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 4×6 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 4×6 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

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.
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