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The Magic Of Music And Song At School Camp

What could possibly be better than sitting around a campfire belting out school camp songs? No experience required – you don’t even need a good voice. Follow these simple tips to weave the magic of music into your school camp.

Oldies but goodies

Teaching a few classics before camp really helps motivate students to sing loudly.

  • This is certainly not an exhaustive list, but here are a few tried and tested folk tunes to commit to memory and have up your sleeve:
  • The Wheels On The Bus (lyrics here)
  • She’ll Be Coming Round The Mountain (lyrics here)
  • Row Row Row Your Boat (lyrics here)
  • Kumbaya (lyrics here)
  • Kookaburra Sits In The Old Gum Tree (lyrics here)
  • We’re Going On A Bear Hunt (lyrics here)
  • The Meatball Song (lyrics here)
  • Camp Granada Song (lyrics here – gets a laugh every time!)
  • There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly (lyrics here)

Music in the round

  • Once your students have the basic songs under control, it’s time to introduce singing school camp songs in a round.
    Here’s how:
  •  Spilt the students into three fairly even groups.
  • Select a song that everyone knows – Row Row Row Your Boat or Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree work well.
  • Start one group off singing the first couple of lines e.g. Row row row your boat, gently down the stream…
  • The second group then starts while the first groups continues singing.
  • Once the second group gets to the same spot, introduce the third group.
  •  Continue until everyone sings through the song several times.
  •  Your accidental choir will sound amazing even without any formal training.

Get active

Music is a great motivator for movement.
Here are some school camp songs that are fun to sing and can include great actions:

Cultural connection

Tap into the Aboriginal culture of the Coffs Coast’s Gumbayniggir people. Here are some ideas:

  • Share time around the campfire with a Gumbayniggir elder and discover their music and stories.
  • Visit the Giingan Gumbaynggir Cultural Experience walk at Korora Lookout which tells a local dreaming story. Ask students to compose a song that tells the story.

Nursery rhyme rap

This is a plan ahead activity that is useful for downtime or wet weather.

  • Working in pairs or small groups, students select a well known nursery rhyme.
  •  Using the beat of rap music, students break the words of the song into a performance using their voices and dance moves.
  • Arrange a nursery rhyme rap concert where each group performs.

Create your own camp song

Choose a familiar tune to create a camp song that becomes ‘the’ musical memory of the camp. Work with students to brainstorm ideas to include a line about each person or each activity at camp. Concentrate only on positive statements.

The Quartermaster’s Store tune works well as a basis for creating stories about your camp experience.

For example:
There was Jack, Jack
Running down the track
At the camp
At the camp
There was Jack, Jack
Running down the track at the Coff’s Adventure Camp.


My eyes are dim, I cannot see.
I have not brought my specs with me etc.

At Coffs Coast Adventure Centre, we love music and are happy to help your students discover the joy of school camp songs while on camp. Shannon, our Camp Concierge, and our entire team of Activities Leaders are here to assist with your program.


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226 Bonville Station Rd, Bonville NSW
02 6653 5311

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Happy Visitors

I recently had the pleasure to attend the Coffs Adventure Centre with my school for a few days.  I came as an assistant but personally had the most rewarding few days.  I tried things I never would have, stepped out of my comfort zone and achieved things I didn’t think were possible.  By doing this it encouraged the children to push themselves that little bit further and I got the privilege to witness the children I didn’t think would involve themselves in activities just shine. To see them so happy and working as a team was also very rewarding.  The staff were all so fantastic and enthusiastic which also made our stay that much more enjoyable.  Thank you for the experience.


The booking process was easy and the online portal was very handy! Made my life much easier to allocate rooms and groups.

Emma S. – Lismore South Public School

Our daughter stayed this week with her school and just LOVED everything!!!!!

T. Luxford

Thanks again for all your wonderful support and help with this year’s camp. We had a wonderful time and would highly recommend the centre to other schools.

Sharon Ryan – Lismore Heights Public School

We had the most amazing time and your helpful and friendly staff made it so memorable