Yoga Dots for Music and Movement

Yoga Dots and Yoga Pretzels

 

 

Last spring Rosemary from Creative Kids Yoga  ordered some streamers for one of her workshops.  We had a lovely conversation via email and she ended up sending me some Yoga Dots.

After I signed up to be a Barefoot Books Ambassador and received my starter kit (completely worth signing up to be an Ambassador) I found the box of Yoga Pretzels tucked inside my box.

Both these products are part of giveaway for this month!

Keep reading to learn how these two products are adding movement and fun to our lives.

 

 

 

 

Yoga Dots -Who Knew?

After our Yoga Dots arrived the first thing the little ones did was to arrange them in different spots and play follow the leader.

Yoga Dots for Circle Time Yoga Dots for Follow the Leader

I also started using them for our circle/story time.  The kids enjoy picking out their color and helps them keep to themselves and the proverbial – I can’t see – as they move around.

Rosemary shares how they help with Self and Personal Space in the video below.

After I received my starter kit as an Ambassador with Barefoot Books (I highly recommend this – contact me if you want to learn more), the Yoga Pretzel added a new way to use them.  I have personally never done yoga, so I am sure our attempts our laughable, but we are enjoying the process.

From their site:

Yoga Pretzels

50 Fun Yoga Activities for Kids & Grownups

Calm the mind and body, improve patience and boost confidence with yoga! These cards include forward bends, back bends, partner poses and balance poses.
 

Barefoot Books Yoga Pretzels

We are giving a set away in our giveaway for this month or order your own set directly from Barefoot Books.

 

 

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[Tweet “Yoga Dots meet Yoga Pretzels – learn all about it!”]

Something Exciting is in the Works

After Rosemary agreed to send the Yoga Dots for our giveaway she let me know she was creating her own Yoga cards with pictures of children doing the poses.

I can’t wait to see them and her other new product she just announced!  Be sure to look for them soon.

I also am very excited about 2 new products, which I have just created and are “hot off the press”. You will be the first to use them! Creative Kids Yoga Cards® and the Creative Kids Yoga Body Spinner Game®. The Yoga Cards have 4 postures, in each of the 6 categories, to use when you have a desired outcome you wish to achieve with kids. The categories are: Strengthening, Stretching, Focusing, Calming, Energizing, Stabilizing.

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.

Summer Activities for Kids

A few ideas for when life slows down a bit.

 

 

A few great things to do away and at home with your kids… for when they ask to get on the computer, iPads, WII, Xbox… Well, you know…

Nothing wrong with extra time to enjoy their electronics during the summer, but here’s a list of alternatives to “gaming” their summer away.

The ebb and flow of summertime.

This morning, I enjoyed coffee with my dad as we chatted with my six-year-old.

We listened to her account of a nightmare about spiders, followed by ther dream of giant pink bugs. We speculated on the relative scariness of bugs that are huge, even if they are a shade of pink… It was good to just sit and talk and laugh a little with the morning cheer shining through the window.

Just two and a half weeks into June and we’ve already enjoyed: 1) A family reunion, 2. Two summer camps, 3. Family visiting in our home, and 4. A wedding weekend out of town. For the next few days, we’ve got the pleasure of having my dad here. Then we’ll finish out with another summer camp (for my younger kids this time). What a fun whirlwind – talk about a full month with many precious memories made!

The remainder of my calendar for this summer looks pretty empty, with enough time to be a bit more leisurely. There’s plenty of space to enjoy more coffee and conversation in the morning. I’ll have room in my days for contemplation. We won’t have places to rush off to and  I’ll have no piles of post-camp-laundry to catch up on. Our pace will slow down.

As my kids adjust to having greater ammounts of free time, I want to make sure those days aren’t all filled up with screen time . I’ve been strategizing about mostly “unplugged” activities we can enjoy. When my kids are asking to be on the computer all day, I’ll be ready with these ideas.

[Tweet “Here’s a list of alternatives to “gaming” their summer away.”]

A list of activities to enjoy with kids this summer:

Berry picking and peach harvesting.

We have so many orchards and berry farms around us. I missed the strawberry picking season (busy!), but this week is the perfect time for picking blueberries around here. For information about farms and orchards near you, go to this website: pickyourown.org.

To extend the fun, you can also read the classic, Blueberries for Sal, by Robert McCloskey while you eat your fresh berries over ice cream.

Journaling to inspire the love of writing and build confidence.

My husband and I sell used books on Amazon and occasionally I snag one from the “sell” pile if I fall in love with it.

The book, In the Company of Children, by Joanne Hindley, falls into that category. This is a warm, friendly book which helps you and your reluctant writer get past the paralysis of the blank page. It is not only a “how-to” book on journaling but also a “why” for motivation. She’s encouraging and injects a sense of community into the writing process.

I’m looking forward to bringing this into our family and seeing what it does for our family. I can see the influence of this book reaching into the adult years of my children, enhancing their grasp of good communication and their enjoyment of it as well.

