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 Ain’t Gonna Paint No More}

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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: {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!

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: {Free Singable Little Books}

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Image Via

As I was teaching a violin lesson yesterday, I said to my student, “learning to read music is just like learning to read words…”. This statement reminded me of the little books that are today’s Friday Favorite. I love to use singable little books with children, siblings, and families. Little books can be part of your sessions even for children as young as 1.5-2 yrs of age. I would not suggest using little books for a group of 10 toddlers, but in sibling or family sessions, little books work just fine.

What the child will get out of using a little book in a music therapy session will be different by age group, of course. It is important to make your goal appropriate for your client’s development. Here are some of the goals that you can address with Little Books:

Big vs. Little Letters – learning the rule that at the beginning of every page, there is a big letter. Later, you can work on Big letters at the beginning of sentences and as proper nouns.

Expressive Letter Identification – Ask children “What letter is this?” as a sung prompt

Receptive Letter Identification – Sing “Where is the letter __?”

Follow the Reader – Show children where you are singing by moving your pointer finger along and encourage them to do the same in their little book. Between this and turning pages, you are teaching pre-reading skills of moving front to back, left to right, and top to bottom in the books.

Cooperation – Siblings or small groups can work on turn taking and working together by allowing friends to identify letters in turns or share what they like about each page

Recall & Sequencing – After you read the book, talk or draw what you saw in the book and the order that these pictures or events occurred. This can be in the form of picture cue cards you plan ahead of time and a velcro board or student drawings on paper or a white board.

I didn’t come up with these ideas on my own, but had the privilege of helping lead piano groups last year during my internship where little books were part of the curriculum (Supervisor: Sarah Woolever, MA, NMT, MT-BC; The Family Partnership).

Here is a link to the Nellie Edge site that offers free printable singable books.

A brief snapshot of research from the American Music Therapy Association that supports the link between literacy and music therapy. There are many more studies out there in the speech/language and education fields that aren’t in the scope of this blog post as well. If you’re a student and your university has access to online journals, just search for “Literacy + Music” and you’ll see for yourself!

Happy singing and reading!

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!

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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!