“Sequencing Movement Picture Dance” activity lesson plan for music therapy for Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall season.

Goal: to stimulate attention span and language development

Objective: Students will select a card, describe the card, and imitate the action depicted in the card. Students will perform the action suggested by several pictures in a row creating a dance movement pattern to a meaningful song.

Materials:  a song (I find instrumental is better bc the children don’t get distracted by the words,) mp3 or cd player, pictures depicting actions.

Method: Therapist calls a child and asks him/her to select a picture. The child identifies the action depicted and comes up with a related movement. The therapists asks questions regarding the picture and helps the student answer (who is that, what are they doing, he is moving his____? Show me how you do that.)  The therapist asks several students to select a picture and then encourages the children to do each movement in sequence – creating a sort of dance.  Put on the music (I like instrumental) and move along.  Remember that less verbal students can show comprehension by pointing, gesturing, or moving.  There are many ways to answer a question.  If you need help, ask a Speech therapist or teacher to guide you.

Adaptations: Have the pictures correlate with a unit or topic the classroom teacher or other therapist are presenting.  I often do seasonally related movements.  Being that it’s nearly January 2013, pictures can include zipping a coat, pulling on boots, making snow angels, throwing snowballs, drinking hot cocoa……

How to Use this Site VIDEOS: Great Winter songs for preschool, kindergarten, early elementary aged kids / children

Hi everyone,

Just wanted to post this to let you know that I have some great videos that serve as great ideas for viewing, but also as activity ideas. The videos either have the chords and lyrics showing during the video or are in the comments section.  They can supplement a lesson or serve as a starting off point

Here is a video of “The Wolf Cub” song. The music is mysterious and beautifully moving and the topic deals with getting lost. But the ending is happy, so don’t worry.  My 4 year olds are able to follow along and even discuss the lyrics.  http://youtu.be/nLg2hipHkCw The next video shows how to move along to the video.  Really, the words suggest how to move, but a video is always helpful.  http://youtu.be/2TYx3vMcqtk

You’ll want to check out my other videos for your own amusement and for use as teaching tools for your kids/class. Below are the words, chords, and uses for the Wolf Cub song- which are found on this site under the Lyrics Pages. This song is from the Sing CD.

The only way I could write out both the words and motions was to underline the words. If it is not underlined, then the words describe the related  motion. When you listen to the lyrics, it is easy to imagine the motions. I do have a video on my video page with the motions – if you care to reference it.    Chords are the same from verse to verse. 
Intro: Am//   Fmaj7//   G //   Am/ G
       Am                              C                                                   Motions:
The wolf cub wakes up and he opens his eyes.                       Start by pretending to sleep and wake.
Am                 C/G            D/F#   G
He gives a yawn and a shake.                                                             Give a good stretch and shake awake.
                  Dm                                 Dm/C
He looks up at the sun and the snow falling down                           Point up to the sun and motion like a
               BbMaj7                       Gsus-G                                                   fluttery snow flake.
and he follows a little snow flake.
                          Am   Cmaj9    BbMaj7   Fmaj7   Am    Cmaj9       Gsus-G
(Chorus) Singing Oooooo ooooh,   Oooooo   oooooh,         Oooo  ooooo   oooooooh
 He walks over a bridge and under the trees.      (Hold one arm out horizontally in front of   you. Walk the other hand on                                  
                                                                                           the “bridge.”   Then, hold one arm up vertically with   fingers spread.
                                                                                           Walk the other hand under the “tree.”)
He climbs up a mountain so high.                                                ( Motion hands up and over your head.(
Then back down he slides, and he looks side to side.             (  Sweep them down again and look side to
And he said “I am lost!” and he cries.                                             (Cover eyes and pretend to cry.)
                          Dm        Dm/C        Dm/B       Bbmaj7
(Bridge) He cries “where is my mother, my father, my brother                      Put hand up above the eyes
             Dm                   Dm/C      Gsus-G                                                              and pretend to search.                             
          and where could my sisters all be.
   Dm                Dm/C           Dm/B
I know what I’ll do.      I will open my mouth.                                                   Put index finger to head.
       Fmaj7             C     Gsus-g                                                                            Open mouth.
And howl out a wolf melody!”                                                                            Hooooowl!
 The wind it does whistle and the trees whisper “whoosh”                   ( Sway arms over head.)
and the birds sing their song to the sun.                                             Use thumb and index finger to imitate a bird  in song.
And the cub hears his mother and sisters and brother.                     Hold hand to ear.
A wolf howling band has begun!                                                              Get ready to hooowl!
       Abmaj7        G6add2
Last howl: oooooooooooooooooh!
 Benefits: Children vocalize the “ooh” sound of the wolf.
  Children act out the lyrics, and demonstrate an understanding of the concepts involved; open,      shake, over, under, up, down, side, and families. The children attend well to the idea that the fox is lost and scared. They are relieved when her family is reunited. It’s a natural opportunity to talk about families, safety, worries and comforts.

