6 educational activities for kids to celebrate International Museum Day

Every child is an artist
(Source: Discoverymoments.com)

Every May 18th marks International Museum Day. As a community of early childhood educators and families, we know—as Pablo Picasso pointed out—“All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once they grow up.” Introducing children to new experiences, such as various genres of music or art, can be one of the ways to help them hold onto their artistic and creative side…and reminding all of us grownups about our own creative side!
While in our Kindermusik classes for babies, toddlers, big kids, and families, we introduce children to a variety of musical styles from around the world, a trip to a local museum can show children the various contributions found in the art world. However, for those not able to travel to a museum, we put together 6 educational activities for kids that help celebrate International Museum Day at home or at school.

6 ways to celebrate International Museum Day with young children

  1. Visit the Musical Instrument Museum for a virtual listening tour.  Go on a listening tour of featured instruments found at the only museum dedicated to global instruments. From the Octobasse to the Cajun Accordion and metal clarinet to the differences between the Irish Bouzouki and the Greek Bouzouki, children (and adults) will enjoy discovering new musical instruments!
  2. Plan a virtual visit to one of the world’s most famous museums. Choose from The Louvre in Paris, The Frick Collection  in New York, or The British Museum in London. These museums house some of the most-loved and well-known masterpieces.
  3. Take a virtual self-guided tour of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Children find art in the smallest details, including a ladybug on a leaf, dewdrops, or a rainbow after a storm. This museum is dedicated to inspiring curiosity, discovery, and learning about the natural world.
  4. Create a museum in your home or classroom. Set aside one room or area in your house or early childhood classroom to display children’s creations. Invite family members and friends to come over for a tour.
  5. Create art!  Need inspiration? Here’s a collection of art projects and crafts for Kindermusik@Homeyoung children from Kindermusik@Home, using their hands as shapes, tools, and mementos.
  6. Read children’s picture books together and celebrate the art of illustration. Visit your local library or download the Reading Rainbow app, featuring hundreds of books and videos, including new music-themed content by Kindermusik.

Contributed by Lisa Camino Rowell, who plans to celebrate International Museum Day by creating handprint art with her two girls.

6 St. Patrick’s Day activities for kids at home

We spy something GREEN. Well, of course, we do! It’s St. Patrick’s Day. Celebrating all things Irish takes on a whole new level of fun when you add children to the mix. Take a look inside a Kindermusik class to see how we like to celebrate in the classroom and then discover some ways for you to celebrate at home.

Try 6 of our favorite (EASY!) ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with these activities for kids at home!

  1. Wear green! It doesn’t get any easier than this. Plus, with the two to three Baby playing instrumentwardrobe changes young children typically encounter each day, you can pick more than one cute green outfit!
  2. Sing some Irish songs. Our favorites include “That’s an Irish Lullaby” and “My Wild Irish Rose.” Of course, you can always introduce children to famous contemporary musicians from Ireland, such as U2, Van Morrison, The Chieftains, or Enya.
  3. Dance an Irish jig. You don’t need to lace up your ghillies to dance an Irish jig. You will need some lively music though! Why not grab some green instruments to play along?!
  4. Eat or drink something green. Little ones love the novelty of eating a food that doesn’t look like it usually does—green milk, green pancakes, green eggs, green cookies.
  5. Make a rainbow—with or without a pot of gold. Create a rainbow of fruit using strawberries, oranges or cantaloupe, pineapple, kiwi, blueberries, and cut up purple grapes. As a special treat after eating a healthy snack, perhaps a gold (chocolate!) coin can be found.
  6. Read a book about St. Patrick, leprechauns, or Ireland. We pinned some books for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and older kids on the Kindermusik Pinterest board: “Books We Love for Kids.” Or, look for St. Patrick’s Day themed books on the Reading Rainbow app. The Music Mountain Island featuring Kindermusik content includes, “Under the Rainbow,” a story about a little boy and his grandmother searching for a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Looking for more things to do with kids that include music and movement activities, support early literacy development, and enhance the cognitive development of young children? Be sure to follow Kindermusik

on Pinterest!

