Music Therapy Thanksgiving Songs for teaching special needs students (Boom-dee-ata.)

-Age: 0-5 and older
-Goal Area: Expressive language
-Name of Activity: These are things I’m thankful for.
-Objective: Children will name something they are thankful for including: foods, toys, people….
-Materials: song and children, paper, pen, optional marker for drawing their answers.
-Method: Sing the song and insert the children’s answers.  Results vary by age and ability.
-Adaptations: (optional)  Record it on a little tape recorded. Or your phone.  Change boomdeata to something simpler that your group can handle.
                      Sometimes we sing “These are things we’re thankful for. “
-Submitted by: (optional name and email)
-melody used:  Boom-de-ata. Or “I love the mountains…I love the rolling hills”  girl scout song
                      D                           Bm             Em               A7        
Words:    Name likes _________     Name likes _________   
 D                      Bm                     Em                       A7   
Name likes _________        Name likes _________
                 D                 Bm                           G                  A7
                Name likes _________ and Name likes _________
                 D                       Bm             G                  A
                Boomdeata Boomdeata Boomdeata Boomdeata (repeat.)

Dinosaur Song for Young Children: “4 Dinosaurs were Rolling in the Mud.”

 –Realm: Lesson plans for young children. (Good for speech therapy and teacher circle time songs, too.)
-Age: 0-5 plus
-Goal Area: Language , attention span, counting with 1-1 correspondence
-Objective: Children sing the words, hold up the correct number of fingers, and motion along with the song.
-Materials: song, optional dinosaur toys
-Method: Sing. Do.  I must say this song has been what I call a “magic song.”   I haven’t seen a child who doesn’t love it and succeed with it.
-Adaptations: Use puppets, pictures, toy dinosaurs….
-Submitted by: (optional name and email)
from Anna Epstein-Kravis recording Tot’s Tunes/Happy to be me. See
-Lyrics,chords, solfege, melody used:
 C                                  G                      C                                                                              
Four Dinosaurs were rolling  in   the mud.  
Do    do re mi     do       sol fa  mi  re   do    
 G                                 C-G      
Splashing around all day.     
re re re      sol      re  mi re  
  One of them said “I’ve had enough!!!”
   do do re do
  C                   G                       c
3 more left when he goes away. 
 sol sol sol   sol     fa mi     re do
  Squish, squish, squish, squish….. 
(repeat for one less dinosaur each time.)

Another Music Therapy Halloween Song for toddlers and preschoolers (The witch laughs “ya-ha-ha.”)

-Age: 0-5
-Goal Area: vocalization and verbalization
-Name of Activity: The witch laughs ha-ha-ha.
-Objective: children produce the sounds
-Materials: song
-Method:  Sing.  Pictures of the objects help.
-Adaptations:   For kids who need more time, stay on the same sound effect for a whole verse and use a familiar melody to set the stage. Example:  The little ghost says boo boo boo,    boo boo boo………………………boo for Halloween.   (Tune for that one could be Mary had a little Lamb.)
-Submitted by: Margie La Bella source unknown
 -Melody:  Try second half of “the itsy bitsy spider”  in a haunting minor key. 
-Lyrics: The witch says Yah-ha-ha.  The Ghost says whooooo.  The Cat says meow, meow and I say “Boo.”  (repeat)

Music Therapy Halloween Song for Young Children (The Monster in the Mirror)

