"Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature can not do without." ~Confucius

Monday, July 30, 2012

Make-It-A-Song Monday: Vacations!

Today, we are thinking about and planning a mini-beach trip, and since we haven't been there yet this year (ahh!!), mommy is probably more excited than the kiddos.

So, all this joy in my heart wells up to.... singing! The kiddos are actually, very excited, and usually are always excited for whatever trip we're going on, so it's a great opportunity to funnel that excitement into a simple melody to sing happily... to help with the great joy of.... packing!  :-)

Here's one we're singing around the house about the beach (to the tune of "London Bridge is Falling Down"):

We are going to the beach,
to the beach, to the beach,
There's sand and crabs and crashing waves
Oh, I love the beach!

We are going to the beach,
to the beach, to the beach,
Bring shovels, buckets, snacks and treats,
Oh, I love the beach!

Or.... if you're taking a trip to the mountains,

Up to the mountains we will go,
we will go, we will go,
Hiking, fishing, swimming too,
at the mountain house.

Those are some silly examples to get you thinking of more ways to incorporate melody and description into your daily routine!

BTW.... you can certainly have the kids make up their own verses.... or do a 'Mad Libs' version and have them complete the sentence. Maybe next time I'll share what K and J came up with when we did it. I'm sure it'll be silly..... since that is what they are all the time. :-)

What did YOU make into a song today?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Baby's Body Awareness

One great benefit to doing chants and rhymes with your baby is that they facilitate baby's discovery of his/her own body. Infants become aware of their own body little bits at a time. I still remember when all my babies discovered their hand or foot for the first time and what a delight it was to see the intrigued look in their eyes as they examined this new discovery....

To help your baby discover his/her own body more and more, consider doing baby chants on the left and right sides of their body. This will help them feel and discover more than just their bellies and those cute little cheeks that everyone pinches.

For example, start from the foot or the hip on the Right side and rhythmically move your fingers up to the pattern of the chant (ending with a big tickle).
 Then try the Left....

You can use any chants you like (you can always browse on this site), but here are a few that are shorter, so they work well for your short little bundle of joy and time-out well for a trip up or down the side of your baby). 

Jump A Little 
Jump a little, jump a little,  (jump with your fingers)
Jump, jump, crow. 
Have a little cake 
and away we'll go! 

Little Grasshopper
There was a little grasshopper, 
always on the 'jump'  (jump with your hand)
Because he never looked ahead, 
He always went "Bump!"   (tap baby's head or nose)

And, tried and true, your favorite and mine, 

To Market, To Market
To market, to market, to buy a fat pig, 
Home again, home again, jiggity jig. 

To market, to market to buy a fat hog. 
Home again, home again, jiggety jog. 

To market, to market to buy a plum bun, 
Home again, home again, market is done! 

This one has oodles of possibilities! We like to go up one side during line one, then down the other side on line two, repeating this pattern for each verse. 

To market, to market, to buy a fat pig,  (travel up baby's left side)
Home again, home again, jiggity jig.  (travel down baby's right side, tickling foot at the bottom each time.) 

Incorporate as many little tickles as possible to get those babies laughing and more aware of all their amazing and adorable little bodies! 


And... little (well, not-so-little anymore!... sniff, sniff...) baby M added high five for a job well done! 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Peanut Butter and JELLY!!

Lunchtime sometimes is a bit hectic because K and J and M all have inner hunger-alarms that go off around 12:00ish... So, if lunch is delayed, it's just loud, nonstop, hunger-induced fussiness.... no, that's too mild of a word..... out-leashing of hunger vengeance. Yes, that's better.

I was reminded of this little song/chant recently, and the boys love it... So, it's worth sharing/reminding with you all, who very well may already know the chant. It helps give us all something sequence and song-oriented to do (to distract from complaining) while assembling the oft-encountered lunch of PB & J.

Here's a link to hear a sample of the song: Click Here!

We kind of do a shortened version, and we kind of go nuts on the word "Jelly" by throwing our hands up and saying the word in a high-pitched silly voice....
So, this is our version, feel free to adapt your own!
We do motions with each 'verse' for the words crush, spread, smoosh, bite, etc...


Peanut, Peanut butter and JELLEEEEE!!!
Peanut, Peanut butter and JELLEEEEE!!!

First you take the peanuts and you crush 'em, you crush 'em,
you crush 'em, crush 'em, crush 'em.
Then you spread 'em, you spread 'em,
you spread 'em, spread 'em, spread 'em.

 Peanut, Peanut butter and JELLEEEEE!!!
Peanut, Peanut butter and JELLEEEEE!!!

Then you take the berries and you smoosh 'em, you smoosh 'em, 
you smoosh 'em, smoosh 'em, smoosh 'em. 
Then you spread 'em,  you spread 'em, 
you spread 'em, spread 'em, spread 'em. 

Peanut, Peanut butter and JELLEEEEE!!!
Peanut, Peanut butter and JELLEEEEE!!!

Then you take the sandwich and you bite it, you bite it, 
you bite it, bite, it, bite it. 
Then you chew it, you chew it, 
you chew it, chew it, chew it. 
Then you swallow, you swallow, 
you swallow, swallow, swallow. 

Oops.... excuse me. 

