It’s a month away! Get your love shaking with this musical Valentine’s day craft. There is nothing my son loves more than music ( well maybe garbage trucks) and any craft that can be used for something besides decorating your fridge is a huge plus in my book. The novelty of the peek a boo window made this an even bigger hit! Have fun, shake it and make some music !
- Gather your materials. You will need 2 paper plates, red paint, a sponge brush or roller ( helps the paint dry faster so you can play with it faster too!), some jingle bells, some pom poms , a zip lock bag, packing tape or a stapler, scissors and glitter glue.
- Start by drawing a heart on the inside of one plate.
- Paint the outsides of both plates.
- Add glitter if you want!
- Let dry. We patted ours dry with a paper towel so we could keep going.
- Cut zip lock so that one layer covers the heart opening. Tape well.
- Pop the pom poms and jingle bells in the plate.
- Tape the top to the bottom. We used packing tape because I can’t find my stapler . If you are stapling it make sure that the staples are close together so that no jingle bells fall out. * Also if you have young ones that are still popping little things in their mouths try ripped pieces of paper instead of pom poms, and dry rice!
Valentine’s Day by Anne Rockwell and Lizzy Rockwell is a lovely book with a a cute twist. The story follows a class making special valentines for each other , some are very touching others goofy. The story doesn’t reveal who the Valentine’s are for. There are pictures of the same girl with the various students though so after a while you are clued into that they are for her we still don’t know why. I was so worried she was sick in the hospital, as it turns out the class goes to the post office to send it away to a classmate that is far far away! I like the idea of a class all writing to a friend far away, focusing on friendship and not candy! I also love any book that causes my son to say ” Let’s go see a map of where she lives mama!”
Happy Valentine’s Day, Dolores by Barbara Samuels is hilarious. If you are a younger sister, or older sister you will relate to this book. My son didn’t really get it but loved the illustrations especially the one of Dolores in music class. Here is the run down of the story; Dolores snoops in her older sister’s room. They fight about it and she stops, until she can’t take it anymore. Before Valentine’s Day she sneaks in and finds a necklace in her sister’s drawer. She ends up wearing it and loosing it and going to hilarious lengths to get a new one before her sister notices it’s gone. I applaud the author for having her fake a veterinary emergency with ketchup! Very funny , cute book but geared more to the 4-6 year old group.
I Lost My Kisses by Trudie Trewin is cute story about a little cow who has lost her kisses! She looks everywhere for them, gives wonderful descriptions of what kisses are, sound and feel like but she just can’t find them. The thing is , is that she is picking her daddy up at the airport and has to give him a kiss when he arrives! Luckily her heart find them when she sees her daddy. My son loved this book, he is an affectionate kid and loves to tease us that he is “all out of kisses” so this book was right up his alley! Very cute and I love the mostly black and white illustrations by Nick Bland.
I know this isn’t going to be the most popular post we have ever posted, but my son is into music. He is also into music stands and every where we go he finds one. At restaurants the “Please wait to be seated” sign is one, at parks the little signs that tell you about the plants become ones and on the airplane his tray table became one too. So it shouldn’t have been such a shock when he said he wanted to make one for a project. Well I never say no to a challenge!
- Gather your materials. You will need a wrapping paper roll , a shoe box , decorations ( we used stickers) , scissors and a lot of packing tape.
- Start by having your wee one add stickers to the roll for decoration, you can also paint or color it too! Can you tell he just got up from a nap?
- Cut the top off the shoe box. Keep both pieces.
- Make a slit on either side of one end of the roll about 2-3 inches long.
- Bend one side down to make a lip. Tape the top of the shoe box on . Use a lot of tape!
- Cut 4 slits on the other end about the same length to make an X shape.
- Have your helper hold the tube to the bottom of the box. This picture took almost as long to take as the stand took to make.
- Tape it down.
- It’s done and leaning only a little to the right.
Mole Music by David McPhail is a beautiful book about the power of music, trying hard and not giving up on your dreams. The story is about a mole who sees a violin on TV one day and decides to get his own and play. He is terrible at first but sticks with it. His music becomes beautiful, and over the years he thinks only he can hear and enjoy it. In reality his music is nourishing a grand tree above the ground that serves roles in great things including as a mediator in a battle where both sides end up coming to a peaceful agreement instead of warfare. Now yes I think that one little mole’s music ending a war is a rather large statement but if you break it down, music and the arts are vital and do transform people’s lives the way they transformed Mole’s. My favorite part is in one illustration Mole is playing anf in another tunnel you can see his old TV discarded and tipped over, I like that message.
Sunny by Robin Mitchell and Judith Steedman is a great book about finding sounds all around and making music with anything and everything you find. Sunny hears music from the animals around town, the vehicles and of course his friends playing at the playground. My son loved when they had a “Hootenanny” and everyone together makes music in their own way. This book reminded me of the broadway show “Stomp” from the 90s, and is a great lesson for kids about how accessible making music really is.
Moose Music by Sue Porter is a goofy book about how what might sound like a racket to you, may indeed be music to other ears. Moose finds a violin in the mid and picks it up, and plays it. The sound is not music to the animals and people in the forrest. They get angry, they threaten to chase him, and he doesn’t stick around. He doesn’t stop playing thoughm he plays with all his heart and finally someone appreciates it. A lady moose , as you may have guessed it they fall in love and live happily ever after. My son thought this book was hilarious . It’s a cute lesson about following your heart even in the face of adversity.
