Fun with Music: String Instruments

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Fun with Music: String Instruments

This post, “Fun with Music – Sting Instruments”, is written in collaboration with Shannon Wijnker from Mamamusing. Shannon is a music teacher and mother of four.

Shannon writes:
As a child, I was always fascinated with string instruments. In fact, the violin was the first instrument that I learned how to play. After listening to someone play the violin, I walked up to them and told them that I wanted to start lessons (not even consulting my parents of course!). One thing led to another and my studies in music began.

I find that children are familiar with the guitar, but have little to no knowledge of any other instruments in the string family. Especially in our school system, a majority of the children are only exposed to woodwind and brass instruments.

Just the other day I was watching Sesame Street with my kids and they had a skit about musical instruments and vibrations. I thought to myself…. Yes! String instruments are the best way to teach children about vibration! Drawing a bow across the strings is a great visual and tangible way to demonstrate this concept for young children. My daughter just loves to watch them, because she thinks they are cool J. All musical instruments make vibrations, but string instruments are the best example. You can also talk about pitch and that the bigger the instrument gets, the lower the vibration will sound. The smaller the instrument, the higher (and as faster) the vibration will sound. Play a game with your child and have them compare two different instruments and guess which one will make the higher/lower sound.

Content:
Playtime
Craft
Musical Outings
Story Time
Games Online
Related Posts

Playtime

More from Shannon:
One of my favourite string performers is Yo Yo Ma. He plays the cello and has an amazing talent for making the music sound so expressive. You can find a plethora of videos on YouTube. Natalie MacMaster is a very talented Canadian violin player. Another great example to listen to! (and a completely different style of playing)

Also, introduce your child to listening to music by playing all four (4) movements of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. This is played by a string quartet (4 string instruments: 2 violins, viola and cello) and each movement depicts a different season. Have your child draw a picture of what season they hear when listening to the music. (Only one movement per seating!)

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Craft

Box Guitar

Materials Needed:

String Instruments: Materials Needed

String Instruments: Materials Needed

Cardboard shoe box or similar
Rubber bands of different sizes
Paper, crayons, markers, stickers, etc. to decorate your instrument
Glue
Scissors
Paper towel roll (optional)

Instructions:

1) Cut your paper to the size you need to cover your box. (I was able to eliminate the first two steps because the box I had was solid black.)

2) Decorate the paper then glue it to the outside of your box. (We just used stickers this time. Stickers are a great fine motor activity for little hands.)

String Instruments: Decorating Box

String Instruments: Decorating Box

3) Cut a hole in one end of the box; just big enough to fit the end of a paper towel roll through.(Since we just used stickers, I cut the hole in the end of the box before we attached the stickers.)

String Instruments: Hole for Paper Towel Roll

String Instruments: Hole for Paper Towel Roll

4) Make small cuts on one end of the paper towel roll.

5) Push the end with the cuts through the hole in the end of the box.

6) Spread out the cut pieces and add some glue.

String Instruments: Glue Handle

String Instruments: Glue Handle

7) I then used duct tape to make sure the paper towel roll held in place.

String Instruments: Duct Tape

String Instruments: Duct Tape

8) Have a grown-up cut little slits on the long sides of the box. Make the same number of slits as the rubber bands you are going to use. This will help keep the rubber bands in place rather than sliding around as the child plucks them.

9) Arrange your rubber bands from largest to smallest.

10) Stretch them around your decorated box and slip them into the slits.

11) Now pluck away. Can you hear a difference between the largest rubber band and the smallest?

String Instruments: Playing Guitar

String Instruments: Playing Guitar

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Musical Outings

Stringed instruments cover everything from guitar and banjo pickin’ to violins and cellos in a symphony. In Indianapolis, you can find many places that give free outdoor concerts during the summer. Maybe you have the same opportunities in your area. Outdoor concerts are a great way to introduce your children to live music because they can sit in their own lawn chair, on a blanket or even get up and dance around a little. Expose your children to many types of music. Take the time to talk about what they are hearing, how it makes them feel and the different instruments they are seeing and hearing.

Shannon from Mamamusing wants you to know:
“In London, there are several outdoor concerts and festivals in Victoria Park during the summer. One of the best is Sunfest (beginning of July). You can check out a video of my kids enjoying the multicultural music and dancing by clicking here.”

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Story Time

Strings (Instruments and Music) by Daniel Nunn
Reading Level: Ages 4 to 8 yrs old
This book makes a great introduction into string instruments. The text is simply a sentence or two on each page. The illustrations are actual pictures of string instruments and people playing them. Your child will get to see the many different sizes and shapes of string instruments. Have fun learning about string instruments.

Strings (The Musical Instruments of the World) by Barrie Carson Turner
Reading Level: Ages 6 and up
This book has a lot of information in it but it is laid out nicely. The book introduces you to 19 stringed instruments from around the world. You will find some instruments that are familiar to you and there are others you may have never seen before. Each instrument has it’s own page so if you just want to cover the familiar ones or if you want to break the book up into different sessions it is laid out well for that. Although this book is for a little bit older child you could use it with a younger child by becoming familiar with the text and then simply point out and discuss the different instruments rather than reading it word for word.


The Violin and Other Stringed Instruments (Let’s Make Music)
by Rita Storey
Reading Level: Ages 6 and up
This is a very informative book for children that would like to learn a little more about what string instruments are and how they work. Your child will learn about the different sizes of string instruments. They will learn how different string instruments are played; some plucked or strummed with fingers, while the musician uses a bow or pick on others. Your child will learn why some string instruments don’t need electricity to be played and others do. It’s a great book that gives a little more detail, as to how string instruments work, but is still very interesting.

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Games Online

Shannon from Mamamusing shares some fun online games:

Now that you have introduced your children to some of the various instrument families in the orchestra, you may want to visit The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra. This is a website created by Carnegie Hall which is a wonderfully FREE interactive online game for young children to explore and learn more about the various instruments of the orchestra. You will need to use a computer, because the game requires Adobe Flash, which you can download for free (if you don’t already have this utility installed on your computer).

There is also a wonderful set of books for children ages 4 to 8 years old that helps them learn different musical concepts. Along with the books the author, Sharon Burch, has a website with coloring pages and games for your child to enjoy and enhance their learning experience: Freddie the Frog Games and Coloring Pages

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Related Posts


Music at an Early Age by Shannon at Mamamusing
Fun with Music: Overview
Fun with Music: Percussion Instruments
Fun with Music: Brass Instruments
Fun with Music: Voices
Fun with Music: Keyboards

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Studio Movie Grill Review

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Studio Movie Grill Review

Disclaimer: I was given 4 tickets to attend the movie of my choice, at the Studio Movie Grill, as well as 8 tickets to use in a give-away. However, I was not influenced by the promotional materials. All opinions and insights are my own. (Update 11/08/13, Congratulation to Kelly Bradbury and Karey for each winning a set of 4 tickets.)

Studio Movie Grill

Studio Movie Grill

The Studio Movie Grill is definitely a new way to experience the movies. The Studio Movie Grill offers original first-run movies coupled with in-theater dining. It is located just off of Michigan Road on 86th Street, at 3535 West 86th Street.

When I was contacted by the Studio Movie Grill about doing a review I first asked them if they showed many children’s movies, since my audience is mostly family oriented. They informed me that they show many first-run children and family movies. In addition, they also have a special “Kids Toons” series every weekend morning and tickets are only $2 each. Also, one Saturday each month SMG hosts the “Special Needs Screening”; a special presentation of a current release with free tickets for children with special needs and their siblings, and only $6 for adults.

