Tag Archives: singable books

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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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!












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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Singable Book: The Leaves Are Falling One by One

28 Sep

Leaves are fallingSung to the tune of “The Ants Go Marching One by One,” this book by Steve Metzger is one of my fall favorites. It’s a familiar melody that has lots of fun rhymes, action movements and opportunities for color identification and counting.

I like to pair it with some foam leaves that I labeled with both the number and number words (which, btw, are also fun to use with a parachute—throw them in and make them fall/twirl/dance, etc!). While we’re singing along, I have my kiddos sort through the leaves to find the corresponding number or word, then add it to our leaf pile each time we sing “fly, fly, fly.” At the end of the book, we JUMP, JUMP, JUMP in our leaf pile and throw them everywhere…well, because it’s fall.

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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!

unnamed (58)BE THE FIRST to hear about new posts, free downloads and session plan ideas from Songs for Success by entering your e-mail in the sign-up box on the right and following my twitter, instagram or pinterest.

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.

unnamed (49)BE THE FIRST to hear about new posts, free downloads and session plan ideas from Songs for Success by entering your e-mail in the sign-up box on the right and following my twitter, instagram or pinterest.

3 Easy Ways to Spark Your Snow Day Creativity

22 Jan

I am currently enjoying snow day #2 in Baltimore! While it’s been nice to have an EXTRA-long weekend, I find that I end up feeling blah when I spend multiple days in my PJs without getting much done. I’d like to share a few simple ways to spark your session planning creativity on days off without ever having to leave your house…or put on real clothing (shout out to my fleece polka dot pants—you have served me well this weekend).

1.    IMPORTANT: Do something for you!

Whether it’s catching up on some reading, watching that guilty pleasure show you’ve had recorded on your DVR for days or just sleeping in, it’s really important to spend some time taking care of yourself on a day off. Once you do this, I guarantee that you’ll have more motivation to tackle your to-do list.

(I won’t admit that I spent two hours catching up on Downton Abbey today…okay, FINE! But it was amazing to just sit on the couch and relax for a bit.)

 2.    Look through all of your music therapy supplies (instruments, visuals, books) and think of one new activity or song…that can be used with something you already own.

You’ll be surprised how quickly the ideas start flowing when you take the time to look through all those binders and boxes. Yesterday, I sat down and sifted through one of my “music therapy bins” (of which I have many!) that contained some singable books, rhythm sticks and a new set of boomwhackers. 5 minutes later, I came up with a new intervention involving these items that I’m really excited to use.

Noisy-Poems-Bennett-Jill-9780192763259One of the items in my bin was a book called “Noisy Poems” by Jill Bennett. After flipping through it, I realized it was filled with DRUMMING ACTIVITIES GALORE! Each page of the book contains a different poem filled with various sound words and rhymes. My favorite is a poem called “Song of the Train,” which mostly consists of “clickety-clack” sounds. Can somebody say rhythm sticks?

  • Have clients hit two rhythm sticks (or boomwhackers) each time they hear the words “clickety clack” read
  • Pair the poem with an original melody and have clients keep a steady beat with their rhythm sticks
    • Start slowly, speed up then slow down to mimic a train traveling between stations
  • Have clients orchestra the poem using a variety of instruments (drums, boomwhackers, rhythm sticks, train whistle, guiro)

3.    Spend a half hour looking for inspiration on Pinterest or music therapy blogs. 

There are few things I love more than adding a great new activity to my repertoire! Before I start searching, I often make a list of a few items I might be looking for (instrument songs, DIY visuals, session themes). This helps me narrow my search and ensures that I don’t get too distracted looking at unrelated pages (cough RECIPES cough).  If you’re browsing Pinterest, a great place to start is in the “Education” section. There, you’ll find lots of ideas for teachers that can easily be adapted for use in a music therapy setting.

photo-5Today, I spent my internet time expanding on item #2 (see above; AKA Operation: Save Money and Use What You  Already Own!) and found some fantastic blog posts with interventions based on some of my new singable books and instruments.

 After just a few minutes of searching, I came across:


It’s so easy to expand your collection of songs and activities with a little time and some help from fellow MTs. Thanks for those great ideas, blogger friends! 🙂

What do you do on snow days to keep your creativity flowing and your interventions growing?

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