Fruit, nuts and British Woodland with Bangers & Smash!

This January and February, we’ve been thinking about fruit and nuts at Bangers & Smash!


We’ve started our sessions with a new welcome song, Learn To Say Hello, during which the children have taken it in turns to clap their hands as Cathy calls out their names around the circle.

Next, the children have chosen their favourite fruits and nuts – including apple, pear, orange, lemon, walnut, cashew and pistachio – and we’ve practised clapping these as call and response word rhythms. Cathy has extended this activity to include different pitches, which has allowed us to explore sounds which are halfway between spoken and sung – a bit like a market trader calling their wares!

We’ve then learned two nursery rhymes:

  • Oranges And Lemons

  • I Had A Little Nut Tree

In the first, we’ve used handbells and chime bars to mimic the sound of church bells; in the second, we’ve passed a toy tree in a pot around the circle and the children have described what it feels like:

  • ‘The leaves are spiky’

  • ‘It’s prickly’

Moving on, we’ve listened and sung along to two songs by Canadian children’s songwriter, Raffi:

  • Apples And Bananas

  • Bananaphone

In the first, the children have experimented with different vowel sounds while in the second, Cathy has pretended that different people (Mummy, Daddy etc) are ringing on a toy phone shaped like a banana. Individual children have enjoyed ‘answering’ the phone, resulting in much hilarity.

Next, we’ve learned a short poem, The Fruit And Nut Train, and used it as an opportunity to play longer word rhythms using claves. The children have enjoyed holding their claves above their heads at the end of the poem and shouting ‘Nuts!’

In February, we’ve concentrated on fruits and nuts from the Caribbean – including mango, banana, papaya, peanut and coconut. Again, we’ve clapped these as call and response word rhythms/market calls.

This has led on to another popular song, Mama Paquita, by Steve Grocott. Cathy has brought in a sombrero and some brightly coloured scarves and the children have enjoyed trying on the sombrero, waving the scarves (particularly at the end while shouting ‘Olé!’) and marching in time to the pulse.

We’ve finished our sessions with two songs from Jamaica, both performed by local Mento bands:

  • Oh Banana

  • Peanut Vendor

It’s been lovely to see the children choosing partners (with no prompting from Cathy) and dancing in pairs. We’ve also joined hands as one big group and danced round in a circle.

British Woodland

Meanwhile, at Under the Willow, we’ve started our new 12-week project, British Woodland.

Our first sessions have been about:

  • a welcome to the woods

  • trees

  • animals on the ground

  • animals in the sky

  • animals underground

  • bugs and insects


As well as teaching another Raffi song, Going On A Picnic, Cathy has introduced a variety of musical activities, including:

  • making the sound of leaves with shakers while dancing to Calico by Bangers & Smash Co-Founder, Sarah Allen’s band, Flook

  • singing songs about trees, including The Parts of Trees (to the tune of Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes) and If You’re Ever In The Forest (to the tune of Did You Ever See A Lassie?)

  • moving like woodland animals to Spring from Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, When The Red, Red Robin Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbing Along and I Wish I Was A Mole In The Ground

  • singing and acting out Bangers & Smash originals, Owl Babies and Flutter By, with puppets and scarves

  • inviting individual children to play and sing an ascending and descending phrase on glockenspiel and adding in words about different woodland animals and their behaviours

Children and staff are looking forward to performing some of the above for parents and carers at Under the Willow’s British Woodland Project Celebration on Wednesday 10 April 2019.