Hi Everyone! I’m really pleased that my newly recreated Sukey’s Circle! Mini Shows are airing on BabyFirst TV! When BabyFirst initially expressed interest, they requested that I deliver all 15 mini episodes in both Spanish and English. This was quite a surprise but I did it! After the lyrics and dialogue were interpreted from English to Spanish with my friend (and flamenco dancer) Anna de la Paz, we went into Studio ‘L’ with co-producer Larry Alexander and recorded the voice over’s for all the spoken word segments. After completing Anna’s recording session, we returned with vocal artist Maya Solovey who recorded the song vocals. It was fun!
On July 30th I will release Sukey’s Circle! Vol. 3 Mini Shows on DVD and you’ll be able to watch all 15 ‘made for TV’ shows in both languages! In the meantime, catch Sukey’s Circle! on BabyFirstTV on Dish, DirecTV, Comcast, and other cable networks. Click here.
Drum play is inherently a magical activity and seems to attract children young and old. Drum play creates an invitation to touch that allows children to explore sounds and rhythm all on their own. With a little guidance, drums are wonderfully responsive instruments for play and learning, and are very versatile particularly for little hands.
I offer drum activities in my mommy & me and preschool PlayMove&Sing classes, and I include a variety of drum play options for children to try. Children find drumming exciting and satisfying, and I believe it’s in part because they’re able to impact directly on their environment, and receive immediate feedback with instant response.
I invite children while seated to:
Pat the drum with two hands
Rub the drum in circular motions with one hand
Scratch the drum with finger tips
Tap on the drum with pointer fingers
Pat the drum with hands alternating R/L
And while standing to:
Pat the drum while marching in place
Pat the drum while marching around the room
Then seated with mallet to:
Tap the drum with one mallet (or two, one in each hand)
Circle the mallet(s) around the top of the drum in circular motion
Tap the drum with mallet(s) alternating R/L
Turn drum on its side and tap the top with mallet(s)
With drum on its side, tap the side(s) of the drum with mallet(s)
Stand and tap drum on sides or top with mallet(s)
March in place, then march around room tapping side or top of drum
The song melodies I use are taken from Ten Little Indians and Skip to M’Lou. I’ve recorded them as Pat the Ball and Rocking in My Rocking Chair on my CD’s. You’ll simply need to modify the traditional lyrics to direct the drum activity. It’s fun to try! (See lyric recommendations below).
Here’s video clip of a PlayMove&Sing class in Nyack, NY and we’re drumming away. Join us!
Ball play has universal appeal for young children and is a great activity for the developing years. Ball play develops eye-hand and eye-foot coordination, builds steadiness and confidence in the emotions, and develops physical skills to take through life.
Ball skills begin by experimenting with fundamental “lead up” skills to set the groundwork for developing more complex skills later on.
Pre-walking babies can sit and “pat” a ball, and can “track” a rolling ball coming toward them across the floor.
Toddlers can pat a ball, and also spin, roll, toss and kick a ball. They can also toss a ball into a hoop.
Preschoolers can do all the above, and can also bounce a ball, catch it, toss it (at a target or into a hoop), and can even begin to dribble a ball.
In the PlayMove&Sing classes I teach, I include additional (non-traditional) ball play activities to create a special atmosphere of physical fun and discovery.
In addition to:
I invite babies, toddlers and preschoolers to:
Sit and bounce on the ball.
Sit and bounce on the ball while clapping.
Roll on the ball (on tummy) going forward and back.
Hold the ball between feet while lying down with legs lifted overhead.
In the song featured here, Pat the Ball (to the tune of “Ten Little Indians”), the lyrics highlight ball skills to try in rhythm while singing along.
Here’s a video clip of a PlayMove&Sing class in action in Nyack, NY. (ages ___ to ___). We’re singing “Pat the Ball” while doing the actions described by the lyrics.
Each of us has a natural inner rhythm that corresponds to our own sense of personal expression. Young children thrive on connecting that personal sense of rhythm with physical action.
Offering fun objects to make sound with, and to create musical rhythmic patterns, gives valuable learning opportunities for exploration, rhythmic training, and eye-hand coordination. Tapping sticks and spoons together is both fun and instructive. Children love finding lots of ways to maneuver the sticks, and enjoy the freedom to experiment at their own pace while having physical fun.
Here’s a video clip of children (1 ½ – 3 yrs) in a PlayMove&Sing class with me in Nyack, NY. We’re singing If I Had Hands and tapping away. Click here to watch.
To join in the fun, place multiple pairs of wooden “stix” (or spoons) in a basket, pass them out, and watch the fun begin. When adding music, the rhythmic play event takes on a life of its own. Children can be invited to:
tap the stix together
tap them on the floor
tap high in the air
tap gently on the knees
tap gently on the nose
tap while marching
tap while dancing
tap behind the back, and so on
The song featured here, If I Had Hands, is based on the traditional tune “Skip to M’Lou”, and the lyrics have been changed up to create rhythmic training.
begin with wooden dowels (3 ft, 6 ft, or 12 ft lengths)
cut the dowels down into 6 or 7 inch pieces
sand the ends of each stick
paint them (or leave them natural wood)
finish by covering them with a clear, child friendly, non-toxic coating
To make rhythm spoons, purchase plain, inexpensive wooden kitchen spoons, cut the handles down to 4 inches (6 or 7 inch total length with spoon end), paint them (or leave them natural wood), and coat them with a clear, non-toxic finish.
