You will see she full of light and joy! Her video is what inspired this giveaway!
Long time friend of Bear Paw Creek, Kat Fulton, introduced me to Stephanie Leavell, MT-BC a few months ago. I remembered the book that she wrote and thought it would be the perfect addition to our Halloween giveaway. She kindly offered up the whole bundle. I think I’m going to have to get one of these for my family. Be sure to read about what she’s doing.
Rachel Rambach has added three of her fun songs to the giveaway!
Boo! It’s Halloween creative movement activity time. These Ghostly scarf directional cards and Monster movement cards will keep your students busy burning off Halloween excitement! There are also 4 other Halloween games included in this wicked brew! K-6 applications.
Music and Movement Win for Down Syndrome Awareness!
October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month and the custom here at Bear Paw Creek is to donate 10% of all sales in October to a Down syndrome-related cause!
This year we are excited to introduce you to the Egan Family!
Did you know that approximately half of all infants born with Down syndrome have a heart defect? (source) Having a heart surgery at any age is a scary experience for any parent! These “heart warrior” parents are strong beyond imagination!
Little Gwendolyn is 9 months old and already has 2 open heart surgeries under her belt, with another one looming in the not too distant future. You will find her laughing and smiling and enjoying each moment of every day though!
Featuring a Tiny Warrior with Down Syndrome
The Egan’s 9-month-old daughter, Gwendolyn might struggle to weigh in at 10 pounds but her smile, strength, and determination are mighty! Gwendolyn Egan is an overcomer that will inspire you.
Little Gwendolyn has had 2 heart surgeries already and her Doctors are trying to buy her as much time as possible so she can grow stronger before her next surgery, which will require the whole family to go to Boston for a more specialized medical team. Little Gwen has been at home healing after the 2 surgeries where she ended up spending two months in the hospital!
What’s the best part of being back at home?
The best part is how well she slept her first night back in her own crib. In the hospital, she was waking up regularly between 3am and 7am to fuss. But last night, she slept mostly without a peep and didn’t even wake up until 8am! I didn’t even realize, until last night, how deeply impacted her rest and development must have been by the constant noise and interruptions in her hospital room, even at night.
Says her mom, Jessica
Most of us can only imagine having our child in the hospital for two months at a time. From the emotional roller-coaster of fear, worry, and then elation at the smallest bit of progress; to the sleepless nights and obstacles of meeting everyday living needs. The hurdles of everyday living are frequent, cumbersome, and draining.
Hard doesn’t even begin to describe it.
Think about it. Almost any parent who gets a diagnosis of Down syndrome for their little one goes through a torrential flood of scary feelings.
Most of us would describe it as a very dark time. It is not the future we had planned for our little one and many times we don’t know the possibilities or joys that a person with this diagnosis will have. Dealing with health issues in so short a time span could be crippling! However, time and time again I see strength, determination, and joyfulness displayed in these amazing families!
Some of the health concerns for people with Down syndrome are:
Heart defects (47% of all babies with Down syndrome are born with a heart defect)
Leukemia (10 to 20 fold risk)
Thyroid (Thyroid disorders are more prevalent among individuals with Down syndrome)
Hearing (Up to 80% of children with Down syndrome experience hearing loss, sometimes severe)
Vision (People with Down syndrome are more likely to experience vision disorders such as short-sightedness, long-sightedness, and astigmatism)
Sleep Problems (Studies have reported a high incidence of sleep disturbance among children and adolescents with Down syndrome)
Likewise, the Egans show amazing strength and their giving spirit is inspiring! On any given day you will see them pointing to other’s need and trying to help those around them! Jessica is always focused on the positive and her Instagram page about Gwendolyn is always a bright, cheery spot! She chooses to highlight Gwen’s strength and determination and the everyday blessings of life along with celebrating BIG each tiny victory!
Bear Paw Creek has been a friend and advocate for the Down syndrome community for a long time and each year they choose a group or individual cause to highlight. This year they have chosen The Egan Family because of Gwen’s bright determination and strength.
