Start the new year off with some music that will inspire your whole family to remember and honor the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Here are the direct links to add the “I Have A Dream” song to any of your favorite playlists plus a list of MLK Day freebies for you.
Haven’t heard the song yet? You can click on the Youtube video below!
The winter holidays are a fun time to explore celebrations and traditions from around the world. When you do, why not learn a favorite Christmas carol in another language? You might want to choose a language from your family’s heritage or maybe one from the community around you. Maybe you’re living as an expat in another country and want to embrace one of their favorite songs, or just reach out and expand your linguistic abilities.
Check out these helpful tips on learning a song in another language with your kids or dive right into our version of Jingle Bells in Russian below! Beneath that, we’ve included links to past posts on Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer in Japanese and Jingle Bells in Mandarin, plus a fun cheat sheet that shares holiday greetings in 18 different world languages
LANGUAGE LEARNING TIPS
Pick a song that’s fun to sing and has a catchy tune!
Pick a language from your family heritage or one you’d like to learn.
Pick a language where someone you know can help you with the lyrics or pronunciation. Will Grandma help with that song in Italian or Papou help with a carol in Greece?
If learning the whole song is too daunting (language is difficult or your kids are very young), just learn the chorus – that’s usually very easy to master.
Write out the lyrics phonetically. Break them down into easy-to-pronounce syllables.
Praise you kids (or yourself) for exploring a new language. Learning a new language is not easy but encouragement and praise help a new speaker gain both confidence and capacity!
A video of a new song or a live “singing Christmas card” makes a great gift for a grandparent or loved one abroad.
Enjoy the process as you make happy holiday memories.
Now, here’s a version of Jingle bells for anyone wishing to learn a bit of Russian this year!
I’ve always wanted to learn more about kente cloth – the amazing woven textile from West Africa. This week, I’ve been lucky enough to talk with William (Kodzo) the founder and owner of KenteCloth.net. Please, read on and check out his site. I’m sure you’ll want to bookmark his amazing free coloring book of kente patterns for kids!
DARIA: What started your interest in kente cloth? Is it true you traveled all the way to Ghana to learn more?
KODZO: I’ve always admired how beautiful the cloths looked and the rich history behind it. Each cloth has patterns and the patterns have names and meanings behind them that pass down morals and tell stories. I traveled to the Volta Region of Ghana and actually learned how to weave the kente. I was also able to visit the kente museum there where I saw a wide variety of Kente throughout the history of Ghana. It was interesting to learn that Kente was originally black and white! The meanings of each design is primarily based on the geometric patterns. Color was later added when dying techniques were introduced. It is all very fascinating.
DARIA: What is kentecloth.net - Can people actually buy authentic kente cloth there?
KODZO: KenteCloth.net started of as a site to educate people about Kente. As the site got more and more visitors and there were requests to purchase kente I started selling kente cloth on the site. This was 10 years ago and there is now a dedicated site to purchase the cloths called Sankofa Edition (https://www.SankofaEdition.com).
DARIA: I heard you created a free kente cloth coloring book? Can you tell us about it? Where can teachers or parents get it?
KODZO: Yes, I created a free kente cloth coloring book to help young kids learn about the cloth and apply it to their own lives. The coloring book is based on real authentic kente cloth patterns and the children can make their very own beautiful kente cloths. I’ve had teachers report back that their children loved the activity and the “cloths” were used to decorate the classroom. The printable coloring book can be downloaded at: https://www.kentecloth.net/kente-cloth-printable-coloring-book/
DARIA: Is there anything else you’d like to say about your journey? Why is it important to learn about our ancestors and traditional peoples?
KODZO: In Ghana, there is a proverb/symbol called Sankofa (which sankofaedition.com inspired) and it features a bird looking back with an egg in its beak. The egg in the beak symbolizes the future and the bird flies forward while looking back. This symbol translates to “there is nothing wrong with going back to what you forgot”. A lot of African history may be forgotten however we must remember that African history did not begin with slavery. Africa has a rich and beautiful culture going back to before the times of slavery. The beautiful kente cloth is a great example of beauty and culture in Africa prior to colonization. By looking back and digging deep in our history we can remember the legacy of our ancestors, embrace our past, and look forward to our future potential!
Please visit Kodzo’s site. You’ll learn a lot and maybe even decide to purchase a special item for yourself or someone you love!
The winter holidays are such a beautiful and festive season. Will you be celebrating Kwanzaa this year? Is Kwanzaa part of your family or community? If this holiday is new to you, here is a beautiful book and a fun craft to introduce children to the spirit and the history of this holiday and let them create their own kente cloth drum!
Seven Spools Of Thread
Seven Spools of Thread is a book that was written for Kwanzaa about kente cloth, a beautiful traditional fabric woven in Uganda. Written by an amazing author, educator and chef, Angela Shelf Medearis, the book begins with a brief history of Kwanzaa and it’s Seven Principles. Next comes the story of seven brothers who cannot get along and you probably guessed what happens. Solving their problems requires using the important values of the seven principles of Kwanzaa such as purpose, creativity and faith.
