Summer Camp Week One: Follow-up Friday

Here we are at the end of our first week of summer camp. Just being accountable for prioritising a musical activity each day has been such a positive thing for our family and I’m so excited to share these ideas with… well, whoever might be reading.

On Monday we collected together our instruments and just made some noise! I’m delighted to say that the ‘Family and Friends Music Club’ was created in this session and continues to jam together regularly. Just keeping the instruments together and easily accessible has made an instant difference to the amount of music-making going on in our house. Follow up activities so far have included crafting band posters and sign-up sheets. Maybe we’ll sell some tickets next…

Tuesday was turn-taking day. When I originally wrote the post I included the Pete Seeger version of Let Everyone Clap Hands Like Me – partly because I enjoy it, and partly in case anyone wasn’t familiar with the melody. However, as we already knew the song, I only played that version to my kids a day or so later when I was showing them what I’d been up to with the blog. They loved it! We’ll follow up that activity with a visit to the library for more Pete Seeger CDs for sure!

Wednesday was a day for talking about working musicians and what they do. We continue to discuss that as we listen to music and consider how it was produced. On a personal note, the kids are enthused about helping me set up my music studio; they are busy making plans for teaching younger siblings while I’m working!

Yesterday we made a rhythm chooser, and there have already been requests to follow that up with many more choosers/fortune tellers for everything from jumping-jack challenges to gaining control of the TV remote.

Did you join in with any of the activities this week? If so, did they lead you in any interesting directions? Please let me know in the comments.

I’m not planning to blog at the weekends on the whole, but I might have a bonus post for tomorrow if I get time…

Summer Camp Week One: Turn-Taking Tuesday

Today we’re going to sing ‘Let Everyone Clap Hands Like Me’. This is a favourite of ours to sing in the car – I’m interested to see what else the kids come up with when we give it a bit more attention.

If your kids don’t already know this song then you’ll be able to practise turn-taking as you sing the song and they join in with the sound/action you suggest. They can then take turns in suggesting what the action should be for the next verse (even if they aren’t quite ready to sing the whole thing).

The lyrics go like this:

Let everyone clap hands like me (clap, clap),
Let everyone clap hands like me (clap, clap),
Come on and join in with the game,
You’ll find that it’s always the same (clap, clap).

Further verses can include ideas like, ‘Let everyone sneeze like me (at-choo)’, ‘Let everyone laugh like me (hee, hee)’…

You can find various versions of this on YouTube; today I’m enjoying hearing the legendary Pete Seeger at work:

A few more ideas to explore:

‘Let everyone whistle like me (woo, woo)’ – young children will struggle with whistling but it’s really fun for them to try – they will be so excited the first time they make an actual whistle sound, and some of their alternatives to whistling are pretty cute!

Sharpen up their listening skills – try changing the verses without warning – do the kids still do the sound/action you sing? How about if you cue just one of the kids, ‘Let Emily clap hands like me,’ – who responds?

Working on beat, rhythm and the vestibular system – ‘Let everyone rock like me (rock, rock). Do a slow rock from foot to foot in time with the music, then a quick rock, rock at the end of lines 1, 2 and 4. Try getting little ones to stand facing you and holding your hands, with their feet on top of your feet for this – great fun for them and a good challenge to your core stability!

Older kids might be interested to learn a bit more about Pete Seeger. Fascinating life, fabulous music. His New York Times obituary is here.