Music to spark a better life for older adults and preschoolers

Posts tagged ‘Toddlers and Preschoolers’

Easy Summertime Music Fun With Your Child


With our local school year completed, many in my community are thinking of summer.  Some of my best memories as a child are of summer evenings playing games and having fun with my parents and siblings in our yard.

I love injecting some creative music making into a child’s experiences! So prepare for smiles on your face and a child’s as you try out a few of these ideas.

  • Singing: Share favorite songs from your childhood. While you may not be a singing sensation, your voice is a free gift you can share. And you can also sing-along with recordings.  A wonderful source for older tunes can be “Disney’s Sing-along Songs” – many of which may be available at your local library.
  • Attend a free community music event: Many communities have free concerts in the summer months. Look for community concert bands, groups in concert at an event, or on parade. The great part about free is you can leave without feeling like you haven’t gotten your moneys worth if your child becomes restless. And, it can be a place to begin to teach concert etiquette.
  • Freeze dancing: Put a CD in a player. Take turns moving when the music plays & freezing your position when the music stops. Children enjoy getting to be in control with simple games like this.
  • Make kazoos & march: Check out my post “Celebrate National Kazoo Day” & the link for directions to make you own kazoo. Hum a tune & march around the house, the yard, the neighborhood.
  • Water-glass/container chimes:For young children, place a little water into an old pot or pan. Get the water swirling a bit and use a metal spoon to strike the underside of the pot.  For those age five and older and only with adult supervision you can try this second version. Gather some empty glass containers or water glasses, a couple large metal spoons, and a pitcher of water. (You can even put a couple drops of food coloring in the water to make it easier to see.) My recommendation is to do this activity in the yard. Pour water into the glasses. Gently tap the glass on the outside to hear the pitch/sound. Change the amount of water to make a different pitch. See if you can play tunes with your water container creation. When your done, use the water to water a plant in the yard.
  • Homemade Wind Chimes: Gather a hanger, yarn or crochet thread, and various objects like old silverware, dried sticks, plastic tubes. Tie one end on the hanger and the other to the object with the yarn or thread. Hand several objects so they will touch when moved by the wind, your breath or your hand. See what sounds you can create.

I’d love to hear about your experiences with these activities. If you have photos of the fun, all the better.

She’ll be Comin’ Round the Mountain

This week my focus is on transportation in song. This post is inspired by a horse-drawn carriage that passed by my house a week ago. It is not uncommon for people in northwest Kansas to ride  horses. So, horse can be an appropriate means of transportation to include during Transportation Week. It so happens “She’ll be Comin’ Round the Mountain” is a frequently requested song in my intergenerational and older adult groups. I also use in my preschool groups. In an effort to create more variety in the song and to use various skill sets, here’s one adaptation I use:

In addition, we may have conversations about the items:

  • Why would she bring a toothbrush with her?
  • What juice is orange?
  • Is anyone wearing blue socks?

I would love to read your ideas on this adaptation. Please share them in the comments below!

Flight Songs

Space Shuttle Endeavour STS-134 (201104290002HQ)

Image by nasa hq photo via Flickr

With the Space Shuttle Endeavor scheduled for lift off this morning, fond memories of living in the Orlando, Florida area watching shuttle launches are on my mind. Evening launches were my favorite. In honor of this lift off and in keeping with the transportation week theme,  here are a few flight related songs you could use.

For All Ages

For Adults

For Children

  • I’d Like to Visit the Moon

I leave you with the music of Holst’s “Planets” and beautiful pictures taken by the Hubble Telescope:

Songs for Transportation Week

Various forms of transportation in Mumbai.

Image via Wikipedia

May 15-21, 2011 is Transportation Week. (Those who subscribe to my newsletter, can use the August 2010 Transportation newsletter ideas.)  So here are some song ideas for the week. There are a mix of songs appropriate for preschoolers, older adults, and intergenerational groups.

  • Bicycle Built for Two
  • Wheels on the Bus
  • I’ve Been Working on the Railroad
  • Come Josephine in My Flying Machine
  • Fly Me to the Moon
  • Slow Boat to China
  • Row, Row, Row Your Boat
  • Yellow Submarine
  • Route 66
  • See the USA in a Chevrolet
  • In My Merry Oldsmobile
  • Trolley Song
  • She’ll be Comin’ Round the Mountain
  • Jingle Bells

Enjoy your week. See how many forms of transportation you can name in song. See what songs and forms of transportation the children or older adults around you can add.

Do the Chicken!

Bawk Bawk

Image by Rob Boudon via Flickr

May 14th is National Chicken Dance Day!  Here in an area settled by Volga Germans it is a very common dance at community events. And, it is a great intergenerational dance!

I generally modify the circling portion to be hand clapping or simple movements to reduce the likelihood of an older person falling. When doing this in an intergenerational group, I often break out the egg shakers and lead into the dance with “I Know a Chicken”. With the children present, the action song becomes more chance for the older set to show their silly side.

Break out of your shell, get up! Get moving. Do the Chicken!

More Bubble Fun

Cover of "Bubble Trouble"

Cover of Bubble Trouble

I am truly in a bubbly mood this week! So, here are some more bubble resources. For the younger set, check out “Bubble Trouble” by Margaret Mahy. I read about this book on the blog Ready, Set, Read. There are awesome great ideas for activities for this book posted here!

In my last entry I mentioned Lawrence Welk. For many leer adults that was a Saturday night TV staple. His show opened with the song “Bubbles in the Wine.”  This old footage will bring lots of memories for the older set.