Aside from a wonderfully told story, the book has gorgeous woodcut-style illustrations by artist, Daniel Minter. This is a story you’ll want to read over and over again, not just at the winter holiday times, but throughout the year.
A Kente Cloth Craft
When you’ve finished the story, perhaps you’d like to color your own kente cloth and make a small drum. You can find complete instructions in the freebies listed here. Recycle a coffee can or an oatmeal container and you can make your own kente cloth-style drum.
And please stay tuned to this blog as our next post is from an expert on kente cloth and his story is just amazing.
Have you noticed the hastag #ChristmasAroundTheWorld? I love seeing how very special holidays, like Christmas and Hanukkah, are celebrated from culture to culture, with beautiful and diverse traditions. Want to celebrate #HanukkahAroundTheWorld with me?
Here’s a lovely little counting song from Spain in the Ladino language for you!
Is this Song In Spanish?
No. If you speak Spanish many of the words will sound very familiar, but the language is Ladino, a mixture of Hebrew and Spanish. Many people may not know that Jewish people traveled throughout the world bringing their meaningful customs with them. Jewish people who established communities in Spain and Portugal were often known as Sephartic Jews and many of their traditions melded with their new homeland. Sadly, they were cruelly expelled from Spain in the late 1400’s and traveled to find new homes around the world in places such as Mexico, North Africa and even the United States.
Is The Ladino Language Still Alive?
Languages and mother tongues are so important to their speakers. A while back I shared a story about a marvelous musical mom named Sarah Aroeste who is proud to be raising her children bilingually in Ladino and English! She even created a children’s music CD to share her Ladino language with the world. You can check it out at the link below.
What Do The Lyrics Say?
You probably already guessed that the 1- 8 part of the song counts the candles on the menorah. I’ve added a new first verse in English because so many of my friends and fans speak English. The lyrics to the song are below with translations from the Ladino next to them.
Whether you are Jewish or not, I wish you a very beautiful holiday of lights!
OCHO KANDELIKAS – LYRICS
The holiday of lights is here
Good friends and happiness to share
Sweets with honey for us to eat
Candles to light and friends to greet
One little candle . . . (etc.) 8 little candles . . . For me
Hanukah lindo sta aki (beautiful Hanukkah is here) ocho candelas para mi (eight candles for me) Una kandelika, dos kandelikas, tres kandelikas, kuatro kandelikas, sintju kandelikas, sysh kandelikas, sieto kandelikas, ocho kandelikas para mi
Muchas fiestas vo fazar, (There will be lots of celebrations) con alergrias i plazar (With happiness and pleasure) Una kandelika (etc.)
Los pastelikas vo kumer, (We will eat the sweets) con almendrikas i la miel (With almonds and honey) Una kandelika (etc.)
When the winter holidays roll around, who doesn’t love the sound of jingle bells? And those great little jingling bells can be used to make a multitude of creative sensory crafts for kids. Because they are such a great winter activity, we’ve assembled our top 4 jingle bells crafts into a handy E-Book perfect for this time of year.
Here’s What’s In The E-Book
So what were our top 4 crafts?
Number one was our easy jingle bracelets or anklets using yarn or pipe cleaners and beautiful bells. (I’ve heard back from parents who’ve enclosed these with their holiday cards!). Number two was “jingle pencils”, super easy to make with on-hand materials and perfect for large groups – then using for a holiday sing or caroling fun!
Number 3 was a jingle tube craft using any round container like a coffee can or an oatmeal package. These are sturdy and beautiful and you’ll want to use them as part of your home music basket or music therapy lessons for months to come. Lastly, our favorite totally green holiday craft reuses both the cardboard tubes for wrapping paper and left-over wrapping materials to make your own jingle marching sticks.
Sound like fun?
Here’s How To Get It
To get this E-book, just send me an e-mail at daria music at yahoo dot com. Make the subject “Free Jingle Bell Book”. I’ll send a return e-mail with the E-book and ask you if you would share the link for my TPT store (which is filled with freebies) or share on social media or maybe even do a review on your blog! No worries here, do as much or as little as you like!
Will I check up on this? No. I meet the nicest folks through my blog and my music materials. They are parents, teachers, homeschoolers, music therapists and they love making music a part of their children and family’s day. If you enjoy what I create, I’d appreciate any sort of shout out because that’s precisely how I find the most awesome new friends and fans!
Would You Kindly Follow Me On TPT?
If you follow me on my TPT store, you’ll get first notice of all my music, world music and world cultures fun. There’s even a special section listing over 50 freebies. I’d love to stay connected with you!
Did you know that the song, Jingle Bells, was originally written for Thanksgiving? In fact, if you listen to the lyrics carefully, you can see there are lots of references to fun and snow and celebration – but none to Christmas. Once you hear the story behind the song you’ll understand why.
The song was written by an American minister named James Lord Pierpont in 1850. His original title was “One Horse Open Sleigh”. Pierpont had written the song for a Thanksgiving service, however it became such a favorite that his congregation insisted he perform it again at Christmas. From that time forward, the song grew more and more widely known and was commonly associated with Christmas.
