Friday Favorites: {Hurry, Hurry Drive the Firetruck!}

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I have been using “Hurry, Hurry Drive the Firetruck” this week during Musical Playground in ECSE classrooms to work on goals of turn taking, joint attention, impulse control, and imitating gross motor movements. The melody is simple so kids latch on to it right away and a handbell in the key you are singing the song in serves as the focus of joint attention. Have kids imitate the gross motor movements and wait to play the bell at “ding, ding, ding, ding, ding” to work on improving impulse control. Use as many verses as needed (or as few) so that each child gets a turn to play the bell. I like to repeat the song 2-3 times so everyone has a chance to get the gross motor movements and more than one turn to play the bell.

Here is the lead sheet and lyrics:

1) Hurry, hurry drive the firetruck (3x) [make driving motion w/ hands]

Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding!

2) Hurry, hurry turn the corner [sway side to side as if turning corners while “steering” with hands]

3) Hurry, hurry find the fire [hands over eyes to look for the fire]

4) Hurry, hurry climb the ladder [pretend to climb up with arms]

5) Hurry, hurry save the baby [cradle pretend baby in arms]

6) Hurry, hurry squirt the water [pretend to hold a hose and spray water all around]

7) Slowly, slowly, back to the station [“steer” slowly]

Hope you have a fun time pretending to be firefighters with this Friday Favorite!


Friday Favorites: {Tiny Tim the Turtle}



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Today’s Friday Favorite is one that you may have learned as a little one! I have been using Tiny Tim the Turtle this week to work on goals of motor imitation, expressive and receptive language, and sequencing.

Here is a link to the sheet music that we created for you!

For the little ones that we work with in the early childhood special education classrooms, we have been focusing more on the goals of language and gross motor imitation. So this is how we use the song:

I had a tiny turtle (place hands on top of each other, both palm side down and have your thumbs “swim”)

His name was tiny tim

I put him in the bathtub, to see if he could swim (make swimming actions with arms)

He drank up all the water (gather water to mouth and say “gulp, gulp”)

He ate up all the soap (pretend to chew on a bar of soap)

And then my little turtle got a bubble in his throat (touch throat)

Bubble, bubble, bubble (make hands into a “bubble” shape and make it grow)

Bubble, bubble, bubble (make the bubble larger!)

Bubble, bubble, bubble, bubble, bubble, POP!! (clap hands together)

Encourage the children to sing along especially during “bubble” and “POP” to work on consonant-vowel-consonant words.

If you want to work on sequencing, make visuals of a turtle, bathtub, water, soap, and bubble. Go ahead and put them up on the board or pass out to friends to hold during the song first time through. Sing through and have children give you their card at the appropriate time in the song. Then you can go through the song a second time or more doing the actions. Finally, ask the friends to work together or ask each child to raise their hand to re-create the order of events in the song.

Hope you have a blast singing about Tiny Tim with your little ones and have a great Friday!


Friday Favorites: {Aiken Drum, The Man on the Moon!}


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One of our favorite songs to work on pre-reading/pre-writing skills is a spin off of the old Scottish folk song “Aiken Drum”. In the original version, the verses each name different clothing items–hat, coat, buttons, and waistcoat. Each clothing item was “made” out of a food like cream cheese, roast beef, or crust pies. Here is a link to a free printable pdf.

To make it more conducive to our goal areas, we use body parts that are made out of shapes. You will want to gather a paddle drum and laminated shapes that are appropriate for the functioning level of your group. Give each child a different shape, and begin the song by singing the chorus. When you get to the verse, begin to draw “Aiken” either on a piece of paper or a white board. Everyone gets a turn to hit the paddledrum as you sing “and his name was Aiken drum” the first chorus. Then, the child who has the shape you pick each verse gets to hit the paddledrum on “drum”. Encourage them to sing along too!

As you name each body part and draw the shape, the child with that shape must identify and match them together. To make it more challenging, kids can choose a body part for their shape, and help draw it. In a seemingly simple music intervention, you can address objectives of matching shapes, drawing shapes, identifying colors of the shape visuals, joint attention, and turn taking.


There was a man who lived on the moon,

Lived on the moon, lived on the moon,

There was a man who lived on the moon

And his name was Aiken Drum.


