Bunny Rabbits – Funny Habits

 

Hiding in the grass

 Bunnies just look soooo cuddly that it is a natural  impulse to want to pick them up and hug them.  Luckily we have a lot of stuffed animals for little children to do just that.   Wild rabbits are actually very timid creatures (some children can really relate to them), and it is fun to explore their unique habits through a variety of rhymes, songs, stories, and activities.  (It may also share with some children how timid and shy creatures still live very happy lives.)  These are some of my favorites offered by a variety of authors and sources, including Kindermusik, and a few of my own.

Personally, my favorite Easter icon is the egg  (see my eggcellent egg post).  But, this is the semester we move like, sound like, act like, and celebrate ANIMALS, and the animal of the day is the BUNNY RABBIT!Enjoy the activities that work best for your family.  AND SHARE with me some of YOUR Favorites too.   I do hope you have a wonderful Easter !

                                                DESCRIBE the BUNNY

 I’m a Little Bunny   by Jan Brennen
(Sung to “I’m a Little Teapot”)   Take time for the actions with your child.

I’m a Little Bunny, in a field I lie,               (curl up on the floor like a rabbit)
Here is my nose, and here are my eyes.   (point to body parts)
Here’s a bushy tail that likes to wiggle,     (wiggle tail area)
Tickle me and I might giggle.                         (… just do it !)

I’m a Little Bunny, soft and sweet,              ( front “paws” pet each other)
Here are my ears, and here are my feet.   (touch body parts)
When I’m in the garden, I look for treats,     (hop around and look)
And nibble on all I like to eat.                         (pretend to nibble on food)

***  This is also fun to with a little baby as “the bunny”.  Make eye contact, use an expressive voice, and adapt the actions to be “ON” the baby.

*** Older children may like to use a stuffed rabbit, or rabbit puppet, to make the motions, with this, or any of these rhymes or songs.)

It might be good to find a book that describe the true habits of rabbits.

 —————————————————————–

Outside Fun

 This Kindermusik song (an old folk song) is perfect to explore so much of HOW a rabbit may move or act.    

What Shall We Do when we all go out, All go out, all go out.
What shall we do when we all go out, All go out to play?

Let’s all hop like a rabbit, A rabbit, a rabbit,

Let’s all hop like a rabbit, When we go look for food.

  • Twitch your nose like a rabbit . . .   – So we can smell the food.
  • Let’s all munch on a carrot . . .         – Crunch, crunch, crunch…
  • In the dirt, we’ll dig a hole . . .          – And that will be our home.
     
  • Listen carefully with my long ears . . .   – So danger we can hear
  • Hide in a hole when there’s danger . . .  – Until we know it’s safe.

*** Perhaps you can tell that this is sort of a story within a song.  Follow the pattern consistently and talk about the story, and the children will pick up on the pattern, and begin to tell the story themselves.

 

Fun HOPPING  Activity Ideas

  • Hop from the squatting position
  • Have a hopping race to a finish line
  • Play hopping tag
  • Listen for sounds, then find the source.
  • A person can hide with a specific sound, then others can listen and find them.

 

My Bunny Hops All Through the Garden

(Sung to “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean”)  To sing while playing tag!

My bunny hops all through the garden,  My bunny hops all through the yard:
I like to play tag with my bunny,  But trying to catch him is hard.
Come back, come back, Oh, come back, my bunny to me, to me.
Come back, come back, Oh, come back my bunny to me. 

———————————————————————

“Danger Training”

This Kindermusik rhyme focuses on one of the most unique characteristics of rabbits, HIDING when there is danger.  

Of course, it can be fun in many ways, such as enjoying  finger play where the fingers hop about and finally into the hole made by a criss crossed lap.

Here’s a Bunny with Ears So Funny

And here’s a hole in the ground,

At the first sound he hears (make noise)

He pricks up his ears,

And hops right into the ground.

This is a great opportunity to teach your child what to do when there is danger.  Talk about dangers that may occur, and what you want your children to do in those instances.  Agree upon cue words to start the hiding process, such as “Danger, hide inside.”  Agree upon a specific safe hiding spot, and practice playing “Rabbit danger”.  The children should wait quietly until “mother bunny” comes get them. 

After one spot is learned, try other safe hiding spots in the home and yard, so they don’t panic if they can’t get to that one.  Hopefully, it will always be a game.  But if there’s ever a need, you’re child will have the skills to handle it and is less likely to panic.

