Create A Musically Enriched Classroom – Engaging Music Activities for Kids

I am a musician as well as a teacher so I am always looking for ways to incorporate music into my lessons.  In a musically enriched learning environment, students explore connections to music in all different subject areas and are given opportunities to express themselves creatively. Here are my favorite ideas and activities for bringing music into the early childhood classroom.*
guitar girl

1. Use music and songs while you are teaching, and kids will retain information for a lifetime!  Youtube is an awesome resource for songs and videos for kids. Check out this post where I have a list of my favorite music videos all in one place.

2. Scour the internet for creative ideas to use in your classroom. Pinterest is my favorite place to go for this.  Here is a list of my favorite kids music themed resources that I have found (It’s a growing list):

Music Activities for Smartboard – The title explains itself, a site with lots of SmartBoard music activities to use in the classroom.

TLC Music for Kids – Music activities brought to you from The Learning Channel.

ChildrensMusic.Org  – A non-profit music resource for parents, teachers, and kids.

Disney Music Activities Play music games and more on Disney’s Music site!

Music Tech Teacher – Music quizzes, games and worksheets.

50 Music Activities for Kids

 

Books About Music For Kids

DSO Kids Club A site for those who want to learn more about music and the people who make music

The New York Philharmonic Kidszone Games and info on the composers and the musicians that are a part of the NY Philharmonic

Lyrical Legacy – Explore eighteen American songs and poems from the digital collections of the Library of Congress

CreatingMusic.com The goal of this web site is to provide an environment for children to experience creative play in the creation of music, with the same ease they have been able to enjoy with toys, drawing tools, building blocks, puppets, etc.

BSO Kids Kids compose their own music, play online games and print coloring pages of their favorite instruments.

Flash Music Games Create your own simple musical compositions or play a drumkit with your keyboard.

The San Fransisco Symphony Kids Site Play music games or compose your own tune!

150+ Free Kids Songs

3. Bring a piano or keyboard into your classroom.  When students explore the piano they begin to establish a foundation of musical understanding.  You can often find a free unwanted piano sitting around the school somewhere if you just ask around.  I’ve found a couple like this.  You can also check the free section of craigslist but beware of trying to move it!

If you can’t get a piano or keyboard, here are a couple of online keyboards that you could let students use in the classroom perhaps on the Smartboard:

A Nice Simple Keyboard with Piano, Horns, and Other Sound Options. – I use this for simple music composition.

Play these virtual keyboards on a Smart Board or other touch screen

Moog Image

Google Moog, a synthesizer that you can play and record on. Click on the image to the left or click here here to open a new window and play.

Virtual Piano 1  A fun virtual piano that you can play and create rhythms on

Virtual Piano 2 another virtual piano for you to play

4. Practice rhythm with music and movement activities.  I like to have students copy different rhythm patterns I make up. You can use body parts and do things like clapping, snapping, and tapping, or incorporate musical instruments.  You can practice rhythm activities during circle time or when kids are standing in line and waiting to get a drink or something else.  Here are some links to a few rhythm activities for kids:
drummer girl imageEasy Rhythm Activities  A tutorial for teaching children about rhythm

Childhood101.com – Kids Rhythm Activities  Tons of rhythm activities for little ones

Easy Rhythm Activities  A tutorial for teaching children about rhythm

Virtual Drumkit  Play the drums using the keys on your computer’s keyboard.

Web Drum Machine  Another cool web application where you can play a drum machine online. This would be another fun Smart Board activity!

5. Incorporate music related crafts into your day.

Here are some ideas I’ve found for music crafts:

First School Music Crafts Music themed crafts, geared towards preschoolers

DLTK Kids Music Page Music activities, including music related crafts and printables

Speaking of music related crafting, you can make your own instruments out of found and up-cycled materials.

Make your own guitar for your kiddos to experiment and play with or a drum to bang on.  Here are 6 Musical Instruments You Can Make. Here is another site with 10 more ideas for making musical instrument crafts.

*These activities are intended to be used with kids in prek and kindergarten, but can be adjusted to work with younger and older children.

Did You Know? Studies have shown that students become more engaged in activities when they are given multiple opportunities to participate in musical and creative expression throughout the day!

I hope you have enjoyed this post!

Find these and many more music and movement activities pinned to my Music and Movement Pinterest Board!

Have a music activity for PreK or K you want to share? Leave a comment below with your ideas!