Two fun (and free!) ways to use digital learning to learn English

ABC English & Me - Teaching English to Children through Music

ABC English & Me - Teaching English to Children through MusicKindermusik International’s English Language Learning (ELL) curriculum, ABC English & Me, is a fun, musically-based way for ELL children to learn English.  As with all of Kindermusik’s newest curricula, the class experience is supported and enhanced by @Home Materials which are accessed digitally and conveniently available to families at any time, anywhere.
The Kindermusik @Home Materials that come with every ABC English & Me enrollment provide fun activities for kids learning, including English songs for kids as well as other ELL activities.  We’ll spotlight two of those educational activities for kids here as a free sneak peek!

Just Me!

Just Me! is a delightful music video from the ABC English & Me unit also entitled Just Me!  Children can’t help but move, giggle, and learn as they learn the English words for head, shoulder, knees, and toes!  (And yes, parents can join the fun too.  After all, you’re helping your children learn, right?!)
ABC English - Just Me

Find & Count

In Find & Count, featured in the unit called Leap Frog, children learn to count as they find the frogs, ducks, and fish in the pond.  This activity is enhanced by the colorful, engaging graphics, lively instructions, and sweet music.
ABC English - Find and Count
So, go ahead.  Try one – or both! – of these activities for yourself.  It’s okay if the kids aren’t around!  We think you’ll be amazed at the way Kindermusik International is yet again proving itself to be the world’s leader in music and movement curricula, now supported by digital learning through their exceptional @Home Materials.

2 educational benefits of digital learning and mobile apps for kids

preschooler digital learning Back in October, Common Sense Media published a report that indicated the usage of mobile apps for kids more than doubled in two years. In fact, the report showed that 75 percent of children under the age of 8 had access to mobile devices at home. However, with the holidays recently behind us, we can make an educated guess that the number of children with access to mobile devices only increased in the few months since the publication of that report.
Of course, access to mobile devices and mobile apps for kids doesn’t necessarily equate to educational activities for kids. In fact, one of the great parenting challenges of raising digital natives involves finding the right balance of screen time for families, including young children. At Kindermusik, we align our stance with the NAEYC and the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning, recognizing that children can benefit from a responsible and age-appropriate use of technology in combination with hands-on experiences and in partnership with an actively involved caregiver.
In early childhood, the most effective educational activities for kids involve multi-sensory learning, such as talking (or singing!), interacting, exploring, building, pretending, and manipulating. New research on mobile apps for kids (or those used by kids) sheds some positive insight on how technology can be used as a tool to support language development and teach social skills to young children.

2 educational benefits of mobile apps for kids that use video

Five or 10 years ago, video chat was used primarily for business purposes. Now, families Skype or FaceTime with loved ones all around the world as a means to stay connected.  When children—even older babies and toddlers—engage in communicating with loved ones via video chat, they learn social skills and support language development in much the same way as if the conversation happened within the same space.
“We’re finding pretty consistently — in fact, two recent studies with actual Skype [calls] — that children do seem to learn better when there is social interaction from a person on video. So it’s kind of encouraging with FaceTime or Skype for parents and grandparents to know that [with] that interaction, the children might actually be willing to learn from a person on a screen because of the social interaction showing them what’s on the screen is connected to their lives,” Georgene Troseth said in an NPR interview, “What You Need To Know About Babies, Toddlers And Screen Time.” 

(Source: The News Tribune DEAN J. KOEPFLER/Staff photographer)
(Source: The News Tribune DEAN J. KOEPFLER/Staff photographer)

Other classroom-based research shows that with preschoolers, video modeling can teach children positive social skills, such as sharing, taking turns, or using kind and polite words. One preschool in Minnetonka, Minnesota, uses Flip cameras to record students during their daily rituals and routines. Children can then watch the videos on an Ipad individually or on the SmartBoard as a class to see how to handle certain situations, talk to peers, and even where to go and how to act during circle time.
“Video modeling is just a really easy and effective way to teach children within and without special needs how to do something,” explained Brenna Noland, an early childhood special education teacher, in a news report. 

Kindermusik@Home: More than a music app for kids

Kindermusik@HomeEnrollment in Kindermusik includes access to Kindermusik@Home a robust, web-based site that supports active engagement and playtime between a parent and a child while also providing an age-appropriate introduction to digital learning. Each month families receive access to the songs and stories from class, virtual field trips and video modeling, and ideas for taking the learning away from the computer, smart phone, of other device.
For more information about Kindermusik@Home and enrolling in Kindermusik, contact your local educator.