- Gather your materials. You will need a red, a black( scrap would be great to use) and a white piece of paper. A black marker, kid and adult scissors, and glue.
- Start by writing a large uppercase P on the red paper. * you could have kids color the P if you choose, I was not adding extra steps today knowing showing off for beloved grandparents would take precedent over “art time”.
- Next cut a strip of white paper to fit along the P
- Draw lines along it for keys, if your child is able to have them do this even if the lines aren’t straight or well spaced. My son held onto my hand as I was doing the lines, to “help” but wasn’t interested in going solo yet.
- Next cut off a strip of black paper and hand your child their scissors. Have them cut off small black rectangles for the black keys. This took us a long time, My son was able to cut 4 with help without getting frustrated. Scissor skills are hard( as is taking pictures of a 2 year old with scissors), so this is an opportunity to learn and practice . As soon as it starts frustrating them , either put it down and come back to it or ask if you can help.
- Add glue to the white keys, don’t fret about extra glue it can be wiped and will dry.
- Add your black keys.
- He returned for more glue, this time glue the keys down to the P. Let dry.
- Cut out and glue to a black piece of paper.
“Music Over Manhattan” by Mark Karlins was longer than I expected but when I read it to my very overtired , no nap today 2 year old he happily listened and pointed out the instruments, and sky scrappers. The story is about a little boy who is overshadowed by his high achieving and nauseating cousin. A musician uncle plants the love of music in him and he strives to become as good as his uncle who floats in the air when he plays. Something I loved about this book was that the little boy works very hard, he practices all the time and slowly gets better. He had talent to start with but still had to work hard to achieve his goal. A great lesson for all children.
“Before John Was a Jazz Giant: A Song of John Coltrane” by Carol Boston Weatherford is a fascinating book for my son who discovered “Johnny Coltrane” on YouTube while asking me about saxophones a year ago. What I like about this book is that it allows young children to relate to someone so inaccessible, and untouchable like John Coltrane. My son immediately grabbed onto the idea that is explained in the book that all the sounds and music Coltrane heard as a child turned into music he played later on. Later that day we got into a deep and very long winded “Is that music Mama?” conversation and I wasn’t always sure what to say. I wasn’t expecting to get stumped by his questions so soon. Either way when a book sparks questions like that it’s a keeper!
There is a guitar store in our local mall and all I have to do to keep my son happy is to tell him that we are going to make a trip to see the guitars and banjos and he is calm ( for the most part). The last banjo was recently sold and he was crushed, he still shows me where it hung in the store saying “No more banjo, someone took it” so to appease his loss we made one. This was so similar to the guitar we made a while back , I decided to make this one out of shapes to vary it.
- Gather your materials. You will need some construction paper, a cereal box, a marker, glue , scissors, tape, and 2 pipe cleaners.
- Start by drawing the following shapes on your construction paper. We used all different colors but there is no reason to follow our lead, do whatever you wish! A large circle, a rectangle, a square, 4 small triangles, and a smaller circle ( not pictured)
- Now trace the shapes on your cardboard , we did this because we wanted a sturdy banjo for him to play with. If you are just making one to display you could simply glue it on paper and not worry about tracing and shape matching.
- Add your glue
- Start adding the shape pieces
- Keep going!
- Let dry
- When the banjo is dry, cut out.
- Poke two holes in the neck, two in the circle
- Thread your pipe cleaner through both, bend it towards the back and tape down.
“Max Found Two Sticks” by Brian Pinkney is a great book for any kid that likes to drums or stick, or drum sticks. So that pretty much means all kids. Max isn’t a talker but he can express all sorts of things by thumping and banging the sticks he finds on different things. I like how he imitates the changing sounds in his environment and my son loved the marching band . Great tool for teaching about sounds, music and self expression.
- Gather your materials. You will need 2 pieces of construction paper, some markers, 5 colors of foam ( more construction paper would work too), glue and scissors.
- Start by drawing a large X on one piece of construction paper.
- Have your child color it if they want. The audience of garbage trucks is optional.
- While they are coloring cut out 4 strips of foam, each slightly smaller then the previous.
- Cut out small squares of foam – please skip this if you have a young toddler who still likes to eat things.** you should cut out your X here, I had a momentary lapse and forgot, trust me it’s easier if you do it now, glue it onto your 2nd piece of paper.
- Add 4 long lines of glue
- Add your foam bars
- Add dots of glue on each end of each bar
- Add the tiny foam squares.
- Let dry.
* If desired you can make small mallets and glue them in the extra space of the X. I had them cut out but as you may be able to see in some pictures, my son had his garbage trucks watching art time and ready to go. At this point was more into filling them with foam scraps than doing any more art.
“Meet The Orchestra” by Ann Hayes is a good resource for teaching about musical instruments. The book goes through many instruments found in an orchestra with a sizable description for each. Animals are used for the musicians and my son thought that was funny and actually learned a bit about them as well. It was really too long for us to sit and read cover to cover but it’s easy to break up and read one or two instruments at a time if it’s too much for your child in one sitting. Also there is some figurative language that young kids will not get at all. Helpful for teaching but I don’t expect it to become a favorite to snuggle up with.
“Zin Zin Zin ! A Violin” by Lloyd Moss is a big hit at our house and if you have a child into music or musical instruments this is a great book. You count the instruments as they come on stage for a performance and not only is this a great counting book, but it introduced musical instruments in it’s rhyming text and super fun pictures. I am biased though my little man is really really into instruments and loves this book. The day we bought it I had to sit in the back with him on the way home from the bookstore because he couldn’t wait to read it .