What’s the story behind the lyrics? The song was written in the Simpson Tavern in Medford, Massachusetts and the lyrics published in 1857 are a bit different then the ones heard today. The older lyrics talk more about sled races and sleigh riding as it occurred in that area – a popular pastime especially for young people who were courting. No one knows for sure who replaced the original words with the new ones, but the ones heard here are the current version.
Since this merry tune is one of those songs heard and loved across the globe, I decided to pair it with holiday greetings from around the world. So here’s wishing you a merry Thanksgiving and a very happy series of winter holidays!
Have you ever seen an ASL (American Sign Language) translator interpret a speech, a discussion or a song? It’s an amazing ballet of graceful movement and dynamic expression. In fact, although it doesn’t use words or sounds at all, ASL is an amazing language that may already be part of your family’s life!
What is ASL?
If you are deaf or hearing impaired or have a family member or friend who is deaf or who signs, you already know what American Sign Language is. If you don’t, here is one of the best definitions, from the NICED:
“American Sign Language (ASL) is a complete, complex language that employs signs made by moving the hands combined with facial expressions and postures of the body. It is the primary language of many North Americans who are deaf and is one of several communication options used by people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.”
Watch And Learn
Although becoming fluent in ASL could take years, it can be fun to dive in and learn basic words by taking a course, studying online or – my favorite – by using music. A few months ago I began to create ASL videos of my most popular songs and their links are below. In addition to these songs, I’ve asked a wonderful ASL interpreter named Destiny Yabro (seen in the videos) to create extra videos explaining and demonstrating 10 signs from each song. Below is the current list of ASL “Sign Along With Me” videos, but please bookmark and check back as I frequently add more.
Do you have a favorite DARIA song? If so, contact me at dariamusic at yahoo dot com under the heading ASL Suggestion and I just might do your favorite song next. Also, if you are a teacher and need these videos for your students in a format other then Youtube, please check out my TPT site, where you can stream them for use in the classroom.
I meet more and more parents who are striving to use less packaging and plastic products. And it’s really encouraging to even see big companies – like Starbucks and the entire Marriott hotel chain – phasing out plastic straws altogether! But even if you are the most recycling-conscious family, you’ve probably ended up with some of those pesky plastic straws and wondered what to do with them.
Instead of tossing them into the waste stream, here are a host of great activities that reuse these not-so-disposable items and are fun and productive kid’s crafts as well.
Clean Your Straws
If you’ve ended up with straws from juice, smoothies or soft drinks you can easily clean them off before you craft with them. Rinse them in soapy water and let them stand them in a jar or glass for a few minutes (as seen above). In no time at all, they’ll be clean and ready to be used in any of the crafts below!
A Quiet Rattle
We love this craft! It is fun to make, also reuses plastic bottles and creates a quiet rattle that is never too loud, even when playing with bunches of friends! And if the straws you’ve used are colorful, they make wonderful patterns of colors as you shake them along to music.
What To Do
Cut the straws into small lengths, anything the size of a small bead to about an inch long. Cut them all the same length or mix up the sizes. And if you have straw pieces left, they are perfect for the sensory bins listed below or even the friendship bracelets!
To create the rattle, simply allow your child to drop any number of their favorite colors and sizes into the plastic bottle. When it looks and sounds perfect to your little one, put on the cap and seal with a sturdy electrical tape. This keeps the contents inside the rattle and makes the end-product child-safe.
Note: while creating any of these crafts, make sure the small pieces of straws don’t go in a child’s mouth.
Welcome to our new section – posts featuring books about music. And there are some amazing books out there that inspire children with tales of world cultures, especially through the eyes – and ears – of musical traditions!
Written and illustrated by Angela Dominguez who was born in Mexico City, this lovely book shares a very personal vision into the world of the mariachi and Mexican music traditions. Angela’s grandfather – or abuelo – was a real life mariachi and music helped him weather the ups and downs of life.
Filling this beautiful book about Angela’s Abuelo Apolinar are stories from his actual life – a childhood accident, moving to a new city alone and other struggles. Through it all, singing and music help him stay happy and connected with the things in life that mattered most to him.
Where does the title – Sing, Don’t Cry – come from? It’s a translation of part of the chorus of the song, Cielito Lindo. A staple of mariachi music, Cielito Lindo was written way back in 1882 by Mexican author Quirino Mendoza y Cortés and has a beloved place in the world of Mexican music. The chorus of the song roughly translates to… Sing, Don’t Cry, Because singing gladdens the heart.
Here’s the chorus translated and a video so you can enjoy the song, if you aren’t already familiar with it!
Ay, ay ay ay… canta no llores Por que cantando se allegran, cielito lindo, los corazones
Ai, ai, ai ai – sing don’t cry Because singing gladdens the heart (heavenly one, dear)
(One translation note here – the phrase cielito lindo literally means pretty little sky but is a term for a dear one or a sweetheart)
I really enjoyed this book because it speaks of the powerful connection between generations. The grandfather in the story gets to share his big life lessons with his grandchildren as well as his music. And clearly, his granddaughter is sharing her talent with the world as well! You can find Sing, Don’t Cry at your local library or purchase it on Amazon, here: http://a.co/7Z65b0E .