Kids Music Activity: Make Your Own Ukulele SongBook

man performing on stage
Symphony musicians using songbooks
These people are using a songbook to play together.

A Fun KIDS Music Activity

Busy Parents Tip

You and your kids can make your own songbook – a fun music activity for kids, a book that will be a touchstone for learning and sharing.

Songbooks are great prompts to recall learning. But they also serve a communal purpose. Sharing your book means you can play songs with others, even if they’ve never played your songs before. So putting a songbook together is a worthwhile music activity for your kids.

When I started a jam session series for friends, the first thing I did was get a bunch of binders and fill them up with songs. I took my best guess at what people would want to play, and then we added more songs later.

What Are Tabs?

Once your know what ukulele songs your kids want to play, you might want to look online for Tabs, short for tablature. Tablature is a system for notating fingering positions for stringed instruments like the ukulele.

For many popular songs, Tab sites have the lyrics with the chords put above the words, like this:

D7 G                 C          G

My Bonnie lies over the ocean

So of course, you can collect these, print them and put them in a binder — or maybe just download them to your tablet.

Local ukulele groups are another great source of songs. They usually have their own songbooks put together, sometimes posted online. You can find these groups on Meetup or Facebook.

Busy Parents Project Plan

Time needed: 1 hour and 30 minutes.

How to make your own ukulele songbook.

  1. Find the Tabs

    Search tab sites like ukulele-tabs.com.

  2. Download the Tabs

    Print songs as PDF files from your browser, or copy the text into your own document.

  3. Put the songbook together

    Physical: Print out songs, put songs in sheet protectors, put everything in a binder.
    Digital: Save content as one PDF file or create a folder with several PDF documents.

  4. Create a distinctive cover

    Find an appropriate picture at a copyright free site like Pexels.com. Place a print on the front cover of the binder or insert the picture as a title page for your digital songbook.

Find Tabs

You can search for tabs at these sites:

Download Tabs

Use the Print to PDF setting in your browser or just copy the text and paste into your own document.

Put the Book Together

Physical Book

You can use a binder or a scrapbook to organize your song sheets.

Supplies:

  • Printer
  • Binder or Scrapbook
  • Sheet Protectors
  • Paper

The physical songbook still rules for one big reason. It’s much easier to share a binder with another player than trying to have two players squinting at a tablet – or a phone.

Tablet Book

Kids Music Activity Make your own songbook
Save your songbook to a tablet to go paperless

If you like to be paperless, then save your book to a tablet for easy digital access.

Supplies:

  • Word or Google Docs
  • Adobe Acrobat (if putting together multiple PDF files)

You can put all the songs in one file and save it as a PDF. Or if you downloaded a bunch of PDF files, just stick them in a folder on your tablet.

It’s definitely a good idea to have an electronic source file so you can easily update or make more copies. Because the only thing better than one home made song book is another one to share.

If you’d rather just buy some songbooks, check out my recommendations.

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