Planning for when it’s too hot or rainy outside:

Watching this series on YouTube

Last year I studied Geography with my kids and about three months ago we stumbled across this channel Geography Now, created by Paul Barbato, pretty much from the first video we were hooked. He uses humor, and great visuals to make all the countries you’re a bit unclear about memorable. I want my kids to have a working knowledge of the world and it’s people. That’s a pretty tall order but this channel is a great starting point for both. For an overview, take a look at this:

Create a cooking lesson for your kids.

Whether you create your own (using favorite recipes) or use a monthly kit like Radishkids.com, summertime has the best opportunities to find pockets of time for cooking with your kids.

I know it’s kind of scary for some of us, but it really is worth the time and the mess to do this with your kids. The key is: Don’t do try cooking lessons with your kids when you’re in a hurry. Seriously, a four-hour block of time will make you much more relaxed about the process and cleanup! Maybe you only do this a couple of times this summer, but that’s okay!

Resources from Bear Paw Creek

Bean Bags.

I’ve got a set of bean bags from Bear Paw Creek, which my kids love. They are great for tossing inside (or outside) into bowls, knocking over empty bottles, for practicing juggling (Yeah, still working on that one.) and with an oversized checkerboard (squares painted or drawn on a sheet or fabric).

We use them at church as a way to get busy bodies moving before or after the lesson. Every Sunday (I’m not exaggerating. EVERY Sunday!) the kids ask to get the bean bags out. These are a great tool for every parent to have in their Summertime Boredom Toolbox.

Stretchy Bands in Circle Time.

Another great tool to pull out when you prefer to be inside is the Connect-a-Stretchy Band. These stretchy bands can be used for Circle Time each morning.

What is Circle Time you ask? Here’s an example from a mom at home: Creating a Circle Time in Your Home, by Jamie Martin on Simple Homeschool gives an overview and links to her vlog so you can see them in action.

Below is an example of a singing and movement Circle Time using a stretchy band from Bear Paw Creek (with plenty of giggles included):

If you want more tips and ideas on doing Circle Time take a look at this recent post by Carol Stephens of Macaroni Soup. She gives very practical tips and has great songs to use on her website.

If you want to know the “why” of using the stretchy band during Circle time, take a look at this post, by Allysa Wilkins of Dynamic Lynks, to understand the benefits the stretchy with your kids.

Summer Snowball Fight!

Have you heard of the Instant Snowball Fight? 

It’s great for winter fun when you live somewhere that doesn’t get snow and it’s great for the summer! This is an activity you can do inside, outside, in the pool, at a lake, really, anywhere. 

Snowball Movement Prop Set+ Kids = Indoor Snowball Fight

Don’t even get me started on the scarves and ribbons!

 

Have you seen what kids do when you get dancing scarves and ribbons in their hands? Whether dancing on the lawn, or in your front room, your kids will have a blast! Take a look at the resources I have listed in Ribbons Dancing and Scarves, Oh My!

I hope your summer is filled with fun. That it has a good ebb and flow of activities and rest.

Be sure to check out all of the movement props that Bear Paw Creek carries. Be prepared with these low-tech, high-fun ways for your kids to interact and play. Be prepared when your child says, “Can I play on the computer?” for the 50th time in a row. 😉

 

Jenette is a freelance writer of web content, blogs, and podcast show notes. She is also a wife and imperfect mother, whose family mean the world to her. She’s looking forward to July, when you’ll find her carving out time for all of this fun stuff and more. Jenette’s business website is at www.mywordsforhire.com.

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Using Songs and Props in Preschool

Using Songs and Props in Preschool

 

 

This post is going to be showcasing music ideas for movement props, especially with preschoolers and Pre-K.

I personally use music and props in our circle time at home. I have been doing some form of circle time since my oldest child was born eighteen years ago.  Before we had children of our own, one of my jobs that greatly influenced me was my work at Creative Play and Preschool in Soldotna, Alaska.

This is the first place I lead circle time. I wish I had all of Bear Paw Creek‘s props back then!

Using Music and Props for Preschool

Karen from PreKinders List of Songs and Props

I highly recommend Karen from PreKinders resources. I am always inspired be her emails and blog posts.  I came across her post on the music she recommends and a great list of props to use with them.  Letters, foam alphabet, money cups, castanets, bean bags, scarves, egg shakers and more. She has ideas for every type and music suggestions to use with them.

Go read all about on her blog post called Using Songs and Props in Pre-K!

[Tweet “Inspiration for combining props and music for teaching preschoolers.”]

Bear Paw Creek Movement Props and Song Ideas

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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Shamrockin’ with Creative Movement Props for St. Patrick’s Day

Shamrockin’ with Movement Props

 

 

One of my favorite ways to incorporate music and movement into our days is by using holidays and the times of the year. 

St. Patrick’s Day is coming and I’m excited to share a song written by Rachel Rambach Listen & Learn Music!  It’s title says it all, “Shamrockin’ Song.”  It’s sure to do that and get stuck in your head!  My kiddos LOVED it (and so does their mom.)

We’ll be giving the song and balloon ball away this week!

