February Freebie: Counting Cards

6 Feb

As Valentine’s Day approaches, I’m always looking for fun ways to fill my sessions with love. Don’t miss this week’s free download:

Valentine’s Day Counting Cards (1-20).

How to play:

Encourage each kiddo to choose an envelope, identify the number then sing an adapted version of the Woody Guthrie classic, “Mail Myself to You”:

“I’m gonna wrap myself in paper/I’m gonna dot myself with glue/

Stick some stamps on top of my head/I’m gonna mail _____ hearts to you.”

Then, count out the corresponding number of manipulatives (I use felt hearts from the Target dollar area-where else? Conversation hearts work great, too) and place them in inside a mini mailbox (you can probably guess where I found that…TARGET).

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Fun adaptations include clapping/stomping/drumming the number after putting the hearts in the envelope, or counting out instruments to “mail”, then putting them in a much larger mailbox (gathering drum, tubano, etc). It’s also fun just to play along with the original recording, or sing it live!

In search of more ideas for Valentine’s Day?

Check out my favorite V-Day Dance Songs and  MT Activities for Little Ones.

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Friday Faves: Holiday Visuals

9 Dec

This week, I’m sharing 3 recent visual finds that have been a hit during my sessions with little ones. December always goes by so fast, and I often find myself without time to create my own visuals. Thank goodness for Pinterest and all the other educators who share their creative ideas. All you’ll need for prep is a laminator, velcro and some clip rings (if you’re feeling fancy).

1. “5 Little Gingerbread Men” from Stay At Home Educator. I printed the empty tray and 5 gingerbread cuties, then added velcro for a fun counting game. Another fun way to use these visuals would be to add magnets and put on an actual cookie tray. We usually sing the song to the tune of “10 Little Indians” as we count.

2. “What’s Under the Tree?” Interactive Booklet from Sped-Ventures. Work on positional words and holiday vocabulary with this free adorable book. Print, add velcro and play! I use a few different melodies, including “Happy and You Know It.” (i.e., Put the present below the candy cane/Put the present below the candy cane/Put the present below, put the present below/Put the present below the candy cane.)

3. Holiday PlayDough Mats from Itsy Bitsy Fun. Okay, these are just really fun. Snag some festive PlayDough from the dollar store and create your own holiday scene on the mats as you sing Christmas songs. My favorite is the tree mat– we work on fine motor & following directions by making different colored ornaments to put on the tree (while singing “O Christmas Tree,” of course).

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Tuesday Tunes: Songs for Saying “Thank You”

15 Nov

As we gear up for Thanksgiving and the holiday season, I like to find ways to practice saying “please,” “thank you” and “you’re welcome” during my music therapy sessions. We love talking about different ways to say thanks with words, gestures and sign language. This week, I’m sharing 3 easily-adaptable tunes for instrument sharing & songwriting!

  • Thanks A Lot (Raffi). This one is definitely an ALL TIME favorite. It’s fun to go around in a circle and take turns singing one thing that you’re thankful for. This song also lends itself beautifully for music & art experiences. Doesn’t it just make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside?

  • Thank You for Being a Friend (Andrew Gold). This one is fun to dedicate to different people, and also lends itself beautifully to songwriting. I also get a kick out of doing the “I wanna thank you” and “Thank you for being a friend” as call and response with drums or melodic instruments.

  • Thank You Song (Jaycee Vorhees, MT-BC). Thanks to music therapist Jaycee from Harmony Music Therapy for this catchy little ditty. I’ve used this melody before to create social story songs or for improvised instrument play. It’s fun to take turns sharing instruments and drumming the word rhythm for “Thank you!”

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Friday Faves: Halloween Visuals

21 Oct

If you were to peek inside my instrument bag this week, you’d find some spooky sounding instruments, a few amazing manipulatives from the Target dollar area (seriously, go there RIGHT NOW and buy everything…cardboard pumpkins & slimy creatures galore!) and my 3 favorite free Halloween visuals below.