I must be honest and say, my first impressions with the Studio Movie Grill were not favorable. I did not have much success in getting information on the movie we wanted to go see. First I went to their website, www.studiomoviegrill.com, and looked over the movies that were available. I watched several trailers and settled on a child friendly movie (since I am a kid at heart), Free Birds (3D). I clicked on the time we wanted to go see and received a message that they had just sold out for that viewing so I chose a different time and got the same message. After several attempts, I finally realized it was a glitch in the way their website behaved and was able to find a time that was available (a time that had previously said wasn’t available). As I looked at my options to continue the order I wasn’t sure how to show that I all ready had tickets. At this point I decided to read the information on my ticket. (I have a bit of a problem with reading instructions until after I’m having difficulties) It states on the pass that it can’t be used for online sales so I tried to call the theater…more frustrations. Although there was an option to speak to someone in the box office I was sent to a voicemail box. I didn’t want to leave a message, I wanted to know if there were seats available for the showing I was interested in. I was not impressed that I couldn’t get hold of an actual person to answer my questions. I decided that since the passes couldn’t be used online there must be seats available even if you don’t have a reservation so we headed out.

I was pleasantly surprised when we entered The Studio Movie Grill. It resembles an upscale club. You won’t find a concession stand or a heavy smell of popcorn and old butter. There is a very modern look to the lobby. To the left of the entrance is a lounge/bar area for the grown-ups. It sets behind a high partial wall so it is not the center of attention. Because of the way it is positioned it makes a cozy place for grown-ups to hang out but if you are bringing the family in for a movie it will hardly be noticed.

Once you purchase your tickets they ask you to take a look at a small computer-sized screen, that is set in the counter in front of you, and choose which of the available seats you want to sit in. They then print out and hand you the tickets with your row and seat number on them. There were two girls at the ticket check stand. One checked our tickets and the other took us to our seats. The rows are wide so it’s easy to get in and out (and easy for the servers to get to you).

wide aisles

The seats are large and comfortable with trays that swivel so you can get in and out of your seat.

Studio Movie Grill - Large comfortable seats

Studio Movie Grill – Large comfortable seats

Shortly after we were seated a server came by with menus. On each tray is a button that you push to let your server know you are ready to order.

We got lost trying to find the theater so we were running a little late but I highly recommend that you follow their suggestion and arrive at least 20 minutes early. They suggest you do this so you can order your food well before the movie starts. It didn’t take them long to bring our food to us but because it was so close to time for the movie to start, when we ordered, it didn’t arrive until after the movie began. The problem with that was that it was so dark we couldn’t see what we were doing. The theater has no problem with bringing food to you whenever you want it. Their site states: “Order as much and as often as you like throughout the show.”

The food was delicious. My favorite was the appetizer; chicken nachos. We will definitely be ordering that again. My husband and I both ordered burgers. The burgers were thick and tender. We both had sweet potato fries as our sides. They were a little cold but well seasoned. They have a wide variety of choices on their menu. We could have chosen a turkey or black bean burger rather than the beef. They boast an evolving menu of over 100 items ranging from delicious appetizers, healthy choices, entrée salads, gourmet pizzas, a kids menu and desserts. Their prices are reasonable. I would say they are along the same lines as Chili’s or Applebee’s. You don’t have to order food at all or you can go with the traditional popcorn and soda.

From what I researched Studio Movie Grill’s ticket prices are the same as other theaters. They are not charging you extra for the nicer theater and the wonderful food service.

Although I had a rough start, in trying to get information from their website and box office, it turned out to be a wonderful evening. I would highly recommend the Studio Movie Grill for a unique family activity or possibly a special date night for a parent and child. It would also make a great date night for mom and dad. They deserve and need a special night every once in a while. I know we will be returning. Maybe we will see you there.

You might also enjoy:

Review: Walt Disney’s Frozen 3D

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Rhythm! Discovery Center Review

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Rhythm! Discovery Center Review

Review: Rhythm! Discovery Center

Review: Rhythm! Discovery Center

On Saturday, September 28th, we took advantage of the free admission offer by Smithsonian Magazine and headed to the Rhythm! Discovery Center. I would describe Rhythm! Discovery Center as an interactive percussion museum. There are several “hands-off” displays of different percussion instruments but I must admit that I didn’t really pay much attention to them. We were all about the hands-on pieces; and since we brought a 2 year old with us there was plenty of “hands-on” everywhere we went.

Here are a couple of the “hands-off” displays:

Rhythm! Discovery Center: "Hands-off" Displays

Rhythm! Discovery Center: “Hands-off” Displays

Let me warn you, if you or any of your children are sensitive to noise then this is not the place to go but if you don’t mind some good old fashion racket then you will have a blast.

One of the very first things we encountered was this huge drum. No, that it not just a large display, it’s a drum.
Rhythm! Discovery Center -

There are so many opportunities for learning at the Rhythm! Discovery Center. You could experiment with rhythms or the way different instruments made from different materials sound. For instance, how does a drum with an animal skin head sound different from a drum with a plastic head? Listen to how the drum sounds different from the cymbals.

Rhythm! Discovery Center: Different Mallets

Rhythm! Discovery Center: Different Mallets

You can experiment with how the drum sounds different if you hit it with your fingertips, the palm of your hand or your fist. There were also different things to play the instruments with so you can listen to the differences of playing with a hard mallet, a soft mallet or a brush (the musical kind, not the hair kind). You could also learn the names of the different instruments and from what country they originated.

The lessons we came to learn this day were simple (since we brought a 2 year old). We were simply experiencing the joy of sound and music. And there were secondary lessons like sharing and learning to wait your turn (which actually, he does very well).

Below are some of the pictures from our day:

The Cymbal

Rhythm! Discovery Center: the cymbal

Rhythm! Discovery Center: the cymbal

The Chimes
Children of all ages enjoy Rhythm! Discovery Center.
Chimes Collage


Wooden Instruments

Rhythm! Discovery Center: Wooden Instruments

Rhythm! Discovery Center: Wooden Instruments

The Percussion Wall

Rhythm! Discovery Center: Percussion Wall

Rhythm! Discovery Center: Percussion Wall

Crash Cymbals
The cymbals were actually way too big but Jeremiah listened very closely to Uncle Pat’s instructions. I love the joy on his little face once he was able to crash them together.
Crash Cymbals Collage

So Much Fun
We truly enjoyed our time at Rhythm! Discovery Center and look forward to going back many more times.

Rhythm! Discovery Center Collage

Rhythm! Discovery Center Collage

Related Posts:

Fun with Music – Percussion Instruments
Fun with Music: Overview
Music at an Early Age by Shannon at Mamamusing
Fun with Music – Brass Instruments
Fun with Music – Woodwind Instruments
Bongo Boy Music School Review

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The Headless Horseman at Conner Prairie Review

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The Headless Horseman at Conner Prairie Review

Disclaimer: I was given 2 tickets to attend The Headless Horseman at Conner Prairie, as well as a backpack with some goodies. However, I was not influenced by the promotional materials or any of the Conner Prairie staff. All opinions and insights are my own.

It has been approximately ten years since we last attended The Headless Horseman at Conner Prairie. Our daughter was somewhere between 10 and 13 years old. At that time we chose to take the hayride after dark. We thought it would be a little scarier and I guess we were right. When talking to my (now adult) daughter about that night, I said, “Remember how much fun we had?” Her response was, “No! I’m still scarred!” I guess we were right; that going after dark was scary.

Headless Horseman at Conner Prairie

Headless Horseman at Conner Prairie

Since, currently, my blog posts mainly center around activities for younger children we opted to go on the Hayride before it got dark. First of all, let me tell you that the lines are extremely long. Once our turn came up a guide
walked us back to where we climbed into the hay wagons and waited to start our adventure. We were asked not to take pictures during the hayride because it could spook the horses and we definitely wouldn’t want to do that. But I was told that I could take a picture before we pulled out.

