Archive for July, 2006

I recently saw this video on another Kindermusik blog and have been waiting for just the right opportunity to share it with my families.  I am truly amazed at what this artist does with sand and an overhead projector.  Make sure you have your speakers turned up and be prepared to be amazed yourself.  I am every time I watch it!

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Having lived in the Panola area for almost 29 years and being a confirmed bookaholic, I enjoy dropping by the Salem-Panola branch of the DeKalb County Public Library system.  The librarians are all well-known to our family and we consider them all good friends. They are always interested in our family and how we are doing, making suggestions for new authors and books that we might find interesting.

On Tuesday morning, I got an opportunity to give them something back – a taste of Kindermusik for the patrons of the Salem-Panola library.  Although our classes are normally restricted in size to facilitate learning, we lifted that restriction somewhat to include everyone who was interested – a nice, large group of children!

We started off with a Welcome song – “Ahoy there, Mates!” – in honor of being at the beach.  Then we thought about different things we can do at the beach – dig in the sand, swim in the water, looking for seashells, watching for turtles – suggestions were coming from all over the group. 

Next, we practiced rowing our boats -by ourselves, with our moms, with our friends!  And we decided that each one of us could say,”I like the beach!”  🙂    Then we “climbed” into a sailing boat next and went sailing over the waves.  Some of the boys decided they wanted to go fishing, instead! 

Everyone is an octopus at the library!

It’s hard to resist the music of “Si Fe’s” – The Octopus.  With streamers and energy, we had octopuses all over the place!    We had such a good time doing this, we decided to go “Over the Waves” and create the ocean right there – in the children’s section of Salem-Panola library!

Beach ball fun    Over the waves at the library!

Our noise level as well as our energy level needed to come down at this point; we had had so much fun with the waves and the beach balls. 

 In Kindermusik classes, especially for the youngest children in Village classes, there is an important component known as quiet time or rocking time.  It gives the parent and child an opportunity to slow down, relax, and just enjoy being together as a family unit.  More importantly, it also stimulates the child’s vestibular system – the balance system within the brain – that provides such an important function as he or she grows and develops.  And it all is enhanced simply by sitting and rocking together – today to a lovely song titled “The Water is Wide.”

Right after this, we listened to sounds of the whales, calling to each other and decided that it’s really a neat thing to listen to!  Then we decided to become whales ourselves!

Mom and child pretending to be whales

We decided to trade our humongous scarves for smaller ones and practiced “going over, going under, stand at attention – like a soldier, with a one-two-three!”

Going over, going under    Stand at attention like a soldier

Our story book for this week was “Ten Little Fish” by Audrey Wood.  It’s a very colorful, predictable book that children love to read over and over again.

Ten Little Fish

After this, we got to make our own shakers to take home and enjoy.

Making shakers    Adding glitter

Moms are the best helpers!

 Then we took our shakers and danced *calypso* to “Mary Ann” all over and around the children’s area of Salem-Panola library!  Our last activity was the “Sailor’s Jig,” a circle dance that went around and around, in and out, and we loved every minute of it!

As we ended our time together, I shared with the moms something most, if not all, of them knew –  that children thrive on routine and structure.  Each Kindermusik class always begins with a welcome song and ends with a goodbye song to give the children the welcome reassurance that it’s just like they remembered.  

All in all, everyone had, I think, a great day at the beach at Salem-Panola!

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If you have more than one child and would like to include all of your children into one class, then Family Time is the answer for you!  Family Time is Kindermusik’s response to the requests made by busy families like yours!

This new curriculum, created by Kindermusik, is designed to apply musical and developmental learning in a multi-age, multi-child, family environment.  In a “one room schoolhouse” environment, Family Time helps children develop musical skills, as well as the social skills necessary to share, take turns, and strengthen the emotional bond among family members. 

It is a great way for parents with children of various ages to spend time together, doing one activity as a family.  The little ones watch the older ones, and learn from them.  Parents enjoy time with the entire family.  In sixteen weeks, you’ll play instruments together, dance together, share, and take turns, and see how music can bring you closer as a family.

Check out our Family Time video and see what it’s all about!

