cathy clethero

Keeping the pulse with Bangers & Smash!

This April, we've been learning about keeping the pulse at Bangers & Smash!


We've started off by tapping our hearts and saying 'boom, boom, boom'. What's this? A heart beat. A heart is like a big pump that pushes blood around our bodies. It pumps steadily, making a beat or pulse. Can we make a pulse on our knees? Our heads? Our tummies? Where else might we make a pulse?

Over the sessions, we've developed this idea to ask what happens to our hearts when we run? When we sleep? This has allowed us to investigate the idea of speed and Cathy has invited individual children to the front to play pulses of different speeds so everyone can join in.

Continuing March's pet theme, we've sung Hickory Dickory Dock with our pet mouse, building on last month's work by (i) adding in more verses and actions; (ii) inviting children to the front to lead; (iii) tapping the pulse on our knees and on claves. By singing and tapping 'tick tock, tick tock, tick tock' at the end of each verse, children have been able to make the connection between a pulse and a ticking clock and this has led into a new song, Tick Tock Clock, in which children play tick tocks of different speeds on claves.

Other pet songs we've sung while creating a pulse include:

  • I Want To Be A Little Mouse
  • Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat
  • One Mouse / Cat / Rabbit On A Trampoline

In the first two songs, we've explored 12/8 time, which gives a lilting feel, while in the last song, we've bounced our pets on a cloth in 4/4 time, which gives a straight or marching feel.

Moving on from this, we've marched in 4/4 time to The Grand Old Duke Of York – physicalising the pulse and feeling it throughout our bodies from the ground up – and danced to Hoots, Man! by Lord Rockingham's XI. Cathy has introduced a Scottish mouse and the children have enjoyed joining in with key phrases, 'Och aye!' and 'Hoots, Man, there's a moose loose aboot this hoose!'

Music in the Wildlife Garden


On Saturday 28 April, Cathy and Sarah were delighted to welcome families and members of the local community to Bangers & Smash's Music in the Wildlife Garden event at the Mother Goose Wildlife Garden.


Although it was a cold and windy day, over 80 people turned up to make drums and claves from recycled and natural materials and to sing songs about wildlife.


Cathy premiered two new songs – Wildflowers In The Grass and Dig Your Spade In – and parents and children enjoyed playing along to these as well as Bangers & Smash originals, Owl Babies, Tadpole, Flutter By and Hey, Stop Shaking Your Tail! on junk percussion.


Gardener, Di Wallace, was on hand with info about the wildlife garden and its inhabitants and, when it got too cold, visitors were able to warm up with tea, coffee and homemade biscuits in the shed.


All in all, it was a fabulous event and we look forward to more of the same next year!

Hey, Stop Shaking Your Tail!

We've kept things nice and simple at Bangers & Smash this March with a series of sessions on the theme of pets!


Cathy has brought in a bag full of soft toys and introduced a new pet each week:

  • a dog
  • a cat
  • a mouse
  • a rabbit

Children and staff have enjoyed singing hello to the pets and talking about their own pets at home.

We've learned songs and nursery rhymes about dogs, cats, mice and rabbits, including:

  • How Much Is That Doggy In The Window?
  • Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat, Where Have You Been?
  • Hickory Dickory Dock
  • Little Peter Rabbit Had A Fly Upon His Nose

We've also sung and danced to two new tracks:

  • What's New, Pussycat? by Tom Jones: The children have picked up the lyrics really quickly and have enjoyed spreading their arms wide and singing What's New, Pussycat? Woah, woah wo-o-o-oh at the tops of their voices!
  • Hey, Stop Shaking Your Tail! by Bangers & Smash: Cathy has used puppets to mime a dog and a cat shaking their tails, paws and ears. The children have loved shaking their own tails, paws and ears and running away as the dog tries to lick their faces!

In the final week, we've celebrated Easter with a series of songs and activities based on rabbits, chickens and eggs:

  • We've gathered around a cloth with silver stars and moons on it and sung Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
  • We've bounced our toy rabbit on the cloth while singing two new songs, The Easter Bunny's Feet go Hop, Hop, Hop and What Shall We Do With An Easter Bunny?
  • We've sung Chick, Chick, Chicken and taken it in turns to play some egg shakers and cluck like chickens


Don't miss Bangers & Smash's singing and instrument-making session at the Mother Goose Wildlife Garden in Denmark Hill!

Cathy and Sarah will join wildlife gardener, Di Wallace, from 1-5pm on Saturday 28 April for this FREE session for families and members of the local community, part-sponsored by Southwark Council.

We'll be showcasing new songs about wildlife and gardening as well as making drums and claves from recycled and natural materials so do come along and bring your littl'uns!

For more information, please click here.