Babies and young children benefit greatly from physical activities that include rocking, swaying, rolling and turning. These physical motions stimulate the vestibular system which is located in the inner ear and is responsible for developing good balance. Children need lots of vestibular stimulation in the developing years, and they naturally enjoy repeating these motions over and over again. The sensation is pleasing and fun!
In the PlayMove&Sing classes I teach, I include songs and movements that offer rocking, swaying, turning, and rolling, along with lots of other motion options, to specifically include vestibular activity. The two songs featured here, Row Row Row Your Boat and Rocking in My Rocking Chair offer circle time lap-sit activities, as well as independent motion activities, and I use traditional melodies that are familiar to all, while changing up the lyrics to highlight the specific physical motions.
As a lap-sit, Row Your Boat and Rocking Chair are sung with baby or toddler seated on adult’s lap, with motions created by the movement of the adult’s legs, and by lifting the child in the air. As seen in the video clip, baby or toddler can also be placed tummy down on adult’s legs/shins (while on your back on the floor), and moving your legs forward, back, up and down.
As an independent activity for 2 ½ – 5 year olds, children sit on the floor rocking forward and back, and then upside down with feet overhead. It’s fun with this age group to sing the songs at different speeds, getting slower and quicker with each run through. It’s also fun to change up the lyrics with Rocking Chair to include bicycle leg motions and other creative body postures. Remember, children love to repeat, repeat, repeat!
Here’s a short video clip from a PlayMove&Sing mommy and me class (ages 1 ½ to 2 ½) at the Rockland County YMCA in NY. In the clip we’re singing Row Row Row Your Boat, followed by Rocking in My Rocking Chair. Sing and move along with us!
Hello Play and Goodbye Play serve an important role in creating special moments for children to connect with one another when gathering together. Special attention given to Greetings and Partings helps to bring a sense of welcome and belonging.
In my classes and performances, I always like to begin events with a special Hello song, accompanied by my hand puppet Sunflower, and Little Flower when singing Goodbye. One day in class, it dawned on me that the children and parents would enjoy having their own puppets to sing along with too, and I now begin and end every class with two baskets full of Sunflowerand Little Flower puppets for everyone to share.
The two songs I sing, Hello Everyone and Goodbye Everyone, are easy to learn, and are designed to include each child’s name as the circle time leader sings around the circle. It’s fun to include a gentle cheek touch from your puppet as you greet each child, and to allow time for children to play with their own puppets before singing. I invite children and parents to move the puppets up and down, side to side, round and round, and behind the back for peek-a-boo.
I first created my Sunflower and Little Flower puppets out of felt, and you can do the same. Simply outline the shape of your hand on paper in order to make the mitt pattern, then sew the two felt sides together, followed by sewing or gluing on faces. You can include petals, and a circle, to go around the faces by cutting shapes and sewing them into the mitt seam. (See patterns below – click to download).
I now make hand puppets for educators, librarians, parents, and children to enjoy in and out of the circle time setting, but I always encourage everyone to try making their own. It makes for a great family or classroom activity.
Here’s a short video clip from a PlayMove&Sing mommy and me class (ages 1 ½ to 2 ½) at the Rockland County YMCA in NY. In the clip, we’re singing Hello Everyone with our puppets, and the class is just getting under way. Sing along with us!
When I was growing up, each winter with the first snow, my mother would sing, “it’s snowing, it’s snowing!” and we would run outside to play. My mother couldn’t recall where the melody came from, but she remembered that her father used to sing it to her when she was little. My mother always loved playing in the snow, and when I was older, we collaborated together to develop the song. This is what I wrote in my mother’s memory. It’s on my I Am Happy album.
This is a photo of my mother, Marguerite Purdy, posing in the snow.
Sharing music and movement together is not only fun, but also important because so much of our lifestyle causes us to be physically inactive, even when we’re so busy. Movement and music play offer opportunities to be together, while at the same time developing physical skills, having physical fun, and sharing moments of joy.
Read the rest of my blog post for See Mom Work HERE.
Play and Learning Together at Home – Pat the Ball!
Ball play is a powerful tool for learning that the whole family can enjoy together. Lead up skills in ball handling help children build muscle memory in the body, help develop eye-hand and eye-foot coordination, and offer opportunities to build self-confidence.
Read the rest of my blog post for Go Graham Go HERE.
In thinking about the challenges facing home school parents, I encourage you to try and create more opportunities for movement and music learning as part of your child’s daily curriculum. By providing regularly planned opportunities for movement, music, and art play, you’ll provide tools for learning, and give your children valuable skills to take through life!
Read the rest of my blog post for Teaching Stars HERE.