Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Toolbox of Faith: A Program That Helps Children Discover the Uses of Faith

Activity 4: Singing "If I Had A Hammer"

Activity time: 10 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Listen to a recording of the song, "If I Had a Hammer," to make sure you know the tune. The YouTube website has vignettes of several performances of the song.
  • If you are not comfortable singing or leading a song, invite a volunteer from your congregation to lead the singing and/or provide musical accompaniment.
  • Optional: Write the first verse of the song's lyrics on newsprint and post. You may wish to underline the words that change from verse to verse.

Description of Activity

Participants will learn a song in which the hammer is used as a metaphor for justice.

Gather the group in a circle. Introduce the song, in these words or your own:

This song is called "If I Had a Hammer." It was written by Pete Seeger, a Unitarian, with Lee Hays, when they were musicians in a group called The Weavers, in the 1950s. Many other musicians and people who gather to demonstrate against injustice continue to sing this song.

You may be able to lead the group in singing the song straight through the first time, especially if you have posted the lyrics. Once the group can sing it comfortably, encourage them to feel its power as they sing it together again.