Archive for the ‘Blog Posts’ Category

Tech Tips: Enjoying Digital Home Materials with Little or No Screen Time

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“Our family has rules about screen time. Aside from the downloading the music, how can we use these materials?”

No worries. These materials were designed with you in mind!  Would you be okay with…

  • Playing games with a laundry basket with your baby?  (Check out “4 (Non-Laundry) Uses for a Laundry Basket” in your Cuddle & Bounce:  Little Red Caboose Digital Home Materials.
  • Learning sign language to share with your baby or toddler?  (Check out the signing videos for grownups in each unit of Cuddle & Bounce and Sing & Play Digital Home Materials.)
  • Making puppets to share with your toddler?  (Look for the fun puppet craft ideas in the Sing & Play:  Big Red Barn Digital Home Materials.)
  • Making play dough and pretend play food to share with your 2 year old?  (Check out the cute craft idea in the Wiggle & Grow:  Time for Lunch Digital Home Materials.)
  • Making a castle for your preschool princess or pirate?  (Check out this cute pretend play idea in your Laugh & Learn:  Make Believe Digital Home Materials.)

There are tons of activities like these and more just waiting for you in your Digital Home Materials.  When you flip through the activities you’ll find recipes, crafts, and play ideas for you to enjoy without any screens at all. Simply read through the directions, gathering some great inspiration for fun with your child, turn off your device, and play away! Plus, there are a whole host of printable activities including recipes, games, crafts and the like that can be downloaded and enjoyed screen free, just use your desktop computer to go back to the colorful Download Center box on the unit homepage for your child’s curriculum, and click on the button marked “Activities”. And for the book, you have four options, download the .pdf file to read on a tablet or phone, print off a hardcopy, read the digital version online, or order your own hardcopy (FREE shipping direct to you). Last but not least, don’t forget about all the great parenting information tucked into the materials, so you can read, watch, and learn about how your child learns and how you might further her development.

And if you don’t mind a little screen time (2-5 minutes), there are even more options for you! You see, Kindermusik International knows and respects that each family gets to decide what’s best for them when it comes to this issue. In creating this digital resource, Kindermusik has read about and researched this topic thoroughly. We have aligned our stance with that of the highly respected NAEYC and the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning, recognizing that children can benefit from a responsible and age-appropriate use of technology in combination with hands-on experiences and in partnership with an actively involved caregiver. We are proud to bring these high-quality materials to your family which truly embody the very best of both worlds- a responsible introduction to technology AND lots of hands-on, movement-rich, in-your-lap, down-on-the-floor learning.

Unlike many other digital platforms for kids, these materials are designed for you and your child to use cooperatively, engaging with one another as you read, watch, discuss, and discover. You’ll find the format is designed to move at an appropriate pace for your child in a style that feels like a traditional floor game played with you. Most of the games and videos are less than 2 minutes in length without any overstimulating sights or sounds and incorporate much of the latest research on early childhood development and learning in their design and focus. They are truly a rich and exciting tool that’s now available to you anytime and anywhere!


We Love You!

A few weeks ago as classes started we started publicizing a “We Love Kindermusik” promotion.  We ran contests.  We had giveaways.  We had a host of sweet notes and thoughts show up in our inboxes and on our Facebook wall.  I was so touched by so many of the lovely things you guys shared, but the truth is…we didn’t tell you the most important part.  While we are thrilled you all love Kindermusik, I hope you know how very much we love you.  Here’s what I love about the parents and kids I work with each week:

I love the wiggles and the wandering.  I really do.

I love the way those faces light up as I move around the circle to sing hello to each child, that look of “It’s my turn!”

I love toddlerese, even when I require a Mom interpreter.

I love the older toddlers and preschoolers who have a million stories to tell me right in the middle of class that have absolutely nothing to do with what I’m talking about.

I love when Princess Aurora and Spunky the Alien and dogs who moo come to visit me at class.  (I also love being asked to be “Prince Phillip.”)

I love hugs at the end of class.

I love regular requests to hear the “choo-choo train” again even when it’s supposed to be the week we listen to car sounds.

I love all the amazing creative ideas you and your kids have – choo-choo train sandblocks, homemade ukuleles, giving kisses hello.

