What goes great with making music for young children? Reading stories!
And what’s even more fun is a friend of ours who’s created a youtube channel where she reads her favorite stories, complete with props, fun and lots of encouragement for kids. Check out Mrs. Shauna’s channel if you are looking for an online “story time” for your child and take a moment to read more about it’s founder here.
¡Hola! Daria and Friends!
Thank you for having me as your guest!
My name is Shauna Hibbitts creator of eNannylink.com, an online comprehensive tool on “Everything Childcare.” I’m a bilingual (English/Spanish) Early Childhood educator that empowers families, and promotes literacy while having a fiesta the entire time!
I recently added a Youtube channel called “Storytime With Mrs. Shauna” series for children, or the young at heart!! Here you see me ready to read “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie” by Laura Numeroff. I share short, funny stories for the entire family to enjoy. Mixing in a few sprinkles of questions, and activities in hopes of creating a wholesome experience for all. There are a few bilingual books on the channel as well. I love to introduce culture and celebrate diversity!
Do you celebrate Ramadan? If you don’t, you may wish to learn more about this beautiful holiday celebrated by Muslims in almost every country around the globe!
Here’s a lovely little song and music video about the month of Ramadan that is perfect for everyone to enjoy and share! We especially love this video because it shares images of a diverse group of girls and boys from various cultures (traditional and more Western), in different situations, all celebrating Ramadan.
We also love this video because it talks about the qualities expressed and cultivated during this special time of fasting and prayer. We see children in the video embracing patience, sacrifice, mercy, kindness, being humble, not losing their temper, helping others, reading, studying and doing good works. What a lovely message for children of all religions to hear and embrace.
Plus, we like this video because it may bring up many questions that will help people have accurate information about the religion of Islam and combat Islamaphobia in their schools, communities and in the world.
How much do you know about Ramadan and Islam? Check out our discussion questions below the video.
And, in the mean time, we wish you Ramadan Mubarak (Blessed Ramadan).
After you watch the video, here are some great discussion questions to help you or your kids understand more about Ramadan.
When is Ramadan?
How long is Ramadan celebrated.
What occasion does Ramadan celebrate?
Is Ramadan a happy or sad holiday?
What does fasting mean?
How do people fast during Ramadan?
What is the Quran?
What things can children do to celebrate Ramadan… (for instance – acts of charity).
If you were celebrating Ramadan and wanted to perform an act of charity in your community – what might you do?
Have you heard of World Oceans Day? Celebrated annually on June 8th, it’s an internationally recognized and celebrated day to learn, share, preserve and promote one of our most magnificent resources, the oceans and seas.
The World Oceans Days website (link below) is a wealth of information – including research on pollution, posters in 15 languages, and a variety of action steps that anyone can take to make a difference. Visit the site to learn how oceans regulate our climate, generate most of the oxygen we breathe, clean the water that we drink and so much more.
Want to combine your learning with a fun recycled music craft? Here’s a way you can reduce, reuse, recycle and make a great homemade drum that sounds remarkably like the sea!
What Is An Ocean Drum?
If you live near the sea or have visited an ocean, you know the wonderful, relaxing sound of waves coming and going along the seashore. An ocean drum is a 2 sided hand drum that – when played – sounds just like the surf. In fact, if you close your eyes, you can imagine you are right there on the beach, hearing the waves as they come and go.
Above is a picture of a traditional ocean drum.
Make Your Own Recycled Ocean Drum
Check your recycling bin. Do you have a sturdy pizza box or a mailing box with dimensions somewhat like the one seen here? If you do, you can fill the bottom of the box with sand, salt, seed beads or any tiny pasta (like acini de pepe). There’s also some great ways to create a window to the drum, decorate the outside and seal the box so the contents don’t escape and you can use it for weeks to come.
Ocean Drum Tutorial Free
Want a step-by-step tutorial plus other great info on this drum and world music instruments? Until June 16th, we’ve reduced the price of this great kids music resource to – free! (Note: If you read this post after June 16, 2017 and need a free educator’s copy, just contact daria at dariamusic at yahoo dot com for more info).
