Yo- Ho, Pass the Anchor! A music therapy activity social skills game for elementary aged students

Ages: Elementary School

Variations can be done with children as young as 3 and 4.

Purpose: To improve social skills. To attend, cooperate, take and relinquish turns

and share with a friend.

Yo-ho pull the anchor. Yo-ho pull it now.

Yo-ho pull the anchor. Who is the captain now? (I am the captain now.)

We modify the song and sing “Yo-ho Pass the Ring.”

and “Stop. You’re the captain now.

Link to melody is below.

Equipment: A drum, xylophone or other instrument/toy to share.   Lyrics. A buddy band or elasto band threaded through a ring or other “threadable” object. (Mental picture: a bead on a necklace.)   The ends of our buddy band detach and we put a ring from a toddler ring stacker toy through it and pass that from person to person. You can put rope or paper around the buddy band if you need.

Sit class in a circle and have everyone hold the buddy band with the ring.   Practice passing the ring from child to child. When the children can do that, then sing the song while the children pass. Sing the song through and Stop as the lyrics cue.   Invite that child to play the instrument in the middle of the circle while the children sing and pass again.   Continue until each child has a turn.


Ask a question to the child who has the ring on a topic relevant to the needs of the group.

Ask the child to share with a friend. Make sure everyone has a turn to choose and friend and to be chosen.

Have each child answer the question “Who is the captain now?” by answering

“I am the captain now.”





by Margie La Bella of Music Therapy tunes.

Instrument ABC Videos Playlist for students. Whole alphabet with Instruments from A-Z .

Hello friends,

I compiled this you tube playlist last year for use in our school.  The videos pair each letter of the alphabet with an instrument– often several.   There are several age groups represented from the very, very young to kids to teens and adults, too.   The instruments are from all over the world and so this could compliment cultural and geography studies in any class.  For certain music therapy populations, think  “Instrument Bingo,” “Name that instrument,”or Musical “Hangman.”


This link is immensely helpful as it has the instruments in alphabetical instrument, gives a short history of each instrument and offers a sound bite as well.  https://www.imit.org.uk/pages/a-to-z-of-musical-instrument.html

Great song for a new School Year. Good for Conscience Discipline. “There’s No One Else Just like ME!” music therapy song activity for children

Goal: to improve self concept, joint participation, eye contact, body part vocabulary etc.

Source: It’s been handed down from person to person all the way down to me. Please let me know the writer so I can give credit where credit is sure due.

There’s no one else like me.


There’s no one else just like me.


There’s no one else just like me.


Like me. Like me.


There’s no one else like me. Like me. Like me.


There’s no one else like me.

–  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  =-

Middle section:


From the top of my head to my wiggly toes.


From the back of my ears to the tip of my nose.

–  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –   –



I’m me. I’m me.   There’s no one else like me.


Like me. Like me. There’s no one else like me.

-Can follow up with Hap Palmer’s

“Oh, What a Miracle am I!”      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFlVciz8aGs

and/or Laurie Berkner’s  “Me and My Energy.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SEwW3lK-Vjo






Top 10 September Songs

You can change up the lyrics and have songs for any goal/objective with several of these songs.

  1. Hello Everybody I’m Glad to See You aka Music Together https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAfb2WNWmF0
  1. Frank Leto’s Hello Everybody Clap your Hands .   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pFNu-2IK0M
  1. 15 Hello songs Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHya0irmbB4 compiled by yours truly.
  1. 12 Goodbye Songs Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKTvlLlnga0&feature=iv&src_vid=VHya0irmbB4&annotation_id=annotation_140187

Audio down load of both medleys here: (You may have to click for it once, then once again. I’m having a website glitch:   https://www.musictherapytunes.com/wp/free-mp3-downloads/

  1. Another Great Song is Yo Gabba Gabba’s “Stand Still” on the above page. The video link with chords and words is here:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfRaqiQ6eQU
  1. Frank Leto’s Move your Dancin’ Feet https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YY6a48yyjGE

BTW, Frank Leto has some excellent songs for older children. Here’s my favorite album:   https://www.cdbaby.com/cd/FrankLeto1   Great for Auditory discrimination, auditory memory, focus and attention.

  1. Stand Up Sit Down https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=196QjYsc8PQ
  1. M0ve and Stop
  1. Sing/Play an Echo Song
  1. How ‘Bout You by teaching Englishhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MKmbyfhkkE
  1. 7 Days in a Week Jack Hartman


  1. Greg and Steve have an excellent ABC Rock



13.Number Rock


  1. ABC from Songs at my Speed by Margie La Bella


  1. Me and My Energy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SEwW3lK-Vjo


Bonus: Elephants have Wrinkles https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRvMB9zJvsg


Bonus:Go Seek with the Moon by Eric Herman


Bonus: 1,2,3, Whee



FREE MUSIC AND SOUND EFFECTS on YouTube! Great for Music Therapy Activities and Music Education Lessons. By Margie La Bella of MusicTherapyTunes.com

What’s the News??  https://www.youtube.com/audiolibrary/soundeffects

Where is it?  You Tube!  From My Channel’s Video Manager you’ll see the  Creator Studio where  you will find Create where you have three choices.

1. Free music   2. Ad supported music and 3. Sound Effects

Why is this so awesome??!   Think of all the activities you can create with these!   They come is different categories so you can address home sounds, animal sounds, tool sounds; varied things from people’s daily experiences.

Goals could range from attention/ focus, to expressive language, auditory desensitization,  to fine motor manipulation of small objects (think sound bingo chips) to song writing.

