Australian Song: Fingerplay and Action Activity

Waltzing Matlida
Song by Andrew ‘Banjo’ Patterson;
Revised by Marie Cowan; Actions by C.K. Emanuel

1ST VERSE
Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong
(PALMS PAT BELLY; THEN TOUCH FINGERTIPS ON BOTH HANDS TOGETHER MAKING ATOP OF A TRIANGLE CHEST HIGH FOR CAMP)
Under the shade of a Coolabah tree
(RAISE HANDS OVERHEAD AND SLIGHT OFF TO SIDES, LIKE BRANCHES OF A TREE)
And he sang as he watched and waited till his billy boiled
(AS IF STRUMMING A BANJO: LEFT HAND MAKES LOOSE FIST TO SIDE OF BODY WITH FINGERS POINTING UP, RIGHT HAND IN FRONT OF STOMACH DOES A SIDEWAYS WAVE)
You’ll come a waltzing Matilda with me
(POINTER AND MIDDLE FINGERS REMAIN TOUCHING WHILE POINTING DOWNWARDS LIKE LEGS; TWIST ARM SO THAT FINGERS SWING BACK AND FORTH AS IF DANCING; THEN BOTH POINTER FINGERS TOUCH CHEST)

CHORUS:
Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
(POINTER AND MIDDLE FINGERS REMAIN TOUCHING WHILE POINTING DOWNWARDS LIKE LEGS; TWIST ARM SO THAT FINGERS SWING BACK AND FORTH AS IF DANCING)
You’ll come a-waltzing Matilda with me
(REPEAT ACTIONS ABOVE; THEN BOTH POINTER FINGERS TOUCH CHEST)
And he sang as he watched and waited till his billy boiled
(AS IF STRUMMING A BANJO)
You’ll come a waltzing Matilda with me
(REPEAT ACTIONS FROM SECOND LINE OF CHORUS)

2ND VERSE
Down came a jumbuck to drink at that billabong
(HAND CURVES SLIGHTLY WITH FINGERS POINTING DOWN; MOVE HAND FORWARDS WHILE WIGGLING FINGERS LIKE LEGS OF ANIMAL)
Up jumped the swagman and grabbed him in glee
(ARMS MAKE HOOP IN FRONT OF BODY AS IF HUGGING SOMEONE)
And he said as he shoved that jumbuck in his tuckerbag
(REST LEFT AND ON LEFT HIP MAKING HOOP; TAKE RIGHT HAND THROUGH HOOP)
You’ll come a waltzing Matilda with me
(SAME ACTION AS SECOND AND LAST LINE IN CHORUS)

REPEAT CHORUS

Source: “Australian Songs.” All Down Under. Accessed 7.1.2013. http://alldownunder.com/australian-music-songs/index.html

Participation Age Range: 3 to 8 years, 18 to 35 months with possible modifications

Skills Utilized/Reinforced: Fine motor skills, Introduction of different culture and place (billabong=lake, etc.), Pronunciation of letter sounds b, w, and l. (This is a really fun way to include letter sound practice. I’d recommend passing it on to parents whose child is looking for speech reinforce materials on these letters.)

Possible Modifications: To aid with unfamiliar terms, it might be helpful to set the stage with either felt pieces or a slide on the computer. This way some of the kids might have an easier time understanding the actions of the story.

If you want to include this song for toddler set, I’d recommend simply teaching the actions for the chorus, and have the audience join in at the appropriate times. (It is a lot of actions to introduce right off the bat.)

For the older kids, we had a great time acting this song out with the help of a stuffed sheep and a sack.

Themes: Travel, Australia, Mammals, Sheep, Songs, Music, Letters W, B, L and M

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