Book Recommendation: “The Runaway Bunny” Margaret Wise Brown

Although the little bunny is in NO danger, When he wants to run away from home, his mother assures him that she will run after him and find him because she loves him.  This is a reassuring message that fills a child’s heart and mind with connection, hope, and love.

———————————————————————–

Eating Time Fun

 Try this as a finger play when your child is sitting in their high chair (like This Little Piggy)

 

This Little Bunny

likes food that’s GREEN.
This little bunny thinks carrots are keen.
This little bunny likes food that’s yellow
This little bunny is a hungry fellow.
This little bunny nibbles away
At apples and celery every day!

  • Touch each of five fingers while reciting.
  • Recite during food time when eating “rabbit food” (veggies) and replace the underlined words with foods on the table.

 ***  Rabbits love to eat raw plants of all colors:

Green:  lettuce, celery, broccoli, cabbage, sugar snap peas

Orange: carrots, sweet potato, cantalope

Yellow:  yellow squash, corn, pears

Red:  apples, papaya, tomatoes

Lay out a garden spread for your little bunny with various things to spread on it or dip it in, such as:  honey, peanut butter, dressing, caramel, cheese, cream cheese, etc.

For fun, here are directions on how to make a bunny pear salad.

My son’s favorite quote while eating carrots:

“Eheheheh,

What’s up, doc ?”

 

What kind of bunny fun is hopping around YOUR house?

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NEW Program – Kindermusik Sign and Sing

You can see the brain wheels turning as older babies and toddlers try to communicate…  as they try to tell an older sibling or adult what they need or want.  You can also see the dazed look on the parent’s face as they try so hard to understand.  Amazingly, older siblings can be impressive interpreters.  But they are not always available.

Baby Sign Language has been around for awhile in many different forms.   Indeed for hearing babies and toddlers that have no developmental issues, providing an option for a peaceful way to communicate their needs and wants.

Kindermusik International teamed up with Signing Smart, who put a lot of research into the best methods for parents to use to help set up positive situations in which their child WANTS to use signs to communicate.  And they established methods for helping children.  The result is Kindermusik Sign and Sing, specifically designed for children from 6 – 36 months along with a parent or significant care provider (a grandparent, aunt, or even a nanny).

At InTune Studios, we are now offering the Sign and Sing program, which is offered on Tuesday mornings at 11:30 am.,  directly following a 10:30 Kindermusik Our Time class, both taught by Tiffany Stokes – the director of InTune Studios, a licensed Kindermusik Educator, and a sister to a sibling with hearing impairments.  

 This is a research-proven program based on methods shown to speed language development in hearing children, ease frustration, and enhance long-term learning abilities.

To attend a Free Demo Class, contact Debbie:  musiconnx@att.net  or check out the schedules for the Free Demo and the full semester on the Music Connections Website .

 The following video features our fellow Kindermusik educator in Orlando, Holly Lesnick, and the families in her Sign and Sing program.
 
 
Session A – Beginner
45 minute class with caregiver (mom, dad, grandparent, nanny, etc.)
This class combines songs and playful interaction to help children learn American Sign Language. The five-session class gives parents the tools to learn more than 50 American Sign Language Signs for children ages 6 months to 3 years.
 
 
Do you fit into one of these categories?  Or do you have a whole different situation?  Please share.  I’d love to know more about how families communicate.
 

 

SS materialsAt Home Materials include:
  •  one Family Activity Guide – providing plenty of ideas for activities for parents and children to learn and play with at home
    • one DVD glossary showing 60 signs – WATCH the signs being made by adults & children
    • one set of clip-on flashcards that feature both children and adults using family-friendly American Sign Language signs.

    SESSION B (Advanced)

    This session reviews the first three Keys to Signing Smart Success and provides an in-depth look at the final and fourth Key. New concepts such as in and out, up and down, big and little, tall and short will be explored with more songs and animal-themed activities.

     At Home Materials are included with both classes.

    Find out more on: Sign and Sing – Some Questions Answered :  Holly Lesnick does an excellent job of answering the questions:  Will using sign language delay the speech of normally speaking children?  Or will it enhance their language development?

    Here is a bit of research on the particular program we offer (Sign and Sing) which was developed by Signing Smart:  Compared to developmental norms, Signing Smart children have enriched language and communication skills:
    • While the average 8 month old will have no spoken words, the average Signing Smart child will have 5 signs and 1 word.
    • While the average 12 month old will have 3-5 spoken words, the average Signing Smart child will have 25 signs and 16 words
    • At 18 months, the average child will have 10-50 spoken words. In contrast, the average Signing Smart child will have 79 signs and 105 words.
    • In addition, a majority of Signing Smart children begin combining signs and words or signs and signs together to form little sentences at 11-14 months. Compare this to non-signers, who do not begin to combine words into short sentences (e.g., “Da-da car”) until 20 months old on average!

