Tag Archives: music

Play with Books!

by Katrina Morse for Family Reading Partnership

Dramatic play is what children do naturally. Acting out scenarios from real life settings such as home, the grocery store, or a city street or pretending to be someone else like a musician, pirate, or scientist give children the opportunity to explore their own feelings and learn how to talk about them. They confront fears, make choices, and solve problems. There is so much learning that happens in play!

Children’s books are a rich source of ideas for pretending. After reading any of your favorite books together, ask your young child which character they would like to pretend to be and start acting out the story. Grown-up hats, scarves, and shoes can used be as costumes that transform your child into another person or creature. Recreate the setting of a book with a few simple props you already have at home. Pillows can become a boat, car, or a picnic table. Stuffed animals and action figures can become other characters in a story. Let the play expand to new make-believe stories and let your child’s imagination blossom.

Here are some books for young children that will inspire the fun:

“This Jazz Man” by Karen Ehrhardt, illustrated by R.G. Roth. This counting book has a bee bop rhythm in the descriptions of how a jazz band makes music. Snap, tap, pound a beat on a drum, and lead with a conductor’s baton. Make your own instruments at home out of pots and pans and create your own sounds just by humming, clicking, and tootling to a beat! Can you work together to make music?

“Wiggle” by Doreen Cronin, illustrations by Scott Menchin. From the author of “Click, Clack, Moo, Cows That Type,” here is another story that will tickle your child’s funny bone and spark some creativity. Follow along as a dog wiggles his way through the day. From the morning wake-up wiggle, to wiggling with his shadow, wiggling like a crocodile, and wiggling as slowly as a polar bear, this is a book that you’ll want to read standing up. Then your child can practice all the ways to wiggle.

“Little Blue Truck Leads the Way.” By Alice Schertle, illustrated by Jill McElmurry. A sequel to “Little Blue Truck,” this story is set in a city with many other types of vehicles, lots of people, and tall buildings. Little Blue Truck is in the right place at the right time and saves the day. Phew! How did he feel about that? You and your children can pretend to be a line of cars, trucks, and cabs with Little Blue Truck out in front, leading the way through a city made by the furniture and doorways of your home.

 

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Filed under creativity, dramatic play, imagination, movement, music, rhythm

Bring Books to Life by Connecting to Activities

Bring books to life for your child! Read a book, then experience what you read by connecting the story to the real world. By extending the book to include the sights, sounds, textures, smells, and tastes of real life, the written word and flat pictures in a book become a multidimensional and memorable experience.

You could read a book about food, such as “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” by Judi Barrett or “Dragons Love Tacos” by Adam Rubin and then eat some spaghetti or make your own tacos. Read the book while you sample the food and the story will become an event that your child won’t forget.

You could read “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus” by Mo Willems and then take a real bus ride; or read “Click Clack Moo, Cows that Type” by Doreen Cronin and then type and send a real letter or email to someone your child knows. (Grandma will love getting a personal note from her grandchild.)

A great way to teach your child about music is to read books about music and instruments and then listen to the real thing. There are many free and low cost concerts in your community and at schools that your child may enjoy. Make sure to point out the instruments that you have read about and listen to how each sounds. Stay at a live performance only as long as your child is interested, so that this introduction to music is a pleasant experience for everyone.

Some children’s books about music that will make you tap your toes:

  • “Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin” by Lloyd Moss, illustrated by Marjorie Priceman, introduces ten instruments in an orchestra, in rhyming text with illustrations that curve with the rhythm of the music. 
  • “The Bat Boy and his Violin” by Gavin Curtis, illustrated by E.B. Lewis, is an endearing story about a young African American boy who would rather play violin than be the bat boy for his father’s baseball team. The boy’s expert music making ends up helping the team overcome a losing streak, and helps win over his dad’s heart. Striking watercolor illustrations are based on extensive research of the time period.
  • “Moose Music” by Sue Porter. When Moose finds a violin and bow in a mud puddle in the woods, he finds out that the rusty strings produce an ear-splitting screech that no animal in the woods can tolerate… except for a lady moose who has a raspy, howling voice. Children will laugh at this pair.
  • “This Jazz Man” by Karen Ehrhardt, illustrated by R.G. Roth. The bouncy text of this book is based on the childhood tune, “This Old Man” and the illustrations are lively collage. The book begins with: “This Jazz Man, he plays one. He plays rhythm with his thumb. With a snap, snap, snazzy-snap, give the man a hand, this jazz man scats with the band.” The book ends with brief histories of nine jazz musicians from the thirties and forties.

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On the Move with Books

Stretch! Bend! Jump! Dance! It’s time to shake off the weary winter weather and move with a spring in your step! Read one of these children’s books about movement and exercise and be ready to act out the motions with your young listener.

“Twist with a Burger, Jitter with a Bug” by Linda Lowery, illustrated by Pat Dypold. This rhyming, rhythmic, bouncy book is illustrated in collage with bold shapes and colors. The catchy text gives the message that we can move, dance, and find rhythm in life all the time. This book may introduce some new vocabulary to your child in these dance names: mambo, jig, polka, jitter, jive, rumba, and waltz.

“Who Bop?” by Jonathan London, illustrated by Henry Cole. A colorful book with a jazzy beat shows animals with music and moves. Cool Cat plays the sax and bunnies do the sock hop. The text is a tongue-twisting rhyme. “Get down, play that thing! If it’s got that swing it means EVERYthing. Jazz-Bo knows it. Says, ‘Hope I don’t blow it!’ He squeezes them blues right out of his shoes.”

“How Can You Dance?” by Rick Walton, illustrated by Ana Lopez-Escriva. Get ready to move like the animals do when you read this book. “How can you dance as you swim in a pool? Dance like a frog feeling fine, keeping cool. How can you dance when you’re mad as a bee? Dance around, around, around–wildy.”

“Dancing in My Bones” by Sylvia Andrews, pictures by Ellen Mueller. Dancing, bouncing, clapping, toe-tapping, and singing; the catchy stanzas rhyme and repeat. Illustrations are happy watercolors with big-headed, smiling children, rainbows, and flowers.

“Tumble Bumble” by Felicia Bond. A zig-zagging and growing parade of animals have mishaps and fun as they tumble, bumble along. The book ends with a quieting down as everyone heads off to bed.

“Get Up and Go!” by Nancy Carlson. The author/illustrator uses Lou Ann Pig, Henry and their animal friends to show why exercise is important and all the ways to do it. You can be involved with sports, play at the park, hike, garden, or dance in your living room. Moving is good for a healthy body.

“Clap Your Hands” by Lorinda Bryan Cauley. “Clap your hands, stomp your feet. Shake your arms, then take a seat.” Children and animals, big and small, all join in doing the motions. Each page has a rhyming set of directions that you can act out with your child.

“Who Hops?” by Katie Davis. This book will tickle the funny bone of your 3 or 4 year old. Illustrations are in big bold colors showing which animals hop, fly, slither, swim, and crawl. Every few pages there is a silly question, such as, “Do elephants jump?”

“Baby Dance” by Ann Taylor, pictures by Marjorie van Heerden. This is a short board book showing all the fun things a father does to soothe his crying baby: “Dance little baby, move to and fro. Coo and crow baby, there you go.”

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Filed under children's books, movement, music