Play Ideas

Celebrate Indigenous Cultures with Songs and Stories

January 20, 2023
Preschool kids play with building bricks in while sitting on floor in daycare

When children sing songs and listen to stories, they’re learning literacy skills (such as vocabulary, language, and communication) and social-emotional skills (such as empathy). Songs and stories are also a great way to learn about and celebrate all cultures. On this page, you will find songs and picture books by Indigenous creators, artists and authors for children birth to 6 years!

    Journey Together Program for Children and Families

    We are so grateful for our partners at The Indigenous Network and their Journey Together Program! Journey Together is designed and led by an Indigenous Child & Family Outreach Worker. Children birth to 6 years and families attending EarlyON can experience and participate in Indigenous activities while building their awareness of Indigenous culture.

    Find a Journey Together program near you!

    Music – Throat singing, drumming and more!

    Foreground: one hand holding a drum, the other holding a drumstick to play the drum. Background: blurry image of a child dancing.

    Listen to the Wind Blow

    This song is all about the wind during different seasons. Do you hear the wind? Can you move your body like the wind? Dance along here!

    Baby Shark Ojibway

    Mitchell Mozdzen sings Baby Shark in Ojibway with his Nimaamaa Shark! Sing along here.

    Wichita-do-ya Water Song

    This beautiful Anishinaabe Water Song is filled with the sounds of water in Spring. Sing and drum along to Wichita-do-ya.

    Cat’s Lullaby

    Grab your shakers and sing along to Cat’s Lullaby! Before Théo sings, she talks about how this lullaby was created. Sing along here!

    Beatrice Deer and Pauyungie Nutaraaluk Throat Singing

    Throat singing is part of a fun game imitating the sounds of nature. Two people will sing together and the person who doesn’t miss a beat or laugh, wins! Listen to Beatrice Deer and Pauyungie Nutaraaluk Throat Singing here.

    Song for The Sacred Elements

    Chenoa Egawa & Alex Turtle sing and drum this song in gratitude to the elements. Listen to Song for the Sacred Elements here.

    Picture Books by Indigenous Authors

    Illustration of a child wearing a fox mask. Text reads: Sometimes I Feel Like a Fox. This is the cover of a children's book written by Danielle Daniel.

    Sometimes I Feel Like a Fox by Danielle Daniel

    How are you feeling today? Brave like a bear? Creative like a rabbit? Curious like a porcupine? Sometimes I Feel Like a Fox by Danielle Daniel teaches children the meaning of each Anishnaabe totem animal. Danielle Daniel is an author, illustrator, and painter of Algonquin Anishinaabe, French and Scottish descent. Read along to Sometimes I Feel Like a Fox here.

    We Sang You Home by Richard Van Camp

    Celebrate welcoming a child into your family along with the love and gifts you share with one another with We Sang You Home by Richard Van Camp. Richard Van Camp is the author of 26 books and is Tłı̨chǫ Dene from Fort Smith, North West Territories. Read along to We Sang You Home here.

    Birdsong by Julie Flett

    Birdsong by Julie Flett tells the story of Katherena, her move to a new home, and her new-found friendship with her elderly neighbour, Agnus. This story explores adjusting to change, intergenerational relationships, and grief. Read long to Birdsong here.

    Nibi is Water by Joanne Robertson

    Written in English and Anishinaabemowin (an Ojibwe language), Joanne Robertson shows us the relationship we have with water. Joanne Robertson is an author, illustrator and activist. She is Anishinaabekwe and a member of Atikameksheng Anishnawbek. Learn more about Nibi is Water from the author here.

    You Hold Me Up by Monique Gray Smith

    Being kind, listening, and sharing are just a few ways to we show our love and support to one another. Read along to You Hold Me Up by Monique Gray Smith to explore all the ways we hold each other up. Monique Gray Smith is an author, speaker, and consultant. She is Cree, Lakota and Scottish.

    Sweetest Kulu by Celina Kalluk

    This beautiful book about love, care, and community explores the gifts that the world gives baby Kulu. Author Celina Kalluk is Inuit-Canadian. In addition to her work as an author, Celina is an educator and musician – often preforming Inuit throat singing. Read along to Sweetest Kulu here.

    Stolen Words by Melanie Florence

    A Cree grandfather explains to his granddaughter why he can’t remember how to say “grandfather” in Cree. Stolen Words by Melanie Florence shows us the damage caused by residential schools. Melanie Florence is an author of Cree and Scottish heritage. Read along to Stolen Words here.

    We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom

    A young Ojibwe girl stands with her family and community to protect their water supply. Read along to We Are Water Protectors here.

    My Heart Fills with Happiness by Monique Gray Smith

    What fills your heart with happiness? My Heart Fills with Happiness by Monique Gray Smith describes some of the happy moments in a day, like dancing and listening to stories. Read along to My Heart Fills with Happiness here.

    More Resources to Explore

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