-Age: 0-5 and older
-Goal Area: articulation, oro-motor (another good “speech therapy” song.)
Objective: Children vocalize along with the chorus. 
-Materials: Song from Sesame Street. (Check out the melody on you tube.)
-Method: Sing and encourage all singing
-Adaptations: Great Opportunity for articulation exercise!!  Also for associating a sound with a letter for pre-reading awareness. Just change the initial consonant from “w” to a different sound.
Simplify the chorus by repeating line one over 2x and then end on the origional phrase.
-Submitted by: Margie La Bella  email:
-Lyrics,chords, solfege, melody used  Sesame Street  Google the video on youtube for the melody.
              Am                                                   E7                                                                          
Saw a monster in the mirror when I woke up today 
A monster in my mirror but I did not run away
   C                                          Dm
I did not shed a tear or hide beneath my bed ,
                         E7                                                         Am
Though the monster looked at me and this is what he said:
                   C                                                    Dm
He said “Wubba wubba wubba wubba woo woo woo.” 
 G7                                                 Am
Wubba wubba wubba and a doodly do
                    C                                                  F                 C                         G                  F              C
He sang “Wubba wubba wubba” so I sang it too. Do not wubba me or I will wubba you .
   C                        G                 F              C
Do not wubba me or I will  wubba you.
2. Told the monster in the mirror, “No, I am not scared.”
Then I smiled at him and thanked him for the song that we had shared.
Well, the monster thanked me too, he smiled right back and then
the monster in the sang his song again.
 3. If your mirror has a monster in it, do not shout.
This kind of situation does not call for freaking out
And do nothing that you would not like to see him do ‘
Cause that monster in the mirror he just might be

“Sing a song for Halloween” Halloween Song for Young Children (toddlers and preschoolers.)

Age: 0-5
-Goal Area: language (this is also a good “speech therapy” song.)
-Objective: Kids think of and create the sounds of Halloween characters.
-Materials: lyrics
-Method:  Do it.
-Adaptations: (optional)  Remember, you don’t want to scare any of the children!
S-ubmitted by: (optional name and email)  Margie La Bella of
-Tune: “Joshua fit the battle of Jerico”
 Am                                                  E7               Am                                                                     E7                 Am
Sing a song for Halloween, Halloween, Halloween.  Sing a song for Halloween. Sing it like a ________.
(Then continue making that sound for the verse. Same melody)

Music therapy hello song for children (How to play Jack’s Big Music Show)

-Age: 0-5+
-Goal Area: Language (motor song or hello song. The melody lends itself to various objectives.)
-Objective: Kids will sing the words of the song and perform the motions mentioned via lyrics
-Materials: Music and kids
-Method: Sing and do.
-Adaptations: Use to create hello song, an articulation exercise, letter-sound association, or animal/vehicle sound song. Substitute another sound for the “d” in “dum.” Or start off with Here’s a sound for the letter “T.” Look everybody sing with me…. Lastly, try What does a monkey say in the zoo. Sing it together me and you…..oo,oo… This is called a “stick in” song because you can use/modify it to teach many skills.
-Submitted by: Amanda G. Ellis, MT-BC at “”
Tune: can be found on you tube (search theme song for Jack’s Big Music Show.)
C                                                       F        G
Come on everybody give your foot a tap.  (repeat phrase instrumentally.)
C                                                          F           C
Come on everybody give your hands a clap. (same)
C                                     F            G
Look everybody it’s my dog Mel. (ruf,….)
              C                                                      F           C
         And my best friend Mary; she’s super swell.
C                                   F            C                                                               
(Dum diddy dum diddy dum dee dum day.)
C                                     F                     G     
Dum diddy dum diddy dum dee dum day. (same echo)
C                                     F                     C
Dum diddy dum diddy dum dee dum day. (same echo)
     F                   G              F               G
So come everybody let’s get up and go.
Am                   G/B                Bb              F        C
It’s time to get started. It’s Jack’s big music show.

“Hello, Hello!” Music Therapy Hello Song for young children

-Realm: Music therapy activities for young early intervention and/or preschool children
-Age: 0-5
-Goal Area: language and social
_Name of Activity: Janice’s Hello Song
-Objective:  Children will establish and maintain eye-contact, wave, and sing hello to the therapist.
-Materials: Hello, Hola! by Janice Buckner (On her “Learning Skills for Little One’s”  CD see
-Method: Sing along and modify as per needs of child/group.
Use this tune to teach other skills by simply substituting lyrics.
-Submitted by: (optional name and email) Margie La Bella of music therapy tunes
Lyrics,chords, solfege, melody used
C                F                      C               G                     C               F                           G         C
Hello, Hello (rest rest)  Hello,  Hello (rest rest)  Hello, Hello (rest rest) It’s music time.
Mi do  mi fa                   mi do   mi re                     mi do   mi fa                   fa  mi re   do


Teaching Active Kids: the top ten variations of “Move and Freeze” games

Move to the music and sit when it stops.

