Ladybugs' Picnic: Sing-Along Song Video for Kids

This fun counting song is a great way for kids to learn and practice numbers.

Ladybugs' Picnic

    If you were a child watching Sesame Street back in the early 1970s, you'll surely recall the very popular children's rhyme "Ladybugs' Picnic" as the teaching tool for the number twelve. The lyrics were written by Donald Hadley in 1971, and the clip (which aired for the first time on Sesame Street on December 11, 1972) was animated and produced by Bud Luckey, who later went to work for Pixar and designed the Woody character for the movie Toy Story.

    The rhyming song and video clip produced for Sesame Street portrays a riotous ladybugs' picnic, including sack races, knock-knock jokes, and roasting marshmallows around the fire. Though the song was written for children, adults could enjoy it as well, with its sly reference to fire insurance that draws from the original "Ladybug" nursery rhyme:

    Ladybug! Ladybug!
    Fly away home.
    Your house is on fire.
    And your children all gone.

    All except one,
    And that's little Ann,
    For she crept under
    The frying pan.

    Unlike its slightly gruesome predecessor, the ladybugs in the film short do not get burned alive. Instead, their activities reinforce counting skills and even early multiplication; the song repeatedly lines up the ladybugs in formations, making it easy for children to start grasping the idea of two sixes or three fours making twelve, and ends with a resounding shout of "Twelve!" that drives home the number in a fun and easy-to-remember way:

    One two three
    Four five six
    Seven eight nine
    Ten eleven twelve
    Ladybugs came to the ladybugs' picnic

    One two three
    Four five six
    Seven eight nine
    Ten eleven twelve
    And they all played games
    At the ladybugs' picnic

    They had twelve sacks so they ran sack races
    And they fell on their backs and they fell on their faces
    The ladybugs twelve
    At the ladybugs' picnic

    They played jump rope but the rope it broke
    So they just sat around telling knock-knock jokes
    The ladybugs twelve
    At the ladybugs' picnic

    One two three
    Four five six
    Seven eight nine
    Ten eleven twelve
    And they chatted away
    At the ladybugs' picnic

    They talked about the high price of furniture and rugs
    And fire insurance for ladybugs
    The ladybugs twelve
    At the ladybugs' picnic
    Twelve!

    A remake of the song featuring vocals by Jerry Nelson was released on the 1975 album The Count Counts! The Count's Countdown Show from Radio 1-2-3 (credited there to Dwayne Wayne), and it has been referenced many times on Sesame Street over the years. Bud Luckey remains one of the animation industry's brightest stars, having worked on every Pixar film since 1992; he was even nominated for an Oscar in 2004 for another short film, Boundin', which was part of the movie The Incredibles.

    Copyright © 2011 Meredith Corporation.

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