    These results indicate that ASL signs, used in combination with Signing Smart strategies, facilitate both overall communicative abilities as well as spoken language skills in hearing infants and toddlers.

How do you to communicate with your child?   Do you easily understand what your growing child wants and needs through listening to his sounds and watching his actions?  If so, congratulations, you are a very observant parent, who listens to their child without the need for words or ASL signs.  I KNOW parents like this.  I also KNOW parents who are challenged to understand the garble that their child is so intently trying to share.  AND, those who deal with major tantrums because their child is frustrated with his or her inability to communicate.

A Shell Full of Stories

In a African folk tale, “Where Stories Come From” (part of the Kindermusik Tell Me A Tale summer camp),  a mother searches for stories for her children.  Finally, she finds the spirit people, who give the mother a SHELL with which she can just LISTEN for new stories.  Honestly, I have found such a shell. 

If you have a smart phone that runs applications, look for “Tales2Go”.  There are THOUSANDS of recorded stories available for children of all ages, with absolutely FANTASTIC story tellers that really make the stories come alive.  You can look for stories all different ways: by age group, story type, series of books, storytellers, or search for specific topics. 

There are very simple short stories for the youngest listeners; classics like The Three Billy Goats Gruff at 5 min.   AND there are more complex and longer stories for the older children (How to Train Your Dragon is 4 hrs. 25 min.)  Keep your charger handy, and expect to complete it in intervals.

My daughter LOVES to listen to the series of short stories, for example, the many stories of Clifford, the big red dog, and the African folk tales about Ananzi, the spider.   These would absolutely delight the children from our recent summer camp.  (We had a lot of interesting personal stories about spiders during class, and they would relate so well to this unique character).  Hearing different stories about the same characters is excellent for building neural pathways, as they have the familiar foundation of the characters to relate to, and the new adventures that can occur with those characters to build pathways for new ideas and concepts.

Holding my phone (it’s even white), and listening to these stories is exactly like being given a shell of unlimited stories !!!  There is a free 30 day introductory period, then it is about $25 for the YEAR to hear as many stories as you could even imagine, and new stories are being added all the time.

This is EXCELLENT for long car rides, esp. if you get a good set of headphones for your child.  (Our family doesn’t do videos in the car.) 

But my favorite way to use this “story shell” – as a wake up tool.  My daughter doesn’t do well getting up earlier than her usual time.  During the school year, I started having my phone at the table, ready for her to listen to a new story during breakfast.  She was much happier to get up, dressed, and ready when she knew there was a story waiting for her, esp. if she gets to pick out the story the night before.

OTHER than the Tales2Go application, there really isn’t a SHELL that contains stories.  We must gather them like berries on a vine, and preserve them like jelly, then spread them thoroughly for all to enjoy.  We must hunt for them in books and learn to digest their meanings.  We must create them from our own personal experiences and share them with our family to provide a robust sense of self, and of belonging to an integral family unit. 

EVERY Kindermusik class includes stories !!!  AND they are integrated into many different learning activities, through singing, movement, instrument play, and more.  Listening to stories is a treasure.  Living IN and exploring stories with all of your senses makes learning easy and fun for people of all ages.  Come see for yourself and try out a Kindermusik class near you.  www.kindermusik.com

Motherhood Relaxation with Sound of Silence

Relaxation Activity 1 – The Sound of Silence       (link to intro.)

                For yourself:  Life is so full of noise.  I find myself staying awake at night just to enjoy the silence.   FIND IT!  Savor it.   Let it refresh you with this 10 min. exercise:  While sitting comfortably, close your eyes, and let the silence wrap around you like a warm blanket.   Breathe in deeply through your nose, filling your abdomen and your lungs.  Hold the silence in momentarily and allow it to gather your stress.  Then slowly release the breath, the silence, and your stress.  Repeat around 10 times, though don’t bother to keep count.  Then spend the next few minutes letting the “warmth” of the silence relax your muscles.  Focus on allowing the “nothingness” to take over each part of your body.  After 10 minutes, stretch your fingers, toes, and limbs and slowly let awareness come back into the room.

