Monthly Archives: July 2015

Music and movement…and a lot of fun!

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Kids in general are action oriented…they love moving, shaking, dancing to music…they enjoy fingerplays and action songs and use their bodies without inhibitions in such creative ways.
Music helps children develop in a variety of ways…language and communication, self expression, imagination, pre-math skills through rhythms…it help develop concepts, evolve language…it is a fun, safe and natural form of self expression. Children enjoy music and movement and that ties so closely to their language development as well (Linda Carol Edwards).

I have been thinking about music and movement with preschoolers …. more because in recent classroom observations I found a very basic minimal use of music and this bothered me. And since it was on my mind i thought about getting my boys to interact a little differently with music just for fun and to see how it could also be used in a classroom. we do a lot of singing at home but i wanted to try something else today.

When they got back from school today i asked them to sit down on the floor and close their eyes. They obliged. Then, i talked to them about imagining that they were in a forest with the wind blowing through the trees, the leaves rustling, butterflies flitting about, birds chirping and different animals sitting or moving around. I asked them to choose to be something in the forest…a plant, a bird..whatever they felt like being. Then i put on some nice instrumental music (i used Kenny G). It was really wonderful to watch them…Sid became a tree and Nish decided to be a spotted hyena. Amu was just amu…running around to the music! The tree soon became a baby hyena and the two hyena boys crept through the forest doing a most rhythmic and graceful frolicky chase to the music.
For the next song we mirrored each other and for the third song each person came to the center and danced while the other three watched him/her (this was Sid’s idea). we danced slowly, fast, shaing a lot, swaying gently, gliding, jumping, sitting, rolling…exploring space, rhythm, force and emotions through the music and our actions…this activity lasted for a little over 30 minutes and we all had a lovely time.

Something one can do in a preschool classroom quite easily…it required very little set up, was not very noisy and taught the boys to listen, appreciate, express themselves creatively. They also had to respect each others space in the process and learn to wathc and observe each other and learn from that.

The boys enjoyed it…and i did too! Will be doing more stuff with music and movement and will keep you posted!

A mermaid, some shells and a whole lot of questions

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We were at a friend’s place for dinner last week. Her daughter’s room is done up in an underwater theme…manta rays and octopuses and shells and …a big life size mermaid on the wall behind her bed. The twins have always been most fascinated with the room and love to ask K (my friend’s daughter) about the different fish on the wall.

Last week however, they were more interested in the mermaid. Sid stared at her for a bit and then placing his palms on his chest he looked at K and asked…”Why does she have those shells on her chest?” (His hands on his chest indicated exactly what he was asking…no room for any doubt). K’s jaw dropped as she racked her brains for how best to address that question. But Nish jumped in promptly “That is her bra!”
Sid: But there are no strings or straps. How can it stay there like that without anything holding it?
Nish: I’m telling you it’s a bra
By now K was looking at me for some help. I kept a straight face and told Sid that it was probably a fancy bra with transparent straps that were camouflaged in the picture. He fortunately seemed quite satisfied with that answer and so we moved on to other pieces of perhaps less interesting conversations 🙂

Fossil Cookies…yummy recipe!

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Cars, trucks, constructions toys and now Dinosaurs…the current thing my boys seem to be into. As we were reading about dinosaurs last month we came across a whole section on fossils and that was another thing that caught the twins’ fancy.

So, i decided to make hem fossil cookies. We played with some playdough and they loved putting their plastic bugs on it to make ‘fossils’. taking this one stwp further i googled for fossil cookie recipes and came across a really nice one by Martha Stewart:
http://www.marthastewart.com/345396/fossil-cookies

They were pretty simple to make (the only part that really took a little time was toasting the walnuts in a pan and then putting them into a mixie to get a powder. But that walnut meal packed a lot of taste and texture into the cookies and generally made them more nutritious for the boys as well. The recipe is on the Martha Stewart site of you just click on the link.

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making the most of cardboard cartons

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we had 3 cardboard cartons (all intact) at our place last month (it just so happened that we had 3..which was indeed lucky)…i asked the boys if they would like to make something with the boxes. I sat with Sid and Nish, my four yr old twins, and we checked out options on pinterest…naturally they gravitated towards cars (though nish quite interestedly said we could work on a doll house next time).

Before getting started I asked the boys to think about what they wanted their car/vehicle to be like. We had very different approaches to the whole process. Nish sat and planned out exactly what he wanted ..the color, the kind of car (it needs to be like McQueen), what he would paint…what he would stick, what he may need help with. he thought long and hard about whether he wanted a car he could sit in on the floor or whether he wanted one that he cold carry and run about in (he opted for the latter). Sid on the other hand just decided he would do a ‘blue car’ (“it’s a friend of mcqueen” he explained). He was pretty clear he would work through the thinking part as we went along and was categorical that he wanted no help whatsoever. Amu generally joined in the action, more interested in what was happening than actually trying to plan anything or do much.

Nish chose his red paint and went about making neat strokes to cover the carton completely while Sid used a combination of a shaving brush and a sponge to cover his carton. Amu also chose a sponge and really enjoyed squeezing the paint out and spreading it with large smooth strokes (all over the carton and himself). he intermittently dabbed some blue on Nish’s pristine red mcqueen and we almost had a couple of meltdowns. Fortunately once i showed Nish how to paint over the intruding blue paint he was back in control. Nish asked me to cut out specific stuff that he stuck and decorated his car with while Sid was focused on doing things himself. it was evident he did not have a plan but he enjoyed gluing lots of stuff onto his ‘funky dashboard” of his “super cool car”. AMu basically painted his in patches, stuck a couple of things and then moved onto other stuff.

The boys were so proud of their cars when they got done and i finished up for them by putting ribbons for shoulder straps so they could pretty much ‘wear the cars’. Then we had McQueen and his blue friend zipping all over the family room with little Amu in tow.

Really a lot of fun…the process and the product…i feel like pushing the boys to think was nice – it allowed Nish to conceptualize,imagine.. create a plan of action to get to the finished product. With Sid, it was lovely watching him come up with ideas on the fly, he was also on task for nearly 40 minutes…painting…waiting for the paint to dry, sticking things and decorating, etc.

It’s a great activity to push for creative thinking, conceptualizing, fine motor skills, just getting kids to focus and work on something that interests them!

It’s been a month now and the cars are still going strong. Definitely a fun project and i am now looking forward to doing the dollhouse as an ongoing project too.
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