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

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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

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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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Over in the Meadow

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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.

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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.

3 Bean Bag Games For Thanksgiving

Games to Encourage Thankfulness.

Are you looking for a few low-prep games to inspire thanksgiving on the part of your students, your family and even yourself?

Well, here are three you can play with bean bags.

For two of the games, bean bags are all you’ll need. For the last one, you’ll need some buckets or a few bowls (or boxes… Whatever you have handy.) Each of these games can take up just fifteen minutes or can be played as long as you like.

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Thanksgiving is good for the soul.

Autumn is a time to enjoy sweaters, cool walks, and baking sweets and bread without overheating the house.

It’s cozy.

Yet everything seems to speed up this time of year and we can find the holidays upon us if we dare to blink. In the stores we see Thanksgiving items laid out beside Christmas decorations before October has even closed her door. This used to frustrate me, but honestly, this year I’m filled with anticipation because Thanksgiving has become one of my favorite celebrations. 

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Woven throughout my family’s history, is a struggle with various kinds of depression and anxiety. As I grew into a woman, my mom shared that history with me and she also shared with me the role thanksgiving can play in refocusing our thoughts.

My mom relied on three strategies when she was depressed:

  1. Focusing on her belief in the goodness and love of God and casting her cares on Him.
  2. Giving thanks for past graces and gifts in her life.
  3. Finding ways to bless other people.

Depression is no light matter, and these are not easy-as-pie strategies, in fact, body chemistry is often involved in depression. However, these strategies have played a part in keeping me going through my bouts with nonclinical depression. 

  • A spirit of thankfulness helps us and blesses other people as we express our appreciation for them.
  • Thanksgiving is an attitude we want to instill in our children as much for their benefit as for the benefit of others.
  • Memories of hard times and how we made it through, are especially strengthening (as much as those memories of good times.)

In the midst of the coming Thanksgiving season, these fun games can turn our hearts toward being thankful and perhaps spark some good conversations about memories of times past.

“The unthankful heart… discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!” -Henry Ward Beecher

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Here are three fun & simple bean bag games for promoting thankfulness.

These games can be played in or out of doors depending on the weather in your neck of the woods. They work great:

  • In a preschool with little ones.
  • For a rainy day recess at school.
  • In your living room for a circle-time homeschool activity.
  • For recreation time in a nursing home.
  • For Sunday school or youth group time.
  • For your family on Thanksgiving Day, when the kids are restless. 

Game 1:

You’ll need one bean bag for this game. 

  1. Have everyone sit in a circle facing each other (on the floor or in chairs.)
  2. One person has a bean bag in his hand.
  3. He tells what how he is thankful for someone else in the circle, then tosses the bean bag to that person.
  4. That person tells how she is thankful for someone else in the circle and tosses the bean bag to that person.

Make sure the teacher is also seated in the circle so that he or she can make sure that thankfulness can be expressed for each child in the circle. If needed the teacher start by being the one to express thankfulness for each child and having that child toss the bean bag back after she has tossed it to him. The teacher then repeats this until each child has heard what the teacher is thankful for in that child.

 

How long has it been since you've played with bean bags-

Game 2:

You’ll need one bean bag for this game.

  1. Have everyone sit in a circle facing each other.
  2. Start by saying something you are thankful for that starts with the letter A.
  3. Toss or hand the bean bag to the person beside you.
  4. That person tells something she is thankful for which starts with the letter B.
  5. Continue around the circle until you get to Z.

Don’t worry if this gets a little silly. The point is to have fun and get the juices going about being thankful. Another variation is to put on music and pass it around until the music stops, then have that person tell the thing that he is thankful for. Turn the music back on and continue around until it stops, then let the next person say what he’s thankful for.

 

Game 3:

You’ll need a dozen bean bags for this game and twelve sheets of paper.