Because of Gwendolyn’s surmounting medical bills and the financial hardship of having to go so far for surgery and extended hospital stays Bear Paw Creek would like to do a small part to help out!
We are excited to announce that 10% of all Bear Paw Creeks profits for the month of October will go toward the Egan family in honor of Down Syndrome Awareness Month
What Can YOU Do for Down Syndrome Awareness Month?
#1 Just go ahead and make your purchases as usual! Treat your little one to some Bean BagsScarves or Streamers! If you are a teacher or coop leader now is the time to purchase that Stretchy Band you’ve been eyeing! Then go about your life knowing 10% of that purchase went to this sweet, tiny warrior. Really, it’s that simple. We’ve got your back!
#2 Keep an eye out on Bear Paw Creek’s Instagram account for an Awesome Giveaway!
Joy is a mom of 6 (ages 5-26) who has a passion for encouraging moms! With three already grown up, married and having families of their own, three still at home, 2 kids with Down syndrome, and having been through a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis in a teen she has definately been through some ups and downs. However, she believes that each mom is divinely appointed and equipped to raise her particular kid(s) better than anyone else in the world no matter how it may feel on any particular day! She wants to inspire Your Mom heart as well as making the more practical aspects of running a household a tad easier over at JoyonthisMomJourney.com
Today I added the connect-a-stretchy band and some hoop ribbon streamers in her colors!
She also has some very exciting things going on, including a free download “Discover the Power of Props.” Read on!
Learn Why Props Are in the Top 3
Here is what Andrea has to say!
Props, props, and more PROPS! Learn why props are one of the top 3 key elements to a successful early childhood dance program tomorrow at 1pm CST here on Facebook.
PLUS-viewers will receive a coupon code to receive a discount on the DiscoverDance Collection through our partnership with Bear Paw Creek, LLC!
Tired of using the same ol’ props?
Have a stash collecting dust in storage?
This free guide includes over 30 different props, 14 class activities, how and why to use them, and where to shop. Everything you need to bring fresh, creative, and fun ideas to your little ones in one place!
Fresh ideas for using bean bags this fall in the music room or choral rehearsal.
As summer vacation draws to a close, it is always fun to get some fresh ideas for the beginning of the school year. So go ahead and add some ways to use the bean bags from Bear Paw Creek to your repertoire! These activities will also bring giggles and smiles to teaching the potentially humdrum foundations of music making.
This blog will share activities using beanbags not only the classroom, but also in choral rehearsal. In addition, at the end of the post is a game I developed exclusively for you, the fans of Bear Paw Creek’s Blog! This game is open-ended, so with some poster board and markers, and of course, beanbags, you can make a delightful game that can address any skill your students need to work on.
I have been thinking about beanbags a lot lately. It is a shame for a prop that raises the spirits of students and teachers alike to be overlooked. Especially considering its durability and versatility. Why don’t we use them more? And, if we don’t have them, why not? They are certainly one of the most affordable props out there. In fact, www.bearpawcreek.com has bean bags for just $20 per dozen, and you can even choose the bright or muted color palette or texture that works best for your students’ needs.
If the obstacle is a lack of awareness of how to use this awesome prop, then let’s overcome it, with these 12 ideas that will help you to reimagine teaching with beanbags. These ideas include activities that I have developed, as well as some existing activities that I have adapted to beanbags, not to mention the exclusive game at the end of this blog.
Let’s get you excited for the new school year, and for using that underdog of props, beanbags!
Bean Bag Activities for the Classroom
1.Ostinato Bean Bags: Teach your ostinato, but in a kinesthetic way. Students toss the bean bag from hand-to-hand in rhythm with their singing.
2. Quick Sort: Looking for a fast way to divide students up for an activity? If you have a variety of bean bag colors then you can hand out bean bags in a color-coded manner to designate groups/activities. For example, if you wanted to have a sound ensemble activity, you could designate red=sung sounds, yellow=spoken sounds, orange=whisper sounds etc, and a next step would be holding up a red beanbag to start the sung group’s performances.
3. Bean Bag Engagement: Not that kind of engagement! I like to use props like the bean bags to call on students. It is an incredibly easy way to infuse more mundane tasks with fun. I also like to have the students use this method to call on each other, which makes your existing activity even more entertaining.