You probably know that different countries have different languages. And diverse cultures have different holidays and foods. But did you know that almost all countries in the world have a national instrument?
What’s A National Instrument?
What is a national instrument? It can be an instrument discovered or played in a country, like the South African vuvuzela horn. It can also be a musical instrument that holds cultural and symbolic importance for a state, a nation or a particular race or ethnicity of people. Some are drums, some are stringed instruments, some are percussion instruments but all hold a special significance to the citizens of that country and represents the unique character of the people it is identified with.
For instance, think about a balalaika from Russia or the ukulele from Hawaii. Can a country have more then one national instrument? Yes, several countries have multiple instruments listed as their national instruments. For instance, Greece has an ancient national instrument – the lyre, and also a modern one, the bouzouki. Peru has both the Afro-Peruvian cajón (box drum) and the Andean charango, a stringed instrument made from the shell of an armadillo.
Discovering Cultures Through Music
Instruments are a really fun starting point for discovering and learning about world cultures. Perhaps you have relatives or ancestors from another culture. Music is a great starting point for sharing that culture with your kids. Perhaps you’ll travel to another country, here’s a fun way to find out more about what you’ll see and hear in advance. Likewise, if you’re simply exploring the world from the comfort of your couch, finding out about national instruments is a great way to discover the many wonders of the musical world.
Below is a link to the Wikipedia compilation page of national instruments. This is a great source because each countries entry has a clickable link to learn more. Also below are links to free coloring pages and to one kids E-book where you can color your way around the world with unique musical instruments like the sitar from India or goat toe-nail rattles from Bolivia.
What’s your country’s national instrument? Did you already know it? I’d love to hear from you about this!
Cinco de Mayo is a wonderful time to learn more about Mexican history and culture. Making and playing simple instruments from Mexico is great fun for even the youngest child. Here are three easy music crafts that will let your little one try their hand at joining in the musical fun of this special holiday!
Make Some Maracas!
If you have two small water bottles and two toilet paper rolls, plus a bit of filling and tape, you can make a sturdy pair of great-sounding maracas. Basically, maracas are two rattles held by the handles and played with both hands. Imagine the fun you can have with music and with music and movement with these!
Professional maracas have different sounds in each of the containers and you can try that as well. You can fill your recycled instrument with combinations like beans and rice, paper clips and erasers or smaller and larger dried pasta pieces. That way the left and right maraca will make different sounds when shaken and you can create even more the rhythms with the pair!
Even if you don’t recognize the word “guiro”, you’ll know the sound right away! It’s the instrument that makes the “b-r-r-r-r-r-r” sound often heard in Latin American and Caribbean music. And it’s really fun for kids to play!
The sound is achieved by rubbing a stick, a scraper or a rasp over a series of ridges – and any plastic water bottle with firm ridges makes a fantastic guiro. Filling the water bottle with colorful shredded paper, confetti or similar items makes it even more fun to play. When I do this project with kids or classes, I like to use an unsharpened pencil attached to the bottle with colorful yarn as my scraper, but there are lots of other items you can use as well and each one produces a unique sound. Try whisks, hair picks, chopsticks or even plastic spoons, forks, or sporks for percussion play!
This is another creative project for discovering rhythms or developing fine motor skills. Castanets originally came from the European region of Spain and Portugal and some historians believe they were actually made from tapping together walnut shells before they were crafted out of wood.
Our recycled project doesn’t include nuts or carved wood. We create fun little workable castanets out of sturdy paper and buttons or various sizes. You make them in pairs and – you guessed it – each different set of buttons makes different sounds.
Playing suggestions? Get the hang of tapping them together and separately. Then play along to your favorite songs or try singing and tapping at the same time. Often played as part of the flamenco music tradition heard in Spain and in Mexico, you’ll be amazed at how a talented castanet player can use this tiny instrument as part of a breath-taking performance.
Here’s an example of a well-known flamenco dancer and castanet player named La Emi from Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Is Cinco de Mayo Mexican Independence Day (Spoiler Alert – No!)