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How to Make Paper Beads

paper bead necklaceHow to Make Paper Beads. Today we will make beads out of paper.  Once you finish making the paper beads, you can string them together to create unique necklaces, bracelets, earrings, & pendants!

Paper beads are fun to create and make amazing gifts for family and friends! I have even made paper beads with kids in my classroom. Many of my 4 and 5 year old students were able to roll them up and make them with a little help from the teacher!  Younger students can help choose pictures and cut strips.  They may need some help rolling the beads up.  Either way, it’s a great fine motor skill to practice!

Making Paper beads can be environmentally friendly too,  when you use recycled paper or magazines that might otherwise be thrown away to create your own jewelry.

Paper Beads Made from Magazines

Paper Beads Made from Magazines

Paper Beads Made from Up-Cycled Magazines

Materials

Pick Out The Paper for Your Beads

Choose bright and colorful paper if you want your beads to be bold and bright. You can also use bright and colorful images from magazines to make vivid and eye-catching beads, or make some really neat black and white beads by using the text and written parts of the magazine.  I prefer to use magazines to make the paper beads because the paper from the magazine pages is thin and is easy to form the beads with. Another reason to use magazines, particularly fashion magazines, is because you can get some really great trendy colors that will make for some nice looking jewelry.

Paper Bead Bracelet

I made these paper beads into a bracelet. I painted the beads with glitter nail polish to give them a little shimmer!

Choose Your Glue

In addition to the paper or magazines, you will need some varnish (clear nail polish works well too) and some tools to measure and cut the paper if you want your beads to all be the same size. You can also substitute the varnish for some plain old Elmer’s School glue (in a bottle, not the stick)  if you have that on hand.   Your beads will have more of a matte finish if you do it this way but they still look awesome! One more variation that you can try is to paint some glitter nail polish onto the beads to add a little extra sparkle.  I tried this and it turned out pretty nice I think (see picture on the left)

Form The Beads

To make the beads shown in the picture, cut long thin acute triangles out of your paper or from magazines pages.  The width of the strip of paper should be about 1 inch wide or less and the length  should be about 3 to 5 inches. The longer you make the triangles, the fatter the beads will be.  The wider you make the triangles, the wider your beads will be.

If you want all of the paper beads to be the same size, you need to cut paper triangles that are all the same size. When I made my beads, I didn’t worry so much about making my beads all the same, so I did not measure the paper before cutting.  My beads turned out just fine this way, some were just a little bit longer or fatter.

paper triangles

Long thin paper triangles cut from colorful magazine images.

After you cut out the triangles, arrange them by color.  Take one of the paper triangles and paint on a thin layer of varnish or watered down school glue onto it.  Roll it up tightly around a nail or round metal skewer to create a hole in the middle, starting with the wide bottom end, and rolling it to the top point of the triangle.  Smooth the bead over with your fingers and move it back and forth a little so that it doesn’t stick to the nail or skewer.   After about 20 seconds the paper will stick together on it’s own and you can take the completed paper bead off the skewer or pencil and place it aside.  Repeat with another triangle and continue to make more paper beads until you have what you need.

Other Paper Bead Designs

This image shows how to create beads in a variety of shapes.

how to make paper beads image

thin elastic string

The elastic string I use to string the paper beads into necklaces and bracelets.  You can use it for stringing all kinds of tiny beads into jewelry and you get 229 ft of it per roll. It’s on sale too at the moment – you get one roll for $2.29, that’s a steal compared it’s normal price of over $10.00!

Stringing Your Beads

When you have made enough beads to create your jewelry, you can string them together on a piece of thin elastic.  I use this technique when creating bracelets. I like to string my paper beads together with thin white stretchy elastic beading cord (click on the link or picture to purchase some for yourself). This stuff is perfect for stringing together all types of small beads

You can alternate the paper beads with some glass or wooden beads, or make your piece entirely out of paper beads.    Finally, tie up the ends of your beautiful new bracelet or necklace.  If you are making earrings,  you might only use one or two magazine beads on each piece and you could add a pretty crystal or other bead to complement the paper bead.

Making Paper Beads with Kids

When creating beads with children, some kids will be able to cut out the triangles and create the beads all on their own.  Some will need an adult to cut the triangles for them, but will be able to do the rolling and gluing part.  Some will need even more support, it just depends on the kid.

What a great way to give your little ones practice with their fine motor skills and the finished product makes a beautiful gift for friends and family!  I love how colorful they turn out and each bead is so beautiful and unique!

 

paper bead keychain

Paper bead keychain

 

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