4. Bean Bag SMART Notebooks: There are some great SMART notebooks available that allow students to randomly select a question or challenge by popping a bubble. Rather than walking up and popping it, you can safely have student underhand toss a bean bag at the board. My students love this method! SMART Notebook exchange has “Candy Rhythms Koosh Ball Game” and Teachers Pay Teachers has several as well.
5. Bean Bag Shakers: If you are a new teacher that doesn’t have many props or an itinerant teacher trying to reduce how much equipment you move, consider using bean bags as a percussion instrument. You can shake or tap it, and the volume is low, so it may be just right if you have students with sound sensitivity.
6. Steady Beat Bags: When students are still learning to find the steady beat, a strategy is to have the student gently tap their chest. Putting a bean bag in that hand makes it more fun, and adds more sensation.
Bean Bag Activities for the Classroom or Choral Rehearsal
7. Treble or Bass Clef Toss: Use masking tape to create a five line staff on the floor and have students toss a bean bag onto the staff. Then they name the note based on which line or space it lands on. Another option would be drawing the staff on poster board or other moveable surfaces to make a portable version if you are an itinerant teacher.
8. Bean Bag Rhythm: A variation on the ostinato bean bag activity above, requiring students that are struggling with a particular rhythm to toss the beanbag to the steady beat. This could be up and down in one hand or hand-to-hand as they say rhythm syllables, chant the lyrics in rhythm, or sing the troublesome section.
9. Bean Bag Note Values: I was introduced to this activity with tennis balls, and it works great with bean bags too. Assign each note value a bean bag movement that will take an appropriate amount of time. For example: two eighth notes= fast hand-to-hand toss, quarter note= single hand toss, half note= go around body 1st beat in front of body 2nd beat in back, whole note= same as half but stopping in four points- 1 front, 2 side, 3 back, and 4 other side. Students should verbalize the counts as another pathway to learning. Display the note value students are performing so that they can make the connections between the symbol, the movement and value. Once the students are proficient, I turn on pop music and have the students perform various note values to the beat, continuing to display the note symbols and point to them throughout.
Bean Bag Activities for Choral Rehearsal
10. Part Throw: If singers are forgetting that they don’t sing in a particular section, play a game! As that section begins, have the forgetful singers toss their beanbag to a chorus member who is supposed to sing that part. It will be so memorable that they will probably not make that mistake again.
11. Projection Toss: This thrilling activity was intended for adults using a football, but I have adapted it here for children using beanbags. If your chorus is not projecting their voices to the back of the rehearsal space, try having them send their sound out with the bean bag by tossing it forward (after you get out of the way!). Alternatively, singers could get into pairs and have them sing a phrase tossing to their partner and then their partner sings a phrase tossing it back.
Here it is… your exclusive open-ended game:
The Bullseye of Music!
As I was thinking about ways to use bean bags that would be fun and engaging for our students, I also factored in that we teachers don’t necessarily have much time to craft. So if I was going to create something, I wanted it to be a game that could be used for different units. The result is a game that can be used throught the year, with any age and the only thing you’ll need to change is the Fact Sheet.
The 12th activity, The Bullseye of Music! :
How it works:
Have two children, or the whole class play.
Child A throws the bean bag at the bullseye.
Child B (the opponent or class representative) announces the color which their bean bag hit.
Child A puts the tip of a pencil into a paper clip in the center of the spinner for that color and flicks it. The paper clip indicates a number.
Child B gives Child A the task or question based on the color and number, and they have a blast performing it!
I didn’t design this for keeping score so there isn’t a plan for that, but you could certainly develop one. The game is so engaging because the target requires skill and the spinner is pure chance. I put the arts Integration/extra fun activities in the center, on red, to make them harder to get.
