Ideas For Successful Circle Time At Home

Why You Want To Make Circle Time A Regular Part Of Your Day

Circle time is a memory maker! It uses games, songs, and activities to teach concepts that need a lot of reinforcement in a warm, friendly atmosphere! Circle time utilizes closeness, laughter and fun to teach. This makes beautiful memories and adds sparkle to your day, and in turn strengthens the learning going on! I can’t think of a better way to learn!

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Circle Time Puts Sparkle In Your Day 

Janet, owner at Bear Paw Creek has fond memories of her  childhood library’s programs that included storytime. Later, because of those memories she made circle time an intregal part of her little home daycare when her son was small. And now she spends her days creating props that give inspiration to circle times of all kinds everywhere! 

You do not have to be a professional, have a large group of children, or even be overflowing with creativity to create memories and learning with circle time! With a simple structure and a few activities you will be all set for success.

 

Circle time uses games, songs, and activities to teach concepts that need a lot of reinforcement in a warm, friendly atmosphere!

You Can Easily Create Circle Time At Home In A Few Easy Steps

It is simple and fun and you can do it easily with Janets tips, guidelines and ideas for songs and activities! Janet has written an article that is sure to inspire and get you started over at With The Huddlestons as a part of their Learning In The Early Years Series. Just click on over to read her post Circle Time At Home to start your own learning traditions!

Visit our Shop for even more circle time inspiration from our movement props! My favorite is the scarves 🙂

Joy is a mom of 6 (ages 5-26) who has a passion for encouraging moms! With three already grown up, married and having families of their own, three still at home, 2 kids with Down syndrome, and having been through a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis in a teen she has definately been through some ups and downs. However, she believes that each mom is divinely appointed and equipped to raise her particular kid(s) better than anyone else in the world no matter how it may feel on any particular day! She wants to inspire Your Mom heart as well as making the more practical aspects of running a household a tad easier over at JoyonthisMomJourney.com

Music and Movement for Pumpkins and Halloween

Recently Beth Green “The Music Lady” shared a pumpkin song that inspired me to make a “pumpkin” stretchy band, which then made me say – a-ha – a giveaway!

With so many friends putting out creative movement, music, books, and ideas to do around Halloween and pumpkins, this post is all about that and a BIG giveaway included, sponsored by the following:

  • Sing Play Create
  • Listen Learn Music
  • Music for Kiddos
  • Bear Paw Creek

A few months ago I got connected with Beth Green, The Music Lady.   

You will see she full of light and joy!  Her video is what inspired this giveaway!

Long time friend of Bear Paw Creek, Kat Fulton, introduced me to Stephanie Leavell, MT-BC a few months ago.  I remembered the book that she wrote and thought it would be the perfect addition to our Halloween giveaway.  She kindly offered up the whole bundle. I think I’m going to have to get one of these for my family.  Be sure to read about what she’s doing.

Rachel Rambach has added three of her fun songs to the giveaway!

 
From Sandra over at Sing Play Create
Boo! It’s Halloween creative movement activity time. These Ghostly scarf directional cards and Monster movement cards will keep your students busy burning off Halloween excitement! There are also 4 other Halloween games included in this wicked brew! K-6 applications.

 

Halloween Movement Props

  • Bear Paw Creek medium stretchy band in pumpkin fabric
  • Pumpkin Balloon Ball
  • Black, White, and Orange Scarf set of 12
  • 12 Halloween Hoop Ribbon Streamers

***You can order the stretchy bands with the fun halloween jack o’lanterns (just put a note on the order that you want the pumpkin fabric)  and the new patch of pumpkin balloon balls are in the shop! 

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.

DiscoverDance Movement Prop Addition and Learning Opportunity

Awhile ago I got connected with Andrea over at DiscoverDance Early Childhood Dance Education.  This connections brought her jeweled colors to the stretchy band, scarves, bean bags, and balloon ball.

