7 Reasons to Give the Gift of Experiences—Like Early Childhood Music Classes!

We love music around here. Surprised? We didn’t think so. During the holiday season, you can often find us listening to favorite songs we first heard as children. (Muppets Christmas, anyone?)

Just listening to certain songs revives memories of twinkling lights, candlelight, laughter, the smell of yummy goodness baking in the oven, and the comfort of family. Each year we look forward to creating more musical memories with our friends and families. It’s no wonder that Oscar Wilde penned: “Memory is the diary we all carry about with us.”

Our childhood memories and experiences help shape who we become as adults. This holiday season why not give the gift of experiences to your child. Every child on your shopping list will love the gift of time and an individualized gift of doing something you love WITH someone you love!


7 Reasons to Give the Gift Experiences to Children

  1. The memories will last a lifetime—long after a child loses interest in the latest toy or gadget.
  2. An “experience” gift can be custom-tailored to a child. Does your little one love new books? Take a trip to the library and read 20 books in one afternoon or all the picture books by the same author. Does your child sing throughout the day? Host a family karoke night and spend the evening singing and dancing together. Is your little guy or girl fascinated with the great outdoors? Camp out in the living room!
  3. You don’t need to find a spot for one more toy. (You know what we are talking about!)
  4. Your child learns the value of spending time together.
  5. No batteries or assembly required (i.e. no late nights spent putting together toys or lamenting proper sticker placement on tiny plastic cars.) Woo-hoo!
  6. It’s fun for you, too.
  7. Investing time with our kids pays off by creating heart-to-heart connections with them. As your children grow, they will begin to shift focus to peer-to-peer relationships but by teaching them the value of spending time as a family, children will RETURN the gift to you during the teen and adult years….and pass the gift on to their own children.

Of course, we would LOVE for you to give the gift of music. It’s what we do after all. However, here are 18 other ideas for “experience” gifts.

Graphic_GiveTheGiftOfMusic_holiday-icon_Pinterest_600x600Find a local Kindermusik educator to give the gift of music AND support a local small business owner.

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.

Take it outside—the benefits of music that is!

Ah, summertime. Warmer temperatures, playing in sprinklers, catching fireflies, and walking barefoot in the grass—summer is the perfect season to “take it outside.” In the world of childcare curriculum development, it can also mean the season of the slide. No, not the slide found at the local playground or park, but the summer slide, which refers to what can happen to the early literacy and language, early math or other cognitive development skills of children who do not participate in learning activities over the summer.
KindermusikPresents_ABCMusicAndMe_AGlobalEarlyChildhoodCurriculum[1]Thankfully, the benefits of music engage children in learning throughout the year. Summertime can be the perfect season to grab a CD player and take the educational activities outside as part of a childcare summer curriculum. Our early childhood curriculum, ABC Music & Me, includes 3-package units to make it easy to engage children in early literacy and language development as part of a summer camp or as part of summer programming. Plus, Kindermusik includes @Home activities to connect what happens at school with the every day routines and rituals of a family’s life.

3 summer programming options to take the benefits of music outside

1. Wiggle & Grow celebrates the unique joys of young toddlers. Children will love the songs, stories, and games and early childhood educators will love helping  them practice a  wide variety of skills such as gross and fine motor, turn-taking, social skills, and active listening.
The summer-friendly 3-unit package includes themes: Up in the Sky, Marvelous Me, Time for Lunch
Sneak-peek at one of the activities from Kindermusik@Home that supports parent involvement in early childhood education:
Kindermusik@Home Sky Counting From “Up in the Sky”: Sky Counting
Learning number words (e.g., one, two, three, four) is the first number sense skill. Research shows that number sense is a critical early predictor of future mathematics success. A sky full of clouds, airplanes, blimps, and more… 1, 2, 3, 4, 5…families will love counting them all.
 2. Laugh & Learn encourages preschoolers’ natural love of music, storytelling, and imaginative play with age-appropriate activities that introduce early music concepts and foster independence, social and emotional skills, language growth and self-control.
The 3-unit summer-friendly package includes themes: Home Sweet Home, Let’s Play, On the Go
Sneak-peek at one of the activities from Kindermusik@Home that supports parent involvement in early childhood education:
Home on the Hive Kindermusik@HomeFrom “Home Sweet Home” Home on the Hive
Measurement is one of the core areas of early math. In the activity, families will enjoy comparing relative size and position of the bees in the hive.
3. Move & Groove engages students in music and movement activities such as songs, rhymes, and dances that also promote creativity, social-emotional skills, physical coordination, confidence and more. Plus, language rich content boosts vocabulary while strengthening cognitive and literacy skills to help increase school readiness!
The 3-unit summer-friendly package includes: Sounds Abound, Jazz Kitchen, and Dance with Me
Sneak-peek at one of the activities from Kindermusik@Home that supports parent involvement in early childhood education:
From Sounds Abound: Can You Guess What Song? 
Kindermusik@Home Guess What SongIn this game, children are asked to identify a familiar song by listening to the sounds presented through a voice humming. Sounds simple—but to be successful, children must process the sounds, connect them to the music and lyrics of songs they know, and then recall the name of the song. Processing skills are the primary skills being exercised here. Processing, or the ability to perceive information, is an important cognitive skill that starts developing rapidly during the preschool and early school years.