I love seeing parents who are obviously in love with their kiddos and invested in helping them learn and grow and make memories together.

I love the “presents” of leaves, crafts, coloring pages, and notes that come to class.

I love hearing children count 1…2…8…9…10.

I love watching first words, first signs, first steps.

I love the laughter.

And most of all I love the way you all love and support one another.  You are amazing.  You are amazing parents – kind, nurturing, teachers.  You (and your kiddos) are amazing people – creative, smart, fun.  And you are an amazing community.  So…Happy Valentine’s Week, from the bottom of my heart.

With much love –

Miss Joy


A Stocking Stuffer that Isn’t More Stuff…

This year for the holidays, consider a gift that takes up no extra room on the toy shelf, offers more value than the shiniest plastic toy, and supports music education in your local community.  Plus, it is sure to hold your child’s interest for longer than any other present they unwrap.  This year, consider a gift certificate for classes with “Kindermusik with Joy”.

You can’t put a price on your child’s growth and development. And despite what songs and movies might say, money can’t buy you love.  But, our award winning early childhood education program will put a smile on your child’s face, a love of music in her heart, and give you both memories to last a lifetime.

For more information on how to purchase a gift certificate for someone you love, contact, Joy Granade or Darcy Maret at kindemusikwithjoy@gmail.com or 913-322-3703.  Classes for newborn to 7 yrs.


Using Hugs to Keep Us Healthy

Want to keep your child healthy and happy?  Bring on the hugs!  And set aside time for lots of loving touch in the form of backrubs, snuggles, and out and out massage.

Research suggests that touch is as important to your child’s growth as are eating and sleeping.  In fact, babies who are not touched at all typically do not grow at a normal pace. Touch is of utmost importance to your child’s well-being.

Creating a Bond

One beautiful way to create special bonding is through loving touch, which can be experienced in a variety of ways.  Just think of all the time that you were brought closer to a friend or a loved one with close eye contact and a gentle touch, whether it was a hug, an arm around the shoulder, or even just holding hands.  That’s because hugs create oxytocin, sometimes called “the bonding hormone”.  Oxytocin is a hormone that produces a feeling of calm and comfort in addition to promoting feelings of security and trust in a relationship.  Sharing in gentle massage, rubbing backs, or rocking together can this effect. Through the eye contact, skin contact, and speech or song associated with these loving touches, both you and your child can achieve a state of relaxation and calm.  And the bond between you can be nurtured. “Touch is your [child’s] first language.  Through the nurturing touch of massage, you communicate deep love and respect to your child in a language he or she understands well.” – Nurturing Touch, by Kalena Babeshoff, C.M.T. and Juliana Dellinger-Belovek, M.S.E., p. 17.
Physical Benefits of Intentional Touch

In addition to facilitating emotional bonding, loving touch has many physical benefits.  The skin is the largest organ of the body and has all sorts of nerve sensors for touch making the effects of touch very far reaching. Massage experts and researchers report that massage:

  • encourages relaxation and lowers stress hormone levels (cortisol), heart rate, and blood pressure;
  • produces significantly better growth rate (up to 47% higher for pre-term babies);
  • improves circulation;
  • strengthens the immune system and increases the number of white blood cells;
  • builds muscle tone;
  • reduces stress responses and levels of pain in painful procedures including vaccines;
  • reduces pain associated with teething and constipation;
  • reduces colic;
  • helps induce sleep;
  • improves allergies in the form of atopic dermatitis;
  • helps improve the symptoms of ADHD and autism;
  • keeps blood sugar levels in check;
  • is valuable for children of all ages.

Cognitive Benefits of Loving Touch

Loving Touch builds a better brain.  Whenever your child is touched in a loving way, Nerve Growth Factor (NGF), a hormone in the brain, is produced causing more development of nerve nests in the nervous system.  Intentional touch also promotes nerve myelination, making for better mind to body communication.  Massage of the back provides stimulation to an area that is vitally important to child development. As the back is stimulated, it stimulates the growth of nerves all over the body.  (Carla Hannaford, interview with Kindermusik International Creative Team, Tape Recording, BrownsSummit, NC, 18 Jan 2000)  Even more interesting, massage not only improves cognitive development but also cognitive performance.  One study showed that children performed better on a series of cognitive tests after just 15 minutes of massage as compared with their peers.