How to Make Bullseye of Music Game Pieces:
Materials: Foam poster board, For tracing- a frying pan & small bowl, Poster markers/paint, Pencil, Paper clip, Paper, Sheet protector/clipboard
Target– Sketch the biggest possible circle you can on the poster board
Trace frying pan and small bowl creating the concentric circles of a target
Color each ring in a different color (I went the traditional route of red yellow and blue)
Spinner– On the paper, use the small bowl to trace three circles and coordinate the colors to match the circles on the target
Divide the circles into five sections (or more) and number them
Fact Sheet– create blue questions or activities of an easy level and number them 1-5 to match the spinner, and repeat for yellow being medium level and red being difficult/super fun. Zoom in on the image above for an example Fact Sheet.
Print out Fact Sheet and slip into a sheet protector and plan to give to Child B or the Opponent described above.
Once the materials are done, grab your Bear Paw Creek bean bags, pencil and a paper clip and start having a fantastic time learning new concepts or reviewing!
Remember, all you have to do from here is create a new Fact Sheet to totally change the game!
Thanks: My appreciation to my music teacher colleagues in Anne Arundel County, MD for being such wonderful teachers and collaborators.
I hope you enjoy your bean bags in the classroom or rehearsal all the more for having some new ideas.
Leah Murthy is a music educator, performer and military spouse. She is currently a Doctoral candidate in Music Education at Boston University, holds a Master’s in Music Education from The Boston Conservatory, has 15 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.
As I’m sure you’ve noticed, MANY of my songs revolve around the use of props. They can be such a wonderful tool for addressing motor skills, coordination, group participation, turn-taking, and much more.
Bean bags are wonderful tools for addressing so many different skills: balance, dexterity, crossing the midline, hand-eye coordination, and the list goes on. This particular song targets several of those objectives, along with impulse control, following directions, and identifying body parts.
I love watching my students and clients attempt all of the directives in this song, from making the bean bag hop from hand to hand during the chorus, to placing it on each body part in the verses.
“Bean Bag Hop”, like most of my other songs, can easily be adapted to meet the needs and strengths of each individual or group. It can be done sitting, standing, hopping, or however else your creativity moves you!
Be sure to check out her new song, it’s a steal at only $3!
I am excited to share our first giveaway of 2019! Can you believe how fast this year is flying by already?
I’ve been connect with Mar for several years now and love the music she has produced to use with the stretchy band, scarves, and bean bags. Here is the description of what she is all about:
Music with Mar. is a company dedicated to bringing quality, brain based music and workshops to children, families, teachers and groups.
Mission Statement– Music with Mar., created by Maryann “Mar.” Harman, is an internationally respected company dedicated to using music and movement to teach children skills they will need for a successful, happy life and train adults on incorporating music into their lives.
Class Philosophy– To provide music activities for an adult / child to participate in together that will aid in the child’s total development while bonding the child and adult and enhancing the adult’s understanding of the importance of their involvement in these classes.
Vision – To provide classes for families and educate qualified individuals to teach the classes/philosophy of Music with Mar. so its power can touch more lives and educate those who work with children to do the same.
To provide workshops for groups wishing to expand their knowledge on the value of music in enhancing our lives and enriching our brains.
Continue reading to learn about music and movement songs and enter the giveaway.
Stretchy Bands, Scarves, and Bean Bags
Mar has created seven songs to be used with stretchy bands, scarves, and bean bags. These songs are available for individual download or physical cd from her store. I have also created a YouTube playlist and Spotify playlist that you can use.
Moving with a Scarf
Stretchy Band Jam
Who Can Pull the Stretchy Band
I’ve Got a Bean Bag
Bean Bag Groove
Playing with a Bean Bag
The connect-a-stretchy band is fast becoming one of our best selling stretchy bands. It’s great as you an use it straight, buckle it together into a circle. It’s also wonderful for those that have varying group sizes as you can use the sections you need for each session.
Bean Bags are a staple of home and classroom. We offer our original primary colored set, new neutral colors, and also a new Discover Dance set.
Our scarves come in set of 13, 12, or 6 and are a wonderful addition to you creative movement time.
4 Simple Ways to Teach Your Child How to Calm Down & Managing Their Emotions
Are you tired of turning on the news and being bombarded with stories about violence? Psychologists hope that if children learn how to manage their emotions at a young age, they will be able to respond more positively to stressful situations as adults. How are we supposed to teach our children how to cope with their feelings?
