Songs and Finger Plays can be a wonderful musical springboard for improvisational story- weaving, a musical framework for creating a collective story with the whole group or combining individual stories by each child. I often have used a group process to improvise and create stories with young children with the repeated question “What happens next?” We might take turns with each child’s answer advancing the story or do collective group brainstorming to create the story together. Nona Beamer’s beautiful song “Pūpū Hinuhinu” is a great companion to this story time too.
Pūpū Hinuhinu/Five Little Sea Shells story-weaving with shells, scarves, ocean drums and improvisation
Pūpū Hinuhinu by Nona Beamer
Pūpū Hinuhinu e
O ke kahakai
Pūpū Hinuhinu e
Poetic Translation (appearing in The Children’s Music Network’s journal, “Pass It On!”)
My shell so shiny,
My shiny little shell
I found you by the seashore
My shell, shiny shell
It’s beautiful to start this song with the gentle swishing sound of an ocean drum. You can find a video of this song with the shell rhythms and hand motions on youtube: Pupu Hinuhinu – YouTube (the version I’m referring to is posted by hanahouhula, it lists the web site www.chicagohulaproductions.com; the singer on the video recording is Tia Carrere.
The finger play below is really fun to do with colorful scarves, lifting them up with each ‘swish’ of the waves after singing “Pūpū Hinuhinu.
FIVE LITTLE SEA SHELLS (traditional finger play)
Five little seashells sitting on the shore
Swish went the waves, and then there were four
Four little seashells sitting by the sea
Swish went the waves, and then there were
Three little seashells ‘neath a sky so blue
Swish went the waves and then there were two
Two little seashells sitting in the sun
Swish went the waves and then there was one
One little seashell sitting all alone
I picked it up and brought it home!
Once upon a time, swish! went the waves carrying the seashells far out to sea on each of their own very big adventures. What happened to the first little shell…
Take turns letting each child tell what happens to the next little shell!
STORYING WEAVING: Here is a “Five Little Seashells” story created by 4-5 year olds with Barb Tilsen in her “Singing Stories” class at the Minneapolis Children’s Theatre (2011).
Once upon a time there were…
Five little seashells sitting on the shore, “Swish!” went the waves…carrying one sea shell far off to the other side of ocean to the arctic where it was really, really cold!
Four little seashells sitting by the sea, “Swish!” went the waves…carrying the next little seashell far, far away. It got eaten by a monster and got swallowed up!
Three little seashells ‘neath the sky so blue, “Swish!” went the waves…carrying the next little seashell far across the ocean and it got stuck in the sand. A little girl found it and took it home.
Two little seashells sitting in the sun, “Swish!” went the waves…carrying the fourth little seashell to the deepest ocean ever and it went to the bottom of the sea and then a hermit crab picked it up and made a home in the shell.
One little seashell sitting all alone, “Swish!” went the waves…carrying the last little seashell into a locked cage and it went over the Pacific Ocean and a little girl found it and she had they key to unlock the cage so she got it out and took it home!
Pūpū Hinuhinu: our story ends with this beautiful song and the soft sounds of the ocean drum