Back to School Sale and Giveaway 2018

It’s that time a year again!  Everyone is gearing up, prepping, and planning for the school year.  We are excited to offer our annual back to school sale again this year with our biggest giveaway to date!

August 1 -7 20% off –  Code: 20for2018

August 8-15 15% off – Code: 15for2018

August 16-31 10% off – Code: 10for2018

We are also celebrating the trademark of Bear Paw Creek.  We can now officially use the ® symbol!

We have partnered with some amazing folks to bring you a prize back over $500 (they keep getting bigger!).  Winner will be announced August 29!

Bear Paw Creek's Annual Back to School Sale

The Giveaway Scoop

As I get connected with more creators, it brings more inspiration and ideas to use with Bear Paw Creek movement props. This giveaway is benefiting greatly from these old and new friends  which reminds me of one of my favorite poems.

“Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold”  1925, Girl Scout Songbook

Check out this year’s sponsors, with a prize pack valued over $500!

GRAND TOTAL: $544.50

Back to School Giveaway 2018

 

 

More Info About the Goodies

 

Since 2000 Bear Paw Creek has been creating movement props and creative instrument cases and storage bags. Bear Paw Creek became a Barefoot Books Ambassador in 2017.  Their singable story books are a great fit to incorporate with music time.  They have many quality books and their cooperative games are becoming a favorite as well.

Carole Stephens of Macaroni Soup is a long time advocate of BPC products.  I love our connection as it has brought some fun new balloon ball inspiration, including the Sticky Bubble Gum that goes with her cd.  She also got me connected with Children’s Music Network.  I became a member this year and highly recommend them.  They are giving a way a yearly membership!  Check out this video to learn more. 

Dynamic Lynks offers Holistic Therapy through Music and Movement.  Alyssa continues to write and create new songs that you are sure to find useful. 

Rachel Rambach of Music Therapy Connections and Listen Learn Music, wrote the first song, “Movin’ in the Circle” with (currently) 33K views on YouTube for the stretchy band back in 2012. She is one of Bear Paw Creek’s golden friendships!  She has teamed up with Katie Kamerad and they are continually putting out new music and are outstanding resource for music and movement.  One of their recent projects is to create a CMTE course about utilizing BPC props in practice.

Tuneful Teaching is all about using music to help kids learn with a primary focus on teaching literacy. 

 

Janet Stephens is the founder and creator behind Bear Paw Creek’s creative movement props and bags. She is passionate about learning and sharing along the way.

15 Stretchy Band Music and Movement Favorites from Bear Paw Creek Customers

Back in December I had fun in our Bear Paw Creek Facebook Group showing gratitude to our customer with a month long giveaway!  

In one of the giveaways I gave away our newest addition to the stretchy band family, the primary set of 6 connect-a-stretchy bands.  To enter they shared how they would want to use a stretchy band, if they didn’t have one, and favorite music and movement ideas if they do use one.

I have finally put them together to share. I hope they bring some inspiration for new ways to use the stretchy band!

2018 Infographic Stretchy Band Music and Movement-1

15 Favorite Ideas from our Customers

 

These ideas all come from Bear Paw Creek’s Facebook Group.  I use this group to  offer special promotions, get feedback on new product development, and a place to get to know our customers more.  All of these ideas are credited right back to the people that suggested them!  Come join us using this link

I had fun creating a infographic and also a pdf file you can download and print. This will make it easy to share or save to your files for your easy access.

Stretchy Band Infographic 2018

List and Link to PDF

Here are the fifteen favorite suggestions and you can also choose to download the file to save. 

15 favorite music and movement activities with the stretchy band

1 – “Walkin’ Ol Joe” – The kiddos love to pull back and stretch on the Whoa!

2 – My favorite activities incorporate speech and language goals while working on range of motion, as well, with little ones.

3- Eldercare: It keeps everyone connected in a circle and we can make the stretchy band travel around the circle go up and down, side to side, etc. to increase range of motion and exercise. The connection concept is used for talking about the connections we have in life and how it changes over the years, from childhood into adulthood.

4- I love our stretch band and use it to teach directions to our preschoolers – while sitting we do forward and backward, up and down, side to side and freeze! The older ones do the exercises standing and moving around the circle. Our students love the colors and the stretchiness adds to the excitement in class!

5- One of our favorite activities with my older students is “Riding that Train” when all kiddos work together to walk/run the band though the classroom!

6- I rewrote the verse of Zum Gali Gali to include movement directions, this is especially useful for my younger preschoolers since it is very simple and includes a section for free movement.

7- I love my rainbow stretchy band. My early childhood groups sing “I’ve got a rainbow in my hand” to the tune of he’s got the whole world in his hands. We do color identification, movement, and body part identification with it.

8- Stretchy bands are great for any kind of circle dance, but I especially love using it for Lukey’s Boat with a rowing motion and asking kids to name colors to paint lukey’s boat.

9- My early childhood groups sing “I’ve got a rainbow in my hand” to the tune of he’s got the whole world in his hands. We do color identification, movement, and body part identification with it.

