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

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.

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.
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