Build a House for Santa While Teaching Fine Motor, Language and Handwriting Skills

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.

MAIN IMAGE

Santa’s Paper House Activity Directions (video below)

Materials Needed:

  • 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

Learning Objectives:

  • Fine Motor (Writing)
  • Fine Motor (Using Tape)
  • Fine Motor (Using Scissors)
  • Language Expression
  • Creativity
  • 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!

Interested in More Preschool Activities? Join our Free 12 Days of Christmas Holiday Email Series Here!

About the Author:

Jeana Kinne Author PhotoJeana 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.

Children’s Music Network Fundraiser with Barefoot Books

I am excited to share that I am hosting my first Barefoot Books Online Event!  10% of sales will go directly back to Children’s Music Network.  Make sure to shop with this link to get credit for the event. 

CMN and Barefoot Books Fundraiser

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!

Bear WIth Me

I hope you’ll take some time to check out Barefoot Books! The books and games they sell make wonderful gifts.

Teach Children the Alphabet with Pumpkins

Teach Children the Alphabet with Pumpkins

Even though Halloween has ended and the jack-o-lanterns have been “retired”, pumpkins are still everywhere! Fall is a time to investigate these fabulous fruits. There are so many different varieties and sizes to teach children about, but with a little bit of imagination and creativity, pumpkins can be used to teach all sorts of academic concepts! 

I wanted to share with you one of my favorite ways to teach children the Alphabet. Right now I am focusing on use “Pumpkin Jack”, but this activity can be used throughout the year, regardless of the holiday. During the Christmas season, Pumpkin Jack and be changed to “Charlie Christmas Tree” or in February – “Henry the Heart”. You get the idea! Now, let’s get started with this simple, play-based activity.

Pumpkin Jack

Pumpkin Jack Activity Directions (video below)

Materials Needed:

* One empty envelope
* 24 4x6 cards (or pieces of papers cut up into 24 four by six sized paper)
* One Marker (any color)
* One piece of tape
* One large pumpkin.

Directions:

(Watch video below for demonstration)

Step 1: Write the uppercase and lowercase letters on 4x6 cards (see video below for example)

Step 2: With your child, draw a pumpkin face on one side of the pumpkin using a marker.

Step 3: Tape one envelope to the back of the pumpkin (the opposite side that the face is on).

Step 4: Ask your child to sit in front of the pumpkin, facing the pumpkin face.

Step 5: Come up with a name for the pumpkin together.

Step 6: The adult should pick one of the alphabet cards and place either the uppercase side or the lowercase side in the envelope (see video below for example).

Step 7: Repeat the following poem with your child:

Pumpkin Poem:

Child: “Pumpkin (name of pumpkin), Pumpkin (name of pumpkin) what letter did you have for a snack?”

Adult: “My name is Pumpkin (name of pumpkin) and I had”

Child: “letter ___ for a snack!”

Step 8: Repeat steps 6 and 7 for all of the alphabet (both uppercase and lowercase).

 

Don’t have a pumpkin? Use this Pumpkin Balloon Ball Jack O’ Lantern Instead!

For More Fall Activities, view our All About Fall Unit on sale now for $2.99.

About the Author:

Jeana Kinne Author PhotoJeana 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

Giving Thanks for Music Therapists

Incorporating Music in Health, Healing, & Comfort

 

Like many of you, I incorporate music into my life. I play an upbeat playlist, while I work or clean. Maybe you like to play guitar and sing a sad or fun ditty depending on your mood. We turn to these things in order to express and process a full range of emotions: to celebrate, to energize, to soothe, to make us forget our troubles for a time.

In this post, I want to honor and give thanks to Music Therapists for bringing music (and often dancing) to the field of therapy. I’m going to dial down and highlight the therapy they bring to people in nursing homes and for end of life care. I hope this post will help you understand the significance of music to the world of therapy and how these professionals bring these two worlds together.

“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.” – Victor Hugo

What does a Music Therapist do?

When I was in Highschool, one of my friends said that she was interested in pursuing a degree in Music Therapy and I was pretty clueless about it. However, when I started working with Bear Paw Creek, I became aware of the profession again. Over the last few years, as I’ve been following the work of Music Therapists online, I’ve seen the influence they’ve had in areas of therapy, research and education. And they’ve earned my respect.

When people hear the words, “Music Therapist” often they can have one of two reactions. 

One reaction is to wonder whether music is effective for therapy.

For that reason, many studies have been done to explore the healing effects that music therapy can bring to people. Here is a link for an excellent resource discussing the benefits of music for end of life care: A critical realist evaluation of a music therapy intervention in palliative care.

The truth is, that most of us don’t need to read studies to prove to us that music has a huge impact on our wellbeing.

For example, these weeks I have been a struggle with anxiety and sadness. Like many of you, the first thing I reach for is music. Whether I’m singing in my car or listening through headphones on the computer while I work, I’m putting on the music that helps me cry or lifts my spirit. 

Reaching for music is what many of us do. We play our favorite playlist, pick on a guitar sing a sad or fun ditty, these things we instinctively feel are good for us: body and soul.

The second response we may give is, “Do we need therapy professionals who specialize in Music as a form of Therapy?”

Some may wonder why a separate profession is required for the use of music as therapy. If it’s good, and we know it is, why don’t we just incorporate it into care? Do we need a music therapist to make that happen? 

The education of the Music Therapist and integrates the study of music with the study of health, development, and psychology. They not only understand music and its effects but they also study to understand people, therefore, they can match the therapy with the client.

Erin Seibert expresses the true value of Music Therapy. She also gives fascinating insight into the origins of Music Therapy in this TEDx Talks Video. Please take the time to watch this powerful, clear presentation:

The Influence of Music Therapy in Elder Care and Palliative Care

 

 

 

To illustrate the impact that Music Therapists are having in other types of care and therapy, I just want to highlight elder care and end of life care (which is called palliative therapy.)