10- My kinders LOVE using the stretchy band with Jim Gills song “Took a Bath in a Washing Machine.” We use different motions for the verses, and then pass on the chorus!!

11- I love using a stretchy band for Lynn Kleiners “Waves”, and Artie Almeida activities! I use it to learn the note durations with the song Rocky Mountain too!

12- I use them for a song in Spanish. We all fall back on “Nooooo”. They also work very well to engage our students with Autism. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wX1Ngx-EY4

13-   The song is “If You’re Holding”  https://www.dynamiclynks.com/early-childhood-music

14- Pretending we are riding horses while listening to the William Tell Overture!

15- We love our connect a stretchy band for Wheels on the bus, row your boat, clippity clop, movin in a circle and a few more favorites. Our recent favorite was sliding circle jingle bells (like the kind made to hold and ring) onto the stretchy band and reconnecting the stretchy band and doing the Jingle Bells and Stop song by Miss Carole.

Janet Stephens is the founder and creator behind Bear Paw Creek’s creative movement props and bags. She is passionate about learning and sharing along the way.

Magical Moments- with Music Props in Church Choir Rehearsal Part 2

Magical Moments- with Music Props in Church Choir Rehearsal                                                                                                                    Part 2 The Power of the Parachute

In this second installment of Magical Moments I wanted to build upon the activities and resources I shared with you in the first blog post on stretchy bands. As I mentioned earlier, I noticed there are few places where church choral directors can find music and movement activities, so I decided to develop and collect a set of activities to enhance my choir rehearsals.  I also have some fun ideas that can work well with either the stretchy band or the parachute in addition to some ways for you to make your own parachute. These activities will surely either turn you into a great parachute aficionado or get you excited to take out your favorite parachute!

Magical moments with parachutes are revealed when adult and children’s choirs team build together. Last year, I began having both of my choirs perform together. Overcoming their age differences was a concern until I had the inspiration to take out the parachute, then suddenly everyone was smiling, and helping each other. Afterward, the anthems the choirs sang together resounded as one choir rather than two!

Choir members of all ages can enjoy the benefits of using the parachute!

The Power of the Parachute                                                                       

ACTIVITIES for Adults and/or Children

Popcorn– Add balls and get  the balls off of the parachute without rolling them, balls that roll get tossed back onto the ‘chute.

Round the Universe– The choir members move one medium sized ball around the edge. Once the group gets comfortable going clockwise, change to counter clockwise, you will be surprised by the extra challenge for the ight handed people to go counter clockwise.

Mushroom– (for active adults) Everyone lifts the parachute high overhead and moves the edge behind their back and sit down simultaneously.

The adults enjoy this prop too, especially with the children. The children like the parachute even more with grown-ups because the adults lift it higher! For the adult choir the primary benefit of the parachute comes from working as a team. When considering making a parachute, keep in mind that creating a strong parachute is important for the adults, since they are stronger and will put more wear and tear on the prop.

Magical moments with parachutes are revealed when adult and children’s choirs teambuild together… Afterward, the anthems the choirs sing together will resound as one choir rather than two!

Activities- Children

He’s Got the Whole World– Have students run under the parachute by the calling out color they are holding, and the other students try to catch them by bringing the parachute down on the runner on the phrase “in His hands”.                                                                        

Genesis 3 Snakes– Put one individual-sized jump rope on the parachute and have choristers flutter the ‘chute while trying not to get bitten by the “serpent”! If they do get “bitten” (touched), they have to go underneath the parachute. While shaking the parachute the students can sing this call and  response song to the tune of Old John the Rabbit: O sneaky serpent, oh yes, Has a mighty habit, oh yes, of coming to Eden garden, oh yes, and tempting down the apples, Oh yes, and causing lots of troubles, Oh yes and if I live, to see next fall, there ain’t gonna be no garden at all.                                                                                                                                            

God Made the Stars– Ball up 10 pieces of paper and have the choristers flutter the parachute while trying to keep the stars in the parachute. Here is a rhyme they can chant:  God made the stars and God made me, whether I am here or there, He is close to me.    I’ve Got Peace like a River– Students can shake the parachute on each repetition of “River” in the song.                                         

Current Repertoire Run– Have students take turns dancing in place in the middle of the parachute while the group shakes the parachute up and down trying to knock them down.  The duration of the child’s turn in the parachute can be judged by the choristers singing the chorus of a recent anthem. Change the song for each turn or use the game to assist learning or memorizing a particular section by repeating the same section.

 

Activities for Stretchy Band or Parachute

Hymn Singing– Lift and lower the band or parachute as a group, showing a visual of the hymn’s melody line ascending and descending.

Solfege– Lift and lower the band or parachute up and down according to the pitch of the solfege syllables being sung.                             

Steady Beat– Bounce the band or parachute to the steady beat of a song, recording or rhyme.                                                                  

Pitch Matching– The choir director sings and moves stretchy band or parachute and choir members echo and mimic.  

