Friday Favorite: {At the Bottom of the Sea}

20140221-083422.jpg

It’s another “Minnesota’s closed” day due to the wonderful new batch of snow dumped on us last night. Because I can’t share one of my new favorite activities with my ECSE classroom this morning, I’m going to share it with you! Enjoy your day inside, and hopefully this intervention will inspire you to daydream of warmer oceans ūüôā

This activity is adapted from the song “At the Bottom of the Sea” by Ralph’s World. Here is a link for the song. You will need a large blue scarf (the texture is a great sensory item) and several beanie ocean animals. I use a jellyfish (open to interpretation as an octopus as well), crab, colorful fish etc. and put them in a small cloth bag to “hide”.

Begin by moving the scarf up and down with large, slow movements and sing…

At the bottom of the sea

Where the mermaids murmur

You’ll find me

At the bottom of the sea

At the bottom of the sea

Where the crabs walk backwards

You’ll find me

At the bottom of the sea

Choose a child to ask, “Who’s at the bottom of the sea”? Depending on the group, you can give them hints to guess the animal, or just pull each one out and have them identify it. Have the child throw the animal into the sea, aka the scarf.

Using small, fast, up and down movements sing….

And we’re gonna swim, swima, swim, swim, swima, swim, swim, swim

At the bottom of the sea

This is a great activity to address a variety of goals such as gross motor, animal identification, palmar grasping, and self-regulation. What animals can you find at the bottom of the sea?

Advertisements

Timeless Tunesday: {This old Man}

This is truly a timeless tune, with the original lyrics! Goal areas can include palmar grasping, rhyming, sequencing, object identification, gross motor movement, and imitation. I am going to share about this activity with the goal areas of rhyming, gross motor movement, and palmar grasping for a client with cerebral palsy. To set my client up for success, ¬†I made a magnetic “dauber” (literally a paint dauber that I hot glued a strong magnet to) with a foam handle, and under each visual was a magnetic strip. Easy to move and easy to hold! Here is what mine ended up looking like…

Thisoldman

…and here is a link to the printables and numbers!

I sing the tune  a cappella so I can assist with demonstrating the actions and moving the visuals if needed. Here is a link to the song if you are unfamiliar with the melody!

1) This old man he played one (hold up thumb and wiggle it)

2) He played knick knack on my thumb (find the picture of the thumb,grab it with the magnet dauber, and put it next to the #1)

3) With a knick knack paddywhack, give a dog a bone (pretend to knock on a door)

4) This old man came rolling home (move arms in a rolling motion)

For each verse, the number in line 1) will increase by one, so hold up that number of fingers. During line 2), find the new picture that matches the number in line 1). Lines 3) and 4) stay the same during every verse, so the actions are also the same.

Timeless Tunesday: {We’re Making Soup Today~The Farmer in the Dell}

vegetable-soup

Image credit

We have a new category of favorite interventions to share with you…Timeless Tunesdays! We are looking forward to sharing some of the many classic folk songs whose melodies have been adapted into activities shared with us from our music therapy mentors. Many of these songs also bring back personal memories of my grandmother singing them to my sisters and I as children. We would make up crazy body rhythms to keep us entertained on long winter evenings. The catchy tunes and easy rhythmic structure make it ideal for creating new lyrics with a familiar theme.

With windchills in Minneapolis nearing -20 degrees, I am trying to make an effort to keep interventions interactive with both gross motor movement to keep every thawed out, and cognitive challenges to keep our minds alert. I believe that the best way to get warm is to eat (or sing about it!), so I brought out my big soup bowl, aka gather drum, and had the students in my ECSE classrooms work together to make a pot of soup today.

This activity is ideal for 2-5 children. Begin by gathering visuals of food (here is a link of vegetables I like to use) so that there are enough for each child to add one item to the pot of soup. Have the children sit around a¬†large gather drum that is turned upside down. I like to place colorful scarves in the drum so the students have “broth” to stir.

Using the melody of “The Farmer in the Dell”, have students pat their knees and sing,

We’re making soup today

We’re making soup today,

Stir, Stir, Stir the soup

We’re making soup today.

Next, I model directions by choosing between two visuals and placing my choice, the tomato, in the drum with the scarves. Using a drum mallet, I stir the soup while the children sing and tap their knees.

We’re stirring in¬†tomatoes

We’re stirring in¬†tomatoes

Stir, Stir, Stir the soup

We’re stirring in¬†tomatoes.

Choose a student to go next, and have them choose between two foods. After adding the food to the gather drum, have them stir, and encourage students to sing and tap their knees. Substitute the new food choice for the word tomato.

This activity is easily adapted depending on your food themes or group goals. You can have students come up with ideas of food to add on their own, give everyone a mallet to stir together at the same time, or work on food group identification.