Some potential activities could be: Sound Bingo, Name that Sound, adding sound fx to song writing activities. I find playing “Name that Sound” a wonderful and effective way to focus and calm a group of wiggly preschoolers who need to learn  What can YOU come up with??You tube act page 1YouTube Audio Library 2

The Bird Song; a quieting calming activity song with motions for music therapy / education for young children by Margie La Bella of music therapy tunes

cute head shot with head feather2

Up in the Sky Song Activity

This is a nice quiet centering song that tends to focus and calm the children.

It’s good after a more active activity or toward the end of a session.

Way up in the sky (jump high)
The little birds fly (flap arms)
While down in the nest (form nest with arms)
The little birds rest (hands next to head like napping)
Shhh! They’re sleeping. (stage whisper shh! say quietly they’re sleeping)

With a wing on the left (fold left arm under)
And a wing on the right (fold right arm under)
The little birds sleep (hands next to head like napping)
All through the night.
Shhh! They’re sleeping. (stage whisper shh! say quietly they’re sleeping)

The BRIGHT SUN COMES UP! (as in itsy bitsy spider)
The dew goes away (hands like tinkering on a keyboard)
Good morning, good morning, the little birds say (point to class members)


Optional 3rd stanza: Up comes the sun. Down comes the dew.

Good morning,   good morning, good morning to you!

or Good afternoon to you, you and you.


Melody is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2IfK86PZvI

I learned the melody with a variation in the second line that goes like this:

g c e a,   d dc d c   or sol do mi la,   re re do re do where the 5th and 6th go lower than 1/do/c







TOP TEN Summer Music Therapy songs for Kids (by Margie La Bella of music therapy tunes)

Baby Shark https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FyamCXEqa5g

Three kids went Fishing in a Boat by Margie La Bella:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-QqF3pckLik

She Sells Sea Shells (music together)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yktc3gIuO6o

Going on a Bug Hunt, Bug Bite Song (Remove it,) Do-ah-Ditty Swim, A -Camping we will Go, Can you Move with Me, Baby Bumble Bee are all up on my Summer Blog:  https://www.musictherapytunes.com/wp//?s=summer

Fireflies by Anna Moo http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/moo2

Under a Shady Tree by Laurie Berkner  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zq-0JiKs2hc

Down by the Sea by Red Grammer  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=722KF_8pChE

Alligator Stomp by Anna Moo http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/moo2

Animals in Action by Jack Hartman  http://www.songsforteaching.com/animals/animalsinaction.php



“Name that Sound” easy auditory discrimination and memory activity for music therapy and education by Margie La Bella of Music Therapy Tunes.

This is great! So easy and so useful!  I got some great cloth bags from BearPawCreek and used them to store instruments.  But I had one or two extra.  I put all my instruments into a bin and used the bag to scoop one up without the children being able to see what I was doing. Then, I played the instrument with my hands inside the bag and asked the kids to tell me what they heard.  We repeated the game for several common rhythm instruments and the class loved it!  We then followed up with a group instrumental song.

Good for the following skills: auditory discrimination, auditory memory, expressive language, attention span and focus.







This has been a blog by Margie La Bella of Music Therapy Tunes on the use of alternate

adaptive notation systems for children, adolescents, and adults who contend with

autism, add, adhd, down’s syndrome, down syndrome, ptsd, trauma, psychiatric issues,  learning disabilities, ld, cp, and all the rest of us. Thank you for reading.




I’ve been working on the Farm Yard / barn yard music therapy activity song for children (helps with vocalizing and vocal play.)

I asked my observation student, Anne Crean, to come up with an animal song. She said she tried to avoid “Old Mac Donald” and so adapted this song on her own. Great job “observing”, Anne!!

This song would work quite well with youngsters needing to discover and experiment with their voices and vocal abilities. Older tykes needing to associate animal sounds with animals and those needing experience in producing certain sounds (C-V, and CVCs) would also benefit from this one.

I’ve been working on the farm yard all the live long day.
D E7 A
I’ve been working on the farm yard to pass the time away.
A7 D G F#7 OR D7
Can’t you hear the cows all mooing; moo moo moo moo moooo.
G D A7 D
Can’t you hear the cows all mooing; moo moo moo moo mooo.

(Then- in place of “Dinah won’t you blow,” simply add in your own mooooosic and moo your heart out.)
Chords are:
D/D/G/G/A/A/D/D/ D/D/E/E/A7/A7/D//

Switch animals and related sounds until your group is all sung out.

TOP 10 THANKSGIVING music therapy SONGS for children (and adolescents and adults: see list at end!) by Margie La Bella of Music Therapy Tunes

Hi Everyone, Here’s my list. Working on getting all the links done – but I’ve been looking all over!  At the bottom is a great link of songs for young and older adults from Time Out New Yorker’s List

1. Thanksgiving Swing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1HYYhsxyOg 

2. Hi-ya Ho!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDFGo7h4R6w

3. With my Long Tail feathers –  via Sue Ribaudo on her Earth Celebration CD

4. Uncle Joe  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oOX6hobaU8Q

5. Barnyard Boogie by Greg and Steve

6. Family by Laurie Berkner https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxJ3vegVOzc

7. It’s Thanksgiving by Nichole Westbrook https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NGPxnYVjnD0

8. The 10 Days of Thanksgiving by Rachael Rambach https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5EHbqVOqjpw

9. Turkey Time by harry kindergarten https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLCqoIDBroU

10. Move and Freeze

Bonus Link: 20 best Thanksgiving songs http://www.timeout.com/newyork/music/the-20-best-thanksgiving-songs














This has been a blog by Margie La Bella of Music Therapy Tunes on Thanksgiving Songs for  children, adolescents, and adults who contend with autism, add, adhd, down’s syndrome, down syndrome, ptsd, trauma, psychiatric issues,  learning disabilities, ld, cp, and all the rest of us on our journey. That about covers it. Thank you for reading.