How to Create a Parachute

Here are some guidelines for the size of parachute you will require: 12 adults/children will need at least a 12 foot parachute, for a group of 24 students a minimum of a 24 foot parachute or for 24 adults a 30 foot parachute would be best. 

For Makers on a Smaller Budget- On her blog “And Next Comes L”, Dyan Robson has a tutorial on how to make a small parachute using dollar store shower curtains that could cost as little as $5 and two hours of time.

For Maker with No Budget- Have someone donate a king sized sheet and sewing skills to alter it to a round shape.

 

I hope you have found some terrific ways to create magical, musically meaningful moments in your church choirs with parachutes and stretchy bands in this post! For my next blog post, I am looking forward to offering you some activities that will utilize scarves and ribbons to increase your groups’ understanding of their anthems.

Leah Murthy is a music educator, performer and military spouse. She has a Master’s in Music Education from The Boston Conservatory at Berkelee, 14 years experience teaching music and recent contributions to professional journals such as The American Organist and The Chorister. When she is not teaching music in Maryland, or playing with her two little girls, she is in Washington D.C. conducting for The National Children’s Chorus.

5 Reasons to Play Bean Bag Games and GIVEAWAY

All month long Sandra from Sing, Play, Create is posting movement activities for the following movement props: stretchy bands, parachutes, bean bags, and scarves/streamers.

I also have some new bean bags I created for a custom order, and I think others might want them too.

Plus a big giveaway is under way this month – 13 more days to enter! Be sure to enter to win this set of movement props and resources from Sing, Play, Create.

Sing PLay Create Giveaway

NEW Bean Bag Options Created at Bear Paw Creek

A few months ago I had a special order request from a customer for extra bean bag colors. The reason why was because of the new Dial 4 testing requirements that uses in her child care program.

Along with the standard rainbow colors they have added in: pink, grey, black, brown, white.

Since I like working in groups of six for many or our products, I also added in tan.  Check them out!

Now I need to decide how to add them to the site?  Would you like to see a set of 12, one of each color, or set of 24 with two of each color?

4" square bean bags: black, white, pink, grey, tan, brown4" square bean bags: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, black, white, pink, grey, tan, brown

 

I have also updated our textured bean bags with a new texture!  I’m always trying to improve and I had two textures that were not very different so I took some of my heavy weave mesh and put it on top of a fun print.  Problem solved!

4" textured bean bags include six different textures

 

[Tweet “Check out these five reasons to play bean bag games, and HUGE giveaway.”]

Why Bean Bags?

Now for the five reasons to play with bean bags!

1- Bean Bag Games Feel like “Playing”.
2- Bean Bag Games Foster Learning.
3- Bean Bag Games are Great Transition Activities
4- Bean Bag Games Build Classroom Community
5- Bean Bag Games are FUN!

Head on over to Sing, Play, Create to read the answers!

Five Reasons to Play Bean Bag Games

Janet Stephens is the founder and creator behind Bear Paw Creek’s creative movement props and bags. She is passionate about learning and sharing along the way.

How To Use The Connect-a-Stretchy Band and Stretchy Band in Creative Movement Activities

I am so excited to have gotten connected with Sandra from Sing, Play, Create a year ago.  I stumbled across her site from her blog post on the stretchy band.

She puts together amazing creative movement and music activities, and now she is sharing more innovative ideas, specifically with the connect-a-stretchy band.

We are also partnering up for a giveaway that will be worth over $200 in products!

Sing PLay Create Giveaway

Learn More About the New Resource for Connect-a-Stretchy Bands

I love this quote from Sandra:

Did you know that creative movement is the TOP solution to activating your students interest, helping them transition to music class and engaging them as learners.

WHY?

It’s more than “Brainbreaks”. Students need to develop Gross and Fine motor skills. They need learning opportunities that connect and use all senses. They also need opportunities to use their bodies to express music.

And YOU- Teachers need strategies to keep students engaged and learning.

If you are not familiar with the creative movement bundles that Sandra puts out – you are in for a real treat!

Here are a few snippets from her recent blog post:

 WHY CONNECT-A-BAND ACTIVITIES WORK
 
1 Provide opportunities to use large muscles to move and play games.
  • 1 Using both hands together in activities.
  • 2 Using arms and legs at the same time.
  • 3 Using Right and Left hands.
  • 4 Developing core stability and trunk rotation.
  • 5 Moving across the midline.

2 Provide social interaction opportunities.

3 Provide opportunities for the brain and body to work together.

4 Provide opportunities to burn off stress.

5 Provide opportunities to gain strength and confidence in the body and promotes an active lifestyle.

6 Promotes balance.

7 Provide opportunities to find joy in moving the body.

8- Provide opportunities to use fine motor muscles.

  • Activities that use only one hand reinforce and strengthen the dominant hand.
  • Using two hands in activities strengthens bilateral integration.
  • Strengthens fingers
  • Provides positive experiences using fine motor muscles.
[Tweet “NEW resources for the connect-a-stretchy band AND over $200 in prizes giveaway!”]

