Category Archives: music

STEAM Summer Camps

Happy Summer everyone! I am so excited to have lots of time to hang out with my #1 kid before she heads off to first grade (and all day school! eeks!) I like to have a lot of summer plans to avoid lots of down time (aka TV time). steam I will be honest- as a teacher mom I have been frustrated with the lack of differentiated curriculum and Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) learning in our schools. So I have taken it upon myself to provide my daughter with more extensive activities based on these areas and her interests and abilities. I was introduced to Core Knowledge by my sister and a colleague and knew it was a curriculum I wanted to integrate into our activities as well. Core Knowledge is a comprehensive curriculum that builds on the knowledge of previous years. I took some units from this program, tied them in with STEAM, and came up with this summer camp program. I am really excited about it!

The basis of this program is to provide my daughter with activities in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM). Every week we will be experimenting with Science on Saturdays. There will also be a weekly Engineering Challenge. The majority of our STEAM learning however will be from learning camps we will have on Thursdays and Fridays. I have a lot of science camps planned (based on content from Core Knowledge and my daughter’s interests) as well as Art, Music, and Math camps. Each camp has different ways you can integrate STEAM. For example, the Rock Camp will not only teach kids the science behind the rock groups, but have ways to incorporate technology, engineering, art, and math into your lessons.

Here is our weekly plan:

Make Something STEAMy Monday: (art project/fun treat/iMovie/etc) centered around STEAM

Take a Trip Tuesday: a day we can take a STEAM centered field trip

Wednesday: Worksheet (I just had to sneak in one day of paper and pencil work) and work on an Engineering Challenge. I made a letter template so the challenges could be done with friends who live far away.


Engineering Challenge idea


STEAM Engineering Challenge Letter template

Thursday and Friday: STEAM camp


Sample STEAM camp idea sheet

Science Saturday with Daddy

science saturday

Science Saturday ideas

I am uploading my plans on Teachers Pay Teachers. Feel free to download and let me know what you think! There are also lots of STEAM based activities that can be found in many communities. Check your local library… many libraries will have science activities that go along with their summer reading programs. I also know of communities that have “Arts in the Park” or “Science in the Park” activities. If you live in the Salt Lake area, The Leonardo Museum downtown will be opening up some children exhibits in a few weeks based on STEAM learning…. I am thrilled!!!! And if all else fails, host your own camps! Your neighbors will love you 🙂

Happy STEAMing!

Kinderbach Review

I have taken years of piano lessons. Eleven years, to be exact. My husband is an excellent pianist. You would think between the two of us, we would be able to handle teaching our bright three year old to play the piano. I taught her a few things… glissandos, octaves, middle c, fingering… you know, the basics. I wanted piano lessons to be fun, and at the time they were very short, sweet, and to the point. What I found that my approach to teaching her piano wasn’t as structured or captivating as I wanted. I started doing some research online about different teaching methods and came across KinderBach, a site dedicated to teaching piano lessons to young children. I immediately signed up for the emails and after only a few days I was hooked! I just had to learn more! And I did something that I have never done before… I approached Karri about reviewing her product. And she was kind enough to send me a free DVD and allow me the opportunity to share with you all about her incredible, educational piano program!!
When my daughter and I sat down to start our first Kinderbach piano lesson, I must admit I was pleasantly surprised. I knew beforehand that this would be geared towards young children, but I didn’t know how engaging a music lesson could actually be!

My daughter geared up for a KinderBach music lesson
What I love:

  • Teaches rhythm and basic counting practice. And while I knew my daughter could do this, I realized how FUN it was for her and I should allow her the opportunity to have fun with rhythm instruments.
  • Playing rhythm instruments with sheet music

  • Engaging…even for my overly active daughter. Our piano lessons using my slopped together technique lasted about 5 minutes. Now she can easily sit through a 20 minute lesson. And she loves it!
  • Now that’s captivation! Remember this girl is always on the go!!

  • This may sound crazy, but I love that I don’t have to spend time trying to create my own piano program. This is already done and it’s SO darling!
  • There are hands on activities while watching the lessons. One minute you are circling black keys on an activity page, the next you are tapping on rhythm instruments or locating keys on the piano. The activities are so varied that it holds my daughter’s attention span. The instruction comes with the activity pages divided into lessons, and even my daughter who doesn’t typically like coloring gets involved with these pages.
  • Listening to piano instructor Karri and determining if sounds are loud or quiet.
    Coloring her activity pages while watching the instructional DVD

  • As a classroom teacher, I always believed that the interest and excitement of the teacher played an important role in helping students to learn. Karri is an energetic, entertaining, knowledgeable teacher who makes it easy to learn! My daughter just LOVES her!
  • We can enjoy a piano lesson again and again… even in our jammies! I love that I can replay a section of the lesson that was thrilling for my daughter, or replay a section that she struggled with for extra practice.
    Our favorite activity so far… a creative approach to teaching the location of piano keys.