His head was made of _____, ______, _____

His head was made of ____

And his name was Aiken Drum.

Continue to identify and add body parts with shapes.

Here’s an example of the silly man on the moon one of our Musical Playground groups made this week.

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We aren’t artists for a good reason…Happy Friday Everyone!

Monday Music & Movement: {It’s a Beautiful Day}


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Welcome to another Monday Music & Movement! Today’s song is one that Lyndie, our other music therapist, taught me from a practicum and a second version that I learned from a different practicum supervisor. Shows you how versatile and well-loved this song is with music therapists in MN!

There are two sets of lyrics that I use with this song to work on goals of name recognition, turn taking, joint attention, and choice making. You will want to choose the lyrics that will best address the goal areas you are working on with a particular group. You can just sing the song as a group to each member and have the friend choose who goes next for option #1, or use a little glockenspiel or handbell to pass around for option #2. Here is the lead sheet on Scribd.


It’s a beautiful day, a day with __name___. A beautiful, beautiful day.

It’s a beautiful day, a day with __name___. A beautiful, beautiful day.


It’s a beautiful day so ring your bell, ring your bell, ring your bell.

It’s a beautiful day so ring your bell, ring your bell with me.

Using only one instrument grabs the attention of peers who are not playing the bell, to work on joint attention. Friends wait to take a turn and interact with peers by making a choice of who will go next. Finally, since children love to be the center of attention, why not use a song that will allow the attention to happen in a context that is positive and praises sharing and choice making? It’s great to see little ones succeed with such a simple intervention that sets them up for improvement in multiple functional goal areas.

Monday Music & Movement: {Executive Functioning and Functional Life Skills}


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Since the MN Music Therapy conference last weekend, I’ve had brains on the mind (pardon the pun!). Using music to engage all areas of the brain in order to maximize where memories or facts are recalled from is so exciting to me. This week, my personal goal was to use music interventions to improve executive functioning in everyday life. For example,  learning addresses, birthdays, phone numbers, and calendar days! In the meantime, I was still addressing gross and fine motor, academic, socialization, and musical knowledge skills that were in individual treatment plans.

For each client this week, I chose a goal that could be addressed and improved by using an executive functioning exercise to recall a sequence of numbers. For some, I chose 4 numbers and for others up to 10 numbers to sequence learning of their phone number.

First, I laid out seven instruments in a pile and he laid seven numbered mats that were all in his phone number around the room in various places. He sorted through the instruments and chose one to put by each mat. Then, I wrote his phone number on a white board, we started by playing the assigned instrument the first number. For example (not the actual client’s phone number), I wrote 2-1-8-3-1-6-0-5-2-0. Starting at the mat with the #2 on it, he played the instrument for the duration of a song that I played on the guitar (at least one minute), and then moved on to the mat with #1 on it.

After playing that instrument for the duration of a song, we erased the first *2* and *1* from the white board and started over. After each new number we added, we went back to the board, erased that number, and started from the beginning. After we made it through all 10 numbers, I took away the mats, and he recited the numbers as he went through the instrument course. After that, we took away the instruments, and he followed the course where the mats previously were. Finally, he recited his phone number without any instruments or numbered mats and he was able to remember it!

This is an example of an activity that would also be able to transfer to the home environment. Numbers or letters can be put on pieces of paper, and any number or instrument, or body actions can be combined with the items on the paper and slowly sequenced and then taken away. In the meantime, you’re still improving other goal areas, and it’s a fun way to improve functional living skills!

Friday Favorites: {It’s Raining, It’s Pouring}



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We have had a busy week at Toneworks, starting Musical Playground groups in four Early Childhood Special Education and Mental Health Collaborative classrooms! One of the songs we have been using this week to promote joint attention and peer interaction is “It’s Raining, It’s Pouring” with slight modifications. In addition to the social/emotional goals, use of the rainstick requires motor planning and gross motor movement from the child so you can work on those goals as a secondary gain as well with this short little song!

Here is a link to the lead sheet and here are the lyrics:

It’s raining, it’s pouring, (n-a-m-e’s) making rain

First it’s (n-a-m-e), then a friend

What friend do you choose?

A simple song that hits several goal areas for you to use this rainy Spring. Happy Friday!