Friday, February 24, 2017

Musical Kids (for babies 6-16 months) 2/24/17

Hi! I want to start by saying that I am NOT ignoring my blog; I'm just not working as much right now (I'm still on partial maternity leave) and thus, not doing as much to blog about. The truth is, I think about my blog all the time. I feel bad for neglecting it! So here I am, finally writing an entry, and writing it on my long-time-favorite program--Musial Kids.

The last time I blogged about Musical Kids was October 4 (just ten days before my sweet daughter was born) and I chose to blog about my baby group. Now today, I'm writing about the babies again, because, well, they're just fun! And it's my blog and I can write about whatever I want to!

For those not in the know: Musical Kids is a reoccurring program done in three 30-minute sessions per week: 6-16 months at 10:00, 17-29 months at 10:45, and 30 months-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 that I've formed with the patrons who attend them. Musical Kids is part of the reason I consider myself so lucky to work where I do.

Here is my playlist from this morning's baby class: (red = ipodblue = sing)

1. A New Way to Say Hello by Big Jeff
2. The Happy Song by Imogen Heap (shakers)*
3. Yellow Submarine by The Beatles (drums)
4. Row, Row Your Boat by Dr. John (drums)
5. Bell Horses by Kathy Reid-Naiman (bells)
6. The Owl Song by Playdate (bells + owl puppet)
7. Exercise to the Beat- Twinkle Theme by Lynn Kleiner (parachute) **
8. The Grand Old Duke of York (parachute) ***
9. Toast in the Toaster (parachute) ****
10. Slow and Fast by Hap Palmer (parachute)
10. Blow a Kiss by Laurie Berkner

* The Happy Song by Imogen Heap is a song that, according to LifeHacker, was scientifically designed to make babies smile. The song "encapsulates everything babies like in music:" Consonance, the female voice, a major key, a quick tempo, a simple, repetitive melody, drum rolls, key changes, rising pitch glides, and plenty of opportunities for anticipation and surprise. In short, it's a good song. And it really is! It's super catchy, all-around sweet, and it successfully made me smile. So I was super excited to debut it for the first time today in Musical Kids.

Well, it didn't work. At all! In fact, I challenge you to find one smiling child in the pictures below:

** This video is filled with amazing baby program ideas, including the seventh song I used during today's class: Exercise to the Beat- Twinkle Theme. The song starts around the 6-minute-mark (and zooms in on that super-cute little guy in the front at 7:05. Sooo cute!).

If you don't feel like watching the video, Exercise to the Beat- Twinkle Theme basically, involves lifting and moving baby's arms and legs like a little aerobics routine. It worked ok. There were a number of babies who were small and calm enough to really benefit from it; then there were a number of babies (the walkers) who were just too restless for it. Clearly the babies in the video above are both younger than my crowd and also more well-trained.

Side note: Last week I tried the first dance seen in the video above, "Folk Dance," and it worked pretty well! Explaining the steps felt a bit intimidating at first, but once we got going, everyone picked it up and got the hang of it quickly. Enjoyed it even! I'd give it another shot going forward. Also, my four-month-old baby LOVES when we do the Folk Dance into the mirror.

*** 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). It's fantastic! And actually, so is this entire video:

**** If you've ever so much as glanced at my blog you know I think the ladies over at Jbrary are geniuses. I love their Toast in the Toaster rhyme, but actually, I've enjoyed it more as a parachute song with little beach balls for the "toast."

We all shake the balls on the chute for the rhyme, then when we get to the word "pop," we try to shoot the balls up into the air, like popping toast. I always do this twice and, while it's sometimes messy the first go-around, everyone definitely gets it and enjoys it the second time. (Fun side note: In my oldest group, one of the regular girls asked her mom if she could have toast when they got home. Inspiring snacks since 2017!)

What worked least: The Happy Song by Imogen Heap was a total disappointment! If it wasn't for my excitement (as well as extended introduction about how this song was scientifically proven to make babies smile), it would have worked as well as any other song, but all things considered, it was kind of a dud! I would, however, try it again with a smaller group, or in a one-on-one scenario.

What worked best: The Owl Song by Playdate is not only a great song (by a great band that's lead by Greg Attonito of The Bouncing Souls), but the baby group always responds particularly well to the use of puppets. When whatever the puppet-of-the-week is comes around, the babies transform into a super cute combination of friendly, shy, affectionate, and surprised. It'll melt your heart! Seriously!