How To Use The Connect-a-Stretchy Band and Stretchy Band in Creative Movement Activities

This brand new Creative Movement Activities resource includes eighteen (18) activities and directions, 55 Movement Cards including real pictures of real kids demonstrating how to use the bands and more ideas on how to use the bands in your classroom.

To get an idea of what’s in this 150+ page resource- KEEP READING! There are sixteen different ways to use this fantastic resource in your classroom.

1- CREATE SMALL GROUPS

Use to create smaller circle groups for games, folk dances and game songs like:

 “Doggie-Doggie Where’s Your Bone”

“Mouse, Mousie”

“Bluebird, bluebird”

WANT TO READ MORE?   Head over to her blog post ( you won’t be disappointed!): 

Sing PLay Create Innovative Connect-a-stretchy band

ENTER to WIN the following items!

A chance to win one of 4 connect-a-stretchy bands with Hub 8, a set of 24 bean bags, a Balloon Ball, and set of scarves from Bear Paw Creek.

The winners will receive a Stretchy Band Activity resource with ALL Activity directions a Free Activity Song from Sing, Play, Create.

CLICK the image below to ENTER!!! Winner will be drawn May 1, 2018.

Sing Play Create Bear Paw Creek April 2018 Giveaway

Janet Stephens is the founder and creator behind Bear Paw Creek’s creative movement props and bags. She is passionate about learning and sharing along the way.

Movement Props and Sensory Integration

With Winter lingering on for seemingly forever, tis the season for sensory dysregulation and cabin fever. Many of my clients get extra wiggly in sessions and groups this time of year. With the cold keeping us trapped inside, it can be difficult to get the sunlight and sensory input that our bodies crave. Luckily, Janet makes some of the best tools to help keep kids active and regulated through, what I think, is the worst stretch of the winter months.

Simple Sensory Rules

ESave

Figuring out how to best provide sensory input to children can be challenging, especially if you are learning it all on your own. Here are some guidelines on how to provide the best sensory experience.

  1. If it is not helping to regulate the child, it may not be the right sensory activity for them.
  2. After a vestibular activity, like rocking or spinning, provide a proprioceptive activity, like the wheel barrow walk or body squeezes.
  3. If you spin, always make sure to unspin in the opposite direction.
  4. Start with a large body activity, like jumping, and end with a small body activity, like using putty or play dough.
  5. Keep it simple and consistent!

Tactile Input – Touching or feeling

One of my favorite tactile tools to use in session are the Bear Paw Creek textured bean bags. With many different exteriors to the bean bag, there are opportunities for every tactile seeker to find a bean bag they like. I have shared in previous posts the ways I use these bean bags in session.

Textured Bean Bags

TEXTURED BEAN BAGS

In addition to feeling textures and squishing the bean bag on the body that I mentioned in previous posts, I like to rub the bean bag on different body parts to provide a variety of tactile sensations and activate the mind-body connection. I use the song “Rub, rub, rub” to tell children where they are going to rub the textured bean bag on their body, in time with the music. I use this activity at the start of sessions to help get kids focused and engaged in the group! This song is featured on my Mini Musical Minds CD which has a variety of songs for sensorimotor skills, instrument play and more!

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[Tweet “Movement Props to the Rescue with winter lingering on for seemingly forever, tis the season for sensory dysregulation and cabin fever”]

Auditory Input – Hearing

Bear Paw Creek has a variety of sensorimotor props, but Janet also sells wrist jingle bells. Jingle bells are one of my favorite auditory stimulating instruments. The sound is strong enough that it activates the auditory processing centers in the brain, but it is not too loud to cause dysregulation or distress. To work on auditory input and processing, I like to play a game called “I hear something playing”.

Jingle Bell Wrist Scrunchie on Connect-a-Band for movement activities

Jingle Bell Wrist Scrunchie on Connect-a-Stretchy Band

Children sit in a circle, each with jingle bells behind their back. I have children close their eyes and I walk around the outside of the circle and tap one child to be the instrument player. I then instruct children to open their eyes and I begin singing the words “I hear something playing” and the child I tapped to be the instrument player will shake their jingle bells softly behind their back. I continue to sing “I hear something playing” and see if the other children in the circle can identify where the sound is coming from. I ask “what can it be?” and “where can it be?”.  Depending on how sneaky the instrument player is, it can take a few times before all the children can identify the sound source. You can also play this game with a variety of instruments and the children have to guess where the sound is coming from and what instrument is playing the sound.

 

Proprioceptive and Vestibular Input – Spinning, rocking, and jumping to feel where our body is in space

I have written many posts about the stretchy band and it is still my favorite sensorimotor prop to use in session. The reason why I love it so much is because it is so versatile! In the posts I mentioned above, I share several ideas to use the stretchy band for a variety of skills. Another way you can use the band to aid in sensory integration is through the inherent resistance of the stretchy band to help sway the body front, back, side to side, up and down, and all around.