Touch in Class
Kindermusik feels so strongly about the importance of touch on the development of your child, that we’ve made a point to include it in class.  That’s because loving touch benefits everyone, no matter how old you are.

  • Touch for Babies: The warm-up activities and gentle massage at the beginning of each Village class as well as the rocking time or quiet time later in class can all include loving touch. Scientific research tells us that this time of loving touch stimulates the regulation of healthy levels of a stress hormone in Baby’s brain. In Kindermusik Village, intentional touch activities also provide the opportunity to watch others for new ideas of ways to participate. In class, Baby may not always be comfortable with this activity. If this is the case, find other ways to interact during this time such as bouncing with a steady beat or walking slowly together to the music. Then consider trying to incorporate loving touch activities at home when Baby is not distracted by the classroom environment.
  • Touch for Toddlers and Big Kids: For toddlers in Our Time, we include rocking time each week in class, which also makes a perfect moment for snuggles, backrubs, and even a little gentle massage.  But the space we make for touch doesn’t end there, even in the big kid classes, you’ll find time for partner activities with lots of high fives, tickles, hugs, and eye contact, circle dances with holding hands, and even the occasional rocking time.  It’s a great reminder that any touch, no matter how small is beneficial.

Intentional Touch Everyday
Loving touch can easily become part of your everyday routine with your child.
Some tips for loving touch:

  • Set the mood for massage by playing your Home CD or other quiet music.
  • Set aside a small area for massage. Put a blanket on the floor and have lots of pillows so you are comfortable, too.
  • Make it a ritual to practice massage every night before bed or after a bath. The soothing effects will be good for both of you.
  • Consistency will promote a stronger sense of enjoyment and fulfillment.
  • The bond between a child and a caregiver is be strengthened through intentional touch, so allow different caregivers to take part in the sessions.
  • Remember to massage different parts of your child’s body – backs, feet, legs, arms. For babies the practice of making an “M” or heart shape on Baby’s chest while massaging is especially soothing.
  • Accompany intentional touch with quiet singing or humming.
  • Give hugs and lots of them.
  • Enjoy toe tickles, partner songs and games, and circle dances holding hands.
  • Snuggle.

To read more about the benefits of touch, check out these great websites:

http://www6.miami.edu/touch-research/ChildMassage.html

http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/01/05/touching.makes.you.healthier.health/index.html


Object Play Inspired By Horrendously Hot Days

There’s nothing better than a good prop. In this case, the prop is as many cushions or pillows as you can find around your house. What to do with your collection of cushions? Well, sir or madam, the choice is up to you, but here are some ideas.

For Babies

Infants of all ages will enjoy exploring the different textures (and probably tastes) of your various pillows. Older babies love obstacle courses that allow them to climb over, crawl under, and go between these smooshable squares. If you’ve got a crawler or walker, you can enjoy a game of peek-a-boo or chase as you move among the obstacle course you’ve created. Benefits of this activity: multi-sensory stimulation, object permanence, fine and gross motor skill development, anticipation

For Toddlers
Toddlers will also love games of hide-and-seek, peek-a-boo, or chase. Let them help you come up with other ways to play. Can you count the cushions? Can you sort them by color? What about building towers and knocking them down? Or how about building a path for playing cars, trucks, or trains. Where can they go over a “mountain,” through a “tunnel,” or under a “bridge”? Benefits of this activity: object permanence, fine and gross motor skill development, creativity, language development, spatial awareness, pretend play, counting and reasoning skills, problem solving

For Preschoolers and School-age Kids

With preschoolers and school-aged kids, the only limit on this game is their imagination. While the above ideas for toddlers may give you some places to start, you’ll find that cushions can be anything. I can’t tell you how many memories I have of playing house with the couch cushions as a child. But there’s no reasons your cushions can’t be a boat, a plane, a dinosaur, a cave, or a castle. I even played with a little girl one day who fed me “pizza” and “watermelon” pillows. Benefits of this activity: pretend play, language development, problem solving, creativity


Melt-in-My-Pocket Sandwich

This week in Kindermusik Adventures for the Young Child, the kids enjoyed the folk tale of “Lazy Jack”, a rather silly fellow who had a bout of good luck after a series of silly events.  This snack sounds like just the sort of thing Lazy Jack might eat (after having stuffed it into his pocket of course!).

