see the items being removed or added. Some suggestions that help with number recognition which are both from his album, Singable Songs for the Very Young are "Five Green and Speckled Frogs" and "Five Little Pumpkins".

Raffi Songs for Creative Movement

Many songs sung by Raffi can turn into action songs for young children simply by acting out the lyrics and adding some movements to go along with the music.

  1. "There's a Spider on the Floor" (Singable Songs for the Very Young, 1976): this song talks about a spider that goes up the body right to the head and then jumps back to the floor. For this song, find a toy spider for children to use when following the lyrics. This action works well with a group of children sitting in a circle.
  2. " Brush Your Teeth" (Singable Songs for the Very Young, 1976): when the lyrics are being sung, pretend to brush your teeth and act out any part of the song you can, such as knocking with the words, " ...and you think you hear a knock on the door".
  3. "Shake My Sillies Out" (More Singable Songs, 1977): this is a wonderful song for children to have creative movement with, doing everything Raffi suggests in his song.
  4. "Down By the Bay" (Singable Songs for the Very Young, 1976): the rhythm of this song provides many options for action, even by simply doing a follow me activity with children, such as clapping your hands, then hitting your head and patting your stomach.
Raffi Songs for Teaching Lessons

Many songs written by Raffi hold wonderful lessons for children and provide teachable moments as the words are being listened to. The following list provides just a handle of such songs.

  1. " The More We Get Together" (Singable Songs for the Very Young, 1976)---friendship
  2. " The Sharing Song" (Singable Songs for the Very Young, 1976)---friendship and sharing
  3. "Everything Grows" (Everything Grows, 1987)---life, growth
  4. "Big Beautiful Planet" (Rise and Shine, 1982)--environment
  5. " Willoughby Wallaby Woo "(Singable Songs for the Very Young, 1976)--rhyming
Raffi is more than an accomplished musician, he is an active environmentalist. For more information on Raffi, visit

This article, written by Christine Moore, was originally published by