Tag Archives: Activity Ideas

3 Ways to Seussify your Sessions this March

1 Mar

As you can tell from some of my previous blog posts, I’m all about using the brilliance of Dr. Seuss in my sessions every March for Read Across America Day. Check out these 3 fun ideas I’m using in sessions this month to celebrate Dr. Seusss

 

  1. Singable books! Some favorites are Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb and My Many Colored Days.  For “Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb,” I have a cute monkey stuffed animal that we’ll use to work on body identification and following directions by having him play the drum like the monkeys in the book. “My Many Colored Days” works great for little ones learning about colors, so I love to have my kiddos search for instruments to play that match the colors on each page.Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 11.25.41 AM
  2. “Green Eggs and Ham” from The Learning Station. I’ve used these fabulous visuals from Mommy Lessons 101 and an adapted version of “Green Eggs and Ham” to target anything from sight words to music note learning. I laminated the eggs and use dry erase marker to write targeted concepts, activities or conversation starters on the backs. Sing the song, flip over an egg, and complete the task on the other side!

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3. Dr. Seuss rhyming. I made some basic picture/word cards for some IEP students working on rhyming goals, and find they work GREAT for simple rhythm or songwriting activities. You can either use the cards as a jumping off point and have students draw one card and rap or drum rhyming words they can think of, or have them look for the sets of matching rhymes. Simply download them for {FREE}, laminate and use! There are also other great Seuss-themed cards available for free at Sweet Rose Studio.

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Singable Book: Your Personal Penguin

16 Feb

K, so I really love this book. And by, I really love this book, I mean that I love it SO much, it was a reading at my wedding in December!

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My favorite ways to use it:

  • Snuggly song: This is perfect for parent-child bonding. Encourage kiddos to sit with a caregiver and rock back and forth to the music as they listen. You can even have them hold hands with you, a caregiver or a peer and waddle around the room like penguins.
  • Sign language: I like teaching and using using the signs for I want,  penguin, go, and of course, hug…because what else are those little penguin wings for?
  • Conversation starter: I love talking with my kiddos about who their own personal penguin is. Usually, Mom, Dad or a sibling are a great place to start. We talk about telling your personal penguin “I love you!” and sharing the things that they like about each other.

Special thanks to Marlayna Photography for capturing the moment when we decided to be personal penguins for life on 12.19.15.

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4 {Clean} Valentine’s Day Dance Songs

2 Feb

Valentine’s day doesn’t have to be all about mushy gushy love—it’s also a great excuse for a dance party. I like using these songs for anything from instrument play to lyric analysis, and find they’re great for facilitating conversation about friendship, love and what it means to share a relationship with another person. You’ll also look extra cool for using songs heard on the radio right now. Now, go spread some love (and your best dance moves)!

  1. Love is the Answer (Aloe Blacc)

2. Electric Love (Borns)

3. One Call Away (Charlie Puth)

4. Lay It All On Me (Rudimental ft. Ed Sheeran)

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Activity Inspiration: Backpack, Backpack

31 Aug

I like to use the simple “Backpack” theme song from Dora the Explorer during the first few weeks of school, which many kids already know and LOVE to sing along with. It has some great /b, p, k/ sounds, plus early pronouns in the lyrics like /me, my, I, you/ for kiddos practicing speech and communication goals. This activity is also helpful for students working on labeling or requisite learning skills such as independently packing and unpacking their backpacks. If possible, we use our actual backpacks and label the items inside as we take them out or put them away.

For music therapists on the go, here’s a simple backpack visual you can download for free…so all you need to do is laminate and add Velcro. We sing the backpack chorus, then make a drumroll on our legs (or a drum) while saying, “Let’s see what’s inside!” When the drumroll stops, encourage your student to pull out and item and label it. Bonus points if they can tell you one way they use the item during their school day!

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#MusicTherapyBlogger Challenge: Grab a Guitten

11 May

This post is part of a 5 week #MusicTherapyBlogger challenge. Learn more and join the movement by visiting Serenade Designs!

Challenge #2: Write about something that works for you in your everyday life as an MT.

The guitten has been, by far, the best addition to my bag of tricks this year. If you HAVEN’T heard about the world of guittens (AKA guitar + mitten = my favorite thing ever), hop over to Jody Tucker’s website and feast your eyes on the cuteness. If you work with kiddos, you’ll love how functional, versatile and conversation-worthy it will be for all your music therapy friends.