When my mom passed, I was overseas and unable to get there before she died because it was so quick. She was surrounded by my dad, my sister and people who love her and by music, as they sang to her the hymns that she and they loved. The comfort was not only for her but also for those who loved her. It also comforted me to know that she was comforted even as I was trying to get a passport to come to her side. This is palliative care.

I used to visit one of my aunts who was bedridden in a nursing home. It hit home to me that the videos and music she had were very dependant on what was brought to her. When I was visiting there were a few things she loved: Chocolate, laughing at funny memories, having cream rubbed into her hurting feet and being sung to. My aunt had a beautiful voice when she was young and a bunch of people who loved her provided her with music and videos to watch. If we didn’t bring her music and sing to her, she wouldn’t have had music in her life. This is elder care.

What about people who don’t have family members or friends to visit them?

This Podcast, from Collective Music Therapy, is very poignant and illustrates the role that Music Therapy may play in the case of someone who doesn’t have a relative or other loved one to bring them comfort during end-of-life care.

Music Therapy in Palliative Care: The Beatles reinterpreted to ease the end of a journey.

And what of the elderly and dying who’s loved ones are able to care for them? 

Often the work involved in caring can break down the relationship through stress and weariness that comes with the territory. Music Therapists can create a bridge that reconnects family members as husband and wife, parent and child, or sisters instead of simply caregiver and patient. What they bring into the space is an opportunity to rest, reconnect and laugh together.

“The long and short of it is that, as care recipients’ health declined, caregivers were at increased risk of moving further and further away from their pre-illness identity in the context of their relationship with the care recipient. That means caregivers interacted less and less as a spouse, parent or child with the care recipient: acts of love (i.e., eating dinner with my wife) transformed into mechanicals acts of service (i.e., feeding dinner to my wife) that became less about fulfilling the need to relate meaningfully to a loved one and more about meeting the “next” need.” A Possible way Forward with Hospice Caregivers during Pre-Bereavement by Noah Potvin Ph.D., MT-BC

Music Therapy can reconnect the caregiver and the patient, giving them access to memories and music that is meaningful to both of them.

About 2 years ago I wrote a post called Recreational Activities for Dementia and Alzheimer Patients. In it, I shared a video by Simon McDermott – The Songaminute Man, who reconnected with his dad through music. His latest video is below and he is offering an album of his father’s music to raise money for Alzheimer’s research here: www.songaminuteman.com

I have watched the past few years as Music Therapists have been among the forefront of addressing, you guessed it, music therapy among the elderly in all kinds of settings. Here are some of the articles and podcasts coming from the Music Therapist community on that subject and many of them are very poignant:

Also, from a son’s perspective:

You can see the influence Music Therapy is having in elder and palliative care.

Take that influence and multiply it across many disciplines, from childhood development to early education and also working with troubled teens and adults with depression, PTSD, addictions, the list goes on. I’ve been writing articles for Bear Paw Creek for just a few years now, standing as if from the outside, looking in. And this community of professionals called Music Therapists really impresses me. I look forward to seeing more of what they will do for the world of therapy in the future.

I hope you take a moment to learn about this profession and discover how what they are learning can impact our lives for good. Give thanks with me for the Music Therapists among us. And take the time to read some of the articles and consider how to apply some of what they are learning and teaching to your own life, at home, in school with someone you love who is elderly. 

 

For those who work specifically in Elder Care, thank you!

Here are some resources for you on our blog:

Something to do:

In this post, I’ve talked about the way that Music Therapists reach out and bring comfort and healing to the elderly. You can be a part of this as well. In this season of thanks, here is a list of games with bean bags to use with any age. These games would be perfect to use as a mixer for children, youth and the elderly. Take these games to a nursing home and bring young people with you to play them. 

 

Jenette is a freelance writer of web content, blogs, and podcast show notes. She is also a wife and imperfect mother, whose family mean the world to her. She has a high respect for business owners and entrepreneurs of all kinds. She enjoys helping them tell the story of their company, products, and services, connecting them online with those who would like to find them by the written word. You can find Jenette’s business website at www.mywordsforhire.com.

DiscoverDance and Bear Paw Creek Movement Prop Set

I am thrilled to share with you our newest movement prop set that feature DiscoverDance’s colors of: fuchsia, orange, yellow, lime green, turquoise, and purple!

Founder of DiscoverDance, Andrea Trench, is a dance educator with over 20 years of teaching experience. Holding a B.F.A. in Dance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Andrea specializes in early childhood dance education as well as modern dance. She is the co-founder of Elite Dance Academy in Homer Glen, Illinois as well as the owner of DiscoverDance Early Childhood Dance Education.

In this post you will you be treated to video’s of the new movement props in action.

Be sure to enter our giveaway for this month – the complete set of DD Movement Props!

Discover Dance and Bear Paw Creek Collaboration

DiscoverDance Early Childhood Program

 
The DiscoverDance Early Childhood Program was founded in 2017 by dance educator, Andrea Trench. The program offers studio owners and teachers conceptual based lesson plans, marketing materials, music playlists, and videos of class activities for ages 5 and under. Since launching, DiscoverDance can be found in dance studios in Costa Rica, Greece, Australia, Canada, and across the United States.
 
Andrea has been sharing great content on her blog and Facebook page. Be sure to add her to your subscribe and follow list for new inspiration.
 
Here is a playlist showcasing eleven videos for the new props. You will hear music from some of my favorites!  (Hi Carole and Mar)
 
 

The Movement Prop Details

Newest product added to the site today!  This is our monthly giveaway too, so be sure to enter!  Prize Value: $114

DiscoverDance Movement Prop Set

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.

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.
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