Ingredients:

  • Bread (2 slices per kid)
  • Butter, softened
  • Cream cheese or other spreadable sandwich fillers of your choice
  • Honey
  • Chocolate sprinkles (if you’d like)

Directions

  1. Remove crusts and make sure bread slices are square.
  2. Cut one side of the bread into a point, to make a pocket shape.
  3. On one piece of bread, spread softened butter, honey, and/or other sandwich fillers to represent the butter that melted in Jack’s pockets.
  4. Put the top piece of bread on to make a “pocket” sandwich.
  5. On the outside of the pocket, dab dots of honey “glue” around the edge.  You can top with chocolate-sprinkle “stiches!”

Fruit Turtle

Little Turtle, Little Turtle, Hiding in Your Home, Little Turtle, Little Turtle…I See You!

What a delight it was today to play hide and seek with our little turtles, and squirrels, and rabbits.  Carry the fun home with this delicious and nutricious  snack.

You will need for each child:

  • Half an orange (peeled) or apple (cored)
  • Half a grape
  • Three mini pretzel sticks

Place the orange or apple half on a plate, flat side down.  Use the grape half as a head.  Break the pretzel sticks in
half and use them as legs and a tail.  You can assemble this ahead of your child’s snack time or let your child build his own turtle.


Make Your Own Awesome Sensory Tubes

Rolling jingle bells.  Clinking, brightly colored buttons.  Soft tapping wooden rings.  Gently floating feathers.   And swishing, sparkly beads.  The babies were crazy for the sensory tubes I made and brought to class this last week.  Frankly, so was I.  So were my boys who fought over the tubes as I made them at our house.  My oldest is now begging for his own set.

And guess what?  You can make them, too, or at least a modified version.  Here’s what you need:

  • empty clear plastic water bottles or two-liter soda bottles
  • fun things to fill them with such as water with food coloring, plastic beads, dishwashing liquid, sand, small jingle bells, small strips of colorful paper, little feathers, or anything else that might make an interesting sight or sound

While we used these in class with the babies, older children will enjoy experimenting to find out which different materials make different sounds or even no sound at all.  You might enjoy filling water bottles with colored water and even a bit of dishwashing liquid.  If you let the bottles sit for a while the bubbles vanish, only to reappear when you shake them up again.   You might also experiment with the different sizes.  The water bottles work more like shakers, whereas a two-liter would be more like the tubes I made for class, with a greater length for rolling or floating items.   And when you’re all done, you can even share your favorites on Facebook or in the links on the blogpost itself for other families.  CAUTION:  Be sure to close the lid tightly and always supervise your child as she plays with the new toy just in case she figures out how to open it.


Kindermusik Adventures (Camps)

Kindermusik Adventures

Class Structure: 45 min./week for 4 weeks

Summer 2017 will run June 2-29


Inspire your child’s love of learning

In a 4 week Kindermusik summer camp, blow bubbles. Play parachute and kite games. Sing. All these summer camp activities—the music and stories—are designed to nurture your child’s natural curiosity, one that eventually draws her toward learning new words, new numbers, and new big ideas. Using an integrated approach with music, movement, storytelling, and (for the upper ages) pretend play, drama, and art, Kindermusik Adventures stimulates imagination, spontaneity, inquiry, and a love of music for your child.

Each Adventures lesson creates an informal, playful environment that encourages children to contribute their original ideas, to experience new music activities, to discover and explore new information, to work cooperatively with others, and to keep their spontaneous music play and sense of wonder alive. Whether packing your picnic basket for a family outing, flying pretend kites, going on a pirate treasure hunt, or making music with the Bremen Town Musicians, Adventures will bring pleasure and a sense of accomplishment while encouraging your child to discover and develop that natural curiosity, creativity, and self expression.