Move for fun, move to learn!

It’s always great to have some physical activities for kids that you can pull out of your pocket, so to speak, and enjoy together.  And in our opinion, one of the best activities is combining music and movement!
Experts tell us that movement is key to learning.  That’s why movement is so foundational to our Kindermusik classes.  But movement, especially with music, can also be the key to your sanity, especially on a cold, rainy, stuck-in-the-house day.  To help you out with a little fresh inspiration, here are a few of our favorite Kindermusik movement activities for kids:
little girl dancingFinger plays and toe wiggles – These are the smallest of all movements, but they can be lots of fun!  Think “Eency Weency Spider” or “This Little Piggy.”
Free dance – Just turn on some music and dance to your heart’s content.  Hint: Have a playlist of several songs to prolong the enjoyment.
Moving with a prop – Grab a scarf and bounce, twirl, or swish to the music.  You can also try it with a stuffed animal too.
Rocking – Rocking can be more calming or more active, depending your mood and the kind of music you choose.
Choreographed movement – Preschoolers and big kids can really get their creative juices flowing if they get to decide what steps go with what parts of the song.  Forward-and-back, side-to-side, ’round and around, zig-zagging, and more!

Try A Free Kindermusik ClassKindermusik is the world’s leader in music and movement classes for young children.  Come sing, sway, dance, and play with us at a free preview class today!

Written by Theresa Case, whose Kindermusik program at Piano Central Studios in beautiful Upstate South Carolina is proudly among the top 1% in the world.

6 websites and mobile apps for kids that support early literacy development

iStock_000002617208XSmall mom-boy readingTalking to babies, toddlers, and preschoolers throughout the day, reading together, and playing learning games for kids all help support early literacy and language development. When babies react to their mothers’ voices, they are responding to the familiar cadence of the language. While sitting in a parent’s lap listening to a story before bedtime, toddlers begin to see and recognize letters and sounds and the proper way to read a book. As preschoolers practice writing letters—and

even their names—they foster phonetic awareness. Throughout this process, children look to their parents as their first and best teacher!

As creators of early childhood curricula, including an early literacy curriculum, ABC Music & Me, we know just how important family involvement in education can be to a young child’s early literacy skills and language development. So, we pulled together six of our favorite websites and mobile apps for kids that support early literacy development and a parent’s role as a child’s first and best teacher. Enjoy!

6 websites and mobile apps for kids that support early literacy development

  1. Reading Rainbow: We love Reading Rainbow! LeVar Burton started RRKidz when the beloved show was canceled so he could continue to bring reading and education to kids using the newest and best technology. This mobile app for kids offers a trusted library of books and video field trips to visit fascinating people and places. New books and videos are added every week expanding the collection. Kindermusik will be partnering with Reading Rainbow to bring a “Musical Island” to the app!
  2. WeGiveBooks: We Give Books supports parent involvement in education and early literacy skills by providing online books for families to read together. Using any device with Internet access, parents can read books to children at home or on the go. The available children’s books include selections of fiction and non-fiction for children through 10 years old.
  3. PBSKids Island: Together, you and your child can visit PBSKids Island and play learning games for kids that feature PBS favorites, such as Sesame Street, Martha Speaks, and Super WHY! While not an early literacy curriculum, these educational activities for kids support early literacy development through letter recognition, rhyming, and even spelling challenges.
  4. Backyard Phonics Adventure: This mobile app for kids uses letters and pictures to teach letter recognition and beginning phonics. Children match a beginning sound to a letter or a beginning sound to another picture with the same beginning sound.
  5. Starfall.com: Many preschools and elementary schools use Starfall.com as a supplement to an early childhood or early literacy curriculum. This free website includes learning games for kids that teach letter recognition and the corresponding sounds, phonics, and more.
  6. Kindermusik@Home: Available as part of enrollment in Kindermusik, Kindermusik@Home supports a parent’s role as a child’s first and best teacher while also providing fun learning games for kids. Accessible Kindermusik@Homefrom any smart phone, iPad, tablet, or laptop, Kindermusik@Home provides educational activities for kids that support early literacy development, such as eBooks, active listening games, virtual field trips, plus an abundance of ideas and developmental insights behind using music and movement to support a child’s early literacy development. The activities connect what happens in the classroom to the everyday routines and rituals of families.

