Let’s Play Music

I am excited to announce our giveaway partner for the month of October, Let’s Play Music. 

From their About Us page:

Let’s Play Music is a company that builds, teaches, inspires, and enriches. Based in Mesa Arizona and started in 1998, we began with a desire to teach music to children in the best way possible. Today, over 350 teachers across the United States and Canada work with this same passion using the Let’s Play Music method.

Purpose: We enrich lives through the power of music.

Vision Statement:  Let’s Play Music provides outstanding programs for developing the complete musician.  We empower our expert teachers with play-based curricula that develop talent, enhance intelligence, and deepen human connections.

Core Values: The following principles shape our daily decisions and define our culture.  Click each link to read more about them on our blog.

Keep reading to learn more about what you could win. 

Let's Play Music&Bear Paw Creek

Founder: Shelle Soelberg

Let’s Play Music was started in 1998, so 2018 celebrates 20 years in business for them!  Read more about how founder, Shelle Soelberg, got started on her bio page. 

Here is an overview of their program. 

The Prize Pack

Prize Total: $233.50

Bear Paw Creek:

Connect-a-stretchy band set of 4 $100

Bean Bag Set of 24 $40

A set of our new 24 bean bags with added colors.  These were requested by a customer to meet early childhood test parameters that include the 12 colors on the DIAL 4 test.  What do you think?

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

Let’s Play Music is contributing:

Teddy Bear Cd Set: 37 fun, engaging, age appropriate songs for young ones! Used in our Brown Teddy Bears semester of Sound Beginnings Enjoy! $13.50

Mixed Instrument Class Set: A set of 12 instruments for class use. Contains 2 of each of the six semesters of Sound Beginnings. 2 ankle jingles, 2 triangles, 2 tambourines, 2 pair of finger cymbals, 2 pair of rhythm sticks, 2 pair of maracas. $43.00

Tone Bells: Specially engraved with solfeg syllables just for Let’s Play Music! 8 colorful removable tone bells with logo carrying case and 2 mallets $27

Winner will be drawn and announced on October 26.  You get more entries for sharing! 

Click image to enter. 

Let's Play Music&Bear Paw Creek

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.

David Row of Make Moments Matter and BPC Giveaway

About a year or ago I stumbled across David Row and his Make Moments Matter Blog.  I reached out to him and sent him some connect-a-stretchy bands to play and experiment with.  I love getting connected with people and now this connection brings you a fantastic giveaway, valued at $296.50!

 

 

David Row from Make Moments Matter and Bear Paw Creek Team Up

I love the heart behind what David is doing. From his “About Me” page he shares why his website is named Make Moments Matter:

” Why Make Moments Matter?

Why is this website called ‘Make Moments Matter’?  Isn’t it supposed to be about music?  “Make Moments Matter” is one of my three main classroom rules (read about them here) and a phrase that helps to guide my life.   As teachers we constantly shape the lives of the students we teach through what we share with students and how we react to them.  Here is what I tell my students and what I would share with all of you:

“Don’t waste an opportunity.  Sometimes you only get one chance to do something.  When you get your chance, don’t be scared.  Don’t be overwhelmed.  Don’t run off crying before you try.  You can do it!  Take a chance and do your best.”

I LOVE this!  I call this being intentional in your relationships.  It’s really what life is made for!

Read on to see what you can enter to win!

First I have to share this great video that he shared showcasing scarves, xylophones, and the connect-a-stretchy band using Lynn Kleiner’s “The Waves”.

The Goods

After reading his “Ultimate Classroom Wishlist” I reached out to David to see if had a stretchy band – and after finding out he didn’t, sent the connect-a-stretchy bands his way!  So, I’m going to include some of his suggestions from that list of resources that Bear Paw Creek carries.

THE GIVEAWAY PRIZES

3 Connect-a-Stretchy Bands (equals a large when buckled together) $75

30 Scarves $50

30 Primary Ribbon Wrist Streamers  $125

$10
 I love teaching creative movement but find that sometimes students need a little support to understand the abstract concepts involved.  Through the use of the PowerPoint lessons, lesson extension activities, and pathway flash cards, students should be able to identify, mimic, and create their own movement pathways. This resource kit was created to help students and teachers think about pathways (floor path) and the possibilities for creative movement.  
 
 
$4
60 different locomotor and nonlocomotor movement words to inspire, instruct, and reference! These easy to print cards are perfect for a movement word wall in the music room, gym, or dance studio. Use the words to inspire kids and give them a springboard as they create new dances and movement pieces. Great for a word wall or use as flash cards.
 
