10 ways to celebrate Earth Day with little kids

Happy Earth Day! Today (and every day, truth be told) we celebrate the beautiful world Kindermusik Green - Sustainabilityaround us. After all, working (and playing, singing, and dancing!) with children brings out the best in us. They teach us to pause and notice the beauty in the tiniest of details. Through the eyes of a child, a puddle becomes a splashing adventure; a caterpillar provides a reason to giggle as it creeps up an arm; and a stick morphs into just about anything.

At Kindermusik, protecting the earth is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight—kind of like raising a child. It takes deliberate, consistent steps. (You can see how we actively seek ways to reduce our carbon footprint as a company.) Today, however, we celebrate Earth Day the best way we know how—by involving the youngest members of our world in the process! So, we hope you enjoy 10 of our favorite ways to celebrate Earth Day—and teach kids about sustainability—with these kid-friendly activities from Pinterest!

10 activities for kids to celebrate Earth Day!

  1. Fine Motor Play with Recyclable Materials. Use paper towel or toilet paper rolls, egg containers, and duct tape to create a fun “fine motor skills center” for toddlers and preschoolers. Young children will enjoy the playtime and you will model for them how to re-use and recycle materials!
  2. Recycled Outdoor Music Station. Make this with children and play with it all year! Young children will enjoy designing and decorating their own little musical symphony.

    (Source: http://mynearestanddearest.com/)

    (Source: http://mynearestanddearest.com/)

  3. Earth Day Hunt. Go on a nature treasure hunt with little ones. Provide them with a list of things to look for on your walk, such as “collect three rocks” or “make a leaf rubbing.” Consider taking a small bag to pick up trash along the way, too! 
  4. 20 Family-Friendly Books about the Environment. Looking for a good book about the environment to read with young children? This list will get you started! Plus, it will teach kids about sustainability and support early literacy skills.
  5. Go on a Virtual Field Trip to learn about and listen to the Landfill Harmonic. 
  6. Make a Recycling Bin with Children. Use a trashcan and some paint to decorate a recycling can for the entire family. Then talk about (and show) the different types of things you can recycle. Children love to contribute to the family or class, so give a child “the job” of recycling certain items, such as plastic water bottles or juice containers. 
  7. Go bird watching (and listening!). Bird watching celebrates key Kindermusik skills of listening and engaging and helps children notice the world right outside their window. After your bird walk, sing along with Kindermusik bird songs and use instruments to mimic birdcalls.
  8. Create a “plant pal” by planting grass seeds. Children learn best by engaging all of their senses. Planting seeds and watching them grow gives them the opportunity to learn more about a plant’s life cycle. Toddlers and preschoolers will especially love this fun twist! When the grass grows long enough, give the “plant pal” a trim!
  9. Host a Recycled Dance Party. This party has it all—music, movement, and a fun way to learn more about recycling for kids. 
  10. Follow our “Living Green with Kids” board on Pinterest! Need even more ideas? Be sure to follow Kindermusik on Pinterest!

Contributed by Lisa Camino Rowell with a little help from her 8-year-old daughter and former Kindermusik student, Emerson. After all, living green with kids takes input from every family member!

5 Ways to Celebrate Spring with Music and Movement

At Kindermusik, we’re all about great ideas and helpful tips that make parenting just a little bit easier and a whole lot more musical.  And now that Spring is just around the corner, we thought we’d share some music and movement ideas for celebrating spring… and creating some very happy memories!

5 Ways to Celebrate Spring with Music and Movement

Cute child in puddle1. Go for a listening walk.
There are all kinds of sounds to be discovered outside, especially in the Spring time.  Listen for, imitate, and then talk about the sounds that are all around.

2.  Take advantage of springtime showers.
Those brief, light spring showers do more than bring May flowers… they also leave perfectly sized puddles that are great for jumping, stomping, splashing, and giggling!

3.  Blow bubbles on the porch.
There’s nothing more delightful than bubbles.  But bubbles aren’t just for fun, they also help little eyes learn to track and follow moving objects and little eyes and hands to improve eye-hand coordination.

4.  Do a happy dance in the house.
Turn on your favorite music and float like a cloud, sway like a tree, fly like a bird, or wiggle like a worm.  (This would be a great follow up to your Listening Walk, and it’s a fun thing for the whole family to enjoy!)

5.  Work on some spring cleaning together.
We think music makes everything better, and that includes spring cleaning.  Give your child a soft cloth or small duster and let them help.  Sing and dance the chores away!

And for more fun ways to celebrate Spring and all things new…

 

 

Putting the Arts in Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics

Music and Math share more in common than just the letter M. In an earlier post, we highlighted three of the ways music supports math learning—counting, spatial awareness, and pattern recognition. Learning the building blocks of math—such as size, measurement, pattern recognition, and counting by rote—start at birth–and the arts naturally engage young children in the learning.

From STEM to STEAM

In recent years, many teachers, schools, and entire districts began focusing on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) classes to help prepare children for living and working in our increasingly technology-centered world. However, many educators see the need to add the “Arts” into the equation. (Of course, we absolutely agree!) STEAM integrates and uses the arts in the STEM curriculum to help children express—and understand—STEM concepts. Children naturally learn by using their whole bodies and all of their senses. Experiencing concepts such as size by pretending to move like an elephant, mouse, or giraffe makes a complicated concept three-dimensional. So, children can feel it, relate to it, and understand it!