How to use this site: LYRICS pages – Polar Bear Winter song for preschool, kindergarten children / kids.

Hi! This is just a good opportunity to show you that there are some great lesson ideas incorporated in the Lyrics Pages. This particular song is under the lyrics for the Move CD. Just as it. Each song has lyrics, chords, and benefits/learning objectives.  These are usually listed after the song. The VIDEO link ( so you can hear the melody) is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=biH48n5-qzY
Benefits:This song helps with listening and pretending skills, both needed for cognitive development.Other uses:    It also stimulates attention (to the movements of the mother and baby bears,)
 as well as auditory anticipation and vocalization of “Grrowl!” The repetitive “growl,                                                                growl, stomp!) gives a sense of sequencing and energy/vocal release.
        Dm                                               Gm     Dm        A7
The polar bear looks for her cubs with a growl, growl, stomp.
     Gm       A7        Dm
The polar bear looks for her cubs with a growl, growl, and a stomp.
     Gm                              Dm                                                     A7
She (they) breaks the ice, and catches a fish, and holds it in her paws.
She (they) eat it up, and goes to sleep in the land on Santa Claus.
 The baby bears roll in the snow with a growl, growl, stomp.
 The baby bears roll in the snow with a growl, growl, and a stomp. 
The polar bears throw the snow with a growl, growl, stomp. 
The polar bears slide down the ice with a growl, growl, stomp.
Benefits:This song helps with listening and pretending skills, both needed for cognitive development.Other uses:    It also stimulates attention (to the movements of the mother and baby bears,)
 as well as auditory anticipation and vocalization of “Grrowl!” The repetitive “growl,                                                                growl, stomp!) gives a sense of sequencing and energy/vocal release.

Top 10 Places to get New Music Therapy Activities and Songs (and “lesson plan” ideas for children, teenagers, and adults)

1. You Tube (search music therapy, action songs, pre-school (or whatever age) songs with motions, and songs on specific topics (such as holidays…)

2. iTunes and Amazon (try searching on “clap”, “stamp”, “move”, “sing”, “mouth” “holidays”…)

3. Other people’s websites and blog posts (search music therpists, educators, performers, teacher lesson plans sites (under music.)

4. Right here at MusicTherapyTunes.com  Your one-stop Shop!  🙂

5. Other people’s and teacher’s CD collections, library CDs.  Get ideas from classroom projects displayed on the wall.

6. Books and Teacher magazines. Poetry books. Kids magazines.

7. TV shows and commercials (We sang “We’ve got the Sunshine in our Hands” for          graduation one year after I heard it in an O.J. commercial. It was a retro hit!)

8. Listserves for MTs, teachers, children’s artists…

9. Write your own! (Or, sometimes a child can sing a song they’ve heard. You only need a partial sentence to do a google search on lyrics.)