 
$15
Here are some of my all-time favorite folk songs with frontier and westward expansion themes bundled with all the resources that I use to teach the song.  This “Favorite Folk Song” kit is intended to help you teach the folk song and reinforce historical content and vocabulary at the same time.  The set can be printed out and posted on a bulletin board or used as reference cards as you teach the lesson. I know there are some folks on carts or who primarily use digital projectors so I’ve included a PowerPoint format of the set as well.
 
 
$17.50
This resource is a fun addition for any class that is exploring their vocal range and the connections between high/low. Each PDF includes 15 exploration pages including 5 “make your own” vocal slides. Children can use their voices to match the path of the characters in the PDF and even get the chance to create their own paths!
 

Click to enter!  Winner will be drawn on September 24.

Make Moments Matter Giveaway September 2018

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 3

Part 3- Wave Your Scarves and Streamers to Improve Phrasing, Intonation (and Fun!)

Welcome back from the sometimes lazy days of summer, to an always exciting fall, filled with opportunities to try new activities with your props from Bear Paw Creek! In this installment of “Magical Moments” we will explore the wonders that ribbon streamers and movement scarves can work in your church choir.

 In this third blog on making magical moments with music props in church choir rehearsal, I will share activities using scarves and streamers that are tailor-made for your sacred choral ensembles. In addition, I will give you tips on how to acquire a set of scarves or ribbon streamers for your group, no matter your budget, including DIY ideas.

 Magical moments are within reach the instant that you take out the scarves and streamers, because they are enjoyable! When the brightly-colored chiffon and satin start making their rounds through the room, the Holy Spirit starts moving singers to smile. This affords you the opportunity to “break the ice”, by having your singers get moving to their anthem, or any song that will get their hearts pumping and their energy for the rehearsal in full gear!

Everyone has fun when the scarves and streamers come out!

 

Scarves and Ribbon Streamers 

Use scarves and ribbon rings for self-expression, easing kids and adults into dance and movement. If an anthem has a dance time signature like 3/4 or dance-like rhythm, scarves and ribbon rings can help them to internalize the dance-like feel.

 

  • Moderate Budget- Bear Paw Creek also has Make Your Own Hoop Streamers available. These are 4” polycarbonate hoops, to which you would add your own ribbons: Make-your-own Hoop Streamers
  • Small Budget- go to the thrift store for scarves or buy plastic bracelets and loop ribbons onto them
  • No Budget- have members and families donate their unused scarves or lengths of ribbon (which can be used successfully on their own without rings)

Make Your Own Ribbon Rings

You need-

Make Your Own Hoop  from BPC at $1.25 each or  Plastic O-ring Shower curtain rings cost about $10 or less

Ribbons $5-10 craft store or plastic flagging tape about $3 from hardware store

STEPS-

  • Cut plastic tape or ribbon to double desired length
  • Fold ribbon in half
  • Place ring a couple of inches below the top of the loop you have made. Take the loop in your hand and tails in the other and reach through the loop to grasp the tails and pull them through. Pull the knot firmly to make it tight.
  • Repeat on the same ring until you have your preferred number of ribbons/streamers

 

TIPS:

– For a good deal, look at the craft store for ribbon remnants, I find grosgrain ribbon to be tougher than satin.

-For ribbons the float in the air well use strips of flagging (not sticky) tape from the hardware store. It can be found next to the caution tape

-You can also use rigid bangle bracelets or I have even used my daughters’ cast-off baby stacking rings. If you use shower curtain rings be sure that they are in an O-ring closed circle so the ribbons can’t slide off

– For increased durability use glue at the ends of ribbons that may unravel

– You can even just loop the ribbon halfway over the bangle and sew into position.

Magical moments are within reach the instant that you take out the scarves and streamers, because they... afford you the opportunity to “break the ice”, by having your singers get moving, their hearts pumping and their energy for the rehearsal in full gear!

 

 

Activities-

Difficult Section or Pitch- Use the streamers to follow the melodic contour of the difficult section in order to give singers a visual and kinesthetic learning opportunity and minimize the time spent in rehearsal fixing the section.

Kids-

Move Expressively- to a recorded Praise and Worship song like:

     Jesus is My Superhero– by Hillsong Kids, Gagnam Style- Christian Remix, or God Made Me by Casey Darnell and John Delich

Holy Spirit- Have the children show how they think Holy Spirit moves: up and down, through, side to side, or any way at all.

