Did you know that this Saturday, February 27 is National Polar Bear Day?! I didn’t either, until I saw it posted on Instagram, including a mention of my original “Polar Bear” song. Of course, I couldn’t miss this opportunity to celebrate these beloved creatures AND share one of the most popular songs in my entire collection.
Earlier this week as I organized all of my singable stories on the bookshelves of our brand new studio, I took note of my favorites and those that have been most effective in classes and music therapy sessions. Five Little Ducklings ranks in the top 10, although if you ask my son Parker, he will tell you it’s #1.
I’ve shared other Melanie Gerth books here on the blog before, but this one takes the cake for a few reasons. First of all, the ducks: they are big, colorful, and fuzzy. They’ve stood the test of time (I’ve had this book for 7+ years!) and still look good as new. Second, there’s counting involved as in all of her books; I like that there are only five ducks to count and therefore it’s a bit shorter than the others. This fits my younger kiddos’ attention spans — or lack thereof — quite well.
And third, the familiar melody is easy for little ones to learn and remember. I think Parker had the entire song memorized after one or two listens, and he’s 2. (Of course, at this point he could sing it in his sleep, as we listen to it on every single car ride.)
I have used this singable story in my early childhood classes, both with the book and as a standalone song. If you don’t have the actual book, you could make picture cards to go with it or even have your students “act out” the story. Another way to get creative with it is to change the ducklings to other animals and replace “quack, quack, quack” with the appropriate sounds.
I’m on the hunt for some fresh new singable stories to add to my collection, so please share your favorites with me! You can find a whole heap of singable stories I’ve shared right here.
During a brainstorming session for an upcoming early childhood class, my partner Katey mentioned that she had written a song about monkey sounds. She suggested picking up some cute stuffed monkeys to use as props, which sparked the idea for this song.
I’ve been a longtime fan of the book Eight Silly Monkeys ever since adding it to my singable story collection during my internship. So I took the tune I use for that book and changed up the words, which resulted in a fun new instrument song for our younger kiddos.
Since our early childhood classes have more than five children in them, we usually up the number of monkeys in the song to reflect our class size. I took a quick video of Katey putting this song into action last night:
The monkeys are a huge hit, if you couldn’t tell from the video! We ordered them here, and we use our Remo Gathering Drum (though I think it’s time to invest in an even bigger one!).
P.S. Did you know that you can gain instant access to a vast collection of over 200 songs (mp3, lead sheet, and instrumental track), videos, tutorials, and visual aides, plus ALL new releases from Listen & Learn Music?
During a recent music therapy session, a student’s mom mentioned that her daughter does well with “echo” songs (she used the “Mahna Mahna” song as an example, and even played a video of my student singing it with her sister).
I did some googling to find a few echo songs we could use in our sessions, and came across “The Other Day I Met a Bear” — that old camp song just about everyone knows. But after taking a look at the lyrics, I wasn’t crazy about them and decided to use the song as a basis for my own echo song.
Since Halloween is just around the corner, I traded a bear for a black cat and went from there. It’s a short, simple song with basic lyrics and an easy-to-sing melody: perfect for addressing the objectives of repeating after me and singing with me.
I’m doing a little happy dance as I type this post, because I finally have a new song to share after a several months long songwriting hiatus. I can’t tell you how good it felt to go through the process of writing, recording, and most importantly, using this song in a music therapy session.
The Dolphin Song was written specifically for a student who is quite fond of these sweet mammals, though it could be easily adapted to feature any sea-dwelling creature. In the song, I pose the questions “where is the dolphin swimming to?” and “who is the dolphin swimming to?” because my student is working on answering “wh” questions.
When we sing the song, I use a stuffed dolphin to “swim” to different places and people, and then I ask my student to answer the questions posed in the song. There’s room for lots of creativity and endless verses, though in my version, I only included a few and left two blank for the listener to fill in.
Welcome! I’m Rachel Rambach, board-certified music therapist and creator of Listen & Learn Music — educational songs and musical materials for children. I love sharing my work with you, along with my behind-the-scenes creative process, adventures in business ownership, and life as a mom of two little ones.
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Next month’s music therapy sessions, early childhood groups, or classroom music…planned for you in advance.
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