According to Robert Plutchick, professor emeritus at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine,more than 90 different emotions have been identified.
Wow! Imagine being a little person experiencing all of these feelings. How do we, as parents teach our children how to process these feelings when our children aren’t able to communicate what or why they are feeling that way?
Let’s first find out how you, as an adult, calm down when you are upset:
Close your eyes and think about something that made you mad or frustrated. How do you feel when you think about it? Does your heart start racing? Do your hands clench a little? Is your internal temperature rising?
Now, open your eyes! What do you do to calm down? Most people use sensory strategies to regroup – such as sipping coffee, chewing gum, going on a walk/run or smelling essential oils. How did you learn that this technique helps you calm down?
When your child gets upset or overwhelmed, they feel the same way inside. There body is “fuming” with emotion but they don’t know how to respond. Unfortunately, humans aren’t born knowing how to cope with strong emotions. We learn these skills through life experiences, but we don’t want our children to tantrum while they are learning.
Follow these simple 4 Steps to teach your child how to respond to their feelings.
When children feel their body start to “fume” they react. Reactions don’t involve thinking about why they feel the way they feel. This is why you see young children throwing objects (that they are frustrated with), hitting the toddler sitting next to them (because they are in their space) or running the other direction when mom says it’s time to leave the park.
What do you do in this situation? The initial response I hear from parent’s are: “I try to talk to them, but they won’t listen to me.” This approach doesn’t work often because your child is feeling overwhelmed and are not ready to talk. Instead, give them time to process their feelings and provide them with ways they can calm down independently. Once calm, they will be ready to have a conversation with you.
How is my child supposed to calm down on their own without me talking to them?
After spending over 15 years working with children, I couldn’t find anything written for children that teaches these skills in a practical, hands-on way. This is why I created the “Soothing Sammy Set.”Soothing Sammy teaches children how to process their feelings, identify their emotions and problem solve in a way that is EASY for children to understand and SIMPLE for parents to implement!
This Four- Step Set includes:
1. Children’s Book – The colorful photos and simple story is perfect for toddlers, preschoolers and elementary aged children. When a young boy becomes upset, he visits Sammy (the golden retriever)’s house. Sammy shows him, and his friends, how to use their sensory system to calm down. He gives each child a typical household item (such as a cup of juice (taste), a cold washcloth (touch), a family picture (see) and many other items) that helps them feel better quickly. Once calm, Sammy helps the children problem solve by asking them questions.
2. Soothing Sammy Plush Dog (Golden Retriever)– Using an empty box or container, follow the directions in the back of the book to construct a “Sammy house” for this plush dog (resembling the house in the children’s book). Place Sammy, a machine washable plush dog, into his new home and fill it with household items discussed in the children’s book. When your child feels upset, redirect them to the Sammy house to calm down (just like the children in the book did).
3) Parent Guide – This 80-page book explains how to prevent children from becoming frustrated in everyday situations (such as transition times, sharing space and toys, listening and following directions, going on a long car ride, etc.) This book contains activities, instructions and parent reflection sections.
4) Emotions & Feelings Activities E-Book – These 10 play-based activities teach children how to identify feelings in themselves and others, supporting emotional competency. Using items typically found around a home, children engage in hands-on learning activities that teach emotion vocabulary and simple ways to respond to others when they are feeling overwhelmed.
The children’s book, along with Sammy the plush dog, activity e-book and parent guide, creates a complementary set of tools that supports your child’s emotional development. Sammy’s techniques give children the confidence to manage their emotions.