Today I added the connect-a-stretchy band and some hoop ribbon streamers in her colors!

She also has some very exciting things going on, including a free download “Discover the Power of Props.”  Read on!

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Learn Why Props Are in the Top 3

Here is what Andrea has to say! 

Props, props, and more PROPS! Learn why props are one of the top 3 key elements to a successful early childhood dance program tomorrow at 1pm CST here on Facebook.

PLUS-viewers will receive a coupon code to receive a discount on the DiscoverDance Collection through our partnership with Bear Paw Creek, LLC!

Tired of using the same ol’ props?

Have a stash collecting dust in storage?
This free guide includes over 30 different props, 14 class activities, how and why to use them, and where to shop. Everything you need to bring fresh, creative, and fun ideas to your little ones in one place!

DiscoverDance Creative Movement Props Available by Bear Paw Creek

DD Medium Stretchy Band

DD Connect-a-Stretchy Band

DD Bean Bags

DD Creative Movement Scarves

DD Balloon Ball

DD Hoop Ribbon Streamers

Playlist Featuring 11 Videos with DiscoverDance Props

(You don’t want to miss these!)

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.

12 Ideas to Reimagine Teaching with Beanbags

Fresh ideas for using bean bags this fall in the music room or choral rehearsal.

As summer vacation draws to a close, it is always fun to get some fresh ideas for the beginning of the school year.  So go ahead and add some ways to use the bean bags from Bear Paw Creek to your repertoire! These activities will also bring giggles and smiles to teaching the potentially humdrum foundations of music making. 

This blog will share activities using beanbags not only the classroom, but also in choral rehearsal. In addition, at the end of the post is a game I developed exclusively for you, the fans of Bear Paw Creek’s Blog!  This game is open-ended, so with some poster board and markers, and of course, beanbags, you can make a delightful game that can address any skill your students need to work on.

I have been thinking about beanbags a lot lately. It is a shame for a prop that raises the spirits of students and teachers alike to be overlooked. Especially considering its durability and versatility. Why don’t we use them more?  And, if we don’t have them, why not? They are certainly one of the most affordable props out there.  In fact, www.bearpawcreek.com has bean bags for just $20 per dozen, and you can even choose the bright or muted color palette or texture that works best for your students’ needs.

If the obstacle is a lack of awareness of how to use this awesome prop, then let’s overcome it, with these 12 ideas that will help you to reimagine teaching with beanbags. These ideas include activities that I have developed, as well as some existing activities that I have adapted to beanbags, not to mention the exclusive game at the end of this blog.

Let’s get you excited for the new school year, and for using that underdog of props, beanbags!

Bean Bag Activities for the Classroom

1.Ostinato Bean Bags: Teach your ostinato, but in a kinesthetic way. Students toss the bean bag from hand-to-hand in rhythm with their singing.

2. Quick Sort: Looking for a fast way to divide students up for an activity?  If you have a variety of bean bag colors then you can hand out bean bags in a color-coded manner to designate groups/activities.  For example, if you wanted to have a sound ensemble activity, you could designate red=sung sounds, yellow=spoken sounds, orange=whisper sounds etc, and a next step would be holding up a red beanbag to start the sung group’s performances.

3. Bean Bag Engagement: Not that kind of engagement! I like to use props like the bean bags to call on students. It is an incredibly easy way to infuse more mundane tasks with fun.  I also like to have the students use this method to call on each other, which makes your existing activity even more entertaining.

4. Bean Bag SMART Notebooks: There are some great SMART notebooks available that allow students to randomly select a question or challenge by popping a bubble. Rather than walking up and popping it, you can safely have student underhand toss a bean bag at the board. My students love this method!  SMART Notebook exchange has “Candy Rhythms Koosh Ball Game” and Teachers Pay Teachers has several as well.