The National Park for the Performing Arts, Wolf Trap, recently launched an Early Childhood STEM Learning Through the Arts initiative. Through teacher training and research, Wolf Trap is helping to strengthen the understanding of how the arts can (and should) be used in early childhood education to teach science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Using music to express STEM concepts

Music’s proven connections to math can support young children’s math development. For example, children hear, feel, and experience the patterns in music when swaying to a legato section or bouncing to a staccato section or when they dance and sing a song with a verse then a chorus then a verse then a chorus. Try these Kindermusik@Home activities for kids that use music to help them experience patterns.

For babies:

Peas & Carrots Kindermusik@HomeKitchen Dance: Something about the kitchen brings out the dancer in all of us. Moving with a baby is so important. So put on any music you like and get moving! Plus, dancing to music can help even babies hear, feel, and experience patterns.

 

 

For toddlers:

Kindermusik@Home Jelly in the BowlThe Jelly in the Bowl:

A kid-favorite, “Jelly in the Bowl” is easy to remember, easy to do, and hard to resist. After a few times, children will understand the pattern of the song and start giggling right before favorite parts.

 

 

 

For preschoolers:

Jumping beans Kindermusik@HomeQuarter Notes & Quarter Rests:  Get your listening ears on, because this game will introduce children to the sound of a quarter note and the “no-sound” of a quarter rest . . . then test children’s ears on how well they recognize them when they’re assembled in patterns!

ABCMMEINTL_LOGO_LiteracyLanguage_OneLineOur early childhood curriculum, ABC Music & Me, uses music and movement as a fun, engaging, and natural way for children to learn. Want to learn more about using music to support STEM learning (and early literacy and language!) in early childhood education? Email us info@abcmusicandme.com. 

Contributed by Lisa Camino Rowell, long-time supporter and believer in the power of the arts.

Music & Movement Benefits: Why We Rock, Bounce, Jump & Dance

music and movementKindermusik is as much about movement as it is about music.  Ask any educator or parent – there’s no need to go to the gym on Kindermusik day!  That’s because we know that children learn best by doing – it’s called experiential learning.  And now a new study highlighted in Science Daily demonstrates just how powerful the doing-learning-remembering connection really is.  There really is such a thing as “motor memory!”

Multiple research studies prove what Kindermusik has capitalized on for a long time – movement is KEY to learning.  In fact, the movement we do in our Kindermusik classes is essential for the children in many ways.

The powerful, but happy, combination of movement and music develops:

  • The Vestibular System.

A well-developed vestibular system provides emotional security, good muscle tone, develops auditory language processing, and visual-spatial processing. All this while you’re having fun dancing!

  • Neural Pathways.

Moving in a variety of ways gives your child a chance to ‘see the world’ from many perspectives, thus strengthening neural pathways, which carry messages from your child’s mind, guiding her senses and motor skills.

  • Fine Motor Skills.

During the first part of life, we’re learning to walk, so gross motor activities dominate the child’s movement. Now she can focus on activities that encourage the development of fine muscles, so she can increase skills that require finger and hand movements such as putting together a simple puzzle, painting with a paintbrush, turning a page of a book or stringing beads.

  • Physical Confidence.

Body awareness is important in the development of the child’s physical confidence. This developmental goal may be met by engaging in movement activities which focus on body part movement, whole body movement in one place, and whole body movement while traveling in space.

  • Creativity and Imagination.

Listening and responding to music and movement activities helps develop pretend play skills while also helping your child assimilate music and movement concepts such as fast, slow, loud, quiet, bumpy, smooth, straight and curvy.

  • Thinking Skills.

While in motion, the brain acts like a flight simulator, constantly inventing, moving mental models to project onto a changing world. This is an extraordinary mentally complex operation which builds thinking skills.

Movement is truly the key to the kind of learning that sticks and to the kind of joyful interaction that leads to a lifelong love of music and a lifetime of benefiting from the rich foundation of an early childhood music and movement program like Kindermusik.

Try A Free Kindermusik Class
Come move, sing, dance, play, and learn with us!  Try a FREE Kindermusik class today and see how music will move you… and your child.

Quick Access to My.Kindermusik.com…
Add an icon to your iPhone!

Here’s a great tip for Kindermusik parents and educators. You can add the My.Kindermusik.com icon to your iPhone for easy access to Kindermusik@Home.

My.Kindermusik.com iconIn less than a minute, you can be 1 tap away from accessing wonderful educational activities, including music, eBooks, games, crafts, video field trips, parenting resources and more within Kindermusik@Home.

Don’t have a My.Kindermusik.com account yet?
Find a class near you and contact your local Kindermusik educator.

Step 1

Open browser (Safari). Login to My.Kindermusik.com and tap the “Share” icon.

Create iPhone Shortcut for My.Kindermusik.com

Step 2

Tap “Add to Home Screen.”

Add iPhone icon for My.Kindermusik.com

Step 3

Type the description for the icon (MyKinder…) and tap the “Add” button.

Shortcut Description for My.Kindermusik.com icon

Step 4

Icon is now added to your home screen for My.Kindermusik.com.
(Note: if your home screen is full, swipe finger to the left to get to next screen.)

My.Kindermusik.com shortcut icon

You can add a shortcut to the full-site, and/or the mobile site m.my.kindermusik.com (see the Kindermusik icon with a house).

Many smartphones and tablets have this functionality. The iPhone example can be a guide for other devices. Look for the “Share” feature when visiting a website to save the icon to your home screen as a shortcut.

And…enjoy Kindermusik@Home…anytime, anywhere!

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