You can find more information about Family Time and other fall classes on our website:


To register, you may either download the registration form and mail it in, or, for your convenience, online payment via Paypal.com is also available.

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I have been asked why I believe so passionately in Kindermusik and music for young children in general.  The excerpt below is a very brief synopsis of what research has shown that music can do to enhance a child’s development and to further his potential.  On a personal level, I not only believe this, but I have seen it for myself in my own family.

FYI – For Your Information –  

(excerpt from Start the Music, a report from the Early Childhood Music Summit, sponsored by MENC, NAEYC, and the U.S. Dept. of Education)

The Value of Music for the Very Young

The idea that very early education provides great long-term benefits has been rendered incontestable by studies in cognition and early learning. Research in developmental psychology and commonsense observation underscore both the importance and the wisdom of making music an integral and overt part of the earliest education of young children:

(1) We know that music is among the first and most important modes of communication experienced by infants. The youngest children lack the gift of speech, but they are deeply responsive to the emotional ethos created by music. The lullabies sung by parents help children to accomplish the fundamental developmental task of learning-to trust their environment as a secure one. Songs communicate adult love and the experiences of joy and delight; they teach children that the world is a pleasurable and exciting place to be. Music is essential to the depth and strength of this early foundation for learning and for connecting to life itself.

(2) As young children grow and develop, music continues as a basic medium not only of communication, but of self-expression as well. Through music, children expand their cognitive universe as they first experience-and later learn to produce-sounds organized to carry musical meaning within their culture. Music expands memory and assists in developing crucial language skills. Music exerts a multiplier effect on reasoning skills, especially on spatial reasoning-an effect that has been demonstrated experimentally. Music also reinforces such logical and perceptual ideas as beginning and ending, cause and effect, sequence and balance, harmony and dissonance, as well as arithmetic concepts such as number, enumeration, and timing. In addition, as centuries of tradition and modern vehicles such as Sesame Street have taught us all, music in the lives of young children is a highly effective means of delivering vital information about the world itself, as when it is used to teach such basic content as counting, colors, relationships among ideas, social skills, and the wonders of the natural world. Music is also a powerful tool for communicating the full spectrum of human emotion in ways appropriate to children’s experience. Children who may not be able to express verbally their happiness, anger, or sadness can find in music the right outlet and mode for what they cannot yet identify or express clearly using the tools of language.

(3) As preschool children not only listen to and respond to music, but also learn to make music by singing and playing instruments together, they create important contexts for the early learning of vital life skills such as cooperation, collaboration, and group effort.

(4) Guided music experiences also begin to teach young children to make judgments about what constitutes “good” music, thereby developing in them the rudiments of an aesthetic sense.

(5) Music contributes strongly to “school readiness,” a foundational education aim of the American people for all our children, as expressed in our National Education Goals. Music experiences can help children prepare to learn to become literate as it helps them become more aware of and focused on the phonemes that make up the language or languages they will need to excel in school. When children develop musical skill and understanding, they are developing basic cognitive, social, and motor skills necessary for success throughout the educational process. They are preparing skills that will apply to language, to literacy, and to life itself.

The report may be found in its entirety at this web address:


The benefits of music – experiencing and participating in music – just go on and on and on and on.  Throughout your child’s life, he or she will reap the rewards and benefits of your investment in the potential that is there from the very beginning. 

This is why we say: Kindermusik – a good beginning never ends…………………. 

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This past Tuesday was our last class of Creatures at the Ocean at the house on Davis Street. We missed one of our mates who is vacationing on
Cape Cod this week, but we were joined by a visitor just back from her vacation.  It was fun to see her enjoy our class!

Our new classmate and her mom

It’s always interesting to watch and listen for the children as they enter the house.  After five weeks, I have learned to recognize certain footsteps as they race down the hall from the front door after depositing their shoes by the bench.  Certain ones thunder down the hall, race over to the Kindermusik blanket, and throw themselves down to check out what’s new this week. 

Friends share at Gathering Time

Others dance down the hall and peek around the corner.  Our youngest found her own place just down the hall where she could see what was going on and be protected by the bookcase from hurtling bodies coming behind her.