5. Bean Bag Shakers: If you are a new teacher that doesn’t have many props or an itinerant teacher trying to reduce how much equipment you move, consider using bean bags as a percussion instrument. You can shake or tap it, and the volume is low, so it may be just right if you have students with sound sensitivity.

6. Steady Beat Bags: When students are still learning to find the steady beat, a strategy is to have the student gently tap their chest. Putting a bean bag in that hand makes it more fun, and adds more sensation. 

Bean Bag Activities for the Classroom or Choral Rehearsal

7. Treble or Bass Clef Toss: Use masking tape to create a five line staff on the floor and have students toss a bean bag onto the staff. Then they name the note based on which line or space it lands on. Another option would be drawing the staff on poster board or other moveable surfaces to make a portable version if you are an itinerant teacher.

8. Bean Bag Rhythm: A variation on the ostinato bean bag activity above, requiring students that are struggling with a particular rhythm to toss the beanbag to the steady beat.  This could be up and down in one hand or hand-to-hand as they say rhythm syllables, chant the lyrics in rhythm, or sing the troublesome section.

9. Bean Bag Note Values: I was introduced to this activity with tennis balls, and it works great with bean bags too. Assign each note value a bean bag movement that will take an appropriate amount of time. For example: two eighth notes= fast hand-to-hand toss, quarter note= single hand toss, half note= go around body 1st beat in front of body 2nd beat in back, whole note= same as half but stopping in four points- 1 front, 2 side, 3 back, and 4 other side.  Students should verbalize the counts as another pathway to learning. Display the note value students are performing so that they can make the connections between the symbol, the movement and value.  Once the students are proficient, I turn on pop music and have the students perform various note values to the beat, continuing to display the note symbols and point to them throughout.

 

Bean Bag Activities for Choral Rehearsal

10. Part Throw: If singers are forgetting that they don’t sing in a particular section, play a game!  As that section begins, have the forgetful singers toss their beanbag to a chorus member who is supposed to sing that part.  It will be so memorable that they will probably not make that mistake again.

11. Projection Toss:  This thrilling activity was intended for adults using a football, but I have adapted it here for children using beanbags. If your chorus is not projecting their voices to the back of the rehearsal space, try having them send their sound out with the bean bag by tossing it forward (after you get out of the way!). Alternatively, singers could get into pairs and have them sing a phrase tossing to their partner and then their partner sings a phrase tossing it back.

 

Here it is… your exclusive open-ended game:

The Bullseye of Music!

As I was thinking about ways to use bean bags that would be fun and engaging for our students, I also factored in that we teachers don’t necessarily have much time to craft. So if I was going to create something, I wanted it to be a game that could be used for different units.  The result is a game that can be used throught the year, with any age and the only thing you’ll need to change is the Fact Sheet.  

The 12th activity, The Bullseye of Music! :

How it works:

  1. Have two children, or the whole class play.
  2. Child A throws the bean bag at the bullseye.
  3. Child B (the opponent or class representative) announces the color which their bean bag hit.
  4. Child A puts the tip of a pencil into a paper clip in the center of the spinner for that color and flicks it. The paper clip indicates a number.
  5. Child B gives Child A the task or question based on the color and number, and they have a blast performing it!                                                                                                                                                                 

I didn’t design this for keeping score so there isn’t a plan for that, but you could certainly develop one.  The game is so engaging because the target requires skill and the spinner is pure chance.  I put the arts Integration/extra fun activities in the center, on red, to make them harder to get. 