                With your child:  It may be good to do try this first early in the morning when life and children aren’t quite so noisy.  Later, you may find it a good option to interrupt some cantankerous noise.  Invite your child to play the SOS game (Sound Of Silence – but they don’t need to know that).  You can actually tie it in with the aspect of the emergency Morse Code signal – start the game by using three short sounds, followed by three long sounds, then by three short sounds (like saying “beep”).  Then ALL sounds must STOP.  Start with three deep breaths, then breathe normally while enjoying the silence.   At first you may have to start with shorter time segments, even as short as 30 seconds for some children, but then gradually (over a few weeks) increase the duration to 10 minutes – or you may need to find the successful time span for your child somewhere in between. 

Some children may enjoy having a large see- through scarf placed over their entire body during the game, call it the Cloak of Calmness, which helps every muscle in their body to know they are safe and loved.   End the game with the same Morse code signal, and have them gradually stretch outward.     Give them a big hug to connect with them physically, concluding with the knowledge that safety and love surrounds them, just like the cloak, and just like the silence.

What helps your child relax?  Please share.  I’d really like to know.  Got any tips for helping TEENS learn to relax?  The music he listens to is not necessarily relaxing.  That’s where I am right now.

Kooky Cartoons teach Healthy Habits

Learning good habits to stay healthy, and to keep others healthy is important, but does NOT come naturally – they must be taught.  Different children learn different ways, and some enjoy learning through cartoons.  Watching is only the beginning of the learning process though.  After you watch one of these videos with your children, go right away to practice the skills that Crawford teaches  –  whether the child is sick or not.  Practicing can be fun if the child is pretending to be Crawford the Cat, teaching YOU or a friend how to do it right.  Don’t you love how children love to teach others?  

In this first video, Crawford show WHY, WHEN, and HOW to wash hands effectively.   A fellow educator, Ms. Christa, shared this video on her blog, and added to make sure to clean the faucet handles first, and use a towel to turn them off.  THANKS Christa !

In the second video, Crawford is sick, and reviews ways to make sure NOT to pass along his illness to anyone else. 

Older children may enjoy pretending to be Crawford while you pretend (or actually) video tape them as they explain how to do things right !

If you think this is a great way for your child to learn, go to www.crawfordthecat.com to see the videos available.  There are even downloadable pictures to print and color.

If you could dream up a perfect video for Crawford to teach your child a healthy skill – what skill would YOU choose?

GREEN is the color to BE

GREEN has been my 4 year old daughter’s favorite color for at least 2 years now, but little does she know all of what GREEN is starting to mean.  Even in this FALL season, I am amazed at how much GREEN is springing up all around us.  It has been marvelous that Polk County has made our recycling a lot easier over the past few years, and that grocery stores are now offering reusable bags for carrying home our purchases, but really GOING GREEN is a LOT more than that.

 

Did you know?  Recycling just 1 aluminum can saves enough energy to operate a TV for 3 hours.

 

NEWSFLASH !!!  Kindermusik International is Going GREEN – in a BIG WAY !!!  So customers will see some changes in the packaging of their home materials. (AND they are looking for your feedback in this process.) 

 

 

kindermusik-green

 

In ways not so visible, they are undertaking some seriously responsible actions at KI headquarters.  It is more than just reducing, reusing, and recycling.  For example, all our teacher’s guides will be available online to licensed educators.  This is a HUGE investment in green, coming from a Publishing Company.  As another significant move, they are purchasing Renewable Energy Certificates in a Palm Springs Wind Farm, to offset the energy costs of doing business.  WOW! 

www.kindermusikgreen.blogspot.com – This blog highlights their efforts, and provides some great information, and inspiration, for families trying to go GREEN.

 

This REALLY HITS home that Kindermusik International is whole heartedly committed to creating a special world for children NOW, and for the future, that includes harmony and sustainability.

 

Did you know?  There are 60 billion single-serving plastic bottles made each year.  Only 20% of them are recyled.

 

At Lakeland Montessori, where my daughter attends school, all the students are involved about learning how to be more GREEN at school and at home.  Based on their research, and my subsequent research on this topic, I am creating a posting on my Music Connections Recommends… blog that will list several resources for excellent and unique GREEN products.

 

Did you know?  Over 500 billion plastic bags are consumed worldwide each year.  Each bag takes up to 1000 years to decompose and leaches toxic chemicals while doing so.

 

If you are interested in keeping up with all the aspects of becoming GREEN, check out:  http://www.thedailygreen.com/  – a website that is “the consumer’s guide to the green revolution”.  Includes blog postings with creative & inexpensive ways to “be more green”.  And there is a newsletter to which you can subscribe. 

 

I thought their gift ideas were quite unique!  For example, check out these websites for plantable paper, handmade paper that can be planted, and wildflowers will grow.

