Friday Favorite: {Little Goblins Ten}

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One thing Lyndie and I love to use during our sessions is a good singable book. We picked this up a couple of weeks ago when Halloween books started popping up at stores and have been using it during our sessions with little ones. The melody we use is the same as the book “Over in the Jungle” . Click to see a video of the song on our Toneworks Music Therapy channel.

During our sessions we do not sing through the book simply like I did in the video! Instead, you can work on the goal of counting with 1:1 correspondence by stopping to count the little monsters, goblins, and witches on the page after singing the words. Have the little ones count along on their fingers and show you the correct number. It’s also easy to copy pictures of the little creatures and meet goals of symbol or picture matching. Another goal you can work on is number identification. Have children hold laminated cards with numbers and asking them to match their number to the number of creatures on the page. With the matching goals, your group will also have a chance to work on social skills goals like turn taking (i.e. bring the pictures up to a board) and joint attention (i.e. who has the same dragon?).

So many possibilities from just one Friday Favorite! We hope you can enjoy Little Goblins Ten with your little ones during the month of October.

Happy Friday!

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Friday Favorites: {Milkshake, Shake it Up}

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Today’s Friday Favorite is the perfect tune, especially considering our recent heat wave in Minneapolis! The intervention is adapted from the song “Milkshake” by Wiggleworms. You can following this link to find the CD “Songs for Wiggleworms”.  This intervention can of course be adapted depending on your client base. I sing the song live to give enough time for each child to give their favorite milkshake flavor or ingredient. For this activity, you will need two egg maracas for each child.

Before each verse, choose a child to give you their favorite ingredient or flavor of milkshake and sing that in the third stanza of the verse. The words from the adapted version are below:

You take a little milk,  pour some milk 

And you take a little cream,  pour some cream

You stir it up with ____________ (child’s favorite ingredient or flavor)

You shake it and you sing…1,2,3,4

Chorus:

Milkshake, milkshake shake it up, shake it up

Milkshake, milkshake shake it all up!

Milkshake, milkshake shake it up, shake it up

Milkshake, milkshake shake it all up!

I usually use this intervention in small group therapy, but recently adapted it for an individual client working on identifying objects. For each verse, I presented him with two options and asked him to choose the one I requested. Instead of egg maracas, we used a large ocean drum to shake during the chorus, which addressed one of his gross motor goals as well.

Monday Music and Movement: {Alphabet Soup}

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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

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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!

Friday Favorites: {Let’s Go Fishing!}

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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!

 

 

Monday Music & Movement: {Old Blue}

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Pretty much every little one I know likes puppies. Today’s therapeutic music intervention uses the first verse of the traditional “Old Blue” to work on expressive and/or receptive color identification, joint attention, matching, turn taking, and fine motor skills.

Start by saving the image above or searching for a black and white clipart of a puppy. You will want to print off two for each color you are working on. Go ahead and laminate them too, because we all know there is a good chance these puppies are going to get chewed on!

Pass out the dogs with whatever transition song you like to use. This would be a great opportunity to incorporate a transition song during which you sing the colors once while holding them up and use PECS or sign if any of your little ones use them. Then, hold up one color dog using your thumb and pointer (pincer grasp to encourage use of fine motor skills) and encourage all of the little ones to do the same. Start singing using the color you are holding first.

The lyrics are very simple, I just changed the last line in to a question:

Had a dog and his name was _color_

Had a dog and his name was _color_

Had a dog and his name was _color_

Who has a _color_ dog too?

Wait for the correct answer and reinforce! Then to have even more practice association the color with the name, sing another time with the child’s name.

_____ has a _color_ dog

_____ has a_color_ dog

_____ has a _color_ dog

Come put it on the board!

The children are matching the dog they have with the one you will be holding (a pre-reading and pre-writing skill). The little ones will also be identifying colors receptively by holding up the green or using their words or sign to indicate that they have purple. Finally, your group will be turn taking and working on joint attention by attending to the dog you have and the color of dogs their peers have in the group.

Here is a link to the sheet music and chords.

We hope you can use this intervention with your clients or little ones. You can mix it up by using different animals or cutting animals out and placing them on different shapes to identify!

Monday Music and Movement: Here Comes Peter Cottontail

One of my favorite songs growing up was “Here Comes Peter Cottontail”. My sisters and I would change the words to go on a scavenger hunt around the house to find different items that my mom would hide.

In this version, the melody of the song is used, but different verses are substituted to focus on different goal areas. Here is the song so you can hear the melody that is used. These goal areas include, the gross motor movement of  “hopping” over and collecting the item requested, identifying objects, colors, and letters, as well as self-regulation to “freeze”.

“Here comes Peter Cottontail, hopping down the bunny trail. Hippity, hoppity, hippity hoppity, FREEZE!”

“Can you find the Easter basket? Hop over to the Easter basket. Hippity, hoppity, hippity, hoppity, FREEZE!”

“Can you find the jelly beans? Hop over to the jelly beans. Hippity, hoppity, hippity, hoppity, FREEZE!”

“Can you find the _____(pick a color) egg? Hop over to the ___egg. Hippity, hoppity, hippity, hoppity, FREEZE!”

“Can you find the letter ____ (pick a letter)? Hop over to the letter ____. Hippity, hoppity, hippity, hoppity, FREEZE!”

Items to find can be purchased at a dollar store or use props that you have at home.

Monday Music & Movement: {Shake, Shake, Baby}

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Today’s song is a piggyback of the catchy chorus of Nelly’s “Country Grammar”, which has a chorus based on the children’s rhyme “Down Down Baby”. Here’s a link to a clean version of if you’ve never heard it…please try not to judge my 15 year old self that loved the catchy melody!

Whenever I have an earworm, I figure it’s a decent melody to piggyback new lyrics. That’s how today’s Monday Music & Movement came about. This song addresses goals of body identification, self-regulation, following directions, and gross motor goals (bilateral movement of harms, meeting, and crossing at midline). During the song, children will stop/go, watch and listen to you to move shakers in different ways, and receptively identify body parts.

Here are the lyrics:

[Sung to melody]
Shake, Shake, Baby
Shake down the rollercoaster (swoop arms as if on a rollercoaster)
Up high baby, shake them way up high (reach!!)

Roll and roll and roll and stop (pause)
Roll them way up high (above heads)
Roll and roll and roll and stop
Roll them way down low (by the floor)

[chant]
Let’s get the rhythm on the head, head (2x)
Let’s get the rhythm on the …. etc.

Continue the chant with whatever body parts you are working on identifying. Repeat song 2-3x with repeated body parts for younger children to really learn them or with different parts if you have been working on body identification before.

This is a seemingly simple therapeutic music intervention, but as a music therapists you can address so many goals with this fun instrument song. We hope you can adapt and use it with your clients or children!

Friday Favorites: Music Bingo for Kids!

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One of my favorite activities to use when working with children is music bingo. The template is simple, functional, and easy to manipulate depending on the songs you’re familiar with. The template that I have linked uses six familiar children’s songs: The Wheels on the Bus, The Itsy Bitsy Spider, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Old MacDonald Had a Farm, If You’re Happy and You Know It, and Row Row Row Your Boat.

Depending on the group, I either have them work together on one sheet, or give them each their own. Goals that I address can include visual and auditory perception, peer interaction, song identification, counting 1-6, directional concepts, and phonics. I like to adapt the level of difficulty by singing the lyrics, or for more a challenge, only humming the melody for each tune.

Here is the Kids Bingo Sheet

Bingo-away friends!

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

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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!