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.

Monday Music and Movement: {Five Little Ducks}

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One of the ways I like to mix up my individual therapy sessions is to try new spins on client’s favorite songs and activities. During our recent trip to the AMTA national conference, Andrea and I had the chance to experiment with a lot of new instruments, and one of my personal favorites that just arrived are the quack sticks. They look very similar to colored egg maracas, but they make the sound of a duck instead. I have been wanting to experiment with making a gross motor activity using the song 5 Little Ducks for a client of mine that is working on imitation, attention-to-task, and following 2-step directions. In order to make this intervention successful for his diagnosis, the activity had to have a plenty of sensory input, opportunities for body movement, and lots of structure.

For my intervention, I began by attaching velcro weighted “web” feet to my client’s ankles to provide proprioceptive input and help him become aware of his body in space. Together, we lined up  3-5 color dot mats on the floor that make a path to our “hill”, which is a medium slide that requires him to climb 5 steps before sliding down. Next, we put two quack sticks at the bottom of the slide, and make one more path of 3-5  dot mats. At the end of the path, there are 5 beanie ducks (or visuals of ducks) and each time through, a duck is removed.

After a big “Ready, Set, GO!” I begin playing on the guitar and singing:

Five little ducks went out one day (begin on the first dot and walk to the next one until reaching the slide)

Over the hills and far away (climb up the steps and slide down)

Momma duck said, quack quack quack quack (grab quack sticks and shake)

But only four little ducks came back. (walk from dot to dot until you reach the ducks and remove one)

Continue until you have counted down to zero.

*Note: I have done several specific things just for this client, such as using the webbed feet with ankle weights, a slide as the “hill”, and colored dots on steps of different heights. Some days, when the weighted feet don’t provide enough input, I also give him a backpack of weighted beanie ducks to carry as well. After he makes it through the course each time, he takes one duck out of the backpack and leaves it on the ocean drum “pond”. You can adjust and adapt as you need or see fit.

Happy Quacking!

Friday Favorite: {Popcorn Chant}

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I’m sure many of you are familiar with the popcorn chant…

You pour the oil in the pot and you make it real hot

Put the popcorn in and you get a big grin

Sizzle, sizzle, sizzle

Sizzle, sizzle, sizzle

Pop, pop, pop, pop!

I love to use this chant with my individual and group music therapy clients on a gather drum with large and small poms from the craft store or dollar section of Target. You can work on goals of self-regulation (waiting, start/stop), imitating gross motor movements, a CVC word (pop), and following directions during this fun intervention.

I always transition into the intervention by having kiddos help me count the popcorn and placing my hand over them. Then, we all pour in the oil. Next we show the oil getting hot by making our fingers into flames, the same sign for “waiting”, which is a wonderful reminder! Finally, I take my hand off the pom poms and use my index fingers to sizzle.

The pom poms will start to bounce slightly, then have the kids start tapping faster and louder with all fingers to keep “popping” until the poms are all on the floor. I like to use music to transition back into the beginning of the chant. Sing whatever melody you’d like for directions of “picking up the popcorn, put it on the drum” several times. Then start all over for more popping fun!

If you need an idea for a fun transition out, you can flip over the gather drum and hold it at an angle so the drum head is off the floor. Divide the pom poms among all the kids and have them take turns throwing the popcorn into the drum to say goodbye. The larger pom poms make a surprising amount of noise that makes it fun to say bye.

Hope you have fun making popcorn!

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

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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 Favorites: {5 Little Leaves}

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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!

Friday Favorites: {Old Gray Cats}

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We have been busy at Toneworks getting grant applications ready so that we can start our work again in Early Childhood Special Education classrooms at several Minneapolis schools! In preparation, I have been going through my book of songs and found this gem that is a traditional song, but in Lynn Kleiner’s “Kids Make Music, Babies Make Music Too” with some great ideas for movement.

Old Gray Cats is a song full of little mice and sleeping cats. You may want to keep it simple for toddlers or pre-k children. Have the whole group pretend to be mice or cats for each verse.  Older children can be divided into groups (hand out pictures/stickers of mice/cats to assign) and act out the verses at the same time. If you’re lucky enough to have Orff instruments, you can really utilize a variety of musical cues during this song. Try a slow beat on a tone bar or fifths on a xylophone for the sleeping cats, quiet staccato 8th notes for mice creeping, a wake up signal for the cats, and crazy pentatonic scales for running around! Here is the sheet music on scribd.

Old Gray Cats

There is a lot of room for improvisation as a music therapist in planning this music therapy intervention. The intervention can be tailored to work on goals of imitating movements, working with a group, following directions, and sequencing. This is a great song to use at the beginning of a session to get some of the wiggles out and get children ready to focus for any interventions designed to meet academic or cognitive goals.

We hope your little ones have fun working together during this intervention like ours do. Contact Us by e-mail for more information on how to get Music Therapy Groups with Ms. Lyndie or Ms. Andrea at your school or daycare.

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.