Summer 2017 Classes

Cuddle & Bounce:  Old MacDonald (Ages 0-12 months) Time to tune up baby’s listening ears, because we’re off to the farm! With a hee-haw here and a cock-a-doodle there–when Old MacDonald gets involved, you never know whom you might run into. Have fun with vocal play, sensory exploration, and learning through play.At Home Materials: Kindermusik@Home delivers your favorite Kindermusik songs and activities, instrumental music, books, and lyrics–as well as recipes, learning games, crafts, and more in a green-friendly digital format. With your summer unit, you receive a treasure trove of developmentally appropriate activities that will give children a lifelong love of music and a strong early foundation for learning. And with each activity, parents learn how and why that activity enhances a child’s learning and development. Kindermusik@Home is available through tablet, mobile, and PC devices–ready to use wherever your family wanders. It’s Kindermusik for you!

See Schedule

Sing & Play:  Big Red Barn (Ages 12-24 months)  An enduring favorite theme, farms (and all the moos, quacks, and neighs that come with them) are a reliable toddler hit! Packed with classics, Big Red Barn is fun and active as you move like animals, make animal sounds, play instruments, and learn about loud/quiet and fast/slow. At Home Materials: Kindermusik@Home delivers your favorite Kindermusik songs and activities, instrumental music, books, and lyrics–as well as recipes, learning games, crafts, and more in a green-friendly digital format. With your summer unit, you receive a treasure trove of developmentally appropriate activities that will give children a lifelong love of music and a strong early foundation for learning. And with each activity, parents learn how and why that activity enhances a child’s learning and development. Kindermusik@Home is available through tablet, mobile, and PC devices–ready to use wherever your family wanders. It’s Kindermusik for you!

See Schedule

Wiggle & Grow:  Colors & Shapes on the Farm (Ages 2-3.5 years)  Everyone loves singing and dancing, but when you add a splash of color and a farmyard of fun, it gets even better! Come encounter Colors and Shapes on the Farm as you explore haystacks and hayrides, tractors, barns, and lots (and lots) of farm animals. This unit is loaded with old farm favorites, circle dances, and lots of learning. Come on down to the farm!  At Home Materials: Kindermusik@Home delivers your favorite Kindermusik songs and activities, instrumental music, books, and lyrics–as well as recipes, learning games, crafts, and more in a green-friendly digital format. With your summer unit, you receive a treasure trove of developmentally appropriate activities that will give children a lifelong love of music and a strong early foundation for learning. And with each activity, parents learn how and why that activity enhances a child’s learning and development. Kindermusik@Home is available through tablet, mobile, and PC devices–ready to use wherever your family wanders. It’s Kindermusik for you!

See Schedule

 


Laugh & Learn:  Around the Farm (Ages 3-5 years)
Put on your overalls and boots—it’s off to the barnyard for some farm-time fun! You’ll discover farm plants, farm animals, and farmyard songs, sounds, and games, as you have fun exploring all there is to do Around the Farm. At Home Materials: Kindermusik@Home delivers your favorite Kindermusik songs and activities, instrumental music, books, and lyrics–as well as recipes, learning games, crafts, and more in a green-friendly digital format. With your summer unit, you receive a treasure trove of developmentally appropriate activities that will give children a lifelong love of music and a strong early foundation for learning. And with each activity, parents learn how and why that activity enhances a child’s learning and development. Kindermusik@Home is available through tablet, mobile, and PC devices–ready to use wherever your family wanders. It’s Kindermusik for you!

See Schedule

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Kansas City – Are Your Ready for the Start of Kindermusik?

by z287marc on Flickr used via Creative Commons license

This is what my house starts to look like this time of year, except the boxes are bigger, and they all say “Kindermusik” on the side.  It’s rather like Christmas as new packages arrive regularly, and in just two weeks, I get to pass out fun “presents” to all our dear families.   So, for the next couple of weeks, you can expect a few posts to help us all get ready for the start of Fall Kindermusik classes August 21st.

And don’t worry, though classes are filling quickly, there’s still time to register for our Kindermusik classes at St. Andrew’s in Kansas City, MO or Beller Dance Studio in Overland Park, KS.  Check out the full schedule here.