I use a simple chant to help guide the direction of my clients when using the stretchy band for sensory integration. I sit on the floor with them and wrap one end of a small stretchy band around myself and one end around my client. I then start chanting “front and back, front and back, that’s how we go” and we move in time with the chant. I gently pull the client forward when I say “front” and they have to pull me and rock backwards when I say “back”. We repeat this idea on the verses “side to side” as well as “up and down”, moving the way the words tell us to move. To add more sensory input, you can stand with the client and add a verse such as “jump and jump” where they have to jump with the stretchy band and bounce it up and down.

Stretchy Band Sleigh Ride with Jingles and Snow

I find that providing consistent sensory input is the number one way to improve overall attention in my sessions and minimize negative behaviors from my clients who have a difficult time controlling their body, especially in a group. Bear Paw Creek’s sensorimotor props make it easy and fun to make sensory integration activities for children of all ages and abilities!

 

On my blog, I’ve shared additional sensory tips and strategies you can use to keep your children, clients and students stay regulated through the last of the cold months. I hope these resources are helpful for you and the children in your life to stay active and engaged. A regulated child is a happy child, and that makes music groups so much more fun!

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Written by: Alyssa Wilkins, MT-BC, owner and founder Dynamic Lynks Alyssa is a passionate Autism provider, Board Certified Music Therapist, music educator and adaptive yoga instructor.

Magical Moments- with Music Props in Church Choir Rehearsal

Magical Moments- with Music Props in Church Choir Rehearsal

Now that we are in the New Year, it is time to begin afresh, and make some magical moments with those wonderful props you have from Bear Paw Creek. But, have you noticed there aren’t a lot of resources out there for church choral directors to draw upon when searching for music and movement activities?  

I did notice the lack of resources, and certainly very few mentions of activities for more mature adults as well. So I set out to create some new activities and share some resources with you Bear Paw Creek fans and church choir directors to maximize the props you have.

If you do not yet have the budget to purchase the high quality props the BPC has to offer, then I will give you some alternative ideas for until your funding comes through. In addition, if you are like Janet and I and enjoy being makers, I am providing ideas, instructions and resources for you to make away!  

Stretchy Band

Stretchy Band in Choir Rehearsal with All Ages

Where is the magic? 

Where is the magic I mentioned?  To me, the magic rushes in in the moment when I take out a prop and see the excitement and expectation on the faces of those young and old in my choir, wondering what I will suggest they do with the prop! Then, just as thrilling, seeing the concept I wanted to impart take hold so quickly because manipulating the prop engages those kinesthetic and tactile learners in my group.

 In this first of several blog posts on magical moments with music props in church choir rehearsal, I will provide you with activities using the stretchy band that will be just right for the church setting. There will be suggested church-appropriate activities for adults and children, recommendations on how to acquire a stretchy band for your rehearsal space on any budget and two ways to make your own stretchy band.

[Tweet “The magic rushes in when I take out a prop and see the excitement and expectation on the faces of those young and old in my choir! “]

Stretchy Band Activities that are fun and engaging!

Adults and/or Children-

Breathing Technique- Everyone breathe with the following motions- step back on the inhale and forward on the exhale, but never fully collapsing their ribcage by moving all the way to the middle, this creates a visual for good breathing technique.

Musical Learning- Adults and children together or separate, work together to make the stretchy band into note shapes and dynamic markings, this helps them to team build and work together.

Musical Form- Analyze the form of a current anthem or hymn using teamwork, by making a triangle as group for the A section, circle for B, square for C and so on.

Children-                                                                                                                                                                                                 Song Movements- Use the band for movements to songs such as: Michael Row the Boat Ashore, My God is So Big, Father Abraham, Zaccheus or Deep and Wide.

Highlight Individual’s Movements- Sing songs that highlight individual’s actions, for the larger group to imitate such as Did You Ever See a Lassie or Walking, Walking.

Fisherman Song- Use the chorus of the tune Blow the Man Down to create fishermen lyrics such as: Gather the net and pull in some fish in yea hey, like Peter did

Preschoolers- Stretchy bands can work on fundamentals like: high and low, soft/loud, up/down, in/out, colors and shapes through movement and visuals.

Putting away the stretchy band: Teacher “How big is Jesus’s heart?” The children stretch the band back and say “Sooo big!  and release. Or simply have everyone pull back and have everyone let go simultaneously, either way leaving the band in a nice, easy to pick up pile, and it is fun!

Easy Stretchy Band Clean-up

TIP: Be open to participants contributing lyric, movement or song ideas, as they are often good ones. 

 

HOW TO GET A STRETCHY BAND:

  • Big budget: You can purchase a high-quality stretchy band right here on this site from Bear Paw Creek.
  • Small budget: I made a thick and hearty homemade band of my own design for less than $20 and about two hours of work several years ago and it is still holding up well! See below for directions.
  • Tiny budget: The blog Education in Our World has an entry with a very frugal way to create a thin stretchy band of flexible size.