What our families have said:
“Parenting is hard work! Children do not come with instructions, so knowing how to handle their emotional needs is so hard. Thanks to Soothing Sammy I am better equipped to help my children through their melt-downs and tantrums. Since grabbing this set I have seen not only a difference in my children but a difference in how I handle them in the hard moments. I definitely recommend this set to every parent.” – Stephanie
“My daughter and I had fun reading and building Sammy’s house. She loves Sammy! So far it has helped her feel better when upset. She has chosen something to crunch on when mad and then hugging Sammy when sad. We keep it i the living room where she will hopefully continue to use it.” – Jennifer
About the Author:
Jeana Kinne, MA is an Early Childhood Developmental Specialist. She has worked as a parent educator, Preschool Director and Early Intervention Specialist with children with special needs. She loves working with families, providing them with solutions to common parenting concerns, resulting in stress-free parenting! Follow her blog to learn more parenting tips and strategies that support parents navigating through some of the most difficult and puzzling aspects of parenting at www.jdeducational.com
Build Santa’s Paper House to Send Him a Letter on Christmas Eve!
The holidays are here and so is the magic of the Christmas season! The vision of the North Pole, Santa’s Workshop and Rudolph’s living quarters is different for every child. Maybe some children think it’s a cold place where everyone drinks hot chocolate and eats cookies! Maybe it is a place where Santa has reindeer pasture and is outside training and flying with Rudolph and his friends all day. Maybe it is a castle filled with toy-making rooms in every corner.
Encouraging a child to expand their imagination, especially around the holidays if fun both for the child and for the adult. What fun story is your child going to come up with today? Here is a very special activity that includes art and imagination, teaches fine motor, language and writing skills while also creating a special place to have written communication with Santa himself.
Right now, this activity focuses on “Santa Clause,”, but this activity can be used throughout the year, regardless of the holiday. During Easter, the children can write to the Easter Bunny and around their birthday’s they can write to family members. You get the idea! Now, let’s get started with this simple, play-based activity.
Santa’s Paper House Activity Directions (video below)
Scraps of Wrapping Paper
One (1) Roll of tape
One (1) Cardboard Box
One (1) Pen
One (1) Piece of Paper
One (1) Pair of Child-Sized Scissors
Fine Motor (Writing)
Fine Motor (Using Tape)
Fine Motor (Using Scissors)
Understanding Shapes and Sizes
Directions: (Watch Video Below for More Details)
Step 1: Place a cardboard box (any size), the tape, child-safe scissors and wrapping paper scraps in front of your child.
Step 2: Tell your child that the box is Santa’s house. They can use all of the items in from of them to decorate his house.
Step 3:Once your child has completed the decorating, tell them that you are going to write a story together.
Step 4: Ask your child the following questions about Santa’s house. Write down their answers:
Tell me about your house.
Where will Santa sleep?
Where will he eat?
What colors are on his house?
Who lives in the house with him?
Why did you place different paper in their places on the house?
Do any pieces represent windows or doors?
Where do the reindeer live?
Where do they make the toys?
Is there anything else you want to tell me about his house that you made?
Step 5: Once your child is done, ask them to trace the words what you wrote, using a pen.
Step 6: Have your child place the piece of paper in Santa’s House and put the house near the Christmas Tree on Christmas Eve for Santa to see.
Step 7: Ask your child to draw a photo for Santa thanking him for coming and wishing him well on his world trip. Ask your child what they would like to tell Santa, writing down what they say.
Step 8: Have the child place the photo/letter to Santa in the house on Christmas Eve so Santa will get it when he visits.
Optional: On Christmas morning, the parent can write a letter to the child, from Santa, addressing all of the parts of the house and how Santa likes them all.
For an extra special good time, sing some holiday Christmas songs while wearing these Jingle Bells!
Jeana Kinne, MA is an Early Childhood Developmental Specialist. She has worked as a parent educator, Preschool Director and Early Intervention Specialist with children with special needs. Her blog consists of Homeschool Preschool Activities that support educational and social-emotional development. She loves working with families, providing them with solutions to common parenting concerns, resulting in stress-free parenting! Follow Jeana’s blog to view more activities and to learn parenting tips and strategies that support parents navigating through some of the most difficult and puzzling aspects of parenting at www.jdeducational.com.
I love the fun blog post Tim wrote up, sharing all about his journey with Barefoot Books and how we get connected. The title is “Bear With Me”! Here is a preview, make sure to click through and read all about it!
I hope you’ll take some time to check out Barefoot Books! The books and games they sell make wonderful gifts.