Many years ago I was lucky to write a song that has now become an anthem for Earth Day in over a dozen countries around the globe. A very simple song, it’s a musical parody of the beautiful African-American spiritual: He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands. Borrowing that melody; as is often done in folk music, we changed the lyrics to reflect what children can do to show love and respect for the Earth in their daily lives.
Original ideas for the song came from school children during a workshop about Earth Day and I compiled them in a 23 verse song since there were lots of great suggestions. Later, I edited the choices down to a smaller number so the song would a bit shorter and easier to remember. I’m really proud to think about how singing this song reminds kids of all ages that the small changes they make in their choices in life can make a big difference – on Earth Day and everyday.
Write Your Own Earth Day Song
Since the song has such a simple format, we’ve created an activity where you can write your own Earth Day song. Sing the same simple chorus, but add your suggestions to the verses. And there’s free sheet music, too, just check the resource links below.
A lovely, easy-to-sing Spanish version was written by Cecilia Fencer, head and heart of Spanglish.house.com. Click on that link below to find the words to the Earth Day song in Spanish.
Here’s the official video for “We’ve Got The Whole World In Our Hands”. If you want to check it out on Vimeo, you can find it here: https://vimeo.com/18765345
Here’s a great project for Earth Day or a summer camp or group play activity. It’s a fun way to combine recycling and reusing materials with discovering rhythm and creative music-making.
A while back, we did a post about rhythm trees and you can find that listed below. But since we also get questions about the best components for this project, we thought we’d share a list here, just in time for outdoor musical fun.
And remember, if you don’t have the perfect music tree, you can also do this project on a clothesline or between poles on a playground.
So here’s our top suggestions.
Pizza Pie Plate Gong
These sound great and provide a nice large surface for tapping and drumming. Look for used metal containers such as turkey pans or pizza pie plates. They can be painted and decorated and hung at various heights from your tree or clothesline. If you can find trash can lids or used pans or pots that aren’t too heavy, they might make a nice addition to the project as well.
Milk Jug Rattle
Clean a large plastic container and add some rattling components inside. Decorate the outside of the container, if you like as well. Seal it up and hang it for a nice sound when tapped. If you hang it low enough, kids can also grab and shake or “swoosh” the container for a different kind of percussion sound.
A Giant Guiro
Threading together wrapping paper or poster tube rolls makes for a giant guiro. Take a stick or a whisk and brush it down the sides for a fun repeating percussive sound.
Hanging Log Drum
If you can find a large tube like these, you can hang it up and play it like the type of log drums found in Africa, the Pacific Islands or the Northern Native American tribes, like the Inuit. Tapping different sections of the drum will produce slightly different sounds – what fun!
Play With Your Hands – Or With Recycled Mallets
Some of the instruments you hang can be tapped or played with your hands. Easy mallets can also be created from wooden dowels, wooden spoons, sticks, unsharpened pencils, plastic spoons or forks, hair picks, chopsticks or similar objects.
What Else Can You Find To Make Music With?
The best part of this project is seeing how creative kids can be with everyday items. Encourage your little ones to come up with suggestions of what else might become part of an amazing and fun musical tree.
Music is such a wonderful way to promote learning languages and bilingualism. If you’re celebrating Earth Day, here’s a fun way of combining caring for our planet with expanding your language skills in Spanish.
The song is based on my earth Day anthem heard all over the world, and if you haven’t heard it yet, make you get your free mp3 download at the links below or cruise over to the videos and hear it yourself.
Tenemos Todo El Mundo En Nuestras Manos
(New version of lyrics in English) Daria Marmaluk-Hajioannou (Spanish translation) Cecelia Fencer
Tenemos todo el mundo en nuestras manos. (chorus – sung four times)
Debemos reciclar, ahora que podemos.
Reducir, reusar y reciclar
Reducir y reciclar ahora que podemos.
Tenemos al mundo en nuestras manos.
Tenemos plantas y animales en nuestra tierra,
plantas y animales en nuestra tierra.
Tenemos plantas y animales en nuestra tierra.