  1. FUNCTIONAL: It protects my guitar from those little hands that love to turn, turn, turn those knobs. I mean, seriously—it’s like guitar tuning pegs radiate beautiful rainbow light and have a neon sign on them that says, “TURN ME, I’M AWESOME.”

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  1. VERSATILE: I constantly use my guitten as a puppet for songwriting and finger play (try “Little Bird” from 1plus1plus1equals1), which is especially perfect in the springtime. I’ve even put shakers and bells inside the guitten while working on spatial concepts. Some of my kiddos also practice social skills by saying hi and shaking his wing during our hello song. DO check out the full list of guitten characters, which include animals, flowers and bugs.

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  1. CONVERSATION STARTER: First of all…my guitten TOTALLY looks like an angry bird. I mean, how cool is that? My video game obsessed friends have played with the guitten while making angry bird sounds into the microphone, or have used it to play “real life” angry birds by tossing him into drums. Other groups have even worked together to name him and have dubbed him our group mascot.

Note: Some of my friends don’t like the guitten on the guitar, but it provides a perfect jumping off point for asking for help/self-expression. One little friend is even working on saying “Bird off!”paired with signs. If I’m working with teens/adults, I usually ask if they want me to keep it on. 9 times out of 10…the answer is “YES!”

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5 Activity Favorites: EGGcellent MT Ideas

24 Mar

I like to go ALL OUT with bunnies and eggs this time of year. Can ya dig it? Check out 5 of my favorite activities below and get ready to shake, rattle and roll with your music therapy friends.

1. Roly Poly Egg by Kali Stileman. Believe it or not, my Mom found this book for me at the grocery store…and it is SO stinkin’ cute. It’s perfect for spatial concepts (up, down, over, under, etc) and has dotted lines that kids can trace with their shaker eggs. Sometimes I follow this book with Laurie Berkner’s “I Know a Chicken”–so visit Toneworks Music Therapy for adaptations.

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2. Egg Hunt. Buy yourself a pack of plastic eggs at the Dollar Store, and I guarantee you’ll get mad mileage out of them. My dyads and groups have enjoyed working together to hide and find the eggs, then do whatever action is inside. Depending on the clients, actions may be as simple as gross motor movements (clap, jump, skip, etc) or complex as working together to write a song or draw a picture. The George Center has even more fab ideas for this one, and Music for Special Kids has a cute song to go along.

unnamed (60)3. Egg Matching/Sorting. MORE PLASTIC EGG FUN AHEAD! For little ones, matching eggs is a great fine motor task. I bought little poof balls and my tiny friends have enjoyed sorting them into eggs of like colors. For kiddos working on number word ID, have them match the word to the number, then count the corresponding number of poof balls to go inside. I’ve also done this with rhyming words and color words, so check out my Spring MT Pinterest board for more inspiration.

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4. Egg & Spoon Race. This idea came to me from Rachel See in one of my fave Music Therapy Mailings kits. I like to work together with clients to create an egg obstacle course that usually involves balancing shakers on spoons (or various body parts), playing a rhythm/word on a shaker and any other silly things we can come up with (i.e., squawk like a bird, flap your wings, etc).

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5. Egg Sensory Bin. Take all your materials from above, dump them into a drum and BAM: instant sensory bin. Bonus points if you have other things to touch & feel, like felt, that green stringy stuff that goes inside Easter baskets or stuffed animals. Play some relaxing music and explore together!

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{MORE} Dr. Seuss Inspiration: Silly Sound Song

1 Mar

Monday kicks off Read Across America week, and boy oh boy do I love me some Dr. Seuss. I wanted to share a little song I wrote that works great for speech, impulse control, engagement and self-expression goals (and if you use an iPad, finger isolation/fine motor skills).

You can find the visuals & sounds I used for my choiceboard (plus more activity ideas to Seussify your sessions) in this previous post. Download the images and either: print and put on big macs or load them into an app like Sounding Board or Choiceboard Creator and add sounds. When the music stops during the song, have your kiddo press their desired button to sing along. If clients are able, I have them come up with their own sounds and use their voice or instruments to make them. This can get really silly, especially if you have a group of kids making sounds at the same time OR waiting and taking turns.

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For even more Dr. Seuss inspiration, check out my springtime Pinterest board and the Read Across America website (full of worksheets and coloring pages!).

