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.

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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}

alphabet-soup

Image credit

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 {Peek-a-boo, Where are the froggies?}

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Image credit

One of the first mirroring activities that infants learn is “Peek-a-boo”. It’s a guaranteed way to bring a smile to a kid’s face, and it’s easy to adapt! For my version of the activity, I focus on the goal areas of following directions, body identification, imitation, and self-regulation. Begin by gathering enough frogs for each child and yourself to have one. I use beanie baby frogs because they have some weight to them, which is important as you will see later in the activity. Use your favorite transition song to pass out the frogs, and begin by having the kids “hide” the frogs behind their back. While holding the frogs behind your back, begin singing “Peek-a-boo”. Here are the words:

Peek-a-boo, where are the froggies?

Peek-a-boo, where are you?

Peek-a-boo, where are the froggies?

Peek-a-BOO!

When you sing the last “Boo” pull out the frog and place it on a body part like your head, shoulder, knee, elbow, etc. After each child identifies and imitates the position of your frog with their body, the frogs can be “hidden” again and the song starts over. This activity can be adapted using any kind of animal beanie that you have, and for an additional challenge, have the kids take turns leading the activity and choosing a body part for the frog to rest on.

Ribbit Ribbit!

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

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Image Credit

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!

Monday Music & Movement: {Old Blue}

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Image Via

Pretty much every little one I know likes puppies. Today’s therapeutic music intervention uses the first verse of the traditional “Old Blue” to work on expressive and/or receptive color identification, joint attention, matching, turn taking, and fine motor skills.

Start by saving the image above or searching for a black and white clipart of a puppy. You will want to print off two for each color you are working on. Go ahead and laminate them too, because we all know there is a good chance these puppies are going to get chewed on!

Pass out the dogs with whatever transition song you like to use. This would be a great opportunity to incorporate a transition song during which you sing the colors once while holding them up and use PECS or sign if any of your little ones use them. Then, hold up one color dog using your thumb and pointer (pincer grasp to encourage use of fine motor skills) and encourage all of the little ones to do the same. Start singing using the color you are holding first.

The lyrics are very simple, I just changed the last line in to a question:

Had a dog and his name was _color_

Had a dog and his name was _color_

Had a dog and his name was _color_

Who has a _color_ dog too?

Wait for the correct answer and reinforce! Then to have even more practice association the color with the name, sing another time with the child’s name.

_____ has a _color_ dog

_____ has a_color_ dog

_____ has a _color_ dog

Come put it on the board!

The children are matching the dog they have with the one you will be holding (a pre-reading and pre-writing skill). The little ones will also be identifying colors receptively by holding up the green or using their words or sign to indicate that they have purple. Finally, your group will be turn taking and working on joint attention by attending to the dog you have and the color of dogs their peers have in the group.

Here is a link to the sheet music and chords.

We hope you can use this intervention with your clients or little ones. You can mix it up by using different animals or cutting animals out and placing them on different shapes to identify!

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!

Friday Favorites: {Baby Animals in the Spring}

Image Via

Baby Bunny Rescue #2

Photo Credit: wsimmons

We think there are endless possibilities for piggybacking classic children’s songs (examples here and here). Today’s Friday Favorite is no exception! In honor of the supposed start of spring, which meant wind chills of -10 for us in Minnesota, we bring you a song about baby animals sung to the tune of “Wheels on the Bus”.

You can use this song to address goals of gross motor movement, cooperation, and academic skills such as matching pictures of baby animals to mama animals. You can review pictures of the animals and movements that they make before you start singing. Have the kids stand up and even move in a circle if they are old enough to do so. Here are the lyrics:

The bunnies on the farm go hop, hop hop

Hop, hop, hop. Hop, hop, hop.

The bunnies on the farm go hop, hop hop in the spring time.

Chicks – flap, Horsies (or baby foals) – gallop, Baby cows – swish (tails) and on and on!

Happy Spring from us at Toneworks Music Therapy Services! We are excited to move into our new clinic space in the coming month and will keep you updated on new classes starting.

 

 

Friday Favorites: Brown Bear, Brown Bear Singable Book

brown bear cover

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!