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?

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Friday Favorites: {5 Little Leaves}

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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!

Monday Music & Movement: {Shake, Shake, Baby}

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Today’s song is a piggyback of the catchy chorus of Nelly’s “Country Grammar”, which has a chorus based on the children’s rhyme “Down Down Baby”. Here’s a link to a clean version of if you’ve never heard it…please try not to judge my 15 year old self that loved the catchy melody!

Whenever I have an earworm, I figure it’s a decent melody to piggyback new lyrics. That’s how today’s Monday Music & Movement came about. This song addresses goals of body identification, self-regulation, following directions, and gross motor goals (bilateral movement of harms, meeting, and crossing at midline). During the song, children will stop/go, watch and listen to you to move shakers in different ways, and receptively identify body parts.

Here are the lyrics:

[Sung to melody]
Shake, Shake, Baby
Shake down the rollercoaster (swoop arms as if on a rollercoaster)
Up high baby, shake them way up high (reach!!)

Roll and roll and roll and stop (pause)
Roll them way up high (above heads)
Roll and roll and roll and stop
Roll them way down low (by the floor)

[chant]
Let’s get the rhythm on the head, head (2x)
Let’s get the rhythm on the …. etc.

Continue the chant with whatever body parts you are working on identifying. Repeat song 2-3x with repeated body parts for younger children to really learn them or with different parts if you have been working on body identification before.

This is a seemingly simple therapeutic music intervention, but as a music therapists you can address so many goals with this fun instrument song. We hope you can adapt and use it with your clients or children!