Want to learn more about taking the benefits of music outside at your preschool or childcare center as part of your summer programming? Email us at info@abcmusicandme.com.


Tips for Reading e-Books with Young Children

mom and young girl reading ebook togetherWhen it comes to all things technological, today’s kids seem to be genetically predisposed to easily understanding and assimilating anything tech related.  They usually know which buttons to push before their parents do, even if it’s the first time they’ve had the remote control or device in their hands!
A new study finds that a staggering two-thirds of kids between the ages of 2 and 13 years are now reading e-books, an increase of over 50% from a similar study conducted just about a year ago.
We’re proud to say that Kindermusik International, the world’s leader in early music and movement learning, is already ahead of the curve.  They’ve been publishing musical e-books to complement their @Home Materials for several years now.  Kindermusik is a huge advocate of parental choice about the amount of screen time and have aligned themselves with that of the highly respected 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.
With that in mind, we’d like to share these excellent tips from the Reading Rockets website for reading e-books with young children :

  • Recognize the novelty factor. The first few times your child is interacting with a new e-book, allow time for exploration of the features. Once your child has spent some time exploring, set out to read or listen to the story without too many non-story related interruptions.
  • Enjoy the features, but don’t forget to focus on the story. See if you can help your child find a balance between having fun with the games and sticker books and really enjoying and understanding the story. As with all books, engage your reader in conversations about the story. ‘What do you think will happen next? What is your favorite part of the story?’
  • Stay present with your child and the book experience. It’s tempting to let the device do the work — read the story, play a game and interact with your child. But there’s no substitute for quality parent-child conversation. Keep talking, commenting on interesting words and ideas, and sharing your love of literacy with your child.”

AtHomeHeader_EducatorVersionLearn more about Kindermusik and the delightful Home Materials that are part of every enrollment!  Start with a free Preview Class today.


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.

14 ways to celebrate 2014 with early childhood music and early literacy

(Source: She Knows Canada)

At Kindermusik, we celebrate new beginnings throughout the year—from new babies being born to new families discovering our early childhood music classes to even launching new curriculum for babies and toddlers. However, whenever a new calendar year rolls around, we look for even more ways to celebrate! We invite all of our Kindermusik families to help ring in—or shake or sing or dance in—the new year with one of these ideas.

Welcome the New Year through early childhood music and early literacy

  1. Make a musical time capsule of your family’s current favorite music with a 2014 playlist. Include your child’s favorite lullabies, get-up-and-go songs, or theme songs from beloved television shows or movies. Expand the playlist beyond early childhood music, too. Be sure to include your own favorite songs that you share together.
  2. Read musical storybooks together. Try some of these Kindermusik favorites to support early childhood music and early literacy development.
  3. Go on a letter sound treasure hunt. Show your child a letter. Make the sound of the letter together and then go on a treasure hunt around your house to find an object that starts with that same sound.
  4. Make a personalized alphabet eBook. During your letter sound treasure hunt, take a photo of each object: M for Mommy; S for stuffed animal; K for Kindermusik. Then support your child’s early literacy development by creating a personalized alphabet eBook with the photos.
  5. Try one of these websites or mobile apps for kids that support early literacy development. The Reading Rainbow app will soon include a music-themed “Kindermusik” island. Stay tuned to hear more!
  6. Read (and memorize!) a favorite nursery rhyme. Nursery rhymes build phonemic awareness as your child begins to hear the differences between rhyming words like “Humpty” and “Dumpty” or “wall” and “fall.”
  7. Play alphabet musical chairs. Here’s one way to combine early childhood music and early literacy skills with a familiar childhood game.
  8. Sing together. One study says talking (or singing) to your young child is the most critical aspect of parenting a baby or toddler. Learn more about the child development benefits, including vocabulary development and early literacy development.
  9. Dance together. The ability to move to a steady beat is linked to language skills. Plus, it’s fun and great exercise for the whole family and gives your child the opportunity to practice all those growing gross motor skills!
  10. Make music and reading part of your daily routine. Routines and rituals help young children make sense of their world and predict what comes next. Each day signal to your child the end of the day by listening to (or singing!) lullabies and reading books together after bath.
  11. Hold a Freeze Dance party. Children love freeze dance. However, as creators of early childhood music classes and early literacy curriculum, we know there is more behind a game of Freeze Dance than giggles and silly moves. Children practice inhibitory control by learning how to tell their bodies when to dance and when to stop. Inhibitory control prepares a child to sit still and pay attention during the school years.
  12. Get out some instruments (or pots and pans) and hold a family jam session. Your child will practice steady beat and rhythmic abilities. Rhythmical abilities show a strong positive correlation with decoding skills, both in reading accuracy and reading prosody. Plus, being able to keep a steady beat helps a child feel the cadence (rhythm) of language.
  13. Play “Name that Sound.” Gather different instruments or objects that make sounds. Take turns closing your eyes and naming the instrument or object. That same sound discrimination helps your child hear the minute differences between letter sounds or phonemes, which supports early literacy and language development.
  14. Enroll in Kindermusik classes! Our classes for babies, toddlers, big kids, and families are loved by more than 2 million families in over 70 countries.

