Over the what? To whose house?

The traditional Thanksgiving song, “Over the River and Through the Woods” is a classic.  Just singing it helps us older folks feel connected to generations of our family.  But can our children relate?  When was the last chance they had to experience freezing their ears and nose in a horse drawn sleigh?  Why not write some verses that can help them relate to how THEY experience family fun at Thanksgiving.

Although you might have some fun writing new words, this video version shows many images of the horse drawn sleigh, and is very clear and easy to sing along with.  It even has some verses I was unaware of.

For some creative ideas with the younger set, please check out my previous blog posting:  Over the River, and Through the Woods, to Kindermusik we Go.   Here are the original words:

  • Over The River & Through The Woods
  • Over the river and through the woods,
  • To Grandmother’s house we go.
  • The horse knows the way
  • to carry the sleigh,
  • through the white and drifting snow.
  • Over the river and through the woods,
  • Oh, how the wind does blow !
  • It stings the toes
  • and bites the nose,
  • As over the ground we go.
  • Over the river and through the woods,
  • Trot fast, my dapple gray !
  • Spring over the ground
  • like a hunting hound,
  • For this is Thanksgiving day.
  • Over the river and through the woods,
  • Now Grandfather’s face I spy !
  • Hurrah for the fun !
  • Is the turkey done ?
  • Hurrah for pumpkin pie !

Enlist the help of your children in writing  your own words that relate more to your family’s experiences.  Take a piece of paper and write down how your family celebrates Thanksgiving;

  • Where do you meet?
  • How do you get there?
  • Who will be there?
  • What is your favorite parts of the meal?
  • How do you show your gratitude for all your blessings?

You can just change some of the words to the original song to make it fit, or rewrite the whole thing using the same melody.  Children LOVE to have their ideas included in a song.  Younger ones really LOVE to have their NAME in the song.  The more personalized to your family the better.

Then make sure to write down your verses and keep them so you can sing them year after year.  Add pictures of all of the family.  You may even want to catch it on video, or let Gramma watch via the webcam.  Have some fun.

Here’s are three different ”starts” to give you some ideas.  It can be serious and reflective, or it can be funny.

  • Over the Freeway, and passing trucks,
  • To Grandmother’s house we go,
  • GPS know the way, so Daddy won’t stray
  • On the long and winding roads, OH !


  • Into an airplane, and through the skies
  • To Aunt Nancy’s house we fly
  • We’ll see tiny towns, on far away grounds
  • Cause we’ll be up so HIGH !


  • Into my driveway, and ‘round the gate
  • to my house, my family comes.
  • I jump, scream, and shout, when my cousins get out.
  • Gram and Gramps will like my drums.

I would LOVE to read, hear, or watch your family’s song.  Let’s have a contest.  Post your song here as a comment by Nov. 24th.   The best new verse will be awarded a Gertie Ball in class the following week if here in Lakeland, FL.  If you live elsewhere, or are not able to take a class, I will send you code to download 10 songs from Play.kindermusik.com .  Make sure to include your name… and your email address if I don’t already have it.

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