I love Eric Carle’s books as a mom and a music therapist. The pictures are beautiful and eye catching and many of his books lend themselves to becoming singable books (Brown Bear anyone?). “Today is Monday” is versatile in terms of goal areas you can address. Goals include matching, gross motor imitation, recall, sequencing, sight words, choice making, and turn taking.
Therapeutic Music Intervention #1)
For children who are working on pre-reading and pre-writing skills, you can utilize goals of tracking left to right, turning pages front to back, and picture matching. You will want to create copies of the food or use PECS or clipart and laminate. Pass out to children and tell them to hold up their picture or bring it up to the board when it matches the book. Sing through the books, using your finger to track left to right and have children take turns turning the pages after they have a matching picture (works on pincer grasp as well).
Build on the first TMI by adding gross motor movements for each food as a memory device along with the song. Then, scramble the pictures after the book. If you’re working on recall, flip pictures face down or hold them in your hand. Ask children what foods we just sang about? If you’re working on sequencing with the group, ask children to help you put them back in order from Monday to Sunday.
Finally, you can build on the previous interventions by leaving the book out. Print off the days of the week along with the pictures. Have a felt board where you place the days of the week. Children can take turns choosing the food they would like to eat on the day of the week. If children are working on sight words or letters, you can mix up the days of the week and have the children find the day before placing a picture on the board.
It’s important for us as music therapists to design interventions that create a scaffolding of academic and social skills and singable books, like “Today is Monday” make it possible for us to keep changing our intervention while using the same familiar song and book.
Thanks for reading and Happy Friday!
Today’s Friday favorite is an activity that I adapted from my former (awesome) internship supervisor Julia Lundquist. Almost every child that I work with adores this game, and it addresses fine motor, gross motor, academic, social, and regulation skills!
For this game, you will need enough fish for everyone to have two, plus one extra. Here are the fish that I use. I laminated mine since they happen to also be a favorite chew toy! Depending on the goal area, you can either write a number on each fish, or color them each a different color. To “magnetize” them, attach a small paperclip over the mouth of the fish, or cut small strips of magnet (from craft stores) and paste them to the back. For the fishing pole, I used a refrigerator magnet and taped it to some yarn and attached it to a rhythm stick. You can also just tie a magnet to a string and use any kind of stick from the great outdoors.
After you lay out all of the fish in a pond, choose someone to fish first and hand them the pole. Begin tapping your knees and chanting:
“Let’s go fishing, fishing in the sea,
And what kind of fish with _____ (name of child holding the pole) catch for me?”
The person to the right of the fisherman will say “Please pick the ____ fish.” After catching the correct fish and giving it to the person asking, the turn is over and the pole is passed to the next child.
The academic skills addressed in this activity are color or number identification, but you can also adapt it using sight words, math problems, etc.
Happy Friday and happy fishing!
One of the first mirroring activities that infants learn is “Peek-a-boo”. It’s a guaranteed way to bring a smile to a kid’s face, and it’s easy to adapt! For my version of the activity, I focus on the goal areas of following directions, body identification, imitation, and self-regulation. Begin by gathering enough frogs for each child and yourself to have one. I use beanie baby frogs because they have some weight to them, which is important as you will see later in the activity. Use your favorite transition song to pass out the frogs, and begin by having the kids “hide” the frogs behind their back. While holding the frogs behind your back, begin singing “Peek-a-boo”. Here are the words:
Peek-a-boo, where are the froggies?
Peek-a-boo, where are you?
Peek-a-boo, where are the froggies?
When you sing the last “Boo” pull out the frog and place it on a body part like your head, shoulder, knee, elbow, etc. After each child identifies and imitates the position of your frog with their body, the frogs can be “hidden” again and the song starts over. This activity can be adapted using any kind of animal beanie that you have, and for an additional challenge, have the kids take turns leading the activity and choosing a body part for the frog to rest on.