Now I’ll share some ways we’ve been having fun with it.

Sharockin' Song and Shamrock Balloon Ball Giveaway

Shamrockin’ with the Stretchy Band

Sometimes when I hear a song, I know it will be a great one with the stretchy band and any time I hear Irish music, it gets my feet tapping, and I want to start dancing like Riverdance!  You’ll see our feet attempt to do an Irish jig in this video.  With lyrics like this: hey, hey, move left and right, up and down, it’s great to use with the stretchy band. If we had a little more I think  it would be fun to put the kids on the connect-a-stretchy band straight and have them dance in a jig line!

 

[Tweet “Shamrockin’ Song meets creative movement prop stretchy band.”]

Shamrockin’ Streamer Craft

Using scarves or streamers to move along with the Shamrockin’ Song would allow more individual interpretation of the song. 

We had fun cutting out these shamrocks and adding some “gold” for tails.  Glitter of course was a must!

Then we danced along with the song following the directions in the song.

Making shamrock streamers creative movement with shamrockin' song

Buy Rachel’s song and learn more about it!

Shamrockin' Song Listen and Learn Music Rachel Rambach

 

 

 

Check out the St. Patrick’s Day Balloon Ball

St. Patrick's Day Balloon Ball

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.

5 Great Singable Stories to Engage Your Child

5 Great Singable Stories to Engage Your Child

Written by: Morgan May Sparks, MT-BC  Owner & Director, Rhythm Garden Music LLC

 

This article contains affiliate links. Click on the book images will take you to the site for ordering.

I love singable stories. As a music therapist, early childhood music educator, and toddler mom, I value books that are fun, engaging, and diverse. I look for books that I know the kids are going to love and I’m not going to get tired of reading. I look for books with songs that are catchy and easy for my son and me to sing together even when I don’t have the book in my hand. Most importantly, I look for books that provide teachable moments. Here are five of my favorite singable stories that do just that.

5 Great Singable Stories to Engage Your Child

This was my first singable story from Barefoot Books. I fell in love with this book because it not only had a really catchy tune, but it also featured diverse characters. As a music therapist, I work mostly with individuals with disabilities, so it was very heartwarming to see a young lady in a wheelchair featured prominently in the story.

Animal Boogie Singable Book

Engage:

Use this as a “sing and move” book- children can get their wiggles out and still meaningfully engage in the story by doing the dance moves on each page. Help your child identify the animals. Talk about where the animal might live. Using this story in a group setting? Turn it into a circle dance!

Driving My Tractor

drivingmytractor_uspbcdex_fc_w

I live in the middle of farm country, so anything farm-related is a big hit with my families. I will often sing this song in the car as I take my son to daycare and let him fill in the animal and the last line- “It’s a very busy day!”

 Engage:

Help your child find and identify the animals (and their colors) on each page. Do some vocal play with the animal sounds. Ask your child what other songs they know about farm animals. Change the words to match your day- What are you driving? What makes it a “very busy day” for your family?

Dinosaur Rap

dinosaur-rap_pbcdx_fc_w_1

My son is a huge dinosaur fan, so this book has been a big hit in my home since it released last fall. What’s really cool about this book is that it really is a ‘rap’, so it makes for a totally different experience than what children typically get from a singable story.

Engage:

Help your child practice saying the names of the dinosaurs. Talk about similarities and differences between the dinosaurs. Dance like the dinosaurs. Don’t be afraid to be a little silly- why not add some beatboxing to the rap?

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[Tweet “@MTMOMpreneur shares 5 Great Singable Stories to Engage Your Child”]

Over in the Meadow

over-in-the-meadow_genhbcd_temp_w

This one is based on the nursery rhyme of the same name. I’ve noticed that fewer children seem to be learning nursery rhymes, so I always include as many as I can in my classes.

Engage:

Craft time- create some animal finger puppets to use with the story. Help your child identify the animals and their sounds. Talk about where each animal might call home.

 

A Hole in the Bottom of the Sea

This is a cute take on the campfire song with the same title that introduces children to the marine food chain.

aholeinthebottomofthesea_genhbcdex_w_1

Engage:

Talk about ocean life and the marine food chain. Help your child identify each animal. Learning time- can you and your child remember the order of the animals without the book? Add props for hands-on learning.

Bonus:

The final pages of each book include additional pictures and information about the book’s topic to take learning and discussion a step further. Notated music and lyrics are also included on the last page. Each book comes with an enhanced CD.

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Hey, Hey, Hey….. a GIVEAWAY!!!!

Click to here to enter to win two of the books above, “Animal Boogie” and “Driving My Tractor” along one of Bear Paw Creek’s connect-a-stretchy band!Barefoot Book Giveaway and Connect-a-stretchy Band

Morgan Sparks, MT-BC, is the owner of Rhythm Garden Music LLC, where she provides music therapy services, early childhood music enrichment classes and music lessons in West Central Indiana. She is a board-certified music therapist, Barefoot Books Ambassador, wife, and momma to an energetic toddler. Visit her website and follow her on social media at MTMompreneur.com.

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