10. Radio shows and children’s music channels (including those on TV)

11. Bonus: if you’re an intern, record your supervisor’s songs! If you’re already working, have  a song swap.

Once I’ve got it in my hands, I can change one or more of the following to suit my goals and the people in my care: tempo, key, style, emotional tone, modes and more.  Add motions, manipulative (toys, pictures, puppets…)  Elongate or rearrange a song to include more motions, (simple) phrases and/or vocalizations.

“Best New Fall Song for Kids” aka: Yo Gabba Gabba’s Stand Still / Wiggle music therapy / education activity song for kids

Hi! This week I want to blog about my new best Fall Find. It’s an activity to I may post it there too because it is that good. The words and chords are already up  under “videos.”  I’d heard many of the kids mention “Yo Gabba Gabba but finally bumped into it via You Tube.

This song teaches countless goals all wrapped into one rockin’ jam.  The upside or the downside is that it is fast, frenetic, and fun. The kids request it every day. Many of them are already familiar with it through the TV show. Our PT even mentioned that like anaerobic exercise, the pattern is move hard and fast, then sit and breath. It is good for the heart and lungs and is a good workout.  Other goals addressed are motor, language (ways to move), bodily control, awareness of personal space, impulse control, awareness of sound and silence,  movement and rest.  It’s a great way to end a session because it ends on a relaxing note.  And it’s easy to change the lyrics, strumming, tempo, and pausing to suit the abilities and needs of the children.  Love it!

Yo Gabba Gabba  Hold Still (Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle stop!)

5 4 3 2 1

Stand Still!
1. Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle- GO!

 Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle- GO!

Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle- GO!

Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle- STOP!    Stand still……
Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle- GO!

 Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle- GO!

Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle- GO!

Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle- STOP!    Stand still……


Settle settle down. Settle down now.
We’re gonna get our wiggles out, get our wiggles out.
Time to settle down.
Settle settle down. Settle down now.
We’re gonna get our wiggles out, get our wiggles out.
Time to play this game.   Stand still……


2.   Jump, Jump, Jump – Go! (repeat 2x)
Jump, jump – STOP!    Stand still……
Jump, Jump, Jump – Go! (repeat 2x)
Jump, Jump, Jump – Stop! Stand still……
To chorus
3.  Dance, Dance, Dance- GO! (repeat 2x)
Dance, Dance, Dance- stop!
Dance, Dance, Dance- GO! (repeat 2x)
Dance, Dance, Dance- stop!


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.

Top 10 Music Therapy Variations on an activity


By Margie La Bella at Musictherapytunes with music, activities, blogs and more

1.  Large group with everyone all together

2.  Small groups within the larger group

3.  Solos, turns

4.  Partners, share it

5.  Record the audio (Make sure you have permission if using any type of camera/video device.)

6.  Act out the words. Dance it. Use props, hats, masks, dress-ups…..

7.  Make your own version, or verses/lyrics, hand motions, movement sequences, discussions….

8.  Do leader and follower exercises.  Have an assigned helper with responsibilities.

9.  Make you own accompaniment for it with rhythm instruments, orff instruments…..

10. Perform it for another class or group of people

Top 10 Music Therapy Props

By Margie La Bella at Musictherapytunes with music, activities, blogs and more

1. Puppets (homemade, store bought, party store and craft store bought, masks, hats…).

2. Scarves

3.  Instruments (homemade, store bought, party store and craft store bought. Peer 1 has some nice musical placemats made from wood.)

4.  Beanbags

5.  Pictures, PECS cards, sequenced lyrics pictures, large cube with song/instrument/movement    choices fastened to it….

6.  Toys to represent song characters.

7.  Hula Hoops and other shapes. Painter’s tape works well for making shapes and comes off easily.

8.  Flags and streamers

9.  Microphones (pretend, party store mics, real mics…)

10. Any new electronic devices, aps, games, wii….