I’m not going to give out all the details because I don’t want to spoil the fun for future adventurers but I will share my general thoughts. It is a nice hayride with spooky sights and sounds around every turn. There was a 3 year old little girl in the wagon with us and her older brother who seemed like he was between 5 and 7 years old. The 3 year old cried on and off through the ride. She was visibly shaken and nervous even when she wasn’t crying. Her older brother just seemed to enjoy the whole thing. As for me, I loved it, but I must be honest, when the Headless Horseman rode right up to our wagon and hit the outside of it with his sword it made me laugh nervously, lean forward a little and watch him out of the corner of my eye.

My advice would be to take the hayride during the daylight for younger children. It was still plenty spooky without scaring you out of your wits. I personally wouldn’t take a child 3 years old or younger on this hayride at all but if you have a tough little one that loves monsters and being scared then they may be just fine. For the real adventure, wait until after dark to go. It is pretty scary when the Headless Horseman comes riding out of the dark after you.

Even if you aren’t interested in the hayride there are plenty of other activities to do with the kids so don’t write the adventure off yet. Tomorrow, I will post about all the other fun things that were going on during this special evening.

Related Posts:

October Family Friendly Events
Review: Spooky Fun at Conner Prairie
Review: Conner Prairie on President’s Day (with a 2 yr old)
Review: Conner Prairie with Young Children

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Spooky Fun at Conner Prairie Review

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Spooky Fun at Conner Prairie Review

Disclaimer: I was given 2 tickets to attend the Spooky Fun at Conner Prairie, as well as a backpack with some goodies. However, I was not influenced by the promotional materials or any of the Conner Prairie staff. All opinions and insights are my own.

Spooky Fun at Conner Prairie: Hot Air Balloon

Spooky Fun at Conner Prairie: Hot Air Balloon

Even before we reached Conner Prairie, we could see the hot air balloon, from the 1859 Balloon Voyage, floating high in the sky. My husband was quite interested in the balloon ride but with the cost of a ride being $15 a piece ($12 for members) it was way out of our price range. If they would lower that price to somewhere between $5 and $7 they would quite possibly have waiting lines for that ride all the time. At the lower prices, we would probably take a ride every time we went to Conner Prairie but at the current prices I don’t know that we will ever participate in the 1859 Balloon Voyage.

The first activity we participated in was the Headless Horseman hayride. If you missed my post from yesterday here is the link to that: Review: The Headless Horseman at Conner Prairie.

If your children are young and you aren’t interested in the hayride don’t write off the idea of making a trip to Conner Prairie. There was still a lot of spooky fun happening even without the hayride.

I love the idea behind their theme this year. Conner Prairie has been renamed Conner Scairie for this holiday season. The former mayor, Lord Moldywart, had a problem with a spell he was trying to cast and turned himself into a bunny rabbit.

Spooky Fun at Conner Prairie: Mayor Moldywart

Spooky Fun at Conner Prairie: Mayor Moldywart

He is cute but he can no longer fulfill the role of mayor so a new mayor must be elected. There are six citizens that are vying for the new position. It is our job to go around and meet each of them and then vote for the one that we want to become Mayor of Conner Scairie.

Spooky Fun at Conner Prairie: Voting

Spooky Fun at Conner Prairie: Voting

The first candidate we ran into was Harry Howler. He was standing outside a tent encouraging passersby to join him at the microphone for some scary-o-ke. There were some kids doing a great job with The Monster Mash when we stopped in. Harry also had a couple of craft tables as well as some fun activities outside his tent.

Spooky Fun at Conner Prairie: Fun at Harry Howler's

Spooky Fun at Conner Prairie: Fun at Harry Howler’s

The next candidate we ran into was Beautisha, the cosmetics-loving witch. She also had a craft area and she was more than happy to hand out beauty tips.
Beautish's Collage

We didn’t get to catch her show but we got to peek in at the stage and costumes. Looks like it would be a blast to strut up and down the runway.

Spooky Fun at Conner Prairie: Beautisha's Costume Runway

Spooky Fun at Conner Prairie: Beautisha’s Costume Runway

Our next candidate to meet was little Miss Holly Ween. She was adorable. She reads spooky stories to the kids. She told us that this was her favorite story.

Spooky Fun at Conner Prairie: Holly Ween Collage

Spooky Fun at Conner Prairie: Holly Ween Collage

There was a large play area, associated with her section, for children 8 years old and younger. You can wind through bales of hay and then zoom down a slide on a burlap sack. There was a lot of action going on in the area. Several children were enjoying the play equipment.

Spooky Fun at Conner Prairie: Holly Ween's Play Area

Spooky Fun at Conner Prairie: Holly Ween’s Play Area

Next we ran into Ed, the mad scientist, and his assistant, Esmeralda. They were having fun with electricity. It played havoc with my camera but it still looked pretty neat. They cooked a hotdog with an electrical arc. It was fascinating to watch but I think I will stick with my microwave.

Spooky Fun at Conner Prairie: Ed's Electrical Spectacle

Spooky Fun at Conner Prairie: Ed’s Electrical Spectacle

We missed Dr. Acula but we did get to look around his monster museum. My favorite pieces were Little Red Riding Hood’s cape and a hairball from Big Foot. He had a craft area for the kids, too.

Spooky Fun at Conner Prairie: Monster Museum Collage

Spooky Fun at Conner Prairie: Monster Museum Collage

I forgot to mention that the Headless Horseman is also a candidate. I’m not sure what I think of electing a mayor with no head but I suspect he is using fear to intimidate the voters.

There were plenty of other activities going on that I don’t believe were associated with the candidates. We enjoyed watching the Flying Monkeys. They used a large slingshot type contraption to send the monkeys flying through the air.

Spooky Fun at Conner Prairie: Flying Monkeys

Spooky Fun at Conner Prairie: Flying Monkeys

If you have been following my posts for very long, you know I love introducing children to music so of course one of my favorite spots was Rhythm Fun with Bill Bailey. Look at the kids having fun with all of those instruments.

Spooky Fun at Conner Prairie: Rhythm Collage

Spooky Fun at Conner Prairie: Rhythm Collage

Another fun spot was the face painting. This family was kind enough to let me take pictures of the process.

Spooky Fun at Conner Prairie: face painting

Spooky Fun at Conner Prairie: face painting

They sure are a cute bunch of kids.

Spooky Fun at Conner Prairie: Face Painting Fun

Spooky Fun at Conner Prairie: Face Painting Fun

As I look over the program from the evening, I realize that we missed a few things such as the Marionette Show and the Crane Bros. Superstition Emporium. We passed by the Mystic and the Magic Show with C.R. Ryan Demier but didn’t get a chance to stop in for the activities.

As you can tell, there is a lot of spooky fun happening at Conner Prairie to keep you busy for quite a while. Even if your children are younger, and you don’t want to do the hayride, there are still plenty of activities to enjoy. You may even want to come back more than once to experience all the spooky fun.

Related Posts

October Family Friendly Events
Review: The Headless Horseman at Conner Prairie
Review: Conner Prairie on President’s Day (with a 2 yr old)
Review: Conner Prairie with Young Children

Posted in Holidays, Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Review – Hoosier Outdoor Experience at Fort Benjamin Harrison State Park

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Hoosier Outdoor Experience at Fort Benjamin Harrison State Park, Review

Saturday and Sunday, September 20 & 21, was the 5th Hoosier Outdoor Experience at Fort Benjamin Harrison State Park. This was my first year to attend and I really regret that I hadn’t gone before. Of course, I hadn’t heard of it before but I had such a blast that I wish I HAD known and gone before.