Peanut, Peanut butter and JELLEEEEE!!!
Peanut, Peanut butter and JELLEEEEE!!!   Weeeee!!!

So, here's to singing and fun at lunchtime! 
Have fun! 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

"Borrowed" Lullabies

Ah... the lazy, hazy days of summer.... perfect time to check in on how all your lullaby-singing is going out there?? Are you spending a few minutes at the end of your child's day in sweet words and song?

A good point to make is that children sleep peacefully when they are prepared well for it. You're all working or have worked hard on getting your little darlings to sleep well, I'm sure...

But... if helpful for any of you, here are some suggestions for nighttime routines:

Pick a bedtime and stick to it (I know... it's summertime... bedtime is a bit more flexible... but not too flexible!)
Have a getting-ready-for-bed routine... Like: Take bath, brush teeth,  drink water, read story, sing lullaby, lay down. Goodnight.
When they are prepared lovingly for bed, it makes their sleep that much sweeter.

Although... they don't always stay in bed.... One of our favorite comedians, Jim Gaffigan, in one of his stand-up routines, describes getting a young child to stay in bed is like a reverse hostage scenario: "I'll give you whatever you want, just STAY IN THERE!!!!"

Anyway - my point today is (if you're already confused, as I am), keep that lullaby in your routine! Every night, three times a week, once a week - just keep it there! It does a world of good for your child to be comforted by the singing sweetness of your voice and to drift off to sleep with a melody in his/her head.

Don't just resort to turning on a CD of lullabies... yes, those are nice also. But, think if you were a child, you may prefer the tangible love of your parent to just the mechanical presence of a CD.

Here are two lovely lullabies "borrowed" from other traditions:

I.   "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" 
This is an American Negro Spiritual from the late 1800's, ascribed to W. Willis, who was a freed slave. He was inspired by the story in the Bible of Elijah being taken away to heaven in a chariot, and the song may also have ties to Harriet Tubman's work, as many looked to being freed by the "chariot" of the underground railroad.

Text: (This is a sampling, as there are several verses)
Swing low, sweet chariot,
coming for to carry me home;
Swing low, sweet chariot,
coming for to carry me home.

I looked over Jordan, what did I see?
coming for to carry me home;
A band of angels coming for me;
coming for to carry me home.

Sometimes I'm up, sometimes I'm down
coming for to carry me home; 
But still my soul is heaven bound
coming for to carry me home.


Here's the melody in good 'ole gospel style by Etta James (a bit faster than you might sing it for a lullaby, but fun nonetheless): Click Here!

II.  "Numi, Numi" (Hebrew Lullaby) 
This is a beautiful song and the real "Numi, Numi" (Sleep, Sleep) is all in Hebrew, which is a bit of a challenge for me...  So, I keep "Numi, Numi" and then add English words - roughly like this:

Numi, Numi, Little Baby,
Numi, Numi, nim
Numi, Numi, Little One,
Numi, Numi, nim.

Daddy's gone to work,
He went, Daddy went,
He'll come when the moon comes out,
and bring you a gift.

 Numi, Numi, Little Baby,
Numi, Numi, nim
Numi, Numi, Little One, 
Numi, Numi, nim. 


For the melody: Click Here!

There are other verses, or you can just create your own.
The melody is too beautiful to pass up though! (P.S. It's on itunes - in the album "From generation to generation: A Legacy of Lullabies by T. Solnik. I've been wanting to check this album out!)

Keep loving on those babies!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Circle Games - A Tisket, A Tasket

Childhood rocks.

But, I feel like sometimes as a mom of young kids, I complain too much about the energy drain I feel at the end of the day, or the amount of whining I listen to, or the time needed to care for the needs of three young boys.

Sometimes simple things like childhood games remind me of the precious joy that is inherent in these little creatures and the priceless worth of their giggles and smiles.... those cute and adorable moments do  a lot of good for the weary mama. :-)

So, here is a circle song that children have played for many years (since the late 1800's) either as a reminder to you or a new one to learn.
It's great for a playdate activity, daycare activity, family activity, sibling activity (if you're one of those super-moms with lots 'o kids), etc....

First the words and melody:

A Tisket, A Tasket
A tisket, a tasket,
a green and yellow basket
I wrote a letter to my love (or friend),
and on the way I dropped it.
I dropped it, I dropped it,
on the way I dropped it,
A little boy (or girl)
he picked it up
and put it in his pocket.

Here's a link to the Melody: Go HERE!

How to play (same basic idea as duck, duck, goose):
You will need an item to use as a letter... either a play letter from another toy, a real envelope, a handkerchief, etc....

Children sit or stand in a circle (Or, if you have older ones, they can circle around in one direction while the "letter carrier" skips around the circle in the other direction).

One child is the letter carrier who circles around the others while all sing through the song.

At the end of the song, letter carrier drops the "letter" and whatever child it lands behind picks it up and chases  the other around to the vacated spot.

Originally, if you were tagged, you had to confess who your "love" was. But, if you think this may not appeal to your kiddos (it might be a good ego-booster to have some of those little girls or boys say their love is "Daddy" or "Mommy"), you can have a tagged child sit in the middle, go again, or just sit down, since the child who was just chasing will probably want to be the letter carrier now.


For another option for a Circle Game, check this one out too: Doggie, Doggie