We finished the first lesson begging for more…so we watched it twice! And we just completed the second lesson and my daughter was laughing and having so much fun. And isn’t that what learning is all about at this age? I highly recommend this product to anyone who wants to teach their child how to play the piano! There is a free online trial… so throw your fears and intimidation of teaching your child how to play the piano aside and give this program a try! I am confident your preschooler will love it!
Happy piano TEACHing!

Spelling Songs

I wanted to title this post “Songs to Teach Your Child How to Spell Their Name” but besides the fact that it is pretty wordy, I realized you can use these songs to spell anything!How many of you know the words to the theme song of your child’s favorite TV show? Or all those catchy advertisement jingles? Music helps concepts to stick in our memory. Most of you are familiar with the effectiveness of using music to teach. The most well-known example of this is the alphabet song- a catchy way to teach our kids the ABCs (is it the most effective? well that’s another topic for another day!) I love the SchoolHouse Rock videos with tons of creative music for everything from adjectives to Wall Street and everything in between!
So of course it makes sense to use music to help us spell. Whether your child is needing some help with a spelling list or if your little one is learning to spell her name, these songs will hopefully help! Just replace the lyrics with the spelling of a word and you are good to go!

Three Letter Word Songs:

  • This Old Man
  • Jingle Bells
  • Three Blind Mice

Four Letter Word Songs:

  • Are You Sleeping
  • YMCA
  • Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

Five Letter Word Songs:

  • Row, Row, Row Your Boat
  • You are My Sunshine
  • Do as I’m Doing

Six Letter Word Songs:

  • This Old Man
  • Jingle Bells
  • Happy Birthday

Seven Letter Word Songs:

  • Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
  • Skip to my Lou
  • Mary had a Little Lamb
  • If you Chance to Meet a Frown
  • 10 Little Indians

Eight Letter Word Songs:

  • For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow
  • We wish you a Merry Christmas
  • Fun to Do

Nine Letter Word Songs:

  • If You’re Happy and You Know It
  • She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain
  • I’m a Little Teapot

Happy Spelling 🙂

For more information on this topic check out the following websites:
Mrs. Jones Sing Along Songs
Spelling Fun (Word Doc Created By A Teacher in Illinois)
The Teacher Terrace

Wednesday’s Website: Brite Music

We all know the power of music. It can bring you to tears, make you roll on the ground with laughter, even give you an extra energy boost.
Music also has the power to teach.

OK… so this is more of an incredible curriculum review.

With that out of the way, let me tell you a little bit about Brite Music. This company has been around since the 70s (and so some of you, like me, may be familiar with it already).
They are most known for their fabulous music. There are two music sets- one is called Watch Me Sing and the other is called I Have A Song For You. This is just clean, educational, fun tunes for kids.
Some songs you may be familiar with are:

  • I’m a VIP in my Family
  • Sharing, Caring
  • When I Grow Up, I want to be a Mommy (not sure if that is the correct title)
  • No One Else Can Walk my Walk

These songs teach positive characteristics, good morals, and more! I have countless memories listening and dancing to these songs as a child and I want my daughter to have similar experiences. They just have some really good, pure music available.


Brite Music also publishes the SAFETY KIDS…. a book/music program that teaches kids about saftey from strangers, personal saftey, drugs, and more. There is also a catchy song about learning your telephone number. I learned as a tot how to be safe with the aide of this great program. It is just plain fun!!!


STANDING TALL is a wonderful collection of stories about 12 character building attributes: love, service, self esteem, gratitude, obedience, dependability, courage, work, forgiveness, honesty, happiness, and cleanliness. I read this books growing up, too… I wish I still had them to pass to my daughter! From what I remember, they are wonderful books and we enjoyed following along with the tape.

I have recently learned about their SING, READ, WRITE program that teaches little ones to read and write with music. I don’t know anything about the effectiveness of this 5 volume set, but if it’s anything like their other products I am sure it is amazing.

What a trip down memory lane! I just wish I had extra $$$ to buy it all! Does anyone else have memories with Brite Music or other great curriculum suggestions? Please Share!!

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