Real Books…Real Song

Classic Children's Books

 I am a firm believer in exposing children to “real”  books and music.

There, I said it!

This probably makes me a children’s book and music snob. Oh, well!

But what makes a  story or song “real”?

First, it would be a story or song that has become a “classic” because of it’s quality, has stood the test of time, or is referred to as a “traditional or folk” song or tale.

Second, it  would be written by author or musician who is passionate about their art…a “real” author or a “real” musician.

Children's Book Collection

( Not mass produced by large mass market publishing or production conglomerates and no credit is made to the author or musician…i.e…TV, Movie, Popular Character motivated products.)

The best way to start your library of “real” books and “real’ music is to find children’s authors and musicians you like. Go to the library, check them out , then start looking to purchase them for your collection in bookstores, bargain stores, or eBay/Amazon online.

It becomes like of treasure for “real” treasures!

What are you waiting for?

Resourceful Resources

A great place to start when adding music, movement, and make-believe as an educational tool is discovering available resources .

Here is a quick list of a few of my favorites:

  • Lakeshore
  • Kaplan
  • Raffi
  • Laurie Berkner Band
  • Greg& Steve
  • Wee Sing
  • Twin Sister
  • Gryphon House

Great resources can jump start any Make Music & Move program. So get looking and get started today!

Movement in Minutes

Whether kids are at school or at home they need to move. There are  ways to keeps kids moving that promote creativity but also self-control at the same time.2012-10-09 20.04.11

Near their seat a child can experience what we’ll call SPACIAL MOVEMENT…Creating movement within their own personal space.

Giving a time sequence of 15-30 seconds per movement, depending on the age of the child or children, give a spacial directive they must create in SILENCE.

Teacher/Parent: “When I give a movement you are to move that way, in your space, until I give you the next movement, OK , …make yourself…”


If you see the children are struggling with coming up with original movements you can add a slight narration to keep things moving…”TALL like a building or a tree….SMALL like a bug or a piece of dust…LOUD like a marching band or a highway….SLOW like a peanut butter or mud…etc.

*(To make it “MORE THAN MOVEMENT” …you can it a music activity by playing music in the background while the students move… you can make it an art project by having them move a crayon across a paper instead of physically moving or finding pictures in magazines that show these movements and make a collage…you can turn it into a creative writing exercise by having them write a story using as many of the movement terms as they can…the possibilities are endless!)

The main idea is to keep moving and using creativity throughout the day. After sitting for a while in a classroom or sitting in a car, kids need to move. Trust me. Guess what? Teachers and parents do too. Join in the fun. Maybe if you do it often enough you can cancel that Pilates class!!

Books with a Beat!


I Love Books!

And I especially love it when books come alive with Music, Movement & Make-Believe.

When a book has a Steady Beat or a Repeating Rhythmical Text  it is perfect for adding some BEAT.

Add BEAT along with the steady beat or repeating rhythm of the text with:

Simple Motions (Tap, Pat, Clap, Snap etc. )

Stuffed Animals (Bounce on the Hand, Knee, Floor, etc. )

Funny Props ( Use a prop from the topic of the book…Toothbrushes, Dog Bones, Plastic Dinosaurs for an interesting beat.)

For songs that have a repeating phrase like “Rat-a-tat-tat and Thump, Thump, Thump” or  “Millions of Cats, Billions of Cats…etc.” you can add something different for each phrase with :

Rhythm Instruments ( Wrist Bells, Maracas, Tambourines, etc.)

Simple Motions (Wiggle, Stomp, Twist, etc.)

Movement Props (Bean Bags, Scarves, Ribbons, etc.)

Books can be a central part of ANY music program.

So get your BOOKS snapping, jumping, wiggling, and rattling !

Dancing on a Dime!

2013-06-23 16.32.41Who says you have to have expensive Music Props to move and dance?…Not me!

You can “finance your dance” on a dime…or at least for a few dollars!

Thrift stores, garage sales, dollar stores,( dollar sections of major retail stores), your attic, your closetFUN is just around the corner.

Every Saturday afternoon I set out on my “Treasure Hunt”…I can’t wait to see what I will find that will make my students say, “Let’s do it again!”

 Sunglasses, Flashlights, Tennis balls, Plastic Plates, Yogurt Store Spoons, Beanie Babies, ( I have enough of these to fill every biome on the planet!) , Paintbrushes, Toothbrushes, Plastic Dinosaurs, Bandanas, Dog Bones, Fuzzy Balls.

When any of these “Props” are added to a moving activity…you are “Dancing on a Dime” my friend!

Woo Hoo!

Get Creative!  Get “Hunting!  Get Dancing!

Songs in a Snap!

2013-06-16 17.41.45Songs in a Snap! are those songs that have that little something extra….that extra “snap!”

Why not use dog bones instead of rhythm sticks in “This Old Man”?

Why not use bandanas in “Skip to my Lou”?

Why not use  plastic plates and  pretend they are tambourines, drums, steering wheels, hats, whatever we want them to be in a song?

Why not use stuffed animals in songs about animals?

Why not ?…

Children remember what they do!

See it!  Say it!  Do it!

You want them to say, ” Can we sing that song we sang with the ____ again?

Start thinking about what can be added to any ordinary song and give it an extra “Snap”.

I guarantee you once you get started you won’t want to stop!

 Remember, if it is worth singing, then sing it with a “Snap”!

Keep it Fun!

2012-11-19 14.08.17As we add the Colors of Creativity to the learning experience, the first thing we need to do is keep it FUN!

When we sing songs…add simple motions, rhythm instruments, stuffed animals…anything that makes it “more than just a song”.

When we move and dance….add hats, scarves, bean bags, tennis balls, ….anything that makes us want to “do it again”

When we read picture books…add sound effects, puppets, simple costumes, chant charts….anything that brings a “book to life!”

Songs in a Snap, Dancing on a Dime, & Books with a Beat create that perfect touch of FUN!

So let the FUN begin!