Friday Favorite: {At the Bottom of the Sea}

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It’s another “Minnesota’s closed” day due to the wonderful new batch of snow dumped on us last night. Because I can’t share one of my new favorite activities with my ECSE classroom this morning, I’m going to share it with you! Enjoy your day inside, and hopefully this intervention will inspire you to daydream of warmer oceans 🙂

This activity is adapted from the song “At the Bottom of the Sea” by Ralph’s World. Here is a link for the song. You will need a large blue scarf (the texture is a great sensory item) and several beanie ocean animals. I use a jellyfish (open to interpretation as an octopus as well), crab, colorful fish etc. and put them in a small cloth bag to “hide”.

Begin by moving the scarf up and down with large, slow movements and sing…

At the bottom of the sea

Where the mermaids murmur

You’ll find me

At the bottom of the sea

At the bottom of the sea

Where the crabs walk backwards

You’ll find me

At the bottom of the sea

Choose a child to ask, “Who’s at the bottom of the sea”? Depending on the group, you can give them hints to guess the animal, or just pull each one out and have them identify it. Have the child throw the animal into the sea, aka the scarf.

Using small, fast, up and down movements sing….

And we’re gonna swim, swima, swim, swim, swima, swim, swim, swim

At the bottom of the sea

This is a great activity to address a variety of goals such as gross motor, animal identification, palmar grasping, and self-regulation. What animals can you find at the bottom of the sea?

Valentine’s Day {Music Bingo} for TEENS!

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I just started a spring semester run working at a transition program with 18-21 year olds with varying diagnoses and abilities. Finding age appropriate music therapy interventions can be hard for this population, especially for higher functioning young adults. The group loved playing music bingo with a name that tune twist so I wanted to share the board here!

Pass out the bingo sheets and explain that you’ll be playing and/or singing the melody (without words) until one person guesses the answer. Then, ask everyone to mark the box and go through one verse/chorus or whatever you have time to sing. Goals for this intervention include social skills so I encourage talking among the group to figure out the answer or to share a particular fact or memory about the song. I’ve uploaded the sheet as a doc in case you want to switch out songs or make different versions for several teams.

Happy Valentine’s Week!

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 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.

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!

Monday Music & Movement: {Had an Apple}

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Image via Sweet Cup ‘N Cakes

After a week of heat indexes in the 100+ range, I breathed a huge sigh of relief and threw windows open yesterday when the temperatures in MN dropped into the 70’s! Along with the cooler weather, I took down summer decorations to fall and got to baking chocolate zucchini cake and simmering chicken wild rice soup. Autumn is my favorite season and it’s definitely on my mind right now! Today’s Monday Music & Movement kicks off our fall songs posts. We hope you enjoy it.

This song is a piggyback of “Old Dog Blue” and is used to work on goals of matching color. For a foundational skill of matching, you will want to start by making 2 apples of each color for an exact match. Here is one example of clipart that you can color in. After the child or group meets that objective, you can work on matching a picture of an apple and a worm that are the same color, which is a more difficult task. You can also work on goals of turn taking, joint attention, and expressive language during this intervention.

Start by passing out an apple to each child. Hold up or place on the first color apple on the board and sing:

Had an apple and it was __color__ (3x)

Who has the same as me?

Wait for the child to answer {I do, or Me!} or for peers to help the child identify their matching apple or worm. Have the child bring it up to the board or to you and sing:

__Name__ had a __color__ apple/worm (3x)

Two same  _color_, __color__ {point to the two objects}

This music therapy intervention is short and sweet, the repetitive and predictable nature of the verses are perfect for young children and groups of children with special needs that need structure in learning. The possibilities of tailoring this simple melody to objects that will capture the attention of young children are endless. Matching characters from “My Little Pony” or “Lego Star Wars” anyone?

Happy first week of school to most children that we have the privilege of working with every week!

Friday Favorites: {In the Summer}

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Today’s Friday Favorite is a piggyback version (same melody, different lyrics) of the song “In the Jungle”. I got this song writing idea from my fabulous internship supervisor at The Family Partnership, Sarah Woolever. You can use this song to meet goals of choice making, turn taking, sight words (names and foods), food identification, and if the kids are older you can even talk about healthy vs. less healthy food choices as well.

