Friday Favorites: {The Lion Sleeps Tonight, Parachute Style!}

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Image Credit

If you’ve followed the blog for any time, you will know that both Lyndie and I have an abounding love for the Laurie Berkner Band’s songs. Today’s Friday Favorite is a cover the Laurie Berkner Band does of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”. The song is on their albums Whaddaya Think of That and Laurie Berkner Band’s iTunes Essentials.

Goal areas covered in this intervention are self-regulation (fast/slow), anticipation of the pattern, following directions, cooperation with peers, and gross motor movement. For this intervention you’ll want to have a parachute that fits the size of your group and 2-3 little stuffed lions and even a larger mama or papa lion.

Here are the lyrics:

In the jungle, the mighty jungle, 
The lion sleeps tonight 
In the jungle, the mighty jungle, 
The lion sleeps tonight 
Wimoweh! 

In the village, the peaceful village, 
The lion sleeps tonight 
In the village, the peaceful village, 
The lion sleeps tonight 
Wimoweh! 

Hush my darling, don’t cry my darling, 
The lion sleeps tonight 
Hush my darling, don’t cry my darling, 
The lion sleeps tonight 
Wimoweh! 

In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight 
In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight

Introduce the song by telling the children that we have to be very quiet (shhhh!) because the lions are sleeping. You can place the lions in or pass them out to the children and have them place them gently in to address goals of following directions and the concept of “in”. Start the song and go from rocking the lions on the parachute to sleep and waking them up with large movements up and down. The nice part about this song is the story that already says the lions are sleeping. Therefore, when the song is over, have the children help you roll up the lion’s big blankie so they can go back to sleep in your bag/cart/box.

There are many different ways you can adapt this song with the recording or live.  I’ve also seen other music therapists use this song without a parachute and have children “sleep” during the quiet parts of the song and wake up and dance during the loud parts. We hope it can become a staple in your repertoire like it has become in ours. Happy Weekend!

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Friday Favorites: {The Animal Boogie!}

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Dear music therapists, music educators, music therapy students, & caregivers of children,

Have you met my friend, “The Animal Boogie”? If you haven’t had the opportunity to use this singable book and movement song during your sessions and everyday life yet, take a moment to listen to it here. There are many variations of this song (e.g. Jungle Boogie, etc.) but this is the one that we like best at Toneworks MT.

I first found “The Animal Boogie” on iTunes while searching for movement songs. It’s sold in the audio books section so when you buy the audio book, the song comes with it. The CD with a sung version also comes with a hardback copy.

Here are a few ways I like to use “The Animal Boogie”

1) Singable book – Have kids pat along to the beat with you. I find that it’s best to keep hands busy so they can’t get distracted. In addition, kids that are kinesthetic learners or those that need more sensory input to keep focused benefit from the movement during this singable book. Each page, have the children mimic the movement in the song.

Shake your body like a bear, swing your arms like a monkey, stomp your feet like an elephant, flap your arms like a bird, leap like a leopard, put hands together and slither like a snake, sway together everybody!

I like to have children roll their hands during “boogie woogie oogie” but you could throw in some hand jive, a disco move, whatever you think will be a challenging move for the kids.

2) Movement without props – Similar ideas to the book, but while standing up. Encourage big movements and model ASL signs for the animals. You can work on gross motor goals by having children move bilaterally, balance, jump as high as they can, and swing their “trunk” as an elephant across their midline.

3) Movement with props – Try using a parachute or stretchy band during the song. Children will have to cooperate to move the prop together in the same type of fashion for this intervention to be successful. During the little instrumental interlude between each verse, it’s fun to have the children move the parachute high up, then down to the ground before going back to standing position.

Most of the time, I believe in using live music, but the recording of “The Animal Boogie” has great musical cues and driving beats so I end up using the recording a lot. If you’re lucky enough to have a co-therapist, intern, or practicum student, a live version of the song would be viable with one person playing and the other modeling actions.

We hope you’ll find the song as useful and fun as we do. Happy Animal Boogie-ing!

Friday Favorites: Brown Bear, Brown Bear Singable Book

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Image via Macmillan

I think most music therapists that work with kids know how versatile the book Brown Bear, Brown Bear can be during sessions. The words of Brown Bear fit with the first part of the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle. It’s not always a perfect fit of notes to words, so just in case you need a little bit of help, we’ve included a lead sheet with chords for you here. Simply repeat the musical line over and over for the whole book!

brown bear last page

Image via Building a Library

Goal Areas:

Language –

Print out clipart or use a pdf template that matches the animals in the book and laminate for durability. Have your children bring up the matching picture to you or to a felt board when their animal card matches the animal on the page. Symbol matching is a pre-requisite for letter identification and this book is a great way for little ones to practice matching. For easier matching, color in the pictures to match the book for identical symbol matching.

Pre-school Concepts –

Have children sing the color that they see on the page before you sing, or test them after you sing the page by singing “What color was the (animal)?”. You can also have laminated pieces of construction paper that the children can hold up or bring up to match the color of the animal on the page.

Kindergarten/Early Grade School Concept –

Print off the words of the colors in the book and laminate (e.g. Red or Brown). Use the color instead of the name of the animal because the color is always printed first on the page. Children can match their word by sight during the book. In addition, a pre-reading skill is to know that  books are read left to right and top to bottom, so having the children look for the “first” word in a sentence reinforces this concept.

Secondary goal areas and gains may include peer interaction and joint attention as children point to each other’s objects to help match colors and pictures. In addition, if there is matching involved, the children can work on cooperation and turn taking during Brown Bear. Finally, younger children can take turns pinching a page to turn to the next page to work on pincer grasp.

Thanks for taking time to read our post and we hope you can use this wonderful singable book with your little ones!