To learn more about enrolling in a Kindermusik class and receiving access to Kindermusik@Home, contact a local educator via our Class Locator.

Schools, preschools, and childcare centers can also benefit from Kindermusik@Home. To learn more about bringing our early literacy curriculum into your classroom while also increasing parental involvement, email us at info@abcmusicandme.com.



5 ways Kindermusik prepares PARENTS for Kindergarten

From Kindermusik to Kindermusik

Of course, Kindermusik helps prepare young children for school success. (You can read just 9 of the ways our music classes for babies, toddlers, big kids, and families lay the groundwork for success in elementary school.) But, Kindermusik also prepares parents for Kindergarten. Here’s how:

5 ways Kindermusik prepares parents for Kindergarten, including parental involvement in early childhood education

  1. You get real-life experience with your child learning independently in a classroom setting. Kindermusik grows with your child. As your child progresses from infant to toddler to preschooler to big kid Kindermusik classes, your little one (and you!) slowly transition from being together in the classroom all of the time to the parents coming in at the end of class.
  2. You learn how to connect the classroom learning to your everyday lives. In class, Educators share the developmental benefits behind the activities so you learn both the "hows" and the "whys." Plus, Kindermusik@Home gives parents activities for kids, including the music and eBooks from class so the learning happens throughout the week. In later years, when your child comes home from Kindergarten with homework, your family already naturally integrates the learning in fun and engaging ways throughout the week.
  3. Parent involvement in early childhood education becomes second-nature. You are your child’s first and best teacher. As your child grows, more teachers will enter your child’s life, but you maintain the top spot. You will understand from personal experience the positive and unique impact of parental involvement in early childhood education.
  4. All of those animal noises and sounds you make in Kindermusik and at home with your child will make you a highly requested Mystery Reader in Kindergarten. It’s true. Dr. Seuss, Piggie & Gerald, and other favorite children’s books just sound better when the one reading the story can make the silly sounds! So, go ahead, practice your elephant trumpet!
  5. The social skills and confidence your child gains in Kindermusik will make the transition to Kindergarten easier for your little one—and for you. We can’t promise you won’t shed a tear or two, but your child will be more comfortable in a classroom setting, exhibit stronger inhibitory control abilities, and more easily make new friends.

Come see for yourself how Kindermusik prepares you and your child for Kindergarten. Try a free class today!



Using Kindermusik@Home to Make Parenting a Little Bit Easier

One of the fabulous benefits of your enrollment in Kindermusik is Kindermusik@Home – a whole new way to access and enjoy your Home Materials throughout the week.  But how can Kindermusik@Home make parenting a little bit easier?  Well, you might turn to Kindermusik@Home when you…

  • need a lullaby to calm your baby to sleep
  • are looking for a special way to connect with your child and sneak in a few giggles or cuddles
  • are desperate for a diversion in the long line at the grocery store or the waiting room at the doctor’s office
  • can’t remember the words to your child’s favorite song from class
  • can’t get out on a rainy day and an educational activity for kids like a video field trip or kid-friendly recipe might be just the thing
  • want to help your child get even more out of his or her weekly Kindermusik class
  • have a few minutes to really engage with your child and need some inspiration to make that time meaningful and fun
  • have a child begging you to read his favorite story from Kindermusik class and you’re not anywhere near the bookshelf at home (Gotta love these mobile apps for kids!)
  • want to play a developmentally appropriate, kid-friendly game together
  • are ready to download all of the great music from your Kindermusik class
  • need expert advice and a window of insight into the precious miracle that is your child
  • are looking for an easy way to begin expanding your child’s awareness and understanding of the world around her
  • need some great music and activity ideas to soothe or clam, play together, chase away the blues, or share some giggles
  • need all of this with you wherever you are – at home or on the go

Kindermusik@Home… It’s all in there!

