Friday Favorite: {At the Bottom of the Sea}


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?


Friday Favorites: {5 Little Leaves}


Image Credit

I’m writing this with a predicted high of 92 degrees and a good deal of humidity today, but before we know it, fall will be here shortly in MN. “5 Little Leaves” is one of my favorite songs to use during the fall. There are several versions around of this song, but my personal favorite is one by Lynn Kleiner. Click here to listen.

Sometimes I use the recorded version. For example, if I’m alone leading a group of toddlers that love to run around. Most times I use a live version using guitar, orff, or piano depending on the goals and needs of the group. Here are the lyrics:

5 little leaves all bright and gay

Dancing about on a tree one day

The wind came blowing through the town

And one little leaf came tumbling down 

{doot, doot, doot, doot, doot, doot, doot}

Continue with 4 leaves, 3 leaves, and so on.

There are several ways to use this song during music therapy groups or individual music therapy. You can work on goals of counting with 1:1 correspondance, color identification, working together to make the leaves “dance” on a parachute, gross motor goals with scarves, and self-regulation with stop/go with the wind coming through to name a few.

#1) Scarves

Pass out scarves to the little ones and encourage them to move their scarves about like dancing leaves. When the wind comes blowing through the town, everyone can spin. Throw the scarves up as the one little leaf tumbles down and start all over again!

#2) Parachute

You can use felt, fake, or real leaves in the middle of the parachute. Everyone can help move the parachute so the leaves “dance”. When the wind blows, make sure so move the parachute quickly! Finally count 1-2-3 and go way up high to make the leaves tumble down. You can take away one leaf each verse and count the leaves that are left.

#3) Felt Board and Fingerplay

Have everyone count their “leaves” [fingers] and go through the song taking down one leaf from your felt board with each verse. You can also hit color identification goals during this intervention by using different colors for each leaf. Here is a template I have used for both felt and laminated paper leaves.

Happy Friday!

Friday Favorites: Blue Scarf Canopy & It’s Cold Outside! (Lead Sheet Included)

scarf Image via Amazon

I love using a big blue scarf for gross motor therapeutic music interventions! There are endless possibilities. The blue scarf can be an ocean for felt fish to swim on top of. Children can lay under the scarf and watch the fish “swim” above them to relax. I have even used the scarf inside of a gather drum to hide objects that a child has to find during the song.

Here are some ways you might use the big blue scarf during music therapy sessions or at home with a child:

Gross Motor: Use beanie baby or other stuffed fish in the middle of the scarf and sing “Itty Bitty Pool” while moving the scarf. When you get to “boop, boop, ditum, datum, watum, choo”, fling all fish up in the air on “choo”.

Cooperation: Put a lightweight balls on the scarf and play a game of passing the ball to one friend at a time without having the ball roll out of the scarf.

Relaxation: Direct children to lie under the scarf. When the scarf moves up, children will take a deep breath in. When the scarf moves down, children will blow out their breath.

Prepositions: Mentioned last week, children can be fish going over, under, around, in, and through the water.

Body Identification: Pretend the big blue scarf is a blanket and cover up different body parts. The song that I use to identify body parts is a traditional tune you’ll recognize (more appropriate words for children though) and was adapted from an observation passed down from my internship site of AMTA’s current president elect.

Here is the link to “It’s Cold Outside

We’d love if you take the time to share your favorite songs to sing with big canopy scarves! Thanks for reading, and happy Friday.