Monday, June 15, 2015

Weekly Learning Theme: Music and Instruments

With a couple of library events to go to that involved music for children, I thought this past week would be the perfect week for a learning theme on music and instruments.  It was so much fun to talk with Carter about music and introduce him to many instruments.  Of course, he loved making music of his own!

Listed below are the objectives I am focusing on for the themed weeks.  I have updated our objectives from the original ones we focused on because Carter mastered those skills.  I plan to continue to implement activities to practice and reinforce our previous objectives while putting more emphasis on our new objectives.  Some of them won't necessarily be targeted with specific activities during our weeks, but I wanted to list them to help me remember to practice them continually.  The highlighted objectives are ones Carter received exposure to during our theme this week:
  1. Take turns in a simple game.
  2. Understand the meaning of mine, his, hers.
  3. Group objects based on a category (sort by defining feature).  
  4. String beads or other objects.
  5. Count to 3 and understand what the numbers mean.  
  • I found a really cool website where you can print sheet music for free here.  I printed some off and forgot it at my parents' house so we ended up looking at music books and sheet music I had from band in middle school.  I told Carter they were like regular books but instead of letters they had music notes.  The notes stood for music sounds rather than letter sounds.  We counted the number of notes on each line.  Then I clapped for the rhythm of the songs and Carter jumped each time I clapped.
  • To practice with scissors I used a piece of sheet music and Carter cut it.  For older kids you could draw dotted lines and have them cut along the line.  Carter just cut willy nilly when he could get the scissors to work.

  • Carter played all kinds of instruments throughout the week.  Most of them were from his little band set we have.  While he played the drum I got out sheet music and sang words as he beat the drum.  We also counted his beats as he hit the drum.  We counted to 4 because most music is written in 4/4 time.  So we just counted to 4 over and over while he hit the drum.
  • We also introduced him to a clarinet, piano, guitar, and trumpet.  While we were at my parents' house my dad showed him his trumpet, guitar, and piano.  Carter didn't like them and thought they were too loud, especially the trumpet.  I showed him the clarinet I played.  I put it together and let him touch the buttons and pretend to play it.  I didn't put a reed on so he just made noise into the mouthpiece.
  • I threw together a music sensory bin for Carter.  I filled it with different sizes of pots and pans, lids, maracas, spoons, shakers, some of his toy instruments, and the instruments we made throughout the week.  His favorite thing to do was take the 2 lids and smack them together like cymbals.
  • To practice sorting I printed pictures of a trumpet, a clarinet, a drum, and a guitar.  Then I told Carter the name of each of the instruments again and he sorted the pictures into piles based on the instrument shown.  When he was finished we counted to see how many pictures were in each pile.
  • I saw a really cool idea for creating a piano out of sidewalk chalk here.  I planned to do it with Carter but it rained a lot and when it wasn't raining we were at library events or playdates.  It may have been a bit old for him anyway.  If we do this theme again when he's older I will definitely do the chalk piano then!
  • Using a styrofoam plate we created a guitar for Carter. I had him decorate it with stickers. Then I cut out a neck from another plate and stapled them together. When he was done decorating I put rubber bands on for the guitar strings and he walked around playing it.
  • We filled an Easter egg with beans along with a long measuring instrument we were sent for free in the mail with a sample of formula.  Then I taped them shut with electrical tape and we decorated them with stickers.  Of course while we were decorating the instruments Carter also decorated Harper with some stickers!
  • To create a drum I had saved an empty hot chocolate container.  I cut sticker paper to fit the container and had Carter decorate it.  He wanted me to help him so I decorated part of the paper with him.  We also used some of the sheet music I had, coloring on it and cutting it out in shapes to glue onto the container as decoration.  When we were finished I showed Carter a video I had taken at the Ben Harper concert of the percussionist playing a drum similar to what we had just made.  He got very excited and started beating on his drum!
    Decorating the sticker paper.

Cutting the sheet music to use as decoration.
Special Snack:

  • After playing with a microphone and talking about what it is, we used ice cream cones as pretend microphones.  Carter spent more of his time concerned that Harper was going to take his ice cream than he did actually pretending it was a microphone.
Make Believe:
  • Using Carter's toy instruments we pretended we were in a band.  Sometimes we would just sit and play music.  Other times we would pretend we were in a parade.  Carter loved wearing the drum while walking along beating on it.  To practice taking turns we took turns playing different instruments.
  • Throughout the week we sang songs, listened to music, and read song books.  His favorite song books are the ones Jane Cabrera writes by making variations of well-known songs.  When Carter sang i gave him a microphone to sing into which he loved. 
  • It was fun to pull up different genres of music on Pandora to see what Carter thought.  He wasn't a big fan of the blues but he loved jazz!  We listened to different genres of music as we worked on our crafts.
Field Trip/Interactive Experience:
  • The library held a couple of outdoor concerts for children during the week.  We went to both of them.  Carter enjoyed dancing around and Elise napped.

Elise sleeping through another concert.
  • I Know a Shy Fellow Who Swallowed a Cello by Barbara Garriel
  • Listen to My Trumpet by Mo Willems
  • If You're Happy and You Know It by Raffi
  • Baby Beluga by Raffi 
  • Jazz Baby by Lisa Wheeler
  • Before John Was a Jazz Giant: The Story of John Coltrane by Carole Boston Weatherford
  • Mole Music by David McPhail
  • My Family Plays Music by Judy Cox
  • Play, Mozart, Play by Peter Sis
  • Punk Farm by Jarrett Krosoczka
  • Punk Farm On Tour by Jarrett Krosoczka
  • The Story of the Incredible Orchestra by Bruce Koscielniak
  • Violet's Music by Angela Johnson
  • The Wheels on the Bus by Jane Cabrera
  • Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star by Jane Cabrera
  • Ah, Music! by Aliki
  • Ben's Trumpet by Rachel Isadora
  • Hey Diddle Diddle by Eve Bunting
  • I See A Song by Eric Carle
  • If You're Happy and You Know It by Jane Cabrera
  • M Is For Music by Kathleen Krull
  • Music Over Manhattan by Mark Karlins
  • Tuba Lessons by T.C. Bartlett


  1. Is the first paragraph the right one? I enjoyed it and love the pictures of Carter with the clarinet.

    1. Thanks, totally missed that proof reading! I copy and paste the last week's theme when I start working on the next one so I can keep the same format and forgot to change out the first paragraph.