 

Two ways to make your own stretchy band

  1. Thick and Hearty

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • Fabric- colorful cotton/polyester blend or polyester cut lengthwise into 6 inch wide strips.
  • Fabric yardage- (using typical 44-45 inch width fabric) A few examples for stretchy bands intended for  different numbers of participants: 12 people= 1 ¼ yards, 20 people= 2 yards, 24 people= 2 1/3 yards. Formula for customization purposes can be found below.
  • 1 inch width elastic
  • Extra large safety pin
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
    STEPS:
  • Calculate size based on maximum number of children or adults times 1 foot, which will give you the amount of elastic. Then double that number, which should give you the total length of the fabric strips you will need.

o   Formula for elastic:  Number of People x 1 foot= Elastic Needed*.

o   Formula for number of fabric strips: Elastic Needed x 2= total length of fabric strips needed.

o   Formula for fabric yardage required: Total Length of Fabric Strips x 12 = total number of inches required. Inches required divided by the fabric width of 43= total put into calculator at Quilter’s Paradise: Pieces to Yardage Area Calculator.

  • Cut the fabric into 6 inch wide lengths down the longest way of the fabric until you have strips adding up to the total length you calculated in the first step.
  • Turn two fabric strips so the right sides are facing each other, then sew the short ends together, repeat until all the pieces are one very long strip.
  • Fold completed long piece in half the long way, right sides together and sew about 1/2 inch from the edge creating a very long tube.
  • Turn the tube right side out, you will need to use a very large safety pin stuck through one end to aid you in this process.
  • Now comes the challenge- threading 1 inch elastic with the big safety pin in the end through the entire length.
  • Finally, sew the two ends of the elastic, overlap by an inch and stitch in a box shape and then in and x over the center of the box. *If the elastic length you require can only be achieved by purchasing two packages of elastic, then you will use the above process to attach the two ends of elastic together to make a larger size.
  • Fold under unfinished edges and sew completed stretchy band closed.

TIPS:

  • Enlist the sewing skills of an adult choir member or a child chorister parent or grandparent.
  • Go big, you can always tie a knot in the finished stretchy band to shrink the size if necessary.
  • Always double stitch everything if you want it to last.
  • If you are savvy, you can make this style for about $15 in a large to extra-large size. Look in the clearance fabric for steep discounts.
  • If your band is one color or pattern, tie scarves or ribbons every 12 inches to the stretchy band in order to be able to call out choristers by color for activities
  1. Thin and Flexi

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 1 bag of nylon potholder loops

STEPS:

  • Can be found on the blog Education in Our World when you go to Mrs. Toben’s entry  “Games and Movement Band” where she explains how to make a thin, flexible band in five minutes for about $5 worth of spandex potholder loops.

TIPS:

  • You can easily adjust the size for each group
  • Create sections of a particular color so you can call colors being held for people to switch places etc.

I hope that these ideas are helpful to you in your upcoming rehearsals!  Let me know if you have any questions or comments below or you can email me at [email protected] Check out my next blog on Magical Moments for more activities.

Leah Murthy is a music educator, performer and military spouse. She has a Master’s in Music Education from The Boston Conservatory at Berkelee, 14 years experience teaching music and recent contributions to professional journals such as The American Organist and The Chorister. When she is not teaching music in Maryland, or playing with her two little girls, she is in Washington D.C. conducting for The National Children’s Chorus.

[THEMES] Winter: Music, Literacy, and More!

Shivering Snowman!

Get moving with these winter-themed activities!

Even if you don’t receive an inch of snow or temperatures below freezing, you can always dream up what winter feels like. Today in the Bear Paw Creek blog, we are focusing on winter-themed music, movement, and literacy activities for you to use in your music classes or music therapy sessions (or where ever you use music and movement!). We have also included a handy YouTube playlist to inspire you in your planning.

Winter Song Playlist

Included on this playlist are some standards — Winter Wonderland, Jingle Bells, Sleigh Ride — but I also included some lesser-known songs that you can use at this time of year.

 

  • Winter Wonderland – Michael Buble
  • Jingle Bells – Laurie Berkner
  • Sleigh Ride – Leroy Anderson
  • A Marshmellow World – Dean Martin
  • Winter Song – Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson
  • River – James Taylor (Sarah McLachlan has a really great version, too!)
  • The Skater’s Waltz
  • Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow! – Dean Martin
  • Winter Wind – The Piano Guys
  • Frosty the Snowman – Jimmy Durante
  • Let It Go/Winter from The Four Seasons – The Piano Guys/Vivaldi

 

The Skater’s Waltz

I mentioned The Skater’s Waltz last month in the Christmas-themed blog post (you can read it here). I love this piece of versatile music so much that I wanted to include it here, too. 

The Skater’s Waltz can be used in so many different ways. You can pull out your Stretchy Band or parachute and have your students or clients lift and lower right to the waltz beat of the music (for a total of 6 counts up, 6 counts down). Make sure you are keeping track of student/client fatigue with the movements and give them appropriate break times from the movement.

You can also take your Stretchy Band (my daughters’ music teacher calls it “Super Stretchy”), and have your clients or students mirror your movements. While stationary, you can move with a circling motion, a bicycling motion, as well as pulling, pushing, zig zagging, and stretching motions. Again, make sure you are watching for student/client fatigue. 