You will want to find or print off a variety of foods, include the names of the foods on the cards so you can work on sight letters/words. You may want to print out a few more than the clients you have in the group in case they all hate green beans 🙂 If clients are old enough to read, you can write out the  lyrics on a large notepad or have it on a powerpoint. If not, just have a felt board for them to place food pictures on to with their names on it.

Start singing/playing the chorus of the song…

In the summer, the hot, hot, summer

We like to have fun in the sun

In the summer, the hot, hot summer

We like to eat lots of yummy food

Now the children get to make a choice during the verse and put their food next to their name on the board

In the summer, the hot, hot summer

__(name)__ likes to eat yummy __(food__

In the summer, the hot, hot summer

__(name)__ likes to eat yummy __(food)__

Then everyone can join back in for the “a-wim-o-weh” part

Here’s a link to a lead sheet for The Lion Sleeps Tonight so you can see the melody and chords from Wikifonia! We hope you enjoy song writing all about food with your kiddos!

 

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: {Hurry, Hurry Drive the Firetruck!}

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I have been using “Hurry, Hurry Drive the Firetruck” this week during Musical Playground in ECSE classrooms to work on goals of turn taking, joint attention, impulse control, and imitating gross motor movements. The melody is simple so kids latch on to it right away and a handbell in the key you are singing the song in serves as the focus of joint attention. Have kids imitate the gross motor movements and wait to play the bell at “ding, ding, ding, ding, ding” to work on improving impulse control. Use as many verses as needed (or as few) so that each child gets a turn to play the bell. I like to repeat the song 2-3 times so everyone has a chance to get the gross motor movements and more than one turn to play the bell.

Here is the lead sheet and lyrics:

1) Hurry, hurry drive the firetruck (3x) [make driving motion w/ hands]

Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding!

2) Hurry, hurry turn the corner [sway side to side as if turning corners while “steering” with hands]

3) Hurry, hurry find the fire [hands over eyes to look for the fire]

4) Hurry, hurry climb the ladder [pretend to climb up with arms]

5) Hurry, hurry save the baby [cradle pretend baby in arms]

6) Hurry, hurry squirt the water [pretend to hold a hose and spray water all around]

7) Slowly, slowly, back to the station [“steer” slowly]

Hope you have a fun time pretending to be firefighters with this Friday Favorite!

Friday Favorites: {Aiken Drum, The Man on the Moon!}

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One of our favorite songs to work on pre-reading/pre-writing skills is a spin off of the old Scottish folk song “Aiken Drum”. In the original version, the verses each name different clothing items–hat, coat, buttons, and waistcoat. Each clothing item was “made” out of a food like cream cheese, roast beef, or crust pies. Here is a link to a free printable pdf.

To make it more conducive to our goal areas, we use body parts that are made out of shapes. You will want to gather a paddle drum and laminated shapes that are appropriate for the functioning level of your group. Give each child a different shape, and begin the song by singing the chorus. When you get to the verse, begin to draw “Aiken” either on a piece of paper or a white board. Everyone gets a turn to hit the paddledrum as you sing “and his name was Aiken drum” the first chorus. Then, the child who has the shape you pick each verse gets to hit the paddledrum on “drum”. Encourage them to sing along too!

As you name each body part and draw the shape, the child with that shape must identify and match them together. To make it more challenging, kids can choose a body part for their shape, and help draw it. In a seemingly simple music intervention, you can address objectives of matching shapes, drawing shapes, identifying colors of the shape visuals, joint attention, and turn taking.

Chorus:

There was a man who lived on the moon,

Lived on the moon, lived on the moon,

There was a man who lived on the moon

And his name was Aiken Drum.

Verse:

His head was made of _____, ______, _____

His head was made of ____

And his name was Aiken Drum.

Continue to identify and add body parts with shapes.

Here’s an example of the silly man on the moon one of our Musical Playground groups made this week.

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We aren’t artists for a good reason…Happy Friday Everyone!