What are some of your favorite food themed music therapy interventions? We would love to hear about them!

Monday Music and Movement: {I had some Apple Seeds}

AppleTreeLg

Image credit

Much to my happiness, December’s collaborative academic theme in my ECSE/MHC classrooms is…drumroll please….FOOD! Some of my favorite music interventions include classics like the singable book “Today is Monday“, a body rhythm chant “I like to Eat”, or today’s special, “I had some Apple Seeds”.

The first thing you will need is visuals of various foods, depending on your objective. Using the melody of “Do Your Ears Hang Low“, sing each verse, substituting your foods for “apple”.

Oh I had some apple seeds (cup your hands like you’re holding seeds)

And I planted them in the ground (pat the floor to “plant” the seeds)

And the sun came up (raise your arms in the air to make a circle, like the sun)

And the rain came down (have your arms float back down while wiggling your fingers)

So I slept all through the night (pretend to lay down your head, I like to add snoring sounds)

And I woke up to see (make a surprised face and point to the ground)

That some little apple seeds (put hands together in front of your body)

had become an apple tree  raise them up to make a tree)

To adapt this activity, I let the students give suggestions for what kind of tree to grow. Depending on the class, I give the option of choosing between two visuals of foods, or let them come up with their own ideas. You can have them identify a variety of foods, choose foods that belong in specific categories like fruits or vegetables, or have them come up with silly ideas. Some of my favorites have included growing a bulldozer, donut, or cello tree!¬†Working in a culturally and linguistically diverse school, I am able to incorporate foods from other countries as well, which encourages students to learn about their peer’s backgrounds.

Monday Music and Movement: {I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More}

Paint1

Image Credit

There is nothing I enjoy more than a book that includes messy painting while working on identifying body parts and colors! “I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More” is a great way to keep the kiddos engaged because of the silly antics of the characters. The melody for the book is adapted from the chorus of the old country/blues song It Ain’t Gonna Rain No More. Here is a ¬†link for a simple kid’s version of the song.

Instead of singing:

“It ain’t gonna rain no more no more, it ain’t gonna rain no more. How the heck can I wash my neck if it ain’t gonna rain no more.”

sing:

“I ain’t gonna paint no more no more, I ain’t gonna paint no more. That’s what I say cause there ain’t no way, that I ain’t gonna paint no more.”

While singing this part, have the kids pat their knees as you sing. On the pages that identify body parts, sing “So I take some red, and I paint my head”, pause and have the kids “paint” that body part. For more of a challenge, have them identify the color before you sing it. At the end of the book, have each child give their favorite color that was listed. If possible, try to encourage them to remember what body part went along with the color.

Happy painting!

Friday Favorite: {Apple Songs}

Apples are an all-American success story-each ...

The Fall solstice has passed and it’s prime apple pickin’ time for us in Minnesota! Today we bring you a couple of our favorite simple apple songs and fingerplays. These songs are great for working on color identification, counting with 1:1 correspondence, joint attention, and making predictions [important reading comprehension skill].

5 Little Apples

Chant just like 5 Little Monkeys or 5 Little Fishies

5 little apples sitting in a tree [Hold up 5 fingers]

Teasing Mr. Caterpillar, “can’t catch me, no you can’t catch me!”¬†[wag finger]

[whisper] Along comes Mr. Caterpillar, quiet as can be and…[move hands like a caterpillar]

CRUNCHED that apple right off of the tree [pretend to hold an apple to mouth and take a big bite]

[gasp] OH NO! How many apples are left? [count 1:1]

Repeat until all the apples are gone and count fingers back to five.

Way Up High in an Apple Tree

Sing to tune of Twinkle, Twinkle

Way up high in an apple tree, five __color__ apples smiled down at me

I shook that tree as hard as I could, down came an apple, mmm it was good

Way up high in an apple tree, four __color__ apples smiled down at me

Repeat until all the apples are gone then sing:

Way up high in an apple tree, no more apples smiled down on me

I shook that tree as hard as I could, down came no apples, they’re gone now for good

Way up high in an apple tree, no more apples left now for me!

We hope you have fun sharing these songs with your little ones. Happy Friday!

Friday Favorites: {5 Little Leaves}

Multicoloured-maple-leaves

Image Credit

I’m writing this with a predicted high of 92 degrees and a good deal of humidity today, but before we know it, fall will be here shortly in MN. “5 Little Leaves” is one of my favorite songs to use during the fall. There are several versions around of this song, but my personal favorite is one by Lynn Kleiner. Click here to listen.

