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.

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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?

Timeless Tunesday: {This old Man}

This is truly a timeless tune, with the original lyrics! Goal areas can include palmar grasping, rhyming, sequencing, object identification, gross motor movement, and imitation. I am going to share about this activity with the goal areas of rhyming, gross motor movement, and palmar grasping for a client with cerebral palsy. To set my client up for success,  I made a magnetic “dauber” (literally a paint dauber that I hot glued a strong magnet to) with a foam handle, and under each visual was a magnetic strip. Easy to move and easy to hold! Here is what mine ended up looking like…

Thisoldman

…and here is a link to the printables and numbers!

I sing the tune  a cappella so I can assist with demonstrating the actions and moving the visuals if needed. Here is a link to the song if you are unfamiliar with the melody!

1) This old man he played one (hold up thumb and wiggle it)

2) He played knick knack on my thumb (find the picture of the thumb,grab it with the magnet dauber, and put it next to the #1)

3) With a knick knack paddywhack, give a dog a bone (pretend to knock on a door)

4) This old man came rolling home (move arms in a rolling motion)

For each verse, the number in line 1) will increase by one, so hold up that number of fingers. During line 2), find the new picture that matches the number in line 1). Lines 3) and 4) stay the same during every verse, so the actions are also the same.

Friday Favorite: {Apple Songs}

Apples are an all-American success story-each ...

The Fall solstice has passed and it’s prime apple pickin’ time for us in Minnesota! Today we bring you a couple of our favorite simple apple songs and fingerplays. These songs are great for working on color identification, counting with 1:1 correspondence, joint attention, and making predictions [important reading comprehension skill].

5 Little Apples

Chant just like 5 Little Monkeys or 5 Little Fishies

5 little apples sitting in a tree [Hold up 5 fingers]

Teasing Mr. Caterpillar, “can’t catch me, no you can’t catch me!” [wag finger]

[whisper] Along comes Mr. Caterpillar, quiet as can be and…[move hands like a caterpillar]

CRUNCHED that apple right off of the tree [pretend to hold an apple to mouth and take a big bite]

[gasp] OH NO! How many apples are left? [count 1:1]

Repeat until all the apples are gone and count fingers back to five.

Way Up High in an Apple Tree

Sing to tune of Twinkle, Twinkle

Way up high in an apple tree, five __color__ apples smiled down at me

I shook that tree as hard as I could, down came an apple, mmm it was good

Way up high in an apple tree, four __color__ apples smiled down at me

Repeat until all the apples are gone then sing:

Way up high in an apple tree, no more apples smiled down on me

I shook that tree as hard as I could, down came no apples, they’re gone now for good

Way up high in an apple tree, no more apples left now for me!

We hope you have fun sharing these songs with your little ones. 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!

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 and Movement: {Star Wars meets MT}

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One of my projects every week is to find new music to use for adaptive lesson students. For this task, I like to dig outside of the traditional classics. Some of the favorite pieces I’ve done for clients are the harp theme from Zelda, Angry Birds theme song,  and Mario Bros theme song. Today, I am transcribing the theme from Star Wars to be played on the piano!

Adaptive music lessons are like traditional music lessons, but in addition to increasing musical knowledge, you are tracking non-musical goals. The instruments and music are adapted to set the client up for success, such as large hand grips on mallets for a client with Cerebral Palsy, or replacing regular musical notation with color dots that correspond to notes on an instrument. Instead of being required to learn how to visually read music, physically play an instrument, and do them simultaneously, the process is simplified.

For example, the song I am transcribing today for the piano, is regularly played over a three octave span, and uses both the right and left hands. For an eight year old with Aspergers that dreams of being Luke Skywalker, three octaves won’t work. Instead, I am adjusting the theme so it is played in one octave, and each note is colored to match the keys on the piano. The theme is a single melody line and can be played with either hand and any combination of fingers. It is a fun, easy way to track musical knowledge, fine and gross motor skills, cognitive skills, and confidence building.

Here is a picture of what the adapted piano looks like:Piano

Here is a picture of a song written for adapted piano:photo-1

Visit our Toneworks page for more information about adaptive lessons!

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.