Tenemos al mundo en nuestras manos.
Tomemonos de las manos, como hermanos.
Tomemonos de las manos como hermanos.
Tomemonos de las manos como hermanos,
tenemos al mundo en nuestras manos
Encuentra tus sueños y haz lo que puedas,
ten tus anhelos y lucha por ellos.
Encuentra tus sueños y haz lo que puedas,
tenemos al mundo en nuestras manos.
Tenemos todo el mundo en nuestras manos. (chorus – sung four times)
Do you love doing tongue-twisters and silly songs with your child? Then this is a perfect choice for celebrating Groundhog’s Day.
Sing this song and you may discover not only how much wood could a woodchuck chuck and how much ground can a groundhog grind as well as – how much sap a sapsucker can suck! I dare you to sing it and now collapse in giggles!
But, before you do, here are some groundhog and groundhogs day FAQ’s.
When is Groundhog’s Day? February 2nd.
Where is the official groundhog prediction? The official celebration is in Punxatawney, Pennsylvania where our good pal; Punxatawney Phil, gets up early and gives us his prediction of when winter will end.
Where does Phil see his shadow? The special celebration of Groundhog’s day happens on a spot called Gobbler’s Knob, right in the center of the town of Punxatawney.
What does it mean if he sees his shadow? If the groundhog sees his shadow, 6 more weeks of winter are predicted. Not seeing a shadow means an earlier Spring (hooray!)
Is Groundhog’s Day an American holiday? Yes, but it comes from a German custom and there are many different types of ways that animals are predictors of the weather around the world. This is a great topic to research!
What are Groundhog Lodges? In Pennsylvania Dutch tradition there gatherings where there is food, entertainment and skits or plays at this time of year. All who attend must speak only in Pennsylvania Dutch dialect or they are fined a nickel, a dime or a quarter for speaking English!
Are there great books about groundhogs and groundhog’s day? Yes! Check out our list below and “Go To Sleep, Groundhog” is a funny, cute and truly adorable pick for any home or classroom library!
Go To Sleep, Groundhog! by Judy Cox/Paul Meisel (Illustrator) A groundhog can’t seem to fall asleep when it’s time to hibernate and has a tough time getting up when his own special holiday comes.
Ten Grouchy Groundhogs By Kathryn Heling and Deborah Hembrook
A cute counting book for young children with some good groundhog facts sprinkled in!
Groundhog Gets a Say By Pamela Curtis Swallow/Denise Brunkus (Illustrator)
A groundhog thinks his holiday should last more then one day. His animal friends help make his case for the world to know more about groundhogs. Groundhog Day! By Gail Gibbons
Wonderful fun and great facts about groundhogs and the Groundhog’s Day celebration.
The Groundhog Day Book of Facts and Fun By Wendie C. Old/Paige Billin-Frye (Illustrator)
A sampler of groundhog facts and a good description of the special day in Punxatawny, PA.
Groundhog Weather School By Joan Holub/Kristin Sorra (Illustrator)
A groundhog is encouraged to open a weather school everyone gets to learn more about hibernation, groundhogs and the holiday.
In 2017, the Chinese Lunar New Year begins on January 28th and we welcome in the year of the fire rooster!
Over the past years, we’ve shared some of our favorite music crafts that are easy to make for all ages and use recycled and “on-hand” materials. This year we decided to do share our 3 most popular music crafts as well as share our favorite Chinese New Year Pinterest Board, so you can explore a world of great crafts, foods, books, games and activities and related Chinese New Year Kids activities.
So bang a gong, make a paper lantern,color a New Years greeting and celebrate a beautiful Chinese Lunar New Year!
A World Of Great Crafts And Activities – Via Pinterest!
I’m proud to be part of the Multicultural Kid Bloggers networks who hosts a Chinese New Year Pinterest board. Visit here for an ever-expanding collection of great crafts, activities, coloring pages, books, foods and more. Some of our favorite are the pretty paper lantern craft, fortune cookie activity, the Chinese zodiac matching cards and … so … much … more!