This is such a big event (and free, I might add) that you can’t drive into the park on these two days. You park just a little distance from the State Park and they shuttle you in on buses. When I saw the line waiting on the buses I thought we would be there forever but that wasn’t the case. Four buses pulled up, they counted us off and directed us to the one we were to board and we were on our way. I don’t believe we waited in line anymore than 10 minutes. Here is a picture of where we started at:

Love to Laugh and Learn: Standing in Line at Hoosier Outdoor Experience

Love to Laugh and Learn: Standing in Line at Hoosier Outdoor Experience

The buses dropped us off at the Welcome area. From the Welcome area we could walk to many activities. We could also catch shuttles that would take us to other areas of the park where activities were happening.

We started with the activities around the Welcome area. There were 25 different activities in this area. We didn’t get to all of them but I will share with you the ones that we did participate in.

We headed to the Teepee first. It was huge. I love anything that has to do with Native American Indians.

Love to Laugh and Learn: Teepee at Hoosier Outdoor Experience

Love to Laugh and Learn: Teepee at Hoosier Outdoor Experience

On our way to the Teepee we stopped by this huge piece of machinery to find out what it was. We found out it was a piece of equipment to dig wells. At this spot, I learned a new word, along with the 5 year old that was with us. The word was aquifer. According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, an aquifer is, “a layer of rock or sand that can absorb and hold water”. Children were able to build their own aquifers with wells at this station. They used a straw as the well and then placed different types of rock and soils around the well. Water was then poured over the soil. Finally a “pump” was placed in the well. The pump was a pump from a bottle of hand soap. The children were then able to pump the water from the well. I found it quite fascinating.

We stopped and watched several children and adults playing games at the Outdoor Craft and Game Exhibit but we didn’t participate. We then went to the Girl Scout Outdoor Fun area where we played with bubbles…even the adults (me included) got our hands soapy.

Love to Laugh and Learn: Blowing Bubbles at Hoosier Outdoor Experience

Love to Laugh and Learn: Blowing Bubbles at Hoosier Outdoor Experience

The 5 year old spotted the the sledding hill. There were children running up the hill and either running back down or rolling down. He said he had never rolled down a hill before so he and his dad went to roll down the hill while we went to get all of us some food. The food was delicious and at surprisingly reasonable prices. My husband got 2 hot dogs and a bag of chips for $4 and I got an ear of roasted corn for $3 (2 for $5).

At this point we headed over to the Shuttle to ride to another section but when we got over there we found a tractor and a wagon taking people on a hayride. We climbed on and got a tour of the west end of the park. It was relaxing and fun.

Love to Laugh and Learn: Hayride at Hoosier Outdoor Experience

Love to Laugh and Learn: Hayride at Hoosier Outdoor Experience

After the hayride we climbed onto the Green Shuttle so we could head over to the NRA Shooting Sports Spectrum. Luckily for us, our shuttle driver got a little confused and missed our turn. The reason I say “luckily” is because we ended up running out of time and weren’t able to go to the activities in the “Red” section. At least we were able to get a glance of the activities in that area when we rode through. There were 19 different activities spread out over the “Red” area. Naming just a few of the activities; there was basic fishing, kayaking and critter chat.

Once our driver was back on track, we headed to the “Green” section and were finally dropped off at the NRA Shooting Sports Spectrum. In this area we had the opportunity to participate in archery, air rifle, shotgun and crossbow. Since the lines were a little long we only took the time for the archery. Next year I’m going to find time to try all of them.

We climbed back on the Green Shuttle to go a little further down the road. We found 8 more activities in this area. The activities in this area were very popular and the lines were very long. We wanted to do the off-road rides but the wait was 45 minutes so we decided against that. We also wanted to try the horseback riding but you had to be over 8 years old and we had a 5 year old with us so that was out of the question. We thought we would bring the 5 year old back for the pony rides (the lines weren’t nearly as long for them) but we ran out of time.

The last activity we participated in was the Tiny Tots Mini-Bikes. Although our little guy doesn’t usually like to wait in lines when he saw he was going to be able to ride a motorized bike he decided he could wait. We ended up waiting for about an hour and a half but according to the expression on his face it was worth it. After the ride, he said he was glad we waited. I was glad too when I saw how much he enjoyed it. They did a wonderful job of instructing and supervising the young riders. There was an adult assigned to each rider. They gave the rider clear directions and practice before they were turned loose to drive around the track. It was fun to watch.

Love to Laugh and Learn: Motorized Mini-Bikes at Hoosier Outdoor Experience

Love to Laugh and Learn: Motorized Mini-Bikes at Hoosier Outdoor Experience

After the ride on the Mini-Bikes we caught the shuttle and headed back to the Welcome area where we caught the bus to take us back to our car.

I must say that I absolutely love and recommend the Hoosier Outdoor Experience. I plan to attend again next year. I may even go on both Saturday and Sunday to make sure I get to experience everything they have to offer.

*Disclosure: I was in no way compensated or asked by anyone to do this review. All opinions are mine. I have done this to help my readers find great family friendly events.

Other Reviews That Might Be Of Interest

Review: PBS Kids in the Park
Review: BounceU of Fishers, IN
Review: Chase 500 Festival Kids’ Day
Review: Christmas on Monument Circle, Indianapolis
Review: Conner Prairie on President’s Day (with a 2 year old)
Review: Conner Prairie with Young Children – update
Review: Radio Disney Event, Indianapolis 2012
Studio Movie Grill Review
Review: Rhythm! Discovery Center
Review: Peanut Butter and Jam Concerts at the Center for the Performing Arts, in Carmel

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Fun with Music: Woodwind Instruments

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Fun with Music: Woodwind Instruments

This post, Fun with Music: Woodwind Instruments, is written in collaboration with Shannon Wijnker fromMamamusing. Shannon is a music teacher and mother of four.

What is your favorite woodwind instrument; flute, saxophone, recorder or some other? Are you aware of all the woodwind instruments available for your playing and listening pleasure. I would suggest reading either “Woodwind (Instruments and Music)” by Daniel Nunn (for the younger child) or “Wind Instruments (How the World Makes Music)” by Anita Ganeri (for older children). You will see more details about these books below in the Story Time section.

Playtime
Craft
Musical Outings
Story Time
Games Online
Related Posts

Playtime

When you were younger, did you ever make a whistle with a blade of grass? That blade of grass works like the reed in a woodwind instrument. When you blow over the blade of grass it vibrates which causes the air to vibrate and the result is a whistling sound. If you have never done this here is what you do. Take a wide piece of grass and place it between your thumbs. Place your mouth over your knuckles and blow. Were you able to make a whistling sound? Sometimes it takes practice, just keep working on it. This is a fun thing to teach your children, they will think you are amazing.

Shannon from Mamamusing shared that a recorder is great for children to experiment with (and it is a woodwind instrument). You can find them very inexpensively at the dollar store. She also says, “Remember that it’s not just about making a beautiful sound, but playing and exploring the concept of sound. Children learn best by constructing their own concepts and ideas, and by trial and error. They will learn how to create a variety of sounds. Some of which they will like and some they will decide they don’t. Your concept of what is acceptable sound may vary from theirs. But be patient and let them explore.”

“A great resource for teaching them music (and how to play the recorder) is a magazine called “The Recorder Classroom”. I believe there are 4 issues printed so far. You can download both the music and accompanying mp3s online. They are fun to play and I find my students are motivated to learn the music, when they have great accompaniments to play along with.”

“As a child, this toy (by Fisher Price) was a great way to experiment with sound. I don’t know if you can still buy it in stores, but if you find it at a garage sale, or used online – it is a great toy! Or the saxoflute is another great option, because the child can build their own instrument with the various plastic pieces of tube. The sound created (high or low) will depend on the pieces they choose to use.”

Fisher Price Crazy Horn Set

Fisher Price Crazy Horn Set

*** You can find the Fisher Price version on eBay, as it has been discontinued by Fisher Price. You can find a similar toy on Amazon.com  The Quercetti Saxoflute.

