Friday Favorites: DIY Felt Fish

felt fish

I made these felt fish using a free template from the blog at Purlbee (Fish Templates Here). Initially, I made the felt fish for my son to play with as part of his quiet book. However, he was not very interested in playing with the fish so I ended up stashing them in my visuals folder at work.

The felt fish only take a couple of hours to make (with some tv watching thrown in) and could be made in less time if you just hot glue the pieces on instead of sewing them on with embroidery thread.

I use these fish for many different therapeutic music interventions so the list below is just a snapshot of how you can use these cute, colorful fish.

Gross Motor: Use the fish on top of a big blue scarf while standing to make the fish swim up and down or side to side while singing songs such as “Row, Row, Row”, “Itty Bitty Pool”, or other songs about the ocean.

Fine Motor: Encourage pincer grasp by showing children how to pinch the fish, one in each hand. Use a song that directs children to move the fish up high, down low, side to side, and have the fish even kiss each other. This type of therapeutic music intervention encourages bilateral motion, meeting at midline, and crossing midline.

Counting with 1:1 Correspondence: Glue the fish onto popsicle sticks and use during counting songs.

Color Identification: Use songs that give an opportunity for children to identify the color(s) of their fish expressively or receptively (e.g. if you have a blue fish sing “me”).

Directional Concepts/Prepositions: Have children hold the fish in one hand and create a rock with the other hand. The fish can now swim over, under, around, on, and through the rock.

I hope you can use the template to make some fish of your own to use with clients or at home. I would love it if you would share your favorite songs to use with children about fish or the ocean in the comments below. I’ll be sharing an original song that I use with the fish to teach directional concepts in the Monday Music & Movement post next week. Happy weekend!


Music & Movement Monday: Holiday Music Bingo


Photo via Peter Rimar

One of the places we serve at Toneworks Music Therapy Services is Golden Nest, a small Korean assisted living facility. I (Andrea) am fluent in Korean so all music therapy sessions are in Korean and I use mostly Korean traditional songs and instruments. That said, around the holidays we sing a lot of carols and holiday songs that have been translated into Korean over the years. Since one of the therapeutic music interventions the residents love is music bingo, we thought it would be fun to do a holiday edition.

Goals for the group that we work on during this intervention include peer interaction and auditory perception. Some of the residents are not be able to see or hear as well as others, but the group works as a team to figure out which melody  I am playing on the piano. Residents interact by speaking with each other, listening to peers share memories, cooperating by singing the same song, and helping others as needed. The way we play music bingo at Golden Nest is for all of the residents to “win” at the same time. The facility then provides small treats or prizes for the residents after music therapy is over.

The music bingo sheet can be easily adapted for use with children as well by switching out some of the holiday songs with songs from a children’s artist or from a children’s movie. Parents can also use this at home for a sing along game with children!

Goals for children may include: letter identification, phonics, visual perception, counting 1-5 with 1:1 correspondence, and directional concepts of horizontal, vertical, and diagonal on the bingo board.

I’ve made the bingo sheet available for download on scribd (in English, don’t worry…). There’s an option to download it as a DOCX for those of you that may want to leave out the religious carols or add in songs to represent Kwanzaa and Hanukkah as well. I just happened to make this for a facility where the residents all have a Protestant and/or Catholic background so that determined my song choices.

Happy Music Bingo-ing!

Music Bingo Sheet

Friday Favorites: A Laurie Berkner Christmas


We adore The Laurie Berkner Band as music therapists and I (Andrea) as a mom of two young children. When I saw the new Christmas CD out at Target for $9.99 last week, it was an immediate purchase for use at work and at home. The CD has traditional Christmas songs and one Hanukkah song along with originals written by the band.

The Laurie Berkner Band makes lyrics and chords available on their website (Laurie Berkner Band) for free, which is an awesome resource for music therapists and musical parents. I have used their songs recorded and live during music therapy interventions, but that’s another post for another day…

My kids have been singing along to the album all week. We hope that your kids at work and at home enjoy it as much as we have been here at Toneworks Music Therapy!

Candy Cane Jane Music Video

Wordless Wednesdays

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Things I’m thankful for!

Music & Movement Monday

It’s time to kick off our first Music and Movement Monday with one of my personal favorites, The Hampsterdance Song!

To get your bodies movin’ and groovin’, grab a partner and head to the dance floor (or living room floor)! Start the song by modeling simple movements like marching in place or clapping.  As the song progresses, challenge your child by combining a prop, like a dishtowel, to the movements you model. This activity can be a great way to improve motor coordination, joint attention, imitation, and following direction skills. To add variety, trade off letting your child model the dance moves for you and work on sharing control and building rapport.

Here are a few suggestions for movement ideas:

  • Clap hands both behind the back and in front
  • Tap knees or other body parts
  • Wave hands in the air both together and separately
  • March in place or in a circle
  • Roll your arms in a barrel motion
  • Hop on both feet or one at a time

Here’s a link to the song:

Happy dancing friends!

Friday Favorites!

Get ready for the weekend by checking out new and exciting activities and books that are our favorites!


This week, Andrea checked out the Scholastic book fair at JJ Hill Montessori in St. Paul. It’s a great way to find affordable books that expand and challenge your child academically, while having fun! The newest addition to our singable book collection is “Pete the Cat.  I love my white shoes” by Eric Litwin. Kids can work on identifying colors and objects in addition to recall and sequencing.  Look for our Music & Movement Monday blog post to find out how we incorporate original song and dance to use this as a therapeutic music intervention.

Here’s a link to the author’s free downloadable version of the song:

Happy Friday!