Watching big sister

After we sang “Ahoy” to all our friends, we began to “row, row” our fishing boats, counting all the fish we caught:“1 for father, 1 for mother, 1 for sister, 1 for brother”, ending with a loud YUM! YUM!

Some of us had our own rowboats.

Then we had another visitor to class who had eight – yes – 

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 arms!

 Octopus adventures

Beautiful rainbow streamers danced through the air as we enjoyed “Si Fe’e” – The Octopus and pretended to be octopi ourselves!  🙂

After that, we found ourselves leaping and swimming and talking just like dolphins!

Gliding smoothly through the water.

This week, our focused listening was the whale. 

Their voices sound so beautiful, calling through the water to their families and friends.  

 We took our humongous scarves and pretended that we were swimming down deep in the sea, rising every now and then to take a deep breath, blow a water spout, and dive down again!

 Boy, this thing is *BIG*!     Giggle!

 Each week we have enjoyed “The Water is Wide” and have come to treasure that part of our class as a very special parent/child bonding time – time to slow down and enjoy holding each other close.   

This week was a little different as our two sets of siblings decided to rock together as family units.  One set piled in together in their caregiver’s lap while the other (sister and brother) wound up in the floor, piled up together.

Brotherly-sisterly love

I always enjoy watching the interaction of siblings, especially as they find ways to express their affection for each other.  <wink>


Our storybook this week was entitled “Hello Ocean” by Pam Munoz Ryan.  It is a lovely picture book with large, detailed illustrations by Mark Astrella.  We really enjoyed examining each picture and finding all the details. 

 Hello Ocean

It was a very appropriate book for our last week, ending with: 

“The sun dips down; it’s time to go.

But I’ll be back to see your show,hear the stories you have to spin,

taste your flavors once again,take deep sniffs of briny air,and feel the treasures you have to share. 

Goodbye, ocean, my old best friend…..” 

You can find more information on this book and the author at her website: 


Our craft this week was to build an ocean scene, picking out just the right fish with just the right color seaweed  to place on our “ocean” plates.

Making our own ocean scenes

While we worked, Miss Merri and Miss Faith prepared our treats – banana rowboats with pretzel oars, floating in a sea of multi-colored fish crackers.


Banana Rowboats - YUM! 

Some of us were too busy working to take time to eat our treats. 

I'm too busy to eat!     Which one will it be?

After we finished, we rowed back over to our circle, shook our wave drums and seashell castanets, and danced to “Mary Ann” for the last time at the House on Davis Street.


Our “Sailor’s Jig” was fun and we laughed and giggled as we circled the floor, going in and out, stepping and kicking, and relishing how the music moved us. 

As we ended our class, Faith and I were given lovely bamboo plants (for good luck) in beautiful ceramic planters to remember our visits on Davis Street, and  I particularly enjoyed hugs from all of my students as they hurtled across the floor and grabbed my neck. 🙂

We sang “Goodbye now, Mates” for the last time to each and every class mate and waved goodbye until next time-  

 Goodbye now, mates!  Goodbye now, friends! 

Let’s wave goodbye to Connell!

Let’s wave goodbye to Avery!

Let’s wave goodbye to Lila!

Let’s wave goodbye to Maddy!

Let’s wave goodbye to David!

Let’s wave goodbye to Michav!

Let’s wave goodbye to Josie!

Let’s wave goodbye to Ian!

Let’s wave goodbye to Rafaella!

Let’s wave goodbye to Ella!

 Let’s wave goodbye to everyone! 

Goodbye now, Mates!

Goodbye!  Goodbye!

Kindermusik - a good beginning never ends...............

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Are you ready?

Here’s a simple test to know whether or not you’re ready to have children.

Have all the answers? Ready as you’ll ever be?  Here goes!
MESS TEST: Smear peanut butter on the sofa and curtains. Place a fish stick behind the couch and leave it there all summer.

TOY TEST: Obtain a 55-gallon box of LEGOs (or you may substitute roofing tacks). Have a friend spread them all over the house. Put on a blindfold. Try to walk to the bathroom or kitchen. Do not scream because this would wake a child at night.