Sometimes I use the recorded version. For example, if I’m alone leading a group of toddlers that love to run around. Most times I use a live version using guitar, orff, or piano depending on the goals and needs of the group. Here are the lyrics:

5 little leaves all bright and gay

Dancing about on a tree one day

The wind came blowing through the town

And one little leaf came tumbling down 

{doot, doot, doot, doot, doot, doot, doot}

Continue with 4 leaves, 3 leaves, and so on.

There are several ways to use this song during music therapy groups or individual music therapy. You can work on goals of counting with 1:1 correspondance, color identification, working together to make the leaves “dance” on a parachute, gross motor goals with scarves, and self-regulation with stop/go with the wind coming through to name a few.

#1) Scarves

Pass out scarves to the little ones and encourage them to move their scarves about like dancing leaves. When the wind comes blowing through the town, everyone can spin. Throw the scarves up as the one little leaf tumbles down and start all over again!

#2) Parachute

You can use felt, fake, or real leaves in the middle of the parachute. Everyone can help move the parachute so the leaves “dance”. When the wind blows, make sure so move the parachute quickly! Finally count 1-2-3 and go way up high to make the leaves tumble down. You can take away one leaf each verse and count the leaves that are left.

#3) Felt Board and Fingerplay

Have everyone count their “leaves” [fingers] and go through the song taking down one leaf from your felt board with each verse. You can also hit color identification goals during this intervention by using different colors for each leaf.¬†Here is a template I have used for both felt and laminated paper leaves.

Happy Friday!

Monday Music & Movement: {Had an Apple}

4949994878_9676123833

Image via Sweet Cup ‘N Cakes

After a week of heat indexes in the 100+ range, I breathed a huge sigh of relief and threw windows open yesterday when the temperatures in MN dropped into the 70’s! Along with the cooler weather, I took down summer decorations to fall and got to baking chocolate zucchini cake and simmering chicken wild rice soup. Autumn is my favorite season and it’s definitely on my mind right now! Today’s Monday Music & Movement kicks off our fall songs posts. We hope you enjoy it.

This song is a piggyback of “Old Dog Blue” and is used to work on goals of matching color. For a foundational skill of matching, you will want to start by making 2 apples of each color for an exact match. Here is one example of clipart that you can color in. After the child or group meets that objective, you can work on matching a picture of an apple and a worm that are the same color, which is a more difficult task. You can also work on goals of turn taking, joint attention, and expressive language during this intervention.

Start by passing out an apple to each child. Hold up or place on the first color apple on the board and sing:

Had an apple and it was __color__ (3x)

Who has the same as me?

Wait for the child to answer {I do, or Me!} or for peers to help the child identify their matching apple or worm. Have the child bring it up to the board or to you and sing:

__Name__ had a __color__ apple/worm (3x)

Two same  _color_, __color__ {point to the two objects}

This music therapy intervention is short and sweet, the repetitive and predictable nature of the verses are perfect for young children and groups of children with special needs that need structure in learning. The possibilities of tailoring this simple melody to objects that will capture the attention of young children are endless. Matching characters from “My Little Pony” or “Lego Star Wars” anyone?

Happy first week of school to most children that we have the privilege of working with every week!

Monday Music and Movement: {Alphabet Soup}

alphabet-soup

Image credit

We have been on a food kick lately with the blog posts, so I’ve decided to add one of my favorite interventions to the list! Today’s Monday Music and Movement activity focuses on improving academic skills like pre-reading and letter identification. To begin, collect the appropriate letters for your group. For mine, I printed out this alphabet, laminated the sheet, and cut out each letter. If you want to get really fancy, you can add a small magnetic strip to the back of each letter and make a laminated cut out of a spoon After attaching a magnet to the underside of the spoon, you can “catch” each letter that is requested.

The lyrics are sung to the tune of “Mary Had a Little Lamb”:

I have a bowl of alphabet soup,

A letter for me and a letter for you.

Sip sip sip on the alphabet soup,

What letter should we eat? 

There are many ways to adapt this game depending on the number of children and level of development. For more of a challenge, request the first or last letter of a word, or show visuals of animals or objects and have them choose what letter it starts with. If you have a large group of children, give each of them a lowercase letter, and on their turn, have them choose the capital letter that matches theirs. To make the game easier, print out a second set of letters. During the individuals turn, hand them a letter, and tell them to find the match.

While kids are playing, they are also making secondary gains like improving receptive language, turn taking, self-regulation, and sensorimotor skills. It just so happens that all of these goals are prerequisite skills for full inclusion kindergarten classrooms!

Friday Favorites: {Today is Monday} Singable Book

today_is_monday

Image Credit

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.

Here is a link to the sung version on YouTube and to buy the book on Amazon. The lead sheet to the song is in the book if you get it from a bookstore or the library!

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).

TMI #2)

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.

TMI #3)

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!