Timeless Tunesday: {It Is Winter}

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I know some readers are in warm weather…but it’s been quite the winter in MN so far. As a result, it’s still appropriate for teachers to plan “Snow” as the theme of the month and for me to create this movement song with scarves! I set the words to the tune of “London Bridge”. During this music therapy intervention students can work on imitation, gross motor movement, including crossing midline, and use expressive language.

Pass out the scarves and sing to the tune of London Bridge:

Snow is falling to the ground (move scarves up and down or toss and catch)

To the ground, to the ground

Snow is falling to the ground 

It is Winter, Brrrr (rub arms & shiver)

Brush it off so we can play (sweep the floor from side to side)

We can play, we can play

Brush it off so we can play

It is Winter, Brrrr

Squish it up into a snowball (use both hands to squish scarf into a ball)

Into a snowball, into a snowball

Squish it up into a snowball

It is Winter, Brrr

Cover up and stay so warm (use the scarf like a blanket on lap and tap knees)

Stay so warm, stay so warm

Cover up and stay so warm

It is Winter, Brrr

Such a simple melody, but you can encourage so much movement and language with the added sensory stimulation of scarves on top of the music and movement. If it’s still cold in your area, I hope you can use this intervention!

Timeless Tunesday: {Where is Thumbkin?}

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Timeless Tunesday is brought to you by one of my favorite mother goose rhymes! But seriously, it started as a rhyme, then Barney adapted it and sang it to the tune of Frere Jacques. I received a cassette tape of Barney in Concert which features this song, for my 4th birthday. I am not ashamed to say I still have it today, despite the fact that I have no tape player. The song is a fantastic way to engage children in finger play and imitation. In the past, I’ve used this activity for group music sessions, but recently, started using it to address fine motor and upper body strength goals with an occupational therapist for a 1:1 client (yay for co-treating!).  To adapt the activity, I held my guitar up in the air, and for each verse that “finger” strummed the guitar chords.

Where is Thumbkin, Where is Thumbkin (hide hands behind your back)

Here I am, Here I am (bring right hand around, then left hand)

Play my guitar, Play like me (OT strums guitar to demonstrate, then client uses the thumb to imitate)

Come and play, play the guitar

Repeat this each time with pointer, tall man, ring, and pinky fingers.

Friday Favorite: {Pete the Cat, Wheels on the Bus}

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We’ve shared how much we love the book, “Pete the Cat, I love my White Shoes” in one of our first posts. Well, Pete the Cat is back as a bus driver in this fun singable book.

One of the songs that all of the little hunnies in our ECSE classrooms love is “Wheels on the Bus”. We have a gross motor imitation goal so the song is a great opportunity for the kids to practice imitating actions while singing.

In addition to imitation, this book adds some novel verses to the old standard (The kitties on the bus say, “Let’s Rock Out!!”). For children struggling with rigidity, we want to practice change within the context of something familiar. This book is perfect to work on flexibility and why I love “Pete the Cat, Wheels on the Bus”.

We hope your little ones have as much fun singing and imitating the actions of this book as I have had this past week in my classroom groups!

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

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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 & 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!