Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Musical Kids (for babies ages 6-16 months) and Last Post Before I Have My Own Baby!

It has been exactly one year since the last time I blogged about my baby group of  Musical Kids!

As pretty much everyone ever knows, I love Musical Kids. I have blogged about this program many times in the past but it's continued to be my favorite part of my job. Since I am leaving for maternity leave next week, I wanted to do one last Musical Kids post, before I go. And since it's been exactly one year since, why not have this post be about the babies (6-16 months) again this time?

The lowdown on Musial Kids, for those not in the know: This is a reoccurring program done in three 30-minute sessions per week: 6-16 months at 10:00, 17-23 months at 10:45, and 3-5 years at 11:30, for 3 or 4 weeks in a row. They're probably the most well-attended programs in the department and I seriously love the relationships I have formed with our core group of regular parents and children. Today I am going to write about my baby group (again) who I see first at 10:00 because, for the first time, they were my biggest group. Also, they've been so so SO wonderfully sympathetic through my pregnancy and I kind of just love them.

Here is my playlist from last Friday morning: (red = ipod, blue = sing)

1. A New Way to Say Hello by Big Jeff
2. This Land is Your Land by  Josh Levine (shakers)
3. I Know a Chicken by Laurie Berkner (shakers + chicken puppet)
4. Mix a Pancake (scarves) *
5. Scarf Version of Early in the Morning (scarves) **
6. Wheels on the Bus (with big book)
7. She'll Be Comin' Round the Mountain (lap song) ***
8. Can't Buy Me Love  by The Beatles (tambourines)
9. Whole Lotta Lovin' by Fats Domino (tambourines)
10. Grand Old Duke of York (parachute) ****
11. One, Two, Buckle My Shoe by Kathy Reid-Naiman (parachute) x2
12. Blow a Kiss by Laurie Berkner

This was the first time in a long time (or possibly ever) that I didn't use the drums in a class of Musical Kids! I was a little worried about it because I feel like everyone has kind of come to expect them, but nobody seemed to miss them at all! Plus I included the tambourines instead, which are also really fun. So I guess a little instrument variety is ok after all.

As usual, this program was made better because of good ol' Jbrary, specifically, their Babytime Story Resources playlist, which has pretty much everything you could ever need for a successful baby program.

* Mix a Pancake is thanks to (of course) Jbrary, although using it with scarves was my idea! Here it is:

** I actually can't remember where I got the Scarf Version of So Early in the Morning from (apologies if it was you!) but it goes like this:

This is the way we wash our arms, wash our arms, wash our arms. This is the way we wash our arms so early in the morning... (and we pretend to use our scarves as a wash cloths).

Then we go through and sing it over and over with other body parts. Popular on-the-spot body part choices for me are knees, elbows, head, feet, and belly.

*** I got this wonderful version of She'll Be Comin' 'Round the Mountain from, you guessed it, Jbrary! It's pretty no-fail and everyone usually enjoys it (minus a few complaints about tired arms):

**** I found this parachute version of The Grand Old Duke of York from The Kids Music Experience YouTube channel (although I modified it a little):

When I first started doing Musical Kids (about 6 or 7 years ago as a librarian trainee helping another librarian), I did not care for this baby group one bit. The idea of a singing and dancing program with babies intimidated me because, well, babies can't sing or dance. It took me a LOT of time (like, 5 years) to get comfortable with this group and even longer to actually enjoy it. But I started to really dig this age group once I figured out one key thing--with babies, you get to do an entire category of songs you can't do with the older crew: lap songs! Once I found my lap songs rhythm, I started to love the 10:00 group! You can do so much with them that you can't do with the walkers. They're actually really fun! Plus they're just totally wild for the parachute.

Anyway, last note, regardless of how little they are, it's always important that babies be exposed to music and rhythms early! Here are the reasons why: 

1. Singing helps children to hear the smaller sounds that make up words, because each note gets its own sound.

2. Moving, marching, clapping, and playing instruments helps with children’s motor skills.

3. Singing helps children build vocabulary through song lyrics. For younger children, “naming songs” where you are singing a list of animals, foods, or any other objects are beneficial. 

4. Singing different pitches helps children think spatially because the notes of the melody move up and down. 

5. Singing different rhythms helps children think mathematically because the beats are timed and precise. 

6. Singing with young children helps them to learn critical communication skills such as reciprocal dialogue, speech sounds, and how to associate sounds with objects, events, and feelings.

I can't muster up a "What worked best" and "What worked least" for this post. Musical Kids always feels like a success for me and racking my brain to come up with a "worked least" just seems pointlessly negative.

Anyway, I'm going to sort of sign off here for the next 2-3 months. I'll be back at work and back to blog posts in no time, but for the next bunch of weeks, it's time for me to have a baby and love a baby. <3


  1. I loved this post and I love your enthusiasm for music and exposing kids to music as early as possible. Great job and also want to wish you all the best in the next weeks ahead. So exciting :))

  2. I absolutely heart everything about this post! Sending lots of love and good wishes to you and your hubby as you welcome a new little miracle into the world! Xoxoxo