  1. Put the sheets of paper side by side in sets of threes on the floor or on a table (no drinks, snacks or breakables on the table please.)
  2. On the papers write one of the following words, so that each set of papers has one of each word:
    • People.
    • Things.
    • Memories.
  3. Divide everyone into four groups (each group will have three bean bags). If you only have a few people, then just make two groups.
  4. When you say, “Go!”
    • The person at the front of the line says a person’s name for which he is thankful then tosses a beanbag in the bowl marked People.
    • He then tells something he is thankful for and tosses the bean bag in the bowl marked Things.
    • Lastly, he tosses a bean bag in the bowl marked Memory as he tells of something he’s thankful for doing.
  5. He then picks up the bean bags out of the bowl and passes it to the next person in line.
  6. The next person repeats steps four and five.

A few important notes: If you have a student in class who has trouble with speech, skip saying “Go!” and having the groups race each other. Instead, make it a turn-taking activity. You can still split large classes into four groups but have them go to different corners of the room to take turns.

This is a game which would be fun to play intergenerationally as younger people could share in the memories of their grandparents. 

A variation of this game which might work well in a nursing home would be to tape off the floor in the middle of the sitting area into four squares with a subject for each square which could be marked: Place, Person, Memory, Food. The residents could sit in the chairs and in wheelchairs surrounding the squares. If the bean bag lands on memory, the person tossing the bean bag can tell of a person they are thankful for. If the bean bag lands on place she can tell of a favorite place she is thankful for. 

 

 

 

Print out these bean bag games and take them with you.

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I know it’s handy to be able to file ideas like this, so feel free to print out this pdf of these games and take them with you to class, or wherever you’ll be using them.

If you’re looking for a great resource to buy fbean bags, Bear Paw Creek has got them for you. You can buy a dozen bean bags and they’ll come with a handy tote to store them in. Speaking of storage, have you taken a look at this post Julie Palmieri wrote about storing movement props and musical instruments? She has great tips and links for organizing. Take a look!

 

What games will you be playing to connect and get the “wiggles” out with your kids this Thanksgiving? Leave a note in the comments and share your ideas with us.

 

Hello, my name is Jenette Clay. I’m a freelance writer, but most of all a wife, mom, daughter and friend. I blog at www.mywordsforhire.com about how small businesses can improve their internet presence. I’m thankful for the inspiration and encouragement Janet has given me as a friend and client through Bear Paw Creek. If you’re looking for an example of how to build an effective small business website, Bear Paw Creek is a great place to start.

 

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The Wheels on the Tractor Song with Stretchy Band Movement

The Wheels on the Tractor with a Stretchy Band

 

 

Do you have a little boy in your life that loves tractors?  I do!

I actually made this video over a year ago, and due to a blooper in the middle that I intended to edit, I hadn’t shared it yet. 

Well, a year has passed, and the blooper seems more funny than one of those embarrassing mom moments.

Get ready for some great book suggestions and another fun song to use with the stretchy band.

The Wheels on the Tractor

The Song

One of my favorite things to do is take a well known song and create new lyrics to it. This is called a “piggyback” song.  Here I took “Wheels on the Bus” and we created a new version of driving our tractor. 

You can see how the kids helped out and how I struggled with getting it “right.” 

Plus the blooper?  Well, we all need a good laugh!

I also have fun taking the kids play barn, tractors, and animals out in the yard and set up miniature play area for them.  Making hay bales is a fun addition.

Added bonus:  use your toy tractors to create wheel art. Drive your tractors through some paint and make tracks!

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Tractor Book Finds

I found a great book from the local library called “Tractor Mac Arrives at the Farm” for our tractor themed circle time.

Tractof Mac Arrives at the Farm for circle time activity

We then sang Old McDonald Had a Farm using the white board with magnet visuals I created almost 20 years ago!

Old McDonald Had a Farm Felt Board or Magnet Board Images

Old McDonald had a Farm

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recently Morgan Sparks introduced me to Barefoot Books and their great books and other educational resources.

I was excited to find this book and puzzles to give to our son for his fourth birthday.   (affiliate links included)

 

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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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