 

http://www.plantablepaper.com/index.htm 

http://www.swallowtailfarms.com  (click on Plantable Paper)

 

How cool is that?  It would even be more cool if I could actually grow anything – I do have the brownest thumb in the universe.  Well, at least the REST of me is going GREEN !  And I LOVE it!

 

Good Luck with your GREEN efforts!

Watch Out – Spontaneous Housecleaning May Occur

Whether it’s “Dust, Dust, Dust”, or “We are clothes in the Washing Machine”, our families are learning some great songs and activities that help make the cleaning up routines at home something to look forward to. 

In the Family Time program, Our Kind of Day, and the Our Time program, Milk & Cookies, children become actively engaged in real life issues, but in a more playful way.  Amazingly, when they think cleaning is fun, and got some good tunes to go with it, they are more likely to start some spontaneous housecleaning at home.  (Mine has, and many other mothers are reporting the same phenomenon.) 

The “Put Your Things Away” song that we use in ALL of our Kindermusik classes to encourage children to put their things away has generated SOO many comments from parents – like “As soon as my son hears this song, he starts putting his things away.”  “That song works miracles at my house.”  “My baby just LOVES that song, and it helps soothe her to sleep.” – That comment was made just this week in my Village class.

The “In My House” song has also generated it’s share of comments from parents.  This semester, homes throughout the United States, as well as 60 other countries, have little children with dust cloths in their hands trying to dust anything they can reach.  The repetative rhthmic ostinato of “Dust, dust, dust…   ”  makes a soothing backdrop for the melody to be sung above it, and it is so easy for the children to sing along and feel confident in their abilities.  The repetitive phrase also tends to help keep them focused on the task – well, mostly, they are children after all.

I simply love to put on CDs of upbeat music while going about the cleaning process.  We dance and sing, and may not be as quick about it, but it is done with a more joyful spirit.  Of course, there are several Kindermusik CDs which have great “cleaning” sections (two are listed above).   My favorite music, other than Kindermusik, is actually Benny Goodman, or some other big band jazz music to get me bouncing along to the task.  And I come up with more fun ways to engage my children in the tasks at hand. 

  • “Can we get all the clean dishes put away by the time this song ends?”
  • Folding clean laundry together often ends up in a sock tossing contest of some sort.
  • And there MUST be dancing celebrations upon completions of each task.  Well, there IS a lot more floor room for that now.

When done right, children take pride in their ability to contribute to the workings of the home, they feel “useful”, like “Thomas, the useful little engine” takes such pride in his work.  They can do more than is believed that they can do, given the right tools, and proper training in the tasks. 

Two year olds, and older 1 year olds) can help set the table, put their shoes, or toys, away in a specific box, put their dirty clothes directly into a hamper (my son called it the laundry “hamster” for the longest time – I didn’t correct him.)  Two year olds should be given ONE request at a time (don’t confuse them with multi-step directions).

Three year olds can sort the dinnerware into the drawer (matching the pieces correctly).  They can START to help match the socks, and fold the smaller towels – AND put them in the right drawer.  Three year olds CAN follow 3 – 4 step directions, like “Please, fold these towels and go put them in the kitchen drawer, then come touch my shoulder and I’ll give you a spinning hug!”   Setting up the last request as a return to the parent provides them a “finishing touch”, some recognition for their achievement, and gives parents a way to know that it was done.

Four year olds, and every age after that, can do more and more.  A good friend of mine purchased a little hand held vaccuum cleaner for each of his daughters at the age of 4, so they could easily help clean up messes that were made.  And they LOVED having their OWN vacuum, in the color of their choice, to use in the cleaning process.  They would race to see who could get their vacuum out first.  Children thrive on having their own real tools, in their size, for the job at hand.

I personally believe that it is important for them to realize that as they get older, they are allowed to learn additional responsibilities that will help them become successful adult when the time comes.

On my son’s 3rd Birthday, he had a wonderful birthday, and recieved many wonderful things.  He also recieved his first family chore of sorting the clean silverware while I emptied the rest of the dishwasher. 

On his 4th birthday, he learned that his new family responsibility was to sort and put away all the socks for the family.  And each birthday thereafter, he has received a new responsibility.  These are added to the previous responsibilities, instead of replacing them.  Although, some of the earlier responsibilities were given to his little sister when she became the right age.

I truly believe that being a useful part of the family in this way helps to build a family team that works together to support each other, and build bonds that sustain them during hard times, gives them the skills and feelings of personal responsibility that they need to lead sucessful lives.  It also helps them learn how to pass these skills along to their children as well.