GROCERY STORE TEST: Borrow one or two small animals (goats are best) and take them with you as you shop. Always keep them in sight and pay for anything they eat or damage.

Mommmm, I'm hunnnngry!

DRESSING TEST: Obtain one large, unhappy, live octopus. Stuff into a small net bag making sure that all the arms stay inside.

FEEDING TEST: Obtain a large plastic milk jug. Fill halfway with water. Suspend from the ceiling with a cord. Start the jug swinging. Try to insert spoonfuls of soggy cereal into the mouth of the jug, while pretending to be an airplane. Now dump the contents of the jug on the floor.

NIGHT TEST: Prepare by obtaining a small cloth bag and fill it with 8-12 pounds of sand. Soak it thoroughly in water. At 3:00 pm, begin to waltz and hum with the bag until 9:00 pm. Lay down your bag and set your alarm for 10:00 pm. Get up, pick up your bag, and sing every song you have ever heard. Make up about a dozen more and sing these too until 4:00 am. Set alarm for 5:00 am. Get up and make breakfast. Keep this up for 5 years. Look cheerful.

Walking the  Floor

INGENUITY TEST: Take an egg carton. Using a pair of scissors and pot of paint, turn it into an alligator. Now take a toilet paper tube and turn it into an attractive Christmas candle. Use only scotch tape and a piece of foil. Last, take a milk carton, a Ping-Pong ball, and an empty box of Cocoa Puffs. Make an exact replica of the Eiffel Tower.

AUTOMOBILE TEST: Forget the BMW and buy a station wagon or a mini-van. Buy a
chocolate ice cream cone and put it in the glove compartment. Leave it there. Get a dime. Stick it into the cassette player. Take a family size package of chocolate chip cookies. Mash them into the back seat. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car. There, perfect.

 Wouldn't you rather have this than a Lexus?

PHYSICAL TEST (Women): Obtain a large bean bag chair and attach it to the front of your clothes. Leave it there for 9 months. Now remove 10 of the beans.

PHYSICAL TEST (Men): Go to the nearest drug store. Set your wallet on the counter. Ask t he clerk to help himself. Now proceed to the nearest food store. Go to the head office and arrange for your paycheck to be directly deposited to the store. Purchase a newspaper. Go home and read it quietly for the last time.

FINAL ASSIGNMENT: Find a couple who already have a small child. Lecture them on how they can improve their discipline, patience, tolerance, toilet training and child’s table manners. Suggest many ways they can improve. Emphasize to them that they should never allow their children to run wild. Enjoy this experience. It will be the last time you will have all the answers.

Many thanks to Daneille Grimes for sharing with us!

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I’m Bored!

Fun Make-Your-Own Instrument Ideas

Usually, about this time, every summer, I hear those oft-dreaded words that every parent hears from time to time: “I’m bored!” 

To provide a creative opportunity as well as keep the kiddos busy, try making your own musical instruments.  Here’s how


NEEDED: 2 sturdy paper plates, colored painters tape or electrical tape, beans, rice or bells, stickers or markers.

STEPS: Take 1 paper plate and have the child place an assortment of beans, rice and or bells in the center of the paper plate.  Second have the child place the other paper plate upside ddown on top of the first.  Then tape all around the edges.  Lastly, have the child decorate the wave drum with whatever crafty things you may have around the house: markers, crayons, star stickers, colored dot stickers, etc. 

ALTERNATIVE IDEA: Substitute two of the colored plastic Solo-brand plates with Fruit Loops cereal inside.  For you more creative types, visit your local Hobby Lobby or Michael’s to find some tiny beads to add for that extra-special sound.


NEEDED: 2 small plastic or paper cups, assortment of beans/rice and packing tape or painters tape.

STEPS: Take 1 cup and have the child fill cup with an assortment of beans or rice.  Then take the second cup upside down and place on top of the first cup.  Then tape the two cups together and decorate.

