Tag Archives: Holiday

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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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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Activity Inspiration: Holiday Sing-Along

7 Dec

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 10.49.05 AMFor the rest of the year, I’m keeping my blogging short and sweet…because I’m getting MARRIED on December 19th!

I wanted to share my most-used visual this month: FREE Holiday Song Icons. Print, laminate, velcro and use again and again. I try to go for songs that don’t overtly mention Christmas (“Sleigh Ride” and “Let It Snow” are two faves), but can’t resist other classics like “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” (great for playing on bells) and “Rudolph” (use a red shaker for your nose!). Wishing everyone a great holiday season–I’ll catch you in 2016…with a brand new last name. 🙂

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#MusicTherapyBlogger Challenge: 10 {Clean} Summer Dance Songs

3 Jun

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

Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 9.44.46 AM‘Tis the season for end-of-the-year parties, and no party is complete without a great playlist! Below you’ll find a list of current dance tunes straight off the radio–but the best part? They’re all totally cleanYup, you heard me! No bad words or questionable topics, so these songs are ready to go for use in music therapy sessions, school parties or even with young kiddos. If you’re looking for even more dance party jams, don’t miss my other favorite playlists: 1, 2, 3.

1. Uptown Funk (Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars) Bonus: more ideas from Toneworks MT.

2. Shut Up and Dance (Walk the Moon)

3. I Really Like You (Carly Rae Jepson)

4. I Need Your Love (Shaggy feat. Mohombi, Faydee & Costi)

5. I Want You to Know (Zedd feat. Selena Gomez)

6. Don’t Look Down (Martin Garrix feat. Usher)

7. Cheerleader (Omi)

8. Fire N Gold (Bea Miller)

9. Feel the Light (Jennifer Lopez)

10. Where Are U Now? (Skrillex & Diplo feat. Justin Bieber)

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5 Activity Favorites: Valentine’s Day Fun for Little Ones

4 Feb

Get ready to hug, drum, sign and sing…because I’m sharing 5 of my favorite music therapy activities to use in celebration of Valentine’s Day!

1. Heartbeat Chant: I made up this simple little chant to use for colors, shapes, number ID, animals, etc. Just change the lyrics as needed! It’s a fun challenge to get your clients doing a heartbeat rhythm and super easy to adapt for different needs. This also works great with a group on a large gathering drum.

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2. Snuggle Puppy: Okay, this board book is just the CUTEST. It has lots of opportunities for “ooo” sounds and basic signs (hug, kiss, I love you, dog), and is unbelievably sweet if you have stuffed animals to go along with it. I also like this one for Mommy & Me groups as a lap song.

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3. Little Red Valentine: This piggyback song has been a hit with my ECI kiddos. Download my colorful hearts visual, cut them out and have your kiddos put them in a little mailbox (or drum, etc–whatever is on hand) each time they correctly ID a color. Oh, dollar section of Target…I love you, oh yes I do.

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4. Rachel Rambach’s The Feelings in my Heart: I always like talking about feelings/family/friends around Valentine’s Day, and this song is a great conversation starter. I’ve used the full version for older kiddos or just the chorus + signs for each feeling in a simple chant for very little ones. I made a fun visual to go along with it–all you need is a foam heart (cough Target again cough), some feelings pictures and velcro.

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5. Rachel See’s Teeny Tiny Valentine: The visual I use for this one is easy: take the feeling pictures off the foam heart, grab one heart that you cut out for Little Red Valentine, and cut out one more medium-sized heart. BOOM. This song is a fab fingerplay, but I’ve also used it with the above visuals for IEP kiddos working on opposites: big/small, loud/soft, etc.

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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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