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English for Kids. FREE playlearning™ content curated by the Lingokids educators team.

English for kids

Free Playlearning™ content curated by the Lingokids educators team.

English for kids

I Saw A Ship A Sailing

One of the most imaginative nursery rhymes in English about sailing, boats and sweets! Let's have fun singing it!

⛵About the Song

I saw a ship a-sailing, a-sailing on the sea… This is the start of one of the most imaginative nursery rhymes for children in English. It’s called “I Saw A Ship A Sailing”, and it’s a classic story that’s one of children’s favorites, perfect to enjoy from a young age!

Children’s music characterizes for boosting creativity, and for always pushing the limits of imagination. This is a great advantage for children’s overall growth, since a big part of proper language, physical and emotional development comes from the sort of role play triggered by a child’s active imagination.

The story of this song for kids is quite colorful and puts imagination into practice. It’s written as if someone is telling the tale about a ship that has been sailing on the sea, a fact that is related to the old days when sailing through the world was one of the main ways of transportation before planes became predominant. The ship is supposed to be filled with great stuff, from delicious food as apples and comfits (this is a really old word that refers to a type of candy) to beautiful sails made of silk, and masts made of gold. The ship is also said to carry twenty four mice, these act as sailors, and a captain who happens to be a duck, which quacks as soon the ships begins to move.

Through these original characters and lyrics, your little one will be able to learn more vocabulary in English, specially some advanced words in a different setting of what they are used to like silk or gold, and even some more common ones like ship, apple, sea, or duck. With this song, your little one will also have the chance to start learning about one the most ancient modes of transport in English: ships! These big, marvelous engines are the rulers of the sea and a source of many playtime hours for children all over the world who dream of sailing one day.

By singing the lyrics of this song, your child will also get to practice their English pronunciation and fluency, abilities that are particularly useful for those little ones that are learning English as a second language, since through this practice they’ll get to learn the language naturally. For extra practice, you can ask some questions to your little one and test their listening skills. For example, ask your little one “What was the ship made of?” (the sails were made of silk and the masts were made of gold), or “How many sailors were in the ship?” (twenty four). This will help your child comprehend a bit better the topic of the song, and even can be a fun time to start introducing the numbers in English

If your little one loves painting, you can even use the song as inspiration for a couple of art related projects to create with your little one. You can try building your own ship together using recycled materials like bottles, or used paper, or your little one could also make a poster to illustrate the song and hang on the house, and it it he or she can write some of the lyrics of the song to practice his writing in English.

Now, let’s have some fun learning with this colorful song!

“I Saw A Ship A-Sailing” Lyrics:

I saw a ship a-sailing,
A-sailing on the sea;
And, oh! It was all laden
With pretty, things for thee!

There were comfits in the cabin,
And apples in the hold;
The sails were made of silk,
And the masts were made of gold.

The four-and-twenty sailors
That stood between the decks,
Were four-and-twenty white mice
With chains about their necks.

The captain was a duck,
With a packet on his back;
And when the ship began to move,
The captain said, “Quack! Quack!

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