  1. Sing Me a Monster Cards from O For Tuna Orff. These are great for basic addition and subtraction, counting and using descriptive language. I like to use the melody suggested (Sol-Mi-Mi-Sol-Mi) and sing or chant, “Sing me a monster, tell me what you see. Sing me a monster, describe him/her to me!” I then prompt each kiddo to sing “I see…” and name one feature on their monster. It can be fun to pull them out of a paper bag with some of the aforementioned slimy Target creatures for extra monster ooky-ness.
  2. Halloween Composition Starters from Pianimation. This is a really helpful visual for songwriting experiences, drum chants or writing sound poems. Use this as a jumping off point for one song or create a verse from each starter line.
  3. {Free} SFS Candy Flashcards. Grab this free download I created for musical trick-or-treating and/or word rhythm drumming in sessions & adapted music lessons. We love hiding these around the clinic or writing out the corresponding rhythms as we say the name of each candy.

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Friday Faves: Fall Edition

7 Oct

Lately, my sessions have been filled with songs about apples, pumpkins, and all things fall…and I CAN’T GET ENOUGH! Can you feel the sweater weather, fluffy scarf, pumpkin spice love? Today, I’m sharing 3 resources that have been making their way into most of my early childhood and school based sessions.

  • Pumpkin Counting Cards from The Kindergarten Connection. Laminate these babies, put them on a clip ring, and you’re ready to roll! Add clothespins for some extra fine motor fun. I like using these cards with improvised songs & familiar tunes like 5 Little Pumpkins. Bonus: the version below is great for counting AND emotion identification.

  • Singing “Button Up Your Overcoat.” I love singing this song acapella with my kiddos on the first chilly day of the year. We have fun making up our own finger play movements, like putting on a coat, signing “apple” and pretending to sleep. This song is especially great for parent-child duos, because it’s fun to give each other a big hug and sing “you belong to me!”

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Friday Faves: 4+ Apple Ideas

30 Sep

It’s time to rev your laminators: after a long hiatus, Songs for Success is back in business with music therapy session ideas, songs and visuals! I’ve been busy with grad school, intern supervision and a whole lot of clinical work, but couldn’t be more excited to start spreading the intervention love again. In honor of October (and finally, cooler weather), I’m sharing my favorite apple songs and ideas.

This week, my kiddos and I will be…

Counting Apples!

  • Pretend your red, green and yellow shakers are apples and sing “Way Up High in the Apple Tree.”
  • Download cute and {free} visuals like these apple seeds or apple baskets and sing while you count.
  • Slap some apple icons on your beanbags, hide them, and go apple picking.
  • Sing an old school SFS song like “Apples in a Tree”  or a classic like “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree” for intergenerational groups. I like to change the words to /I don’t sit under the apple tree or apples will fall on me, no, no, no! Let’s count how many fell off the tree, how many do you see? Oh, count these apples with me/.

Dancing to songs about apples!

This song…need I say more?

Relaxing with “Apple Tree” by Justin Roberts!

This is a sweet, calm way to end a session. I like to sing it live or listen to the recording and sway with red, green and yellow scarves along with the music. We love growing like seeds, waving our branches, and stretching to the sun. Bonus points if you incorporate signs (wait, apple and tree are a great place to start) and practice spelling apple at the end.

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Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with Song

14 Mar

St. Patrick’s Day can be a great way to expose your music therapy kiddos to music from around the world, and let’s face it: Irish music is totally awesome. It gets your feet tapping, lends itself nicely to improvisation and is steeped in some rich culture that can be fun to experience and share in your music therapy sessions this month.

  • Have an Irish Jig. Grab some instruments and jam along to traditional Irish music, or get up and move around the room. I love the Celtic Dance CD, and often use The Landlord’s Walk for a free-for-all jam and Dowd’s Favourite for circle dancing.

  • Learn and practice singing/saying traditional Gaelic phrases. It can be fun to improvise and incorporate these words into your music making, or drum the word rhythms as you practice. You could even look up the Gaelic pronunciations of your names and use them during hello/goodbye songs. Here’s a video with some basic greetings to get you started!

  • Put your music theory hat on and use your modes. Check out the four main modes used in Irish music. You could listen to some of the songs mentioned, then use them as a jumping off point for improvisation on the piano, xylo or drums. Dorian is one of my favorites.

  • Explore the Song of the Sea soundtrack. I’m obsessed with this adorable movie, and find that the soundtrack has some beautiful tracks that work great for relaxation experiences. I like to get out my giant blue canopy scarf and move it like ocean waves as we listen to songs like the main theme. If you listen in English, you can talk about the text, but it can also be fun to take some guesses if you listen to the version from the movie in Gaelic.

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