 

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Craft

Wind Instrument Made from Straws

Fun with Music: Woodwind Instruments: Craft

Fun with Music: Woodwind Instruments Craft

This craft is adapted  from Learning Ideas – Grades K -8


Materials Needed:

Drinking straws
Cardboard
Glue
Ruler
Scissors
Duct Tape

Instructions:

1. Cut 2 rectangular pieces of cardboard. (approx. 5 by 2 inches) I used scrap cardboard from an old box.
2. Cut the straws in varying lengths. I used 3”, 4”, 5”, 6” & 7”. You can use more straws and different lengths if you would like.

Fun with Music: Woodwind Instruments Craft

Fun with Music: Woodwind Instruments Craft

3. I didn’t trust simply trying to glue the straws into place because it has been my experience that plastic straws and glue are not long time friends so I glued down duct tape (sticky side up) to help secure the straws into place.

Adding Glue and Tape

Adding Glue and Tape

4. Let the glue dry completely then place the straws on the tape, in order of length.

Placing straws for woodwind craft

Placing straws for woodwind craft

5. Place the second piece of cardboard on top (having all ready glued the tape into place).

Fun with Music: Woodwind Instruments Craft - Attaching other piece of cardboard

Fun with Music: Woodwind Instruments Craft – Attaching other piece of cardboard

6. Since I used scrap cardboard I then added some brightly colored duct tape to decorate my wind instrument. Your child could color or paint it if you would like.
7. To hear the different sounds the instrument makes you need to blow across the top of the straws not straight into them.

Fun with Music: Woodwind Instruments Craft

Fun with Music: Woodwind Instruments Craft

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Musical Outings

Take your children to any place that live music is being played. In Indianapolis, you can find many places that give free outdoor concerts during the summer. Maybe you have the same opportunities in your area. Outdoor concerts are a great way to introduce your children to live music because they can sit in their own lawn chair, on a blanket or even get up and dance around a little. Maybe you have older children or neighbors that participate in a school band. Take your children to see them. Expose your children to many types of music. Take the time to talk about what they are hearing, how it makes them feel and the different instruments they are seeing and hearing.

Shannon from Mamamusing wants you to know: “In London, there are several outdoor concerts and festivals in Victoria Park during the summer. One of the best is Sunfest (beginning of July). You can check out a video of my kids enjoying the multicultural music and dancing byclicking here.”

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Story Time

Below you will find books that discuss the many different types of woodwind instruments and some are devoted to one type of woodwind instrument. Have fun exploring and learning about woodwind instruments with your child.

Clarinets (Music Makers) by Pamela K. Harris
Reading Level: Ages 6 and up
Give your child the opportunity to learn about clarinets with this interesting book by Pamela K. Harris. The book covers many aspects of the clarinet; from the way it is made to how it is played. The illustrations are pictures of actual clarinets and people playing them. Enjoy learning about this special woodwind instrument; the clarinet.

Flutes (Musical Instruments of the World) by Barrie Carson Turner
Reading Level: Ages 6 and up
This book has a lot of information in it but it is laid out nicely. The book introduces you to 18 flutes from around the world. You will find some flutes that look familiar to you and there are others you may have never seen before. Each instrument has it’s own page so if you just want to cover the familiar ones or if you want to break the book up into different sessions it is laid out well for that. Although this book is for a little bit older child you could use it with a younger child by becoming familiar with the text and then simply point out and discuss the different instruments rather than reading it word for word.

Flutes (Music Makers) by Pamela K. Harris
Reading Level: Ages 6 and up
Give your child the opportunity to learn about flutes with this interesting book by Pamela K. Harris. The book covers many aspects of the flute; from the way they are played to how they are made. Your child will get to see flutes from several different countries. The illustrations are of flutes and people playing them. Enjoy learning about this special woodwind instrument; the flute.

Saxophones by Sharon Sharth
Reading Level: Ages 6 and up
Saxophones are a part of a group of instruments called woodwinds. This book will help you and your child learn a lot about saxophones. You will be able to see the different shapes and sizes they come in. You will find out how music is played on a saxophone. Did you know a saxophone can make many of the same sounds that we do with our voices? The illustrations in this book are actual photos of saxophones and people playing them. Share this book with your child so they can learn more about this popular instrument.

Wind Instruments (How the World Makes Music) by Anita Ganeri
Reading Level: Ages 6 and up
This book covers many different wind instruments from around the world. They are all played by blowing into them but that is about the only thing that is common to all of them. Some wind instruments have simple carved mouthpieces, some use a reed in their mouthpiece and some even use two reeds. Most wind instruments are played with the musicians mouth but there are a few that are played with the nose. Be sure to pick this book up to learn a lot about wind instruments. See how many you recognize.

Woodwind (Instruments and Music: Level I) by Daniel Nunn
Reading Level: Ages 4 to 8 yrs old
This is a great book to introduce your young one to woodwind instruments. It has simple text that will allow your child to understand and learn about these special instruments. There are wonderful pictures of musicians playing different woodwind instruments from around the world with just a couple of sentences per page. I can’t wait to share this with the little ones in my life.

Music Makers: Woodwind Instruments by Elizabeth Reid
Reading Level: Ages 6 and up
Give your child the opportunity to learn about woodwind instruments with this interesting book by Elizabeth Reid. Your child will get to learn about the many different types of woodwind instruments. They will see woodwinds from several different countries.They will learn how they are made and the different ways they are played. The illustrations are pictures of actual woodwind instruments and people playing them. Enjoy learning about woodwind instruments. Which one is your favorite?

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Games Online

Shannon from Mamamusing shares some fun online games:

Now that you have introduced your children to some of the various instrument families in the orchestra, you may want to visit the Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra. This is a website created by Carnegie Hall which is a wonderfully FREE interactive online game for young children to explore and learn more about the various instruments of the orchestra. You will need to use a computer, because the game requires Adobe Flash, which you can download for free (if you don’t already have this utility installed on your computer).

There is also a wonderful set of books for children ages 4 to 8 years old that helps them learn different musical concepts. Along with the books the author, Sharon Burch, has a website with coloring pages and games for your child to enjoy and enhance their learning experience: Freddie the Frog Games and Coloring Pages

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Related Posts

Music at an Early Age by Shannon at Mamamusing
Fun with Music – Overview
Fun with Music – Percussion Instruments
Fun with Music: Brass Instruments
Fun with Music: Voices
Fun with Music: String Instruments
Fun with Music: Keyboards

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Fun with Music: Brass Instruments

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Fun with Music: Brass Instruments

This post, “Fun with Music: Brass Instruments”, is written in collaboration with Shannon Wijnker from Mamamusing. Shannon is a music teacher and mother of four.

Every instrument is important in a band or orchestra setting but, I must admit, my personal favorites are the brass instruments. I love the showy high notes of the screaming trumpet, the s-l-i-d-e of the trombone and the oompa, oompa of the big tuba. I could listen to brass music all day. I rented the 1957 movie, The Music Man, just so I could watch the performance of Seventy-six Trombones, as I was preparing for these posts. In preparing your child for this activity read Brass (Instruments and Music) by Daniel Nunn. There is more information about this book below in the Story Time section.

Content:

Playtime
Crafts:
Trumpet from Toilet Paper Roll
D.I.Y. Bugle
Musical Outings
Story Time
Related Posts

I have been blessed with a family of brass players. Both of my daughters played trumpet while in school. My husband’s primary instrument is the tuba but he can play all the brass instruments quite well. I have been able to experience many different settings with brass instruments. Both of the girls participated in marching band and my husband plays in a symphony, a concert band, a couple of big bands and a quintet. Oh, how I love music.

