Music to spark a better life for older adults and preschoolers

Posts tagged ‘theme’

Secrets of Creating Inspired Themes

Secret

Image by val.pearl via Flickr

In this post I am sharing some of my secrets for creating and using inspired themes.  It is my hope they are helpful in kick starting a session, a week, a month, or a year for you. They are easy to apply ideas for the home, school, and long-term care settings. So here we go!

Where do you find inspiration for a theme?

You can find it everywhere. Really, I do: books I read, calendars, resource books, dreams, ideas from clients, local events. The secret is to capture them on paper, in a file, in a voice memo. Just capture them otherwise they tend to disappear from your thoughts.

What sources can be used to kick-start ideas?

  • If the idea is triggered by a local annual event, often there are resources from this event to get you started.
  • Many on-line holiday and special event calendars have links to starter sources.
  • When it is free-floating ideas from my thoughts, clients, or dreams I often use Google as a starter point. Look into the suggested search terms that may pop up in your search

How to I build on an idea that doesn’t come with ready-made ties?

Ask questions about the theme to pull it into other events. For example, how I use a camping theme to create a cohesive week of events at an assisted living facility? The topic itself becomes something for reminiscing. Think of the images that relate to the topic. The equipment on might use can become the decorations and the physical objects that might help with the reminiscing. When you think of camping, it might help you think of smells  (pine tree, smoke, Mosquito repellent), tastes (hot dogs, smores, trail mix), movements (cutting wood, hiking, boating, horseback riding), sounds (insects at night, bird calls, wolves, songs around the campfire, and touch (rough cord, bark from trees, iron skillet, fabrics from tents). All these things can help you spread the theme into events: topics for Jeopardy, words to unscramble, movements for exercise, foods for cooking, songs to sing, just to name a few.

Hope this has helped. Recipients of the July 23, 2011 SPARKS newsletter received this and more! Join today by clicking here. Then you will be able to access this themed information in the archives.

Camping Theme Resources

If you received my newsletter, be sure and check out Canoeing in Preschool. And check out this camping resource by 2 Teaching Mommies.

Those who receive my SPARKS newsletter received the following ideas and more!

Camp Songs:

Children

  • Do Your Ears Hang Low
  • Boa Constrictor
  • The Littlest Worm
  • Little Bunny Foo Foo

Older Adults

  • Picking Flowers in the Rain
  • Tenting Tonight
  • Trail of the Lonesome Pine
  • Dip, Dip & Swing

Intergenerational

  • Oh, We’re from Camp (insert the facility name, family name, etc.)
  • Camp Granada
  • Marching to Victoria
  • If You’re Happy & You Know It

Books:

Children’s Story Books

  • Camp Granada: Sing-Along Camp Songs by FranÃ
  • How to Catch a Fish by John Frank and Peter Sylvada
  • I Took a Walk by Henry Cole
  • On the Way to the Beach by Henry Cole
  • Wish You Were Here by Martina Selway
  • Camping in Green (Know Your Colors) by Christianne C. Jones and Todd Ouren

If you would like to receive the rest of the information, sign  up for my SPARKS newsletter. You will be able to access the rest of these camping ideas from June 2011 from the archives.

A 4th of July Sing-along

140th US Flag Day poster. 1777-1917. The birth...

Image via Wikipedia

In addition to playing in the Hays City Band on the grounds of Fort Hays on the 4th, I will be leading a sing-along at Sterling House of Hays. We will be singing several familiar songs about places around the United States. Here’s some of my list for our singing celebration.

Have a happy and safe 4th of July. If you are celebrating with song, please share your thoughts of what to add in the comments below.

Here are other sing-along ideas:

Marriage in Song

There seem to be a number of weddings occurring around town. I noticed June 27th is “Decide to be married Day”.  So here are some songs about marriage older adults might enjoy:

If you work with a different age group, I recommend checking The Green Book of Songs. The subject search of songs is a great tool well worth the few dollars.

Welcome Summer!

In the good old summertime. [canoe] (LOC)

Image by The Library of Congress via Flickr

Summer officially begins on June 21, 2011. Why not celebrate the day with songs? Here are a few songs older adults may recognize.

  • In the Good Old Summertime
  • Summertime
  • “Tis the last Rose of Summer
  • June is Busting Out All Over (Be sure and check out the song spotlight  and song writing info at Soundscape Music Therapy)
  • Summer Wind
  • We’ll Sing in the Sunshine
  • Beach Baby
  • By the Sea
  • Barefootin’

You can bring in more senses with old pictures of swim suits, picture of a fan blowing on a block of ice (old-time air conditioning), a beach ball, a pale with shovel, maybe a little sand to run through the fingers (or toes), coconut butter, baby oil (an old-time sun tanning lotion) just to name a few.

As for this traveling music therapist, I’m cranking up the AC and the tunes while I share a few memories of summers passed around the Hays, Kansas area.

Singable Books: Patriotic

A child reading in Brookline Booksmith, an ind...

Image via Wikipedia

I grew up in a household of readers. We were required to read each day as children – especially during the summer. Those frequent trips to the library have resulted in a lifetime of reading. During my sessions, I love to share singable books.  This post is the first in a series.

Today’s books give a nod to the many US patriotic holidays that happen during the summer months. Published by Picture Window Books and illustrated by Todd Ouren, I have used these resources with a variety of younger children. The songs include:

  • America the Beautiful
  • America
  • The Star Spangled Banner
  • When Johnny Comes Marching Home
  • Yankee Doodle
  • You’re a Grand Old Flag

Watch this to learn more about the books. 

Be watching for future singable books. In the mean time here are a few others:

Happy Birthday, Queen Elizabeth!

HM Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kin...

Image via Wikipedia

I love to find reasons to celebrate and to add something special to a day. And the official birthday of the Queen (June 13th) is no exception. In my days employed as an Activity Director in long-term care (both assisted living and skilled nursing facilities), this was a fun way to interject the afternoon snack time into an event.

We general planned an afternoon tea. Prior to the event a cooking group might prepare scones and finger sandwiches. I would gather trivia about the royal family. Much of that information was available through resources including Creative Forecasting and Activity Connections often in trivia form.  At times, some of the residents had visited England and would share their memories of the country.

Music was also included and here are just a few items:

  • God Save the Queen – We would then discusses “America” and our country’s ties to Britain.
  • Happy Birthday
  • Some Day My Prince will Come  – Royal wedding easily fit into a conversation after this one.
  • Lavender Blue – What moments in life have you felt like royalty or very special?
  • Jerusalem (for those who don’t know this one, see this YouTube video as has lyrics printed in the comments).

Enjoy the official birthday of the Queen!

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