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Candy Cane, Candy Cane

22 Dec

Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 5.54.33 PMMerry Christmas week!  Today I’m sharing a bonus song my kids have been singing all month to work on speech, engagement and attention goals. No matter what holiday you celebrate, there’s definitely one universal love shared by kids everywhere…and that, my friends, is CANDY.

I wrote this little song and whipped up some visuals (DOWNLOAD FOR FREE!) to go along. It has lots of different speech sounds [m, k, ch, g, b, oh, l], opportunities for vocalization and room for kids to add their own sounds or favorite candy. We like to hold the candy canes while we sing, take pretend bites (key word: pretend) and rub our tummies at the end. Enjoy! And maybe treat yo’self to a candy cane at lunch today. 🙂

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4 [Super Fun] Holiday Songs for Speech Goals

16 Dec

This year, I discovered a few silly songs…that have absolutely no real lyrics. BOOM! Many of my kiddos are working on speech/communication goals, so I love that these are basically just scat sounds—great for encouraging clients to experiment with different vowel and consonant combinations. Whip up a little choice board, pull out your microphone and get ready to vocalize!

1. Minion Holiday Song (Minions)

 Who doesn’t love these little guys? You get extra cool points for showing the video. Because…MINIONS!

2. Carol of the Mehs (Glove and Boots)

This one is perfect for that bilabial “m” sound—plus, it’s awesome. We’ll also turn the recording off and sing it on a bunch of different sounds.

3. Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy (Pentatonix)

In order to show everyone how hip you are, you have to have a Pentatonix song on your holiday playlist. This one is my favorite because it’s a good conversation starter—sometimes, we’ll listen to the instrumental recording, then this one, and compare. Also fun for movement!

4. Jingle Bells (Singing Dogs)

Don’t judge me for listening to singing dogs. SERIOUSLY. DON’T. It cracks me up (maybe a little too much), but it also makes my clients giggle—especially the animal lovers. It’s really fun to try singing Jingle Bells with other animal sounds, too.

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It’s Turkey Time: 7 Gobble-Worthy Activity Ideas

18 Nov

November = TURKEY TIME!!! I like using turkeys as a session theme because they’re cute, can be used in endless ways and are great for speech goals (can I get a gobble, gobble?). Below are some of my favorite turkey-themed activities to use this time of year.

1. Feather Decorating: This is a nice art and music activity I like for self-expression and tactile experiences. We listen to Copland’s “Hoedown” and decorate turkey feathers with different sensory materials like feathers and stickers.

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2. Turkey Drumming: This is a simple drum activity that I love for attention, impulse control, following directions, and speech goals. I sing it to the tune of “Turkey in the Straw”, but simplified the words so my kids could really focus on just saying “turkey” and “gobble”. I usually line up three tall drums and have kids strike each drum in order on the “1-2-3” beat that follows each line. With groups, I will give everyone their own drum and either choose a soloist to come play the big drums or ask for volunteers to sing the gobbles into the microphone.

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3. Pass the Turkey: My most heavily used visual during turkey season is my turkey beanie baby! He’s the perfect size for passing around a circle or even for perching on a drum or piano during sessions. The kids love him!

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4. Turkey Songwriting Cards: I made my own turkey flash cards this year to use for songwriting with bells, boomwhackers and xylophones. My piano students totally dig writing their own turkey song with the cards then performing it on the bells. I’ve also been using them for math goals as well as color identification and matching. Download them for FREE! All you have to do is color them in. 🙂

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5. Starvin’ Marvin: He’s basically a celebrity to my kiddos. Everyone wants to meet Marvin, is always very concerned about how hungry he is (When I pulled him out the other day, one kiddo said “Miss Kerry!!!!!! He’s REALLY hungry—he looks a little faint.”) and loves “feeding” him by tossing bean bags in his mouth.

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No time to learn the song? This also works great with “Let’s Turkey Trot” by Little Eva.

6. Rachel Rambach’s “Turkey Dinner Dance”: This one is always a hit and is a great way to work on gross motor movement. Plus, it’s pretty darn catchy!

7. Turkey Dance Party: Straw hats optional! Check out some of my favorite hoe-down dance songs below that will get your clients do-si-do-ing.

Hoedown Throwdown (Miley Cyrus):

Bonus points for learning/teaching the dance:

Cotton Eye Joe (Rexnex)

Turkey in the Straw (Tennessee Mafia Jug Band)

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