When my girls were babies I wouldn’t let them blow raspberries. You know…when you stick your tongue out and blow air through your lips to make that vibrating sound? I didn’t allow them because, although it might be cute when they are babies, when they get older and blow a raspberry in someone’s face, it is no longer cute or funny. I didn’t see any reason for confusing them by approving of raspberries when they were babies just to turn around and reprimand them when they got older. What I did let them do was to buzz their lips…the way you make a motorboat sound; similar to a raspberry but no tongue. The reason I let them do this was because it would build the muscles they would need to blow through a brass instrument. Knowing how to buzz your lips is essential in learning to play any brass instruments. I didn’t know if they would grow up to be brass players but I wanted to help them develop the skills they might need in the future.

Playtime

Encourage your child to make motorboat sounds. Have them practice them in the pool or the bathtub. Have your child try tightening their lips and making a motorboat sound, then loosening their lips and trying again. Do they hear the difference in the sounds?

If your child doesn’t all ready have a toy trumpet or some sort of horn, make one from the craft section below. Then let them march around and pretend to play their brass instrument.

Shannon  from Mamamusing suggests that you use YouTube to view the different  instruments. Then you and your child can see and hear them.

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Crafts

Trumpet from Toilet Paper Roll

Materials Needed:

Brass Instruments: Trumpet Craft

Brass Instruments: Trumpet Craft

Toilet paper roll
Yellow or gold cardstock or cardboard
Trumpet template
Wax paper
Rubber band
Scotch tape
Yellow duct tape
Buttons
Glue
Scissors

Instructions:

1) Take a piece of wax paper and place it over one end of the toilet paper roll.

2) Tape the wax paper to the outside of the toilet paper roll. You might want to use a rubber band to hold the wax paper in place while you tape it. Then remove the rubber band.

Fun with Music: Brass Instruments - Trumpet Kazoo Craft

Fun with Music: Brass Instruments – Trumpet Kazoo Craft

3) Print 2 copies of the Trumpet template and cut them out or print one copy and use it as a pattern to cut 2 copies from your yellow cardboard or cardstock.

4) Spread glue on the straight (not flared) part of the yellow paper. I alternated stripes of glue stick and white glue. The glue stick helps hold it still but the white glue gives a stronger hold once it dries.

Gluing Trumpet Kazoo Craft

Gluing Trumpet Kazoo Craft

5) Glue the 2 trumpet templates to the toilet paper roll with the bell (the flared part) towards the end that has the wax paper on on. Use rubber bands to hold in place until completely dry. (I glued one piece on and let it dry some before I tried adding the second piece.)

Fun with Music: Brass Instruments -  Trumpet Kazoo Craft

Fun with Music: Brass Instruments – Trumpet Kazoo Craft

6) Use scotch tape or duct tape to tape the two sides of the bell together. I made a slight fold along the edge of the bell and then taped that over the other section of bell. I thought it helped give the bell a little bit rounder shape.

7) Wrap a piece of duct tape around the narrow end (mouthpiece) of the trumpet. This will help keep the cardboard from getting soggy if your child puts the mouthpiece inside their mouth.

8) This trumpet is simply a fun toy. It works like a kazoo; your child hums into the mouthpiece to produce their music.

Fun with Music:  Brass Instruments - Trumpet Kazoo Craft Completed

Fun with Music: Brass Instruments – Trumpet Kazoo Craft Completed

The idea for this craft was adapted from the blog, “Bible Story Hour”.

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D.I.Y. Bugle

Fun with Music: Brass Instruments - D.I.Y. Bugle

Fun with Music: Brass Instruments – D.I.Y. Bugle

Materials Needed:

Empty 2 liter soda bottle
Single serve soda bottle with same size mouth as the 2 liter bottle
45 inch length of 1 inch diameter, flexible clear plastic tubing ( I purchased mine at Lowes)
2 Large wooden craft sticks (tongue depressor size)
yellow duct tape
Scissors

Instructions:

1. Cut off the top third of the 2 liter bottle. This will be the bell of the bugle.

Fun with Music: Brass Instruments - Top Third of 2 liter

Fun with Music: Brass Instruments – Top Third of 2 liter

2. From the single serve soda bottle, cut off the mouthpiece. This will serve as the mouthpiece to your bugle.

Fun with Music: Brass Instruments - Top of Single Serve Soda Bottle

Fun with Music: Brass Instruments – Top of Single Serve Soda Bottle

3. Insert the mouthpiece of the 2 liter bottle into the end of the tubing to form the bell.

Fun with Music: Brass Instruments - Bell of Bugle

Fun with Music: Brass Instruments – Bell of Bugle

4. On the other end of the tubing insert the part of the single serve bottle that you cut off into the tubing. This leaves the mouthpiece of the single serve soda bottle to be used as the mouthpiece of your bugle.

Fun with Music: Brass Instruments - Mouthpiece

Fun with Music: Brass Instruments – Mouthpiece

5. Cut the two wooden craft sticks in half. These are going to be used to brace the top of the bugle loop.

6. Loop the tubing around and use a piece of tape to secure it. Then place 2 halves of the tongue depressor on top of the loop (laying across both pieces of tubing). Tape around the the top of the loop and the tongue depressor. Repeat with the other two pieces of tongue depressor on the underneath side of the loops. This will hold the loop together and give you a nice sturdy place to put your hand.

Fun with Music: Brass Instruments - brace

Fun with Music: Brass Instruments – brace

7. To get a sound out of your bugle you will have to use the skills that any brass player uses. You will need to buzz your lips as you blow through the mouthpiece. You should not be puffing out your cheeks because the air does not come from your cheeks, it comes from your lungs and diaphragm.

8. Have fun with your new bugle!

Fun with Music: Brass Instruments - D.I.Y. Bugle

Fun with Music: Brass Instruments – D.I.Y. Bugle

The idea for this craft was adapted from the blog, “Preschool Crafts for Kids” and the book, Brass (Instruments and Music) by Daniel Nunn.

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Musical Outings

Take your children to any place that live music is being played. In Indianapolis, you can find many places that give free outdoor concerts during the summer. Maybe you have the same opportunities in your area. Outdoor concerts are a great way to introduce your children to live music because they can sit in their own lawn chair, on a blanket or even get up and dance around a little. Maybe you have older children or neighbors that participate in a school band. Take your children to see them. Expose your children to many types of music. Take the time to talk about what they are hearing, how it makes them feel and the different instruments they are seeing and hearing.

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Story Time


Ben’s Trumpet by Rachel Isadora
Reading Level: Ages 4 to 8 yrs old
Ben lives near the Zig Zag Jazz Club. He sits on his fire escape at night and listens to the music. He plays his trumpet right along with them. During the day, he goes over to the jazz club and watches the musicians practice. He constantly plays his horn for everyone in the family. One day some neighbor kids started making fun of Ben because Ben’s trumpet was pretend. The trumpeter from the Zig Zag Jazz Club happens to notice that Ben has stopped playing his trumpet. When he asks Ben why he isn’t playing his trumpet, Ben tells him that he doesn’t have a trumpet. Take time to pick this book up and find out how the trumpeter from the Zig Zag Jazz Club helps Ben out.


Brass (Instruments and Music) by Daniel Nunn
Reading Level: Ages 4 to 8 yrs old
This book makes a great introduction into brass instruments. The text is simply a sentence or two on each page. The illustrations are actual pictures of brass instruments and people playing them. Your child will get to see the many different sizes and shapes of brass instruments. They will also learn that some brass instruments aren’t made out of brass at all but made out of wood. Since you have to buzz your lips to play the wooden horns, just like the brass horns they get included with the brass instruments. As an added bonus, there is an illustration of how to make your own horn. Have fun learning about brass instruments.