    Contact a local Kindermusik educator today! Ask to visit a class and see for yourself why parents and children around the world love our early childhood music classes.








12 Reasons to Give the Gift of Music

Is there a special baby, toddler, preschooler, or big kid on your Christmas list this year?  Maybe you’re a little stumped about what to give because of course, you want something meaningful, something enjoyable, and yes, even something they’ll love for a long time to come.  Something that even their adults would be thrilled about.  We’re happy to say that we have the perfect solution…

Kindermusik prepares your child for schoolGive the gift of music – Kindermusik, that is!

Here are our top 12 reasons why:

  1. You’ll save on wrapping paper and shipping costs.
  2. It’s one of the easiest gifts you can make.
  3. Kindermusik is movement, music, play, dancing, story time, and more – all rolled up in one great experience.
  4. Early childhood music classes enhance a child’s development in every area.
  5. Music makes kids smarter – the research proves it!
  6. Music classes, especially Kindermusik, inspire lots of together time and bonding.
  7. Young children need a social outlet too, just like their adults!
  8. Kindermusik is a place where children of all ages, all temperaments, and all learning styles can flourish.
  9. You’ll give that special little person in your life something to look forward to each week in class.
  10. The Kindermusik Home Materials will give parent and child something to do and enjoy at home in between classes.
  11. We promise, no re-gifting.  They’ll LOVE it!
  12. It’s a lasting, memorable gift that will put a song in their hearts and a smile on their faces.

For children ages newborn to 7 years, there’s no better musical gift you can give than Kindermusik.  Find your local Kindermusik educator today and get one more thing checked off your gift list!
P.S.  While you’re at it, check out some of our fabulous new baby music classes, including Cuddle & Bounce for newborns and 1s and Sing & Play for 1s and 2s.

Early childhood teachers give kids the gift of gab

teacher reading to preschoolersYes. You read the title correctly. Early childhood teachers give kids the gift of gab. Research proves it! A team of researchers at UNC’s Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute recently published a compilation of studies that shows how early childhood educators positively impact the language development and communication abilities of infants and toddlers.

“When teachers ask children questions, respond to their vocalizations, and engage in other positive talk, children learn and use more words,” explained Kathleen Gallagher, co-investigator, in a press release.

Along with Nicole Gardner-Neblett, Gallagher created a resource with educational activities for kids that teachers can use to best impact language development. The free eBook, More than Baby Talk, includes 10 specific ways teachers of daycare curriculum can promote the early language development of infants and toddlers. Research-based ideas include engaging in conversations with children, reading books multiple times, using props, and (drum roll, please!) participating in early childhood music activities.

Using early childhood music to support language development

As creators of early childhood curriculum that uses music as the vehicle for early language and literacy development, we know that early childhood music classes are tied to improvements in young children’s early language development, increased vocabulary acquisition, and a greater phonological awareness. In fact, children who participated in our early childhood curriculum, ABC Music & Me, for just 30 minutes a week experienced a 32 percent literacy gain! We could go on and on about the benefits of music on a child’s brain development, social and emotional development, physical abilities, creativity, and more!

From the classroom teacher to the teacher at home

Of course, early childhood educators aren’t the only, well, early childhood educators. A parent is a child’s first and best teacher, especially during

the early years. These same strategies can work at home, too.

“We think parents could use these same practices with their young children,” said Gardner-Neblett in a press release. “By using these strategies at home, parents can provide children with the rich language exposure and opportunities they need to enhance their language and communication, helping them to achieve in preschool and beyond.”

At Kindermusik, we support a parent’s pivotal role as a teacher. It’s one of the reasons enrollment in our programs always includes materials and resources, including the music from class, that families can use together at home—or on the go.

Early Literacy Curriculum with Research-Proven Results

For more information about bringing our childcare curriculum, daycare curriculum, or early childhood curriculum to your school, email us at info@abcmusicandme.com. Oh, and by the way, our early childhood curriculum intentionally uses all 10 of the practices recommended!

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.