ALTERNATIVE IDEA: Use the core from a roll of toilet paper.  Wrap wax paper over the bottom and place a rubber band  to secure.  Fill with assorted dried beans and/or rice, then wrap second piece of wax paper over the other end.  Secure with rubber band.  For more permanence, tape securely around the sides over the wax paper.   Try different combinations of salt, sand, rice, and beans to see which sound you prefer. 


NEEDED: Assortment of different colored ribbons,  3/8 – 1/2″ wide, ponytail holders (rubber bands for hair) without the metal piece at the join or small soft scrunchie.

STEPS:  Cut 36″-48″ of individual ribbons and fold in two.  Lay the loop under the hairband and then pull two ends of the ribbon over the hairband through the loop on the other side.  Pull to tighten.  The bands are a perfect fit for the little wrists, and the ones without the metal pieces will not pinch.  The scrunchies will not fit as tightly around the wrist as the ponytail holders, but might be easier to slide on.

Wrist streamers in action

Many times you can find ribbon on sale 3 rolls for $1.00 at Michael’s and Joann’s.  These rolls usually have 9-10 yards on each roll, plenty to make several streamers.  Make extras for your friend’s children to play with when they visit while the two of you enjoy a cup of coffee or herbal tea and each other’s company!

Don’t forget the music!  🙂

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For all you soccer fans out there, especially Helena and Ally……………………

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This week, for a change at Gathering Time, I placed my Folkmanis puppets out on the blanket, along with new, different instruments that the children had not seen before.  It was interesting to watch their reactions.  At first, all the attention was directed to the puppets ( I know!  Who can resist Folkmanis puppets?! Look for their website on the right sidebar.)  But then you could watch their attention slip over to the instruments, almost see them do a double-take, like: “Wait!  What’s that?  That’s new!”  I have to confess to an almost devilish glee in piqueing their interests.  🙂

 Gathering Time Fun with FolkmanisGathering Time Fun with InstrumentsIt's a what?  And it does what?

We had our lowest attendance of the entire camp this week due to one family’s vacation, another in the middle of a move into a new house, and the last one to a family crisis.  Our class of nine energetic, rambunctious little bodies became a fairly calm, at times, almost lethargic class of four.  The synergy of the group was distinctly different.  Amazing, when you think about it! 

Kindermusik friends have the best times together!Of course, I'll share with you!

As we moved into our greeting time, singing “Ahoy There, Mates!”, you could sense the children settling into the routine of our Hello song. 

Mom is my best friend!We like practicing our salutes!

 Next, we talked about the kinds of boats we had seen so far in our stay at the beach – sailboats and rowboats.  And with a “row, row, row, row” we were back at sea, rowing and fishing for our supper – one for father, one for mother, one for sister, one for brother.  And we all liked to finish up our chant with a big YUM, YUM!  🙂

Row! Row! Row! Row!One is for the fisherman who eats his fish - Rowing buddies

This particular class is a young class in many ways.  I have learned that sometimes we really need to dial down the energy to keep from implosion of little people.  With this class in the late afternoon, they have already dealt with a fairly long day.  Consequently, our next activity was to simply sing a lovely tune – “Come Sailing With Me” – and enjoy rocking our boats with our moms.  Our waters were fairly calm this week!  No storms or falling out of the boat!

Sailing with Mom

 Our favorite part of class came next.  We brought the ocean back into the house on Davis Street and enjoyed “making waves” and watching the water go up and down, up and then down.  This week, our youngest classmate really got excited, focused, and involved in this activity!  Our music?  “Over the Waves” – of course!

Oh, boy, is that the big blue sheet?!Helping hands make twice the fun!Even little people can help!

And, magically, the beach balls were back!  We didn’t see where they came from, at first.  But then we spotted Miss Merri tossing them into our ocean.  They were rolling and bouncing and leaping up into the air!   Sometimes, they even jumped out of the water and we had to throw them back in!

How did they get there?Beachball fun

Some of our waves were so big that they tossed the balls right out!  Luckily, we had our expert ball retrieval specialist with us today!

Catch them!  Catch them!

 Naturally, after this high-energy activity, we had to again dial back down the energy level.  “The Water Is Wide” is, I think, one of the favorites of this class – both of moms and children.  It’s a lovely song with an easy rocking rhythm that lends itself to special bonding time between mother and child.  So nice to just slow down, relax and enjoy each other.