Listen to My Trumpet! by Mo Willems
Reading Level: Ages 4 to 8 yrs old
Piggie gets a trumpet and wants to show his friend Elephant what he can do on his trumpet. He blows and blows and all kinds of sounds come out of the horn, but is it music? Find out what Elephant has to say about Piggie’s playing and how Piggie responds.


Tubby the Tuba by Paul Tripp
Reading Level: Ages 4 and up
Tubby the Tuba is part of the orchestra and he wants to play more than just oompah, oompah. He believes he could play a beautiful melody too but none of the other instruments believe him. Follow Tubby through his disappointments and how meeting a certain bullfrog turned his musical achievements around. The copy of the book that I borrowed from the library had a CD with it. Although I would encourage reading the book to your child a couple of times before using the CD, I strongly recommend having your child listen to the CD as well. The CD is the story with an orchestra playing along, so your child can hear a tuba, trumpet, violin and many other instruments. This story holds a special place in my heart because my husband is a tuba player and he agrees with Tubby that tubas can play more than oompah, oompah. He enjoys playing flute solos on his tuba. A lesson to be learned: Just because it hasn’t been done before doesn’t mean it can’t. If you believe in something, give it a try. You might give yourself and the people around you a whole new wonderful experience.

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Related Posts

Music at an Early Age by Shannon at Mamamusing
Fun with Music – Overview
Fun with Music – Percussion Instruments
Fun with Music: Woodwind Instruments
Fun with Music: Voices
Fun with Music: String Instruments
Fun with Music: Keyboards

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Fun with Music: Voices

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Fun with Music: Voices

This post, “Fun with Music: Voices”, is written in collaboration with Shannon Wijnker fromMamamusing. Shannon is a music teacher and mother of  four.

Shannon writes:
Many parents want to give their children the gift of music, but don’t know where to start. I think that teaching children how to explore their voice and singing is so easy and something that every parent can encourage. And it doesn’t have to cost a cent!

Content:

Playtime
Craft
Musical Outings
Story Time
Games Online
Related Posts

Playtime

More from Shannon:
I wrote a post about Music at an Early Age, and in my post I touch on my philosophy about educating our children to be musical.

It is never too early to start building a foundation that facilitates musical proficiency. Babies and toddlers learn about music by first learning about sound. They experiment with their voices make different sounds of varying volumes. While many parents will recognize this as ‘noise’ it is a great first step. Encourage them to explore various ways to make sounds with their mouths and talk about how to modulate their volume.

A tip: I teach my students to put their fingers against their windpipe. If they whisper they don’t feel a vibration. If they are talking or shouting, then they will feel a vibration. This helps to build the concept of volume.

Also, let them experiment with their voice. Children will naturally do this, so let them feel free to explore. Though some encouragement, they will create their own songs about random subjects. (The other day my daughter sang about how she was sorry for hitting her sister after she was let out of time out).

Visit my blog I mentioned earlier to watch a video of my 18 month old experimenting with her voice in the car.

Children learn best thru example and modeling. That means that you need to show them that you enjoy listening to music and/or singing. If you aren’t prepared to sing with your kids, then make sure to play a CD or two repetitively so they can learn the songs. Children need to hear songs that only have a few notes. Not pop songs! Learning these songs also helps with language acquisition, because they are learning rhyme. Don’t overwhelm them with too many songs. They will only feel comfortable trying to sing, once they know a song inside and out. You cannot play a song too much for a child. If you’re getting sick of it, they are just beginning to memorize/internalize it!

Echo songs are also a great idea. Small pieces of melody are easier to learn, and they foster a musical independence. Many children will only sing with a recording, and they need to be confident with their own voice. (eg. Down By the Bay)

A common complaint by many adults is that they are simply ‘tone deaf’. I disagree. They are not tone deaf, but did not develop the proper muscles to sing in tune. Trying to sing up a scale is very difficult for a child. It is much easier for them to start high and sing down. If you pay attention, many children’s songs have a lot of descending passages because of this. Until the muscles develop (you can work on these muscles by singing, and by starting from a high note and singing to a low note), singing outside of a notes which are naturally comfortable will result in ‘out-of-tune-ness’.

Some exercises:

· Sigh from the top of your voice to the bottom (test how high/low you can go)
· Use sounds such as “mmmm” “zzzz” “vvvv”
· Sing lying on the floor
· Make “siren” noises without straining
· Teach them to match pitch by singing back the note you are singing
· Have them follow your hand up and down with their voice (or draw their name while following the hand with their voice!) – this may take some practice
· Have them hum and get them to recognize that sensation when they sing

Remember that kids learn best by doing, not by being told how to do something. When they lose interest, move on and try again another time. Children learn best by repetition. Also, songs are much more fun with movement and actions. Have fun!

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Craft

Microphone

Love to Laugh and Learn: Materials Needed for Microphone Craft

Love to Laugh and Learn: Materials Needed for Microphone Craft

Materials Needed:

Empty paper towel roll or toilet paper roll
Small styrofoam ball – 2 1/2 inches (63 mm)
Fancy scrapbook paper, construction paper or paint
White craft glue
Decorations (sparkly stickers, foam stickers, markers, etc)

Instructions:

1) Cover the workspace. I used parchment paper because I was able to get it cheap at the Dollar Tree Store. And cover the child. I found an old tee shirt.

2) I cut a ring from a toilet paper roll to set the styrofoam ball on so that it wouldn’t roll away.

3) Paint the styrofoam ball black or silver. I like to use foam applicators for painting large surfaces. The most difficult part of painting the ball was learning that its okay to get your fingers messy.

Love to Laugh and Learn: Microphone Craft - Fun with Music: Voices

Love to Laugh and Learn: Microphone Craft – Fun with Music: Voices

But he got used to it and enjoyed the painting.

Fun with Music: Voices - Microphone Craft

Fun with Music: Voices – Microphone Craft

4) We are making two microphones; one from a paper towel roll and one from a toilet paper roll. I couldn’t decide which would be better for a 2 year old so we made both.

5) You can decorate the rolls however you like. You could paint them but I decided to use a fancy piece of scrapbook paper. I cut it to fit each roll.

6) We glued the paper and then applied it to the rolls. Jeremiah used the glue stick and then I added some white craft glue for extra adhesion.

Love to Laugh and Learn: Gluing Paper for Microphone Craft

Love to Laugh and Learn: Gluing Paper for Microphone Craft

7) Jeremiah added some stickers because stickers are fun and they are a great fine motor exercise.

Love to Laugh and Learn: Applying Stickers

Love to Laugh and Learn: Applying Stickers

8) Finally we attached the balls to the top. Make sure to use a thick craft glue. I ended up adding some super glue but super glue should be used with caution and by adults only.

9) Now we can enjoy using our voices by singing into our microphones. The toilet paper size was better for little hands but the paper towel roll was a great size for older kids.

Love to Laugh and Learn: The microphone craft is a hit! Fun with Music: Voices

Love to Laugh and Learn: The microphone craft is a hit! Fun with Music: Voices

This microphone craft was adapted from itmom.

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Musical Outings

Take your children to any place that live music is being played. In Indianapolis, you can find many places that give free outdoor concerts during the summer. Maybe you have the same opportunities in your area. Outdoor concerts are a great way to introduce your children to live music because they can sit in their own lawn chair, on a blanket or even get up and dance around a little. Maybe you have older children or neighbors that participate in a school band. Take your children to see them. Expose your children to many types of music. Take the time to talk about what they are hearing, how it makes them feel and the different instruments they are seeing and hearing.

Shannon from Mamamusing wants you to know: “In London, there are several outdoor concerts and festivals in Victoria Park during the summer. One of the best is Sunfest (beginning of July). You can check out a video of my kids enjoying the multicultural music and dancing byclicking here.”

