Holidays Leader's Guide Song Demo

Happy Birthday, Trees! A Tu Bishvat Song for Kids

“Happy Birthday, Trees!” is a simple zipper song using tapping sticks to involve young children in a musical celebration of Tu Bishvat, the Jewish holiday that celebrates trees!

This is a zipper song so you can make it your own and move however you see fit- model movements, ask kiddos for suggestions- feel free to get creative.

I like these 6 inch (short, fat) lummi sticks for little ones- less likely to be able to reach far enough to poke another kid in the eye- but please be aware that kiddos will need supervision upon distribution!

Develop hand-eye coordination, balance, body awareness, bilateral coordination, practice fine and gross motor skills…have lots of fun while learning about a Jewish holiday!

Tapping, banging, crossing, rolling, marching, and  ‘zipping’ sticks are all examples of opportunities for kids to practice, develop, and explore essential skills and grow abilities that will help them write, read, and otherwise function in society.

This is play- AND it is also important work for babies and toddlers.

Gross motor skills are developed through any of these movements with rhythm sticks:

Bang/drum- hit the floor (alternate hands or at the same time- both develop different neurological capacities)

March/Pound– grip one stick in each hand and tap one end on the floor.

Roll- same motion, except on the floor (kids can ‘roll’ their bodies, too- my toddlers watch my husband use his foam roller after workouts so they love to mimic him with these)

Rub– hold both sticks in the palm of your hands and use both hands to roll them back and forth.

Hammer– hold one stick vertically and the other horizontally and tap like you are hammering a nail.

Twist/’Screw’- Vertically align sticks up on top of one another, make circular motion while maintaining contact (I say twist, because of other connotations of the word, but kids are going to be oblivious to those)


If you want to add another dimension, expand vocabulary, musical and otherwise while exploring opposites, practicing self-control AND listening skills :

  • high/low
  • fast/slow
  • hard/soft
  • stop/go
WOAH- Did you know you could accomplish SO much with some sticks, a song, and a little inspiration for Jewish text and tradition?


Tu Bishvat lends itself to all sorts of fun, meaningful explorations and celebrations- with lots of singable story options.

I love to read Inch by Inch– an illustrated version of The Garden Song by Pete Seeger and There Was A Tree which is a beautifully illustrated version of The Green Grass Grows All Around rhyme (which is a great way to practice sequencing and recall with your littles, too!) BimBam and PJ Library both have great resource collections to help you enjoy this holiday with your kiddos.


Happy Birthday, Trees Lyrics:

Note: these can change with each verse!

Happy Birthday to the trees, thanks for so many things
Your wood gave us these tapping sticks, so now we tap and sing

La la la la la la la, we like the trees a lot!

La la la la la la la, happy Tu Bishvat!


Happy Birthday to the trees, Thanks for so many things
Your wood gave us these tapping sticks, so now we roll and sing

La la la la la la la, we like the trees a lot!

La la la la la la la, happy Tu Bishvat!


hammer and…

march hand…

bang and….

…very fast….vey slow….while we roll…while we bang!

Another personal favorite Tu Bishvat tune of mine, Laurie Berner’s One Seed, isn’t technically or officially a Jewish Tu Bishvat song.

Laurie Berkner’s echo song, One Seed, with movements- is always popular because it doesn’t require a ‘teach’- kids and families are immediately able to participate in the tune.


To highlight the ‘big ideas’ about sustaining nature, honoring lives, and how family legacies can be passed, I like to pair it with the Honi The Circle Maker story.

BimBam has done a fantastic job of sharing it through animation in a way that captivates and communicates multi layered messages of this classic Jewish folk tale to viewers of many ages and stages.

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