  • Bubbles (

Flower Shop Song

Een Bloemetje

Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday, I saw a little girl gathering dandelions. She told me they were for her mom. Memories of myself gathering for my mom and of my daughter gathering dandelions for me! Flowers can be the center of lots of activities with children.

Many years ago, I stumbled upon the “Flower Shop” song and have used it in with a lot of success with four and five-year olds. It works on a variety of concepts: learning to exchanging/trade, turn taking, identifying colors, and counting – just to name a few. I used artificial flowers , but paper flowers or photos would also work. The song can be easily modified for different goals and abilities. Enjoy!

Sneak Peak

Talia playing peek-a-boo (mosaic)

Image by Nathan Rein via Flickr

While I was employed in nursing homes, assisted livings, and CCRC’s  in the Activity Departments, I general was planning two months ahead. This allowed the resident council to share their desires, resource to be allocated, and for calendars to be printed and distributed. Now that I provide community based music therapy services, I have the challenge of working even further ahead. Arrange session space with providers and meeting deadlines for inclusion in the local recreation publication twice each year are just some of the constraints. So, I am currently planning and arranging through February 2012.

Once I settle on dates, I begin to look for themes and topics appropriate to each group. Then, I can gather my existing resources on each while exploring sources for new materials.  Watch the Preschool Classes page for announcements. My offerings for June through September 2011 are currently there and enrollment can be made through the Hays Recreation Commission.

There is a minimum enrollment of five for each class each session. Music Sparks Discovery and Sharing have a maximum enrollment of ten students with an adult while Music Sparks Exploration has a maximum of 12 students. Here are my tentative offerings for my preschoolers including intergenerational programs.  Topics/Themes are set with tentative dates and times provided so you can be planning to join in the fun learning. Be watching for enrollment information in late August on the following classes!

Music Sparks: Discover provides children and their caregivers the opportunity to explore and appreciate music in a creative, enriching and fun environment.  Through singing, moving and playing instruments, participants will learn basic musical and developmental concepts all while having fun and socializing with their peers and caregivers. These classes are offered for ages 18 months through age 3.  Caregivers are encouraged to participate in the music making process.

Location: Hays Recreation Center  Times: 9-9:30 AM Wednesdays Fees: $35 per session

  •  Session 1: Sept. 14, 21, 28, Oct. 5, 12, 19, 26, Nov. 2 (make-up day Nov. 9)  Enroll by Sept. 7, 2011
  • Session 2: Jan. 11, 18, 25, Feb. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 (make-up 3/7) Enroll by January 4, 2012

Music Sparks: Sharing Songs will provide children and their caregivers the opportunity to explore and appreciate music in a fun and exciting way with the support of senior adults.  This is a great class for family groups. Through singing, moving and playing instruments, participants will learn basic musical and developmental concepts all while having fun and socializing with their peers, caregivers and seniors. These classes are offered for ages 18 months through age 6.  Caregivers are encouraged to participate in the music making process.

Fees: $35 per session (includes one paperback book per family)

Class A: Cedar View 10:30-11:10AM        Class B: Sterling House 6-6:40PM

  • Dinosaurs: Dates – Sept. 12, 19, 26, Oct. 3, 10, 17 (make-up 10/24) Enroll by September 2, 2011
  • Down of the Farm: Dates – Nov. 7, 14, 21, 28, Dec. 5, 12 (make-up day 12/19) Enroll by 10/24
  • Outer Space: Dates – Jan. 16, 23, 30, Feb. 6, 13, 20, (Make-up 2/27) Enroll by January 2, 2012

Music Sparks: Exploration will for 5-6 year olds. We will explore basic music concepts, instruments, and composers through singing, playing, moving, and listening activities.

Location: TBA Times: 10-11AM Saturdays Fees: $45 (includes materials)

  • Session 1 Dates: Sept. 10, 17, 24, Oct. 1, 15, 22 (make-up day 10/29), Nov. 5 & 12 Enroll by September 2, 2011
  • Session 2: Dates: Jan. 14, 21, 28, Feb. 4, 11, 18, March 3, 10, (make-up 3/17) Enroll by January 4, 2012

Be watching for other community offerings targeting families and older adults in future posts while I continue to plan!

I’ll Love You for Always

Love You Forever

Image via Wikipedia

In a recent post, I asked about favorite children’s books that can be sung. “Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch is one of my favorites. When my daughter was in second grade, her grade level held a Mother’s Day Tea and  presented a reading of the book with the refrain sung by the children. I can say there were a lot of tissues used in that short presentation. It is still brings a smile to my face when I see this book. As it talks about love of a parent and child, it is one that is easy to relate with whether you are young or you are old. Why not share it with a child?

Showers of Fun: Songs for Children

Child in the Rain

Image by medeyle via Flickr

My next intergenerational session which starts today  is titled “Showers of fun”.  Here are some of the songs we are currently sharing.

  • Itsy, Bitsy Spider
  • It’s Raining, It’s Pouring
  • Rain, Rain Go Away
  • Oh, Mr. Sun
  • Stormy Day

And, I have set several finger play rhymes set to music. Best of all is a counting clouds song I wrote titled “One Little Cloud”.  (Those in the class along with those receiving the next newsletter will be the first to be able to access this song.  Hint, hint!)

There are many other rain songs for children.  Share your favorites in the comments below.  Be watching for April Showers: Songs for Seniors late this week.

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