Kindermusik@HomeAnd here’s your sneak peek:
Take a TOUR on your PC, your Mac, or your Tablet or Mobile Device
Try a FREE Kindermusik@Home Activity, “Stroll around Town

Written by Theresa Case, whose Kindermusik program at Piano Central Studios in Greenville, SC, is proudly among the top 1% of Kindermusik programs worldwide.

3 ways to turn Garbage Day into recycling activities for kids

Garbage day causes lots of excitement in homes with small children. Preschoolers and toddlers can often be found with faces pressed to windows or jumping up and down in delight as they watch those big trucks noisily shift from house to house. And, oh happy day, if the driver actually blows the horn!
When parents think about activities for kids at home, most probably don’t think of “Trash Day” as one filled with educational activities for kids. However, it can be, especially if parents think about the environment! Try these three ways to learn about sustainability for kids.

3 ways to turn Garbage Day into learning about the environment for kids

1. Go on a virtual field trip—courtesy of NPR— to see what happens to glass bottles after they leave your at-home recycle bin.


2. Read “How a New Bottle Becomes a Used Bottle” and ask your child questions about what you read together. Make connections between what you read to the video you watched. Identify glass recyclables in your own home.

3. Play with magnets. In recycling centers, metal objects are separated from glass objects using powerful magnets. Gather various child-friendly objects from around your house and use magnets together to sort the objects into two piles.

Recycling activities for kids can be fun for the whole family. Plus, it helps your child to understand how we all impact the world around us.

Parenting in the age of smart phones, Ipads, Ebooks, and mobile apps for kids

ipod_KindermusikNearly eight years ago, every employee-owner at Kindermusik International received an iPod with the engraving: “This changes everything. The potential is endless.” Over the years, we’ve experienced many changes in technology, music and early childhood education, parenting, and their connections to each other.

Smart phones, tablet devices, and eReaders—and iPods—did not permeate the everyday routines and rituals of the average family when we handed out those MP3 players. Now, they do in many cases. A new national study by the Center on Media and Human Development at Northwestern University set out to better understand how mobile devices, including mobile apps for kids, influence and change parenting and childhood in families with children newborn to eight years old. The study is based on an extensive survey of a nationally representative sample of more than 2,300 parents of children from birth to eight years old.

6 Key Takeaways from the “Parenting in the Age of Digital Technology” report:

  1. Parents use media and technology as a tool for managing daily life, but books, toys, and other activities are used more often.

  2. Parents still turn to family and friends for parenting advice far more often than to new media sources like websites, blogs, and social networks.

  3. Parents are less likely to turn to media or technology as an educational tool for their children than to other activities. About two-thirds (62 percent) say they are very likely to point their child toward a book when looking for an educational opportunity and 41 percent to a toy or activity, compared to 15 percent who say the same about using the computer, 12 percent for TV, and 10 percent for a mobile device such as a smartphone.

  4. Seventy-one percent of parents who say mobile devices help make parenting easier say it’s because there are lots of fun mobile apps for kids to keep them entertained, while a similar percent (68 percent) say it is because these tools have lots of educational activities for kids.

  5. The media and technology use of parents help shape the media environment for the household, which influences how much time children spend with media.

  6. Children’s use of media is not a top concern among parents with children eight and younger. However, parents do look ahead and worry about what the future holds when it comes to their children’s social skills. In addition, parents see a connection between media use and a lack of physical activity.

You can read the full report here: Parenting in the Age of Digital Technology by the Center on Media and Human Development at Northwestern University

Mobile apps for kids and Kindermusik@Home

“It turns out parents use a range of tools to help them as parents, and these include new mobile screen devices like smartphones and tablets,” explained Alexis Lauricella, one of the study’s co-authors in an interview with the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media. But even more regularly, parents are relying on more traditional tools like toys and activities to help them out.”

With Kindermusik@Home and our mobile apps for kids, parents receive the best of both worlds: hands-on educational activities for families to do together both on and away from digital devices. After all, we understand that in reality after the birth of a child, every family can say: “This changes everything. The potential is endless.” As a child’s first teacher, we want to help provide parents with the tools and activities–both inside and outside the classroom–to use music as the vehicle for learning and unlocking that potential.

Contact your local educator to learn more about enrolling in Kindermusik classes and receiving access to Kindermusik@Home.