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

Shivering Snowman!

Get moving with these winter-themed activities!

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

Winter Song Playlist

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

 

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

 

The Skater’s Waltz

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

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

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

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

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Snowball Fight

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

Additional Resources

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

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

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

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

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

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

Christmas music to get you moving and grooving!

 

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

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

 

Jingle Bells

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

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

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

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Stretchy Band & Connect-a-Stretchy-Band

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

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

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

 

Bear Paw Creek Christmas Playlist 2017

Scarves & Streamers

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

Skater’s Waltz & Skating by The Vince Guaraldi Trio

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

Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy – Pentatonix

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

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

Songs in ¾ time

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

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

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

Special Downloads & Printables

Movement Action Cards

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

Download them here.

Activity Ideas Download 

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

Download here.

 

Christmas + Literacy = A great combo!

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

Click on each book image to purchase on Amazon. 

Little Drummer Boy – Ezra Jack Keats

How the Grinch Stole Christmas – Dr. Seuss

Snowmen at Christmas – Caralyn Buehner

Jingle Bells – Iza Trapani

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

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

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

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

Ribbons and Dancing and Scarves! Oh, My!

 

Ribbons and Dancing and Scarves! Oh, My!

Jenette Clay is a blogger, SEO content and podcast show notes writer. She loves dancing with her little kids and annoying her older ones. She admires Janet Stephens and all that she has done as a wife, a mom and owner of Bear Paw Creek.

 

Have you ever danced with ribbons or watched someone else (whether they were dance professionals or your kids in your living room)? Here’s a list of songs and activities you can use with kids and in elder care.
 
The effect of the fabric streaming out behind as you move is fascinating and adds dimension to motion – ramping up the fun quotient exponentially.

Hold an impromptu dance party in for your kids

Visual Music

Fluttering waves

Swirling rainbows
Giggles, pirouettes, motion music
Purple…chasing blue…chasing gold overlap in dancing ripples
A final bow
Collapsing into piles of laughter and smiles
 
Granted this would be a scene in my living room, not a well-organized class or a performance at the ballet, but ribbons and scarves, music and dancing are a feast for the senses. Have you ever seen a Chinese scarf dance (or the dances with dresses which have the long silky sleeve ribbons)? The dancers move gracefully as their arm movements cause the ribbons to ripple around them like water or twirl above their heads cascading back down again as they weave a tapestry of color on the stage. It is mesmerizing.
 
 Movement Scarf Set of 12, 6 colors
If you’ve ever danced with ribbons or scarves, you know how much fun and fascinating it is to see what shapes your motions can conjur up. You don’t have to be a professional to enjoy it.
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I’ve got some resources for you!

If you need ideas to for activities to get people moving in elder care, at school, for youth groups or in your living room, I have a line up of links to get you inspired. I also have a list of activities and songs you can use with scarves and streamers that you can print out and take with you. Very handy!

So, here we go:

  1. I like the fabulously fun and creative Beverly Meyer. She calls herself The Music Lady and you can watch what she does here, on Youtube, to see what a blast kids and adults can have singing and dancing together.
  2. Miss Jen, Children’s Librarian, sings All the fish are swimming in the water (illustrating a song that makes great use of the effects in the movement of the scarves.) on Youtube
  3. Here is a great Pinterest Board with plenty lots of video suggestions for songs and activities using scarves by curated by Dana and Lindsey, Children’s Librarians.
  4. I love these ideas from the Future Librarian Superhero
  5. Great for the church nursery and for moms at home. I found this, on Youtube – perfect for babies and toddlers.
  6. One of my favorite songs is from Macaroni Soup, Dancing Scarf Blues! It’s pretty jazzy and I think would be a great resource for activities directors involved in Elder Care. Brighten up the lives of people in nursing homes by getting out a batch of beautiful scarves and putting on some music to dance to.

Save

Take a look at those sites, get the list, and tell us what you think. How long has it been since you’ve danced with ribbons, streamers or scarves? How long has it been since you’ve danced with ribbons, streamers or scarves? Do you have some songs or activities to add to this list? I’d love to hear from you and have you add your suggestions to mine!

Activities and Songs for Scarves and Streamers

 

Dancing Scarf Blues with Scarves

“Dancing Scarf Blues” with Scarves

From this blog post on the stretchy band that  Miss Carole of Macaroni Soup wrote, we got connected. I sent her some more goodies, and since then it has been a blast collaborating with her.  I hope to meet her in person one day and watch her in action!

She was on the look out for scarves, so we started carrying our movement sets of 12 and 13 scarves.  My kids have enjoyed her music so we shot a quick video with one of her songs using the scarves.  You can find the song here on this album.

From her blog post about this song she says, “Purpose: Coordination, working with a manipulative safely, vocabulary, especially of directions and opposites, exercise.”

You can find the lyrics and more information from her blog post by clicking here.

Scarf DanceGarage sales and thrift stores are a great place to find scarves!  You can find our selection on our scarf page.  $22 for a set of 13, which includes two of each color, one white leader, in a storage bag.  $18 for a set of 12.

 

Scarf Set and Macaroni Soup CD Giveaway

Scarf Set and Macaroni Soup CD Giveaway

I will be giving a way one of our sets of 13 scarves with storage bag along with Miss Carole’s “Dancing Feet” cd. Enter below with the drawing being on July 10, 2015.

Miss Carole’s award-winning style of music for singing and dancing with young children will keep your kids off their seats. Circle dances, partner dances – even dancing with scarves and shakers – great for kids 2 – 7 years old.

Movement Scarf/CD giveaway

Margie La Bella reviews Bear Paw Creek’s hoop scarf streamers and scarves

Marge La Bella reviews Bear Paw Creek’s hoop scarf streamers and scarves

A few years ago Margie La Bella contacted me about her cd collection.  Here is a little information about her:

Margie La Bella, a music therapist and educator, began her career with the clarinet at age 9. Soon after she discovered that she could play by ear and that she liked to sing- and sing harmony! She began composing and performing in her early teens. Music has always been a “bright light” in her life: a source of joy, expression, connection and healing. She chose music therapy as a profession because she has seen the power of music and wants to share that with others’ hearts and minds.

Margie completed her music therapy internship in 1987 and promptly established the music therapy program with the children at the Leeway School where she continues to work. She has since obtained a master’s degree in special education.

Her CD series Move!Sing! Play Along and Learn! is a collection of original participation-based songs and dances designed to spark the imagination, playfulness, and language learning (expressive, receptive, and auditory/listening) of children. It is available to parents, grandparents, teachers, special education centers, therapists, music/dance/gym instructors and all those who are young at heart.

You can read the rest of her story on the  About The Artist page.

 Recently I sent her some of our products to see if she had any song suggestions or activities she’d recommend. She went above and beyond and offered to make some videos including our products!  Here is the  link to the song featured in the video and make sure to check out her music that she offers in cd form and digitally.

 

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