Pitch Exploration- Have one student stand before the group and however they move the scarf up and down the choristers reflect that in singing

Pitch Matching Hello- Sing hello followed by a chorister’s name on Sol Mi, then roll up and toss the scarf to that chorister and repeat.

Turn, Turn, Turn- Use scarves to create motions to match the text of Ecclesiastes Chapter 3, or to the Byrds rendition of that same biblical text altered and set to music in “Turn! Turn! Turn!”.

12 Apostles- Sing “The Twelve Apostles” song to the tune of “Jesus Loves Me”. Have 12 children stand before the rest of the group represent each apostle. Each child representing an apostle creates a motion to go with their apostle’s name. As the whole group sings along they can do the motion for each apostle.

TIPS: -Scarves and streamers can create a bonding and teambuilding experience for adults in choir because they may be doing something new and unusual for them.

-Keep an eye on the edges of handmade ribbons and scarves because with boisterous use they will need some minor maintenance to prevent fraying.

I hope these ideas  of how to get your choir moving with scarves and ribbon streamers have gotten you in the mood to try some new things with your church choir this season. When you give these props a try with your choir members of any age, you will find your singers energized, and able to pick up tough passages even faster when the element of movement is added to the rehearsal mix. Happy rehearsing!

BPC has a great variety of streamers and scarves for you to choose from, right here on bearpawcreek,com.

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.

Music Therapy and Movement Props

For our long time customers you know that Bear Paw Creek got started all because of Music Therapy.

You can read about it on our About Us page, but here is a synopsis.

With a passion to create an income from home and inspired by my sister, Kathy Schumacher, MT-BC, a traveling music therapist, we (Christopher and Janet Stephens) opened Props & Bags, Etc in January 2000. I meshed my love of sewing with the creation of a unique line of movement props along with solutions for organizing and transporting them.

Today I have three special links to share all about Music Therapy! 

Music Therapy and Movement PRops

Movement Props In Practice by Music Therapy Connections

I was thrilled last month when Rachel Rambach sent me an email telling me about her and Katie Kamerad’s latest CMTE course, based all around Bear Paw Creek movement props: bean bags, stretchy band, balloon ball, scarves, and wrist jingles.  Here is what they say about it: 

Movement props are an essential part of our music therapy toolbox.

“We love them because they are incredibly versatile: most of our props can be used with a variety of populations, from our early childhood classes, to individual music therapy sessions, to our older adult groups.In these settings, we use movement props to address a multitude of goals and objectives — in many cases, within one single song.

We’ve written a collection of songs specifically for use with movement props, and in this course, we’re sharing them with you.Not only that, but we’re showing you exactly how we implement these songs and use movement props in practice through footage from our classes and sessions.

The tools and techniques provided in this course will give you a solid foundation for incorporating movement props (and our adaptable song collection!) in your own practice.”

 

Click on the image to learn more!  Even if you don’t require the CMTE credits, it’s worth the investment to get access to their songs and intervention ideas!  AND this course is part of our biggest back to school sale this month!  Six days left to enter (Winner will be drawn 8-29-18.)

 

Movement Props in Practice by Music Therapy Connections

What is Music Therapy?

This is one of those questions that receives many answers.  There has been an interesting documentary just released to the public that goes about answering this question.  It showcases the history, research, different interventions, literacy, eldercare, movement, and much more.  I hope you’ll take the time to check it out.

I also came across an interesting research article based in the UK all about “How Music Helps with Mental Health – Mind Boosting Benefits of Music Therapy”.

They answer the question as follows:

Music therapy is classed as a form of expressive therapy that works to improve physical and mental health through the expression of emotions. There are two forms of music therapy, and these are called active and receptive. In the former, you will create music with your therapist or group (depending on the type of therapy you have sought).

This helps you to deal with emotions, alleviate stress, and can even relieve the symptoms of conditions like Alzheimer’s (something we will look at later). Receptive music therapy, on the other hand, is where you listen to music while you draw or partake in other relaxing activities.

In short, music therapy tends to consist of three potential activities: playing music, singing, or listening to music. You can either create your own music or learn to play specific pieces that you will practice and develop over time – it depends on your personal preferences. You also have plenty of choices, as you can decide what kind of music therapy you take as well as the type of music that you play.

The author continues on with six more specific parts discussing music therapy and it’s uses.  Click on the image below to head to the full article.

7 Parts to Music Therapy

 

 

Leave a comment with HOW you answer the question!

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.

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

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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.
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