[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!

[Tweet “Shivering Snowman! Grab these chilly winter music and movement activities! — via @BearPawCreek”] 

 

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

Indoor Activities for Kids: Instant Indoor Snowball Fight

Indoor Activities for Kids: Instant Indoor Snowball Fight

 

 

Snow – love it or hate it? Personally, I love it!  Having grown up in Wisconsin, trekking off to Alaska, and then landing in Missouri – I miss it.  While we do get a bit of snow every year where we live in southwest Missouri, we don’t always get enough for a day of sledding, cross country skiing, fort building, or snow ball fights.

Sometimes there isn’t enough snow, not the right kind of snow, or it’s too windy and cold – what do you do?

We’ve got the answer!  Bear Paw Creek’s new Snowball Movement Prop Kit + Kids = Indoor Snowball Fight

 

Snowball Movement Prop Set+ Kids = Indoor Snowball Fight

The Snowball Freeze

About a year ago, Carole from Macaroni Soup asked me to make a custom drawstring bag for her snowball kit.  Of course, I was curious what it was all about and she graciously shared it with me,  and said I should add it to Bear Paw Creek so others can add it to their tool kit for indoor classroom education.  I finally have gotten my hands on some indoor snowballs (shower poofs), the cds, and have a stock of bags sewn up.  

As of 2010, Carole says, “The Snowball Freeze Fight – it’s my best known original activity!” I’m not sure if that still hold true, as she has many others, and just released a new album as well, “Welcome” (Teaser:there are FOUR stretchy band songs on it!) but  you are in for a treat.  She also says, “I love to do the SFF in the middle of The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats –when Peter would love to be in the snowball fight with the big boys, but he isn’t ready, not yet.  I pause, put the book down and ask, “Would YOU like to have a Snowball Fight?”  And we’re off!  Then, when we’ve had our SFF, I pick up the book and we see what happens to Peter next!

Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats meets indoor snowball fight

See a video of “The Freeze” in action.

The following comes right from her blog:

The Freeze
(also known as “Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow” by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne!)

Hear it on Dancing Feet.

You don’t have to live up North to have a blast with this activity song! The music can be used as a straightforward Freeze Dance. I’ve found that most 3 – 5 year olds know what that is. If your children do not know what that means, please teach them step by step so that they are clear about when to stop and start. I use “The Freeze” for my SNOWBALL FREEZE FIGHT! Many years ago I created this activity for a group of 4 and 5 year old boys who were having difficulty with self-control. Now this issue isn’t just a “boy” thing – everyone can use help learning to listen, and stop. The SFF was a hit from the first throw, and over the years I’ve used it for everything from 2 year olds, to teens, to family sing alongs, to a prison population! It never fails! You can see from the pictures how much fun it is!

Note to pacificists: it’s not about “fighting” – if the words Snowball Fight make you uncomfortable, call it a Snowball Throw or Toss. It’s done with smiles and laughter no matter what you call it!

Lyrics:

THERE ARE NONE!!!! If you don’t have my cd, you can make your own stop/start music by recording onto a cassette tape, putting the 5-second pauses in as you go. BUT, it is better NOT to stand by your boombox and turn the music off and on. WHY? Because it quickly becomes a Visual game – with children watching you to see when you’re pushing the button, instead of an Auditory game – listening for the music to stop, and Kinesthetic game – stopping when you hear the music stop!

Movements:

You need approximately 1-2 mesh puffs per participant, and make a tape of lively music with pauses built in about every 10 – 15 seconds. I use my recording of “Let It Snow” – titled “The Freeze” with the pauses already there. A freeze dance will work, and instrumentals are even better.

Practice “freezing” before putting on music. First, while sitting on the floor, everyone waves their hands in the air quickly while you say, Hands in the air, hands in the air, hands in the air, FREEZE!” Repeat this. If the children look like they get it, give them the rules.

TWO RULES:

  1. You may not deliberately throw ANYTHING, even a pretend snowball, at someone’s face – it might surprise them or knock off glasses.
  2. You may only hold 1 snowball at a time. If you hold more (demonstrate) – you are a Snowball Piggy!

Then put the music on and let’er rip! About 2 minutes of music is plenty! Be sure you and any available adults participate, too! It’s a blast!

Props: What do I use for snowballs? Those white louffa’s/mesh puffs that make lousy sponges but great snowballs. If you can’t find them in the dollar stores, check with parents – lots of people have them stashed away in drawers because they’re lousy sponges, but they come with many beauty products! If you can’t find them, email me and I’ll give you some online sources for bulk purchases, [email protected] You will need approximately 2 per participant to get started (12 children, 24 puffs).

Age Range: ALL AGES, with the exception of infants!

Purpose: FUN! Oh, and self-control, spatial awareness, group dynamic, gross motor exercise, and FUN!

NOTE TO CONFERENCE PRESENTERS USING THIS ACTIVITY: Please credit me as the “author” of the Snowball Freeze Fight – it’s my best known original activity! Please direct conferees to this page/website – and have a blast with it!

 

[Tweet “Instant Snowball Fight with Bear Paw Creek’s Indoor Snowball Movement Prop – Just add Kids!”]

Get Your Snowballs

I am a do-it your self kind of girl so here are some ideas on making your own snowballs.

If you don’t like do-it-yourself projects or just don’t have time to mess with it, we’ve made the work easy for you.  We just added an indoor snowball movement prop set to our site.  You will get 30 snow balls in a mesh drawstring bag.  You also have the option of purchasing the wonderful “Dancing Feet” cd.  This has has 18 songs on it.  So you won’t only get “The Freeze” you will have 17 more to inspire movement at home or in your classroom. 

Be sure to check it out, $40 for a set of 30 snowball poofs with the “Dancing Feet” cd, or just the snowball set for $30.  Both sets include a storage bag, of course!

 

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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