How to Make Bullseye of Music Game Pieces:

Materials: Foam poster board, For tracing- a frying pan & small bowl, Poster markers/paint, Pencil, Paper clip, Paper, Sheet protector/clipboard

Steps:

  1. Target– Sketch the biggest possible circle you can on the poster board
  2.  Trace frying pan and small bowl creating the concentric circles of a target
  3.  Color each ring in a different color (I went the traditional route of red yellow and blue)
  4.  Spinner– On the paper, use the small bowl to trace three circles and coordinate the colors to match the circles on the target
  5.  Divide the circles into five sections (or more) and number them
  6.  Fact Sheet– create blue questions or activities of an easy level and number them 1-5 to match the spinner, and repeat for yellow   being medium level and red being difficult/super fun. Zoom in on the image above for an example Fact Sheet.
  7.  Print out Fact Sheet and slip into a sheet protector and plan to give to Child B or the Opponent described above.
  8.  Once the materials are done, grab your Bear Paw Creek bean bags, pencil and a paper clip and start having a fantastic time learning new concepts or reviewing!

Remember, all you have to do from here is create a new Fact Sheet to totally change the game!

Thanks: My appreciation to my music teacher colleagues in Anne Arundel County, MD for being such wonderful teachers and collaborators.

I hope you enjoy your bean bags in the classroom or rehearsal all the more for having some new ideas.

BPC has a great selection of bean bags right here on bearpawcreek.com.

Leah Murthy is a music educator, performer and military spouse. She is currently a Doctoral candidate in Music Education at Boston University, holds a Master’s in Music Education from The Boston Conservatory, has 15 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.

Bear Paw Creek Back to School Giveaway 2019

It’s back to school time and time for our 5th annual Back to School Giveaway and SALE!  All month long there will be discounts and a giveaway that is worth over $400!

August 1 -7 20% off –  Code: 20for2019

August 8-15 15% off – Code: 15for2019

August 16-31 10% off – Code: 10for2019

I am excited to partner with a few of our friends to bring a prize back full of music, movement props, instruments,  and books!  Read on to learn more.

Bear Paw Creek's Annual Back to School Sale

Look What Our Friends Have Contributed

Check out this year’s sponsors, with a prize pack valued over $400!

GRAND TOTAL: $473.50

Add a click to tweet CTA – quote. 

New Music and Lesson Plans

I am SO far behind sharing all the wonderful music, lesson plans, and ideas our friends have been sharing to use with Bear Paw Creek movement props.

I’m working on sharing some great resources for over this month and upcoming year.

Here is one from one of our newest Stretchy Band distributors: Let’s Play Music

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.

Bean Bag Hop Song with Bean Bags

Music and Movement Activities

I just love it when someone shares a lesson plan, activity, pictures, videos, or songs using Bear Paw Creek products! 

This time Rachel over at Listen Learn Music has written a new song to use with bean bags. 

Of course – I have to share it with you!  It is always fun to add a new song to your list.

I have also added some bean bags on to the shop!  We not offer neutral and jeweled tone bean bags along with the original primary colors and textured bean bags.

 

Favorite Bean Bags

It’s a wonderful compliment when someone shares that something we make is their favorite!  There are so many choices in this world, it’s a high compliment.  Rachel wrote a beautiful post about our bean bags and a new song she wrote.  Here is part of what she said:

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, MANY of my songs revolve around the use of props. They can be such a wonderful tool for addressing motor skills, coordination, group participation, turn-taking, and much more.

Bean bags are wonderful tools for addressing so many different skills: balance, dexterity, crossing the midline, hand-eye coordination, and the list goes on. This particular song targets several of those objectives, along with impulse control, following directions, and identifying body parts.

I love watching my students and clients attempt all of the directives in this song, from making the bean bag hop from hand to hand during the chorus, to placing it on each body part in the verses.

“Bean Bag Hop”, like most of my other songs, can easily be adapted to meet the needs and strengths of each individual or group. It can be done sitting, standing, hopping, or however else your creativity moves you!

Be sure to check out her new song, it’s a steal at only $3!

Bean Bag Hop Listen and Learn Music

 

Bean Bags, Bean Bags, Bean Bags

Music and Movement Activities

For those of you who have been Bear Paw Creek friends for awhile, you know bean bags were one of the first things my Mom taught me to sew when I was a child.

We have four different options to offer now on the shop. 

 

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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