You can also use The Skater’s Waltz with your creative movement with scarves and streamers. You can even check out these neat winter-themed jingle streamersAnd don’t forget that there is a special winter balloon ball, too! So many music and movement possibilities!

[Tweet “Shivering Snowman! Grab these chilly winter music and movement activities! — via @BearPawCreek”] 

 

Snowball Fight

Last year, when the indoor snowball prop set was created, many of you shared your fun ideas. Janet and her family even had an indoor snowball fight in Missouri, where snow is rare! They included Jimmy Fallon’s Snowfight book in their activities. You can read Janet’s blog post here (it also includes a great activity idea from Carole of Macaroni Soup). 

Additional Resources

Rachel Rambach does it again! She created an awesome Winter Song Pack, especially for those working with younger children.

Amy from Wholesome Harmonies, LLC featured a Frosty Mad Lib on her blog — perfect for your elementary level kiddos.

This is one of my favorite go-to winter songs — My Snowmen (to the tune of This Old Man). It is super cute, engaging especially for younger kiddos. 

What winter-themed songs and activities are in your “go-to” stash? Have a fun time moving to the music suggested here, and STAY WARM! 

Written by: Julie A. Palmieri, MM, MT-BC is the owner of Serenade Designs, which specializes in helping music therapists create, enhance, and ROCK their online presence. She is a board-certified music therapist, wife, and Momma to 2 beautiful girls. She loves Christmas, chocolate, and Detroit Red Wings hockey. Visit her website and follow her on social media: Serenade-Designs.com

[THEMES] Christmas: Music, literacy, and more!

Christmas music to get you moving and grooving!

 

It’s December, and most likely your focus has been on incorporating holiday music into your lessons and sessions. It’s a festive time of year, and in my opinion, adding holiday music to your music lineup brings a lot of JOY to you and your students and clients.

Here at Bear Paw Creek, since we focus on music and movement, we wanted to highlight how you can incorporate movement in your music classes and sessions. We’ve also included a handy YouTube playlist to inspire you in planning your sessions, lessons, or classes this holiday season.

 

Jingle Bells

Who doesn’t love the sound of jingle bells at this time of year? Besides the familiar Jingle Bells and Jingle Bell Rock, you can use your jingle bells with lots of different Christmas songs, as well. Two favorites of mine are Silver Bells and Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town. These jingle bell scrunchies can be perfect to use when addressing fine motor skills, such as grasping. 

If you are looking to stretch your repertoire beyond Jingle Bells, however, SKS Music Therapy has it covered here in this blog post entitled appropriately “Past Jingle Bells: Three Ideas for Palate-Cleansing Christmas Music.” 

Music therapist Ryan Judd also covers a couple of easy to learn holiday songs for kids with special needs on his vlog — including using jingle bells. Watch his video here.

[Tweet “Christmas music music and movement ideas from @BearPawCreek here!”]

Stretchy Band & Connect-a-Stretchy-Band

When incorporating Christmas music with movement, you can’t go wrong with upbeat classics like Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree and Leroy Anderson’s Sleigh Ride. The Stretchy Band or Connect-a-Stretchy-Band are excellent props that you can use to support your student’s or client’s movements.

If you are looking to slow the tempo a bit and really focus on slow and controlled motor movements, you can always incorporate the slow jazz version of O Christmas Tree by the Vince Guaraldi Trio or White Christmas for your older adults.

If you work with older adults, Rachelle Norman, MT-BC blogged about some “fresh” music ideas. She shares her post here.

 

Bear Paw Creek Christmas Playlist 2017

Scarves & Streamers

Scarves and streamers are a perfect addition to your Christmas music sessions and classes.

Skater’s Waltz & Skating by The Vince Guaraldi Trio

These two selections are perfect for pairing with scarves (I like using shades of pink, blue, purple and white at this time of year). If you work with younger children, you can add paper plate skates! Take a simple white paper plate, have your kiddos step on them, “lace them up,” and skate away. This works best on carpet. 

Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy – Pentatonix

I really love this version of the Sugar Plum Fairy because of its’ strong beat. You can keep a steady beat with your streamers while having your clients or students mirror your movements. Read our post about why a steady beat is important. 

An activity extension is to take turns having different leaders and see the creative ideas come forth from your clients and students!

Songs in ¾ time

¾ time in music lends itself well to smooth, sweeping motions. Just think of your favorite waltz dance. Do you automatically start to sway to the beat? 

Grab your favorite scarves or streamers and sway, bounce, tap, toss and catch, roll, balance, and turn to these great selections that are in in ¾ time.

  • It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year – Andy Williams
  • Coventry Carol – Pentatonix
  • Away in the Manger
  • What Child is This?
  • My Favorite Things – from The Sound of Music

Special Downloads & Printables

Movement Action Cards

You can pair these great movement cards with a freeze song of your choice. These great, colorful, and fun movement cards from the Oopsey Daisy Blog are a favorite of mine for the early childhood crowd.

Download them here.

