Timeless Tunesday: {Where is Thumbkin?}

where-is-thumbkin

Image credit

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 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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                                                                                                      Image Credit

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!

Music & Movement Monday: Prepositions

elf prepositions

Image via http://www.kids-pages.com

We address a lot of academic goals during music therapy with children. One academic goal is to learn preposition words or directional concepts (e.g. in front of, behind, over).

Since I had these cute felt fish (blogged here) , I wanted to write a song about the fish swimming around in different ways. My internship supervisor at the time suggested that the kids use one hand in a fist as a rock. During the song, the fish swim around, over, rest on top, or hide under the rock.

A gross motor therapeutic music intervention that fits nicely with this song is to sing “The Fish went Over the Water” to the tune of the bear went over the mountain with a big blue scarf or sheet. The children move in a circle while walking over the water, under the water (MT holds the scarf up high), around, and into.

The lead sheet below has the first verse with under the rock. For subsequent verses just sing these phrases instead…

2) swim over the rock 3) rest on the rock 4) swim around the rock

For older children I have also had the fish swim through the rock by having them create a space in their fist or hold the fish inside their hands.

We hope you can use these ideas and adapt to fit your client’s needs!

Link to All The Fish In The Sea PDF