Mom's loving armsAnother way to rock

 Some of us were so relaxed, we were almost ready for a nap!  But, instead, we heard a new song – “Going over the Sea” – that helped us learn where “over ” is and where “under” is.  Scarves were ever so much fun!

Going over ……. Going Over!  Going under ……. Going under.....

with a one-two-three!

Next, we listened to how dolphins talk to each other.  It was really, really neat and we learned how to leap out of the water, glide smoothly through the water, and talk happily together – just like they do!

For storytime this week, we listened to Miss Merri read “Sea, Sand, and Me” by Patricia Hubbell.  It’s a really neat book that we loved hearing from about “flippy-floppy sunhats” and “wiggly-waggly toes”.

Beach day, Beach day, sun, sand, sea

Treats (for our Australian friends) or snacks (as we Americans say) were the next on our agenda.  To celebrate our theme this week of “Riding the Waves”, we had really, really BLUE  jello to enjoy with “Shark Bites” (gummy sharks) floating inside.  YUM!

For our youngest class member, it was her very first encounter with Jello and she seemed to find it quite tasty!

What is this stuff, anyway?

We followed this with our craft for the week – making our own wave drums with our moms’ and Miss Merri’s help, of course!   Here’s a picture of Miss Merri’s – ’cause we wouldn’t turn ours loose and took them home instead!

Just like our own aquarium......

We took our wave-drums over to our circle and explored all the different ways we could shake them, wave them, bounce them, tap them, thunk them and anything else we could think of before Miss Merri turned on “Mary Ann”. 

Some of us just used our wave-drums to dance with; some wanted just the sea-shell castanets.  Still others wanted both!  🙂

~~”All night, all day, Mary Ann; Down by the seashore, sifting sand”~~

All these little children sure do love Mary Ann!

We finished our class with our Sailor’s Jig and then sang our Good-bye Song:

“Good-bye now, Mates! Good-bye now, Mates!”

Good-bye now, mate!

to one of our friends who won’t be back next week because he’s going to the seashore at Cape Cod!  Have a great vacation!

All in all, we had a great day at the beach on Davis Street,

’cause we like the beach!

See ya next week!

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Happy Birthday, America!

The Flag of the United States of America

Independence Day, the Fourth of July, is the only national holiday that celebrates our nation, the United States of America, as a whole, the sum of its parts.

As we remember the birthday of our nation, may we also take time to remember the sacrifices made on our behalf by all servicemen and women everywhere throughout our nation’s history that our freedoms might remain intact. 

(Be sure to click on the flag before you go any further!)

 Children on the Fourth of July

Cool Websites for the Fourth of July 

To learn more about the history of the Fourth of July: 

The History Channel’s Main Home Page for the Fourth of July – its origins and history as well as fun information


Free online encyclopedia with articles relating to the Fourth of July


  For audio clips of patriotic American songs: 

A Site with numerous audio clips of beloved patriotic American songs


For information about the Flag of the United States: 

Website dedicated to the flag of the United States of America


Flag rules for flying and flag etiquette


CNN’s site for students to learn more about our flag


Interested in Fireworks? 

Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about fireworks and how they work!


For fun crafts for the kids: 

Learn how to make 5 pointed stars just like Betsy Ross did!


All kinds of fun crafts, decorations, and printable booklets for the 4th of July


Printable versions of the United States Flag and individual State Flags


 Boy with Sword and Flag
You're a grand old flag, 
You're a high flying flag 
And forever in peace may you wave. 
You're the emblem of, the land I love, 
The home of the free and the brave. 
Ev'ry heart beats true 'neath the 
Red, White and Blue, 
Where there's never a boast or brag. 
But should auld acquaintance be forgot, 
Keep your eye on the grand old flag. 
--George M. Cohan, "You're A Grand Old Flag" 

May Tuesday be a time of family and friends and fun!
 Happy Birthday, America!

Fireworks over Washington Fireworks Fireworks over Miss Liberty Fabulous Fireworks Fireworks over New York

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