Activity Ideas Download 

Coast Music Therapy offers this great download of activity ideas that teach social, language, and motor skills. 

Download here.

 

Christmas + Literacy = A great combo!

There are so many great singable books that you can use at this time of year. I pull these books out every year with my own children, and we enjoy being snuggled together while singing these wonderful and beautiful books.

Click on each book image to purchase on Amazon. 

Little Drummer Boy – Ezra Jack Keats

How the Grinch Stole Christmas – Dr. Seuss

Snowmen at Christmas – Caralyn Buehner

Jingle Bells – Iza Trapani

Take a look at some of our previous Christmas-related blog posts:

What are your favorite Christmas songs that you use in your music therapy sessions or music classes? 

And in closing, we hope you have a musical and wonderful holiday!

Written by: Julie Palmieri, MM, MT-BC is the Creative Director of Serenade Designs, which specializes in helping music therapists create, enhance, and ROCK their online presence. She is a board-certified music therapist, wife, and Momma to 2 beautiful girls. She loves Christmas, chocolate, and Detroit Red Wings hockey. Visit her website here: Serenade-Designs.com

New Products Include Make Your Own Streamers and Guitar Case

New Products Include Make Your Own Streamers and Guitar Case

I have been busy with trying to knock some to do items off my list, but it keeps growing!  I am sure you can relate to that.

One of my lists is new product ideas. I’m always thinking up more and getting suggestions from customers, so I have finally added a few to the site and updated some other products.

I will also sharing a 20% off code for Black Friday/Cyber Monday.  AND – a special Gratitude = Giving event that will be happening in the Bear Paw Creek Insiders group on Facebook.

Read on to learn more!

2017 new products cyber sale

Make Your Own Streamers, Bags, and Balloon Balls

Make Your Own Streamers

A little story, for 15 years I made our hoops for our streamers out of food grade tubing. Safe right?  Well – a few years ago they failed the test for compliance on phthalates.  WHAT!  I was truly surprised since this is food grade tubing, meaning we are consuming drinks out of it.  So – I went on the hunt for compliant hoops.  I landed on poly-carbonate and had a bunch made up.

Make Your Own Hoop Streamers - 4" Poly-carbonate Hoops

I thought it would be fun to offer these for sale so you can make your own streamers!  At $1.25 each, this can help the budget and for those creatives out there, you’ll love being able to make your own styles up. You could even re-use them, tying on themed streamers, and taking them off for another event.   Get your kids or clients involved making them!

Here some ideas of how you can do it:

  • cut plastic table cloths into strips and tie them on
  • ribbons
  • fabric strips  (thrift stores are great places to find fabric, sheets, or even clothing) 
  • yarn
  • crepe paper streamers

Martin Backpacker Guitar Case

At a customer’s request, I’ve made up a case for the Martin Backpacker guitar. This was a fun project.  I am still testing this product out on a few more people before I completely launch it, but if you are interested in it, shoot me an email and I’ll put you on the list.  This product will be custom made to order, and will have limited availability each year.

The customer will be able to pick from my fabric stash, or send me their own choosing.  Here is the fabric and case for the original customer.

Fabric with birds on Custom Martin Backpacker Guitar Soft Gig Carrying Bag

Bag on Custom Martin Backpacker Guitar Instrument Case

 

 

 

I used the left over fabric to make up drawstring bags for her!

 

Extra Drawstring Bags from Custom Martin Backpacker Guitar Soft Gig Carrying Bag

Zipper Pouches

I just added more small zipper pouches to the site with a few new colors!  These little pouches were originally made for small first aid kids to our 4-H group.  The kids love to clip them on their bag, or belt loop to carry items in.

Balloon Ball Additions

 

We are always coming up with new balloon balls!  The apple one was suggested by Miss Carole of Macaroni Soup and the acorn by our daughter.  We also attempted a banana, but so far that has been a fail! Another one on the list is a Christmas ornament.

 

Apple Balloon Ball

 

[Tweet “New BPC Products: create your own streamer, Martin backpacker guitar case, balloon balls, bags.”]

 

Stand Up Bag

 

These bags were inspired by my sister who wanted a bag that she could store egg shakers in and it would stand up so the kids could throw them in.  These stand up bags are 12″ tall by 6″ wide.  Great for storing small instruments or other items in.

 

Limited Stock on these. 

 

Bear Paw Creek New Stand Up bag for small instruments or items

 

Black Friday/Cyber Monday Sale and a  Month of Gratitude

Get 20% off everything (with free shipping) from Friday November 24, 2017 through Tuesday November 28, 2017.

Use this code at check-out: cyber

AND….a month of gratitude will begin on November 27 in our Bear Paw Creek Insiders group on Facebook.  If you haven’t – come join us! 

GRATITUDE = Four Weeks of GIVING

Janet Stephens is the founder and creator behind Bear Paw Creek’s creative movement props and bags. She is passionate about learning and sharing along the way.
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ANNUAL BACK TO SCHOOL SALE: 10% off Aug 16-31 Use code: 10for2018