Posts Tagged 'imaginative play'

Fun Ways to Beat the Heat with Music

Mom Singing with ChildSummer is over as everyone heads back to school, right? Wrong! Well, half of that is completely untrue for us Austinites. Even though our “fall” schedules tell us it’s over, the heat of summer is going nowhere fast. If you’re in need of some fun ways to beat the heat and survive the sticky, icky, moody late afternoons and weekends, let music be your guide!

I have two words for you: DANCE PARTY! This is a highly underrated, useful activity that can be done indoors, yet can be incredibly active, burning off energy, and elevating mood for grownups and kids alike. Parents, as we constantly say to you in class, the more fun you’re having, the more fun your little one will have. Get nostalgic with your song selection; have fun creating a special dance party playlist, bust out your favorite hip hop from high school, or the songs you danced to at your wedding, then push the coffee table out of the way, close the curtains, turn up the AC, and let loose! If you’re head-banging or tush-pushing around the living room, having a silly blast, there’s no way your babies, toddlers, and preschoolers won’t have a great time watching—and most likely will be inspired to join in, too!

Along similar lines is a jam session. We do this in class every week with our play-along ritual, but make no mistake; this can be just as active an experience as the dance party if you let it. Again, you’re the leader. While setting your kid in a pile of instruments, putting on their favorite music can be great, it is much more engaging if you’re actively involved too. Sometimes (when they let you), you be the DJ and play your music and go nuts on that bongo like you’re the drummer from Def Leppard. Some other ideas for jamming are: use kitchen wares or unexpected toys as instruments, get crafty and make your own instruments, be a parade and march around the whole house, or find a spot in front of a mirror and make silly, intense jam-faces. Like the dance party, this can last a good long while if you’re having fun too, and can use up some necessary end-of-the-day energy when the park is a no-go.

Another idea is: water play!! Of course this can be outdoors, in the pool or sprinkler, but you can make a fun water play station inside on those days you can’t bare to go out again. Perhaps you run an early or extra bath (in swimsuits?!?), maybe you bring chairs or stools to the kitchen or bathroom sink, or put towels or a blanket down on the floor and get out a big kitchen bowl or laundry tub and fill it with water! Most of our Music Together collections have at least one song about water, like “I Had a Little Frog” from the summer collection, or “Canoe Song” that we’ll be doing in the Fall Session. Rhythmically splash and sing along to these of course, but honestly, any song can be a water song! If “Ridin’ in the Car” is still a favorite—make it about a boat instead of a car. If one of the many train songs pops into your head—pick up all the water dwelling animal bath toys you have and train them around the water.

These ideas are fairly simple, and require nothing but tools you already have, mostly being: you. Remember this on these endless sweltering days and beat the heat with music!

Vanessa Heilman
Certification Level I, Music Together Teacher




Making Musical Experiences with Books

SingAlongBooksOur Sing-Along Storybook Hour last weekend was super fun and had a great turn out! If you weren’t able to join us, here are some tips to make a musical experience out of books that are songs at home.

Sing the words! It may seem obvious, but the simplest tools are often the most important. Your child may or may not recognize that it’s a song they know without the reference of the melody to accompany the words. Remember that while they’re young, your children love your voice no matter what you think of it, so don’t feel shy or self conscious! And if you don’t remember perfectly how the tune goes, turn on your CD to remind you- or just wing it! They either won’t mind, or will help you out!

Keep it rhythmic! By using your finger to tap along on the page (pointing either to the words or the pictures), your child sees and hears the steady beat! If you want a break from singing, chanting in rhythm is a great option to keep the experience musical, rather than returning to your more fluid, conversational, spoken vocal pattern.

Explore the pictures! The pictures often have even more of a story to tell than the words written down do. So, feel free to pause before moving on to the next page to discuss or sing about all the interesting things your child sees. You can of course talk about it and then continue the song when you turn the page. You can also chant or continue singing the melody with your own new words, or use the resting tone (and the tonic 5th!) to hold a musical conversation!

Music Together has created a wonderful collection of favorite Music Together songs in book form, so far including: Hello Everybody, She Sells Seashells, One Little Owl, All Around the Kitchen, Sandpiper, May All Children, and Ridin’ in the Car. Here are some other great examples to look for too: May There Always be Sunshine by Jim Gill; the Pete the Cat series by Eric Litwin; What a Wonderful World illustrated by Ashley Bryan; Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb by Al Perkins; Baby Beluga by Raffi; Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star and many classics by Iza Trapani; and don’t forget the rhyming rhythm of everything by Dr. Seuss!

If you don’t personally own any of these, check out what we have next time you are at Heartsong, or at your favorite library branch. And feel free to share other personal favorites in the comments!

Vanessa Heilman
Certification Level I, Music Together Teacher

The Joy of Family Music

Heartsong Music teaches Music Together®, the internationally recognized early childhood music and movement program for children from birth through grade two and the adults who love them.

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