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Storytime

Freddie the Frog® and the Flying Jazz Kitten – 5th Adventure: Scat Cat Island by Sharon Burch
Reading Level: Ages 4 – 9 yrs old
Freddie the Frog meets the Flying Jazz Kitten and learns about wonderful new ways to use his voice. The Flying Jazz Kitten teaches Freddie the Frog the swingin’ beat and excitement of jazz scat singing. There is also a CD with the dramatized story, sing-along songs and an instrumental blues track to create your own special scat.

The Voice and Singing (Let’s Make Music) by Rita Storey
Reading Level: Ages 6 yrs old and up
Each person carries around a special instrument with them wherever they go; their voice. Your child will enjoy learning about their voice in this cute informational book. In simple descriptions, they will learn how their voice works. They will learn about many different styles of singing and different ways they can enjoy singing. Whether they are listening to others sing or using their own voices, singing is fun.

Voices (Instruments and Music) by Daniel Nunn
Reading Level: Ages 4 to 8 yrs old
An instrument that we don’t discuss very often is the voice. This book describes how people use their voices to make music. Sometimes they are accompanied by another instrument or other voices. Sometimes they sing all alone. Share this book with your child and help them learn how their voice is an instrument to enjoy.

Voices and Singing (How the World Makes Music) by Anita Ganeri
Reading Level: Ages 6 and up
This book covers voices as a musical instrument. Your child will learn about many styles of singing from all over the world. The way people use their voices from other parts of the world can sound very different than what we are used to hearing. Along with reading this book take some time to look on the internet and find examples of the different ways people use their voices, such as jazz singing, gospel singing, throat singing and yodeling. How do you and your children use your voices to make music?

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Games Online

Shannon from Mamamusing shares some fun online games:

Now that you have introduced your children to some of the various instrument families in the orchestra, you may want to visit The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra. This is a website created by Carnegie Hall which is a wonderfully FREE interactive online game for young children to explore and learn more about the various instruments of the orchestra. You will need to use a computer, because the game requires Adobe Flash, which you can download for free (if you don’t already have this utility installed on your computer).

There is also a wonderful set of books for children ages 4 to 8 years old that helps them learn different musical concepts. Along with the books the author, Sharon Burch, has a website with coloring pages and games for your child to enjoy and enhance their learning experience: Freddie the Frog Games and Coloring Pages

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Posted in Learning Activities, Music | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Love to Laugh and Learn at the Apple Orchard

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Love to Laugh and Learn at the Apple Orchard

Learning experiences at the apple orchard can be so much fun. I like to incorporate a little learning in everything I do but I don’t want it to be heavy handed. I don’t want the kids to actually realize they are learning. All I want them to experience is fun.

There is so much learning that can happen at an apple orchard. The lessons can be complex, such as learning about how bees pollinate or the growing cycle of an apple. Or the lesson can be very simple, like learning that the apples in the grocery store actually grow on trees.

Today, we go for the simple. We are headed to the apple orchard with our 2 year old, great-nephew. I like to start learning opportunities with a book so we began by reading, “Picking Apples” by Gail Saunders-Smith. It was a great book for a young child; lots of pictures and a small amount of descriptive text. It describes picking apples from the tree to storing them in large wooden crates and finally trucking them everywhere. We were able to see the big wooden crates at the apple orchard; just like in the book!

We decided to head to Stuckey’s Farm today because they grow my husband’s favorite apples; McIntosh. When we arrive a gentleman gives us a basket and a bag to gather our apples in. Jeremiah wanted to carry the basket.

Love to Laugh and Learn at the Apple Orchard - Carrying the basket

Love to Laugh and Learn at the Apple Orchard – Carrying the basket

We climbed onto a wagon behind a big tractor, to get a ride out to the area that the McIntosh apples were at.

Love to Laugh and Learn at the Apple Orchard - Riding on the Wagon

Love to Laugh and Learn at the Apple Orchard – Riding on the Wagon

The first apple Jeremiah picked came right off the tree with no problem…

Love to Laugh and Learn at the Apple Orchard - Picking Apples

Love to Laugh and Learn at the Apple Orchard – Picking Apples

…but the next one wouldn’t let go so Uncle Pat stepped in to explain if you just turn the apple a couple of times, it will come right off the tree.

Love to Laugh and Learn at the Apple Orchard - Picking Apples with Uncle Pat

Love to Laugh and Learn at the Apple Orchard – Picking Apples with Uncle Pat

This only had to be explained once and then Jeremiah became an expert apple picker.

Love to Learn and Learn at the Apple Orchard - Picking Apples Collage

Love to Learn and Learn at the Apple Orchard – Picking Apples Collage

We finished our day up with a frozen apple cider slushie…

Love to Laugh and Learn at the Apple Orchard - Frozen Apple Cider Slushie

Love to Laugh and Learn at the Apple Orchard – Frozen Apple Cider Slushie

…and a special apple Bento meal. Bento meals come from Japan and are in divided boxes. They do some pretty creative things with food and I find them fun for kids. Jeremiah’s apple themed meal consisted of a peanut butter and apple butter sandwich, cut with an apple shaped cookie cutter. There were a couple of apple cars, made from apple slices and grapes, and some cooked carrots.

Love to Laugh and Learn at the Apple Orchard - Apple Bento Meal

Love to Laugh and Learn at the Apple Orchard – Apple Bento Meal

We spent a little time at the playground before we left.

Love to Laugh and Learn at the Apple Orchard - Playing

Love to Laugh and Learn at the Apple Orchard – Playing

Stuckey’s Farm is opening a new fun area called Adventure Acres. It consists of a 20′ tall tube slide, a barrel train pulled by a real tractor, pedals cars and more. We are going to have to go back and check that out, once it opens.

Learning Opportunities Jeremiah had at the Apple Orchard

1. That apples in the grocery store come from apple trees.

2. He got to see the big wooden crates the apples are stored in; just like we read about in the book.

3. He was able to watch a machine wash the apples then some workers sorted them and put them in bags.

4. He got the experience of receiving and following directions on how to get stubborn apples off the tree.

5. He was able to experience nature and enjoy climbing around and under the trees.

Future Learning Opportunities at the Apple Orchard

1. We can learn about bees because there is a beehive that you can safely observe from inside the orchard store.

Love to Laugh and Learn at the Apple Orchard - Bee Hive at Stuckey's

Love to Laugh and Learn at the Apple Orchard – Bee Hive at Stuckey’s

2. We can learn about the life cycle of an apple tree; from seed to apple.

3. We can see how apple cider is made. They make their own apple cider. You can watch the machines make it and fill the bottles but they weren’t manufacturing any the day we were there.

4. We can take apples home and make applesauce and other recipes. Cooking has so many learning opportunities and it’s fun.

We had so much fun at the apple orchard. I can’t wait to go again. Have you been to an apple orchard? What did you like about your trip? Maybe you live in an area where you go to orange groves instead of apple orchards. I would love to hear about your experiences.

You can find more fun activities with apples on an earlier post called, “A is for Apple: You Can Learn More Than Your ABC’s from Apples”.

More Books about the Apple Orchard:

Out and About at the Apple Orchard by Diane Mayr
Reading Level: Ages 5 to 8 yrs old
This is a very good book that describes the activities that go on at an apple orchard. The book explains how the apples start as flowers and how the bees help the flowers change into fruit. Your child will learn about the many things the orchard workers need to do to help the apples grow. It is a fun little book. The pictures in this book are brightly drawn illustrations. Although, I prefer photo illustrations in books I am using for learning purposes, the drawings are quite adorable.

Related Posts:

Pumpkins are Orange; and Other Learning Concepts
A is for Apple: You Can Learn More Than Your ABC’s from Apples
Colors – Overview
Shapes – Overview
Fun with Music – Overview

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Posted in Attractions and Events, Learning Activities | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments