Music to spark a better life for older adults and preschoolers

Posts tagged ‘Recreation’

Singable Books: Silly Dilly Songs

giggling child burrito

Image by drcorneilus via Flickr

When I was a child I loved to act silly, to hear silly things, and to sing silly songs. Silly songs can let us learn about social graces, say the things that are otherwise socially unacceptable, and can make us laugh.  During a recent trip to the library I stumbled upon a wonderful series of books written by Alan Katz and illustrated by David Catrow. These gentlemen have managed to capture toddler and playground humor to create lyrics and illustrations that are a hoot. The lyrics are partnered with well known tunes much like “On Top of Spaghetti” is sung to “On Top of Old Smokey”.

Here’s a little more on these books:

While not a complete list by this author and illustrator duo, this is the titles from my local library>

I encourage you to check out these or other books for a sing with your child.

I want a vacation!


When I was employed as an Activity Director in long-term care, it took a lot of effort and time to arrange my vacations. At first, I found taking a vacation more stressful than not having a break. I  had to be sure all my charting was completed, all the activities were covered, materials were in place…it was a lot of work! In my  many years in the position at a variety of facilities, I did learn a few things that made it easier. And, I became a much healthier, happier person.

  1. Plan your vacation before you plan your calendar. This allows you to be sure you don’t schedule events you must be there in order for them to succeed.
  2. Identify coverage with your supervisor. Knowing who will provide coverage allows you to play to that person’s strengths, schedule events according to available coverage, etc. Sometimes my Administrator would hold a Resident Council meeting while I was away or another conversation based event.
  3. Contact your volunteers for extra assistance. Increasing the volunteer coverage provided for more one on one attention while I was away. Also, some of my volunteers were great at leading specific groups but not others. So, if chasing bowling balls & pins (this was pre Wii days) was something outside their physical contort but doing a group crossword was a strength, we would schedule accordingly.
  4. Set aside time prior to leaving to complete charting, purchase materials, leave plans. Leaving with your charting complete is key. I would create daily plan sheets of what was to happen when, who would lead the event, who generally attended these groups, and materials needed for the event. While it sounds like a lot, much of it was easy once I completed two days. It became more of a copy and paste. Then, if the covering person or volunteer was ill, there was sufficient information for the event to occur. And, I had a complete list of supplies to purchase if necessary as well as to leave. I tried to provide a little extra time in my schedule the last five days leading up to vacation to accomplish this.
  5. Plan for some easy to implement events while you are gone. Generally, my residents loved certain events that didn’t need much explaining like bingo. I also had materials from resources like Creative Forecasting, Activity Connections, and A New Day which were already set up for use. You can also use materials from newsletters like SPARKS (available for FREE here on the right), materials from your corporate office, or other resources. I general made copies and attached them to the sheets for each day or placed them in a three-ring binder organized by day.
  6. Schedule time for key staff to update you on what happened while you were away on your first day back. I found it helpful to sit with the Administrator, Social Service Director, or DON/ADON for 20 minutes the morning I returned to be up to date on everyone’s status. It let me prioritize my charting, resident visits, and alerted me to special needs that had developed in my absence.

Songs of the moon

Moon Dreams

Image by jurvetson via Flickr

My Sterling House sessions this month will include a Moon Sing-along.  It is also the theme for my newsletter set for release on November 8, 2010.  (Sign-up for the newsletter here on the blog site!)  Given the many songs and websites dedicated to the moon, many people must be fascinated by the moon besides me.

During the Sterling House sessions, our songs will include:

  • Moon River
  • Blue Moon
  • Carolina Moon
  • It’s Only a Paper Moon
  • Fly Me to the Moon
  • On Moonlight Bay
  • By the Light of the Silv’ry Moon

I have a playlist of moon songs at: .  iTunes only shares the first 17 of my list of 34 songs.  But, it does provide a glimpse of the variety out there.  What music would you add to this list?  Please share your ideas in the comments below.

So, as we prepare for the Beaver Moon of November, may you do so with songs that fill your life with joy!

Train Songs


Union Pacific Railroad 6670 GE AC4400CW

Image via Wikipedia


It can be so much to sing about trains.  There are tons of songs to prove it.  Here is a starter list with a mixture of songs for adults and children for singing or drumming along:

I just added a new song to my repertoire with children.  Check it out!

Stay on track and keep the music going!

Fall Fun

More Fall Colours

Image by lokidude99 via Flickr

Fall has long been my favorite season.  There is something about cool nights, comfortable days and colorful leaves that appeals to me.  Hay rack rides, bonfires, toasting marshmallows, and drinking hot cider are strong memories.  Of course there are the sounds of crunchy leaves, marching bands, cheers at football games.

Fall is fun even with the seasonal tasks that come my way.  Preparing the final harvest from the garden, raking leaves, preparing for winter can be special.  I love to jump in the leaf pile before I bag them up.  I love the flavors I harvest from the garden and the smells that fill our home.

What are your fall memories?  Is there special music that comes to mind with the season?  On Tuesday, my next newsletter will be released filled with some fall ideas for my readers.  Consider signing up for my newsletter.  In the mean time, enjoy “Before the Last Leaf Falls”:

Songs of Travel

I-90, Labor Day westbound traffic

Image by WSDOT via Flickr

Labor Day is fast approaching and with it the end of the summer travel season.  As a child, most of my travel experiences involved cars.  AM radio was the rule of the day with stations often fading in and out.  Rather than constantly changing channels, my parents would lead family singalongs.  I learned many a sing-along classic from “We’re on the Homeward Trail” (which my parents would limit to the last couple miles as we drove into our town) to “Tell Me Why” (both the melody & descant lines).  As we got older, we children would contribute folks songs we were learning in school like “Senor Don Gato”.

We also would change words of songs to meet our needs to move in a limited space.  Mind you, I grew up before seat belts came installed in every car. We would change “shout for joy” (not a car friendly sound) to “jump for joy” attempting to touch our heads to the ceiling in the car if we were in the back seat.

Now when I travel with my family, we listen to play lists on our iPods.    When thinking of this topic for my recent newsletter, I thought of many car themed songs including:

  • Route 66
  • Baby, You can Drive My Car
  • On the Road Again
  • Ventura Highway
  • Low Rider
  • The Long & Winding Road
  • Goodbye Yellowbrick Road
  • Hot Rod Lincoln
  • Convoy
  • Little Red Corvette
  • Little Duce Coop

What do you have on your travel play list?  Share your thoughts and I’ll share an actual play list in a few days, too!

Fall sessions

My fall schedule is starting to fill up.  Lots of creative and fun sessions are being planned.  Here are a couple!

Intergenerational classes will be held on Mondays at Cedarview.  As requested by last springs class, we will have lots of songs about things that go.  Three  four-week sessions are on the calendar for the fall.  Go to the Class tab to learn more about Music Sparks: Exploration.  Be sure and enroll so you and your preschooler can join the fun.

Sterling House of Hays has weekly sessions planned.  As a part of this, monthly drum circles will be held along with themed sing-a-longs and hymn sings.

If you would like to include Music Sparks in your calendar, please contact me.  Be watching for other offerings in the Hays area!

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