Dance and freeze in place when the music stops.

Dance minimally when the music is soft and grandly when loud. And stop.

Dance and put a specific body part on a chair when the music stops.

Freeze like an animal or character you are studying or reading about.

Freeze and connect to a partner. Same part to same part.  (Elbow to elbow…..)

Freeze like an object in the room like a chair, or pencil, or flag for instance.

Freeze like the something that rhymes with a word, like something that starts with a specific letter, or near to a particular color….

Freeze by the function of an object.  What? Yes, this is great to increase conceptual and language learning in all kids, certainly including those with special needs. It looks like this: “freeze by the thing you sharpen pencils with.” “Freeze by the thing come in and go out from”….. or “the thing we can look out  through!”   Freeze like a preposition.  Under something, over something, on the side of your chair, putting your right hand on your right foot.  Bonus: Freeze like the leader.

Freeze games have stood the test of time and there is a reason. They are nutritious and great for our brains.  Brains always seek more sophisticated stimulation. Here are some of the frozen benefits.  Freeze are great  games because they require the recognition of sound verses silence, give and take, interest in the “other,” listening, auditory processing, concentration and attention, bodily control and coordination, imagination, and expectancy.   The game is also good for waiting and impulse control, building all types of language, conceptual and pre-academic skills, social skills and more.  These skills are all used for higher emotional and academic intelligence.  All of that — and they’re fun to play.

Making Transitions easier for kids

Making Transitions easier for kids

Transitioning a bunch of kids from one activity to another can be stressful for the students and hence the teacher as well.  Some kids really need advance notification that the thing they are doing will change.  They may become anxious, fearful, or angry when they have to stop doing one thing and go with the flow to the next activity.  We sometimes tell our students that they’ll clean up in three minutes, then in two, then in one and then we go for it. Other children do well with pictures of the parts of their day displayed on a large board. As the class moves from event to event we remove the pictures thereof.  This is a significant help to children who feel anxious, need a lot of structure, and/or are on the spectrum.

Singing is a great way to initiate a transition.  Singing gets a child’s attention, and the familiar words help them focus and become the first part of the transition. Either way, just a spoonful of singing makes the transitions go down much better.  Here are three of my favorites:

Put your finger on the wall, on the wall.   Put your finger on the wall, on the wall.

Put your finger on the wall when we’re walking down the hall.

Put  your finger on the wall, on the wall.  (Tune: If you’re happy and you know it.)

It’s clean up time everybody. It’s clean up time right now.  If I help you and you help me,

Then we’ll get ready for _______.

(Tune: Miss Lucy had a baby, she named him tiny Tim….)

Circle time is almost done, almost done, almost done.

Circle time is almost done, then we’re gonna go to ______.

(Tune: Buffalo girl won’t you come out tonight, come out tonight, come out tonight….)

Of course, you can make up your own songs, but that’s another blog!

– Margie La Bella

21 types of Music Therapy Activities

General types of activities and variations I do with my kids,who contend with language, communication, learning difficulties…  ages: 2-12.

  1. Circle dances.
  2. Instruments  -general rhythm instruments, homemade instruments.
  3. Songs with motions/movements/signs.
  4. Role playing/pretending/pretending.
  5. Lyric discussion.
  6. Lyric/Song writing…  adapting songs, fill-in-the-blank songs, mad lib songs
  7. Story writing to music.  Accompaniment to a story.
  8. Singing activities.
  9. Specific concepts taught through music.
  10. Auditory identification of sounds.
  11. Auditory attention span, discrimination and memory.
  12. Relaxation or coping strategy experiences.
  13. Guided imagery (very light unless done with a pro.)
  14.  Finger plays.
  15. Adaptive instrument lessons.
  16.  Call-response activities.
  17. Drawing to music.
  18. Improvising of every kind; instruments, dance, vocals.
  19. Dancing to live or recorded music.
  20. Play instruments in turn and cooperatively (ie: divide up a drum set and share the beat.)
  21. Mirroring/imitating activities.