Thursday, January 15, 2015

Music and Art....our recent favorite!

With lots of rainy, cold days lately, we've spent more of our kitchen-school time indoors.  An activity we've started that everyone enjoys is drawing to music.  Here's how we do it:

-Get a hard surface for everyone (cookie sheet, sketch pad with a cardboard back page, etc.)
-Get a bowl of crayons--yes, just crayons.  They require more fine motor control to grasp--and especially if they are short crayons--these encourage a pincer grasp. Also you can use harder or softer pressure when bearing down with the crayon to make different types of strokes.
-lay in a circle on your tummies, facing into the bowl of crayons--laying is important because it uses core muscles and encourages good posture--and a different type of body movement than children typically experience during the day.
-play a song and draw during the song--no talking!  Just draw!

We use these musical concepts (and the activity itself came), from the book 101 Activities for Kids in Tight Spaces  by Carol Stock Kranowitz:
*tempo (can you make your crayon move as quickly or slowly as the music?)
*dynamics (how can you make your crayon move to the softness or loudness of the music?)
*Mood (How does the music make you feel?  Can you draw this?)
*Color (What color matches the music, do you think?)
*Rhythm (Can you hear patterns of musical beats?  Can your crayon draw that pattern?)

Usually I quickly talk through these concepts before starting the music.  I play the songs on my phone from Youtube.

So far we have done several Anderson songs--Syncopated Clock (my kids' favorite), Typewriter....all his stuff is good.

We have also done some Debussy--Golliwog's Cake Walk.

Kranowitz has a list of suggested songs in her book, or you can also just google some different pieces kids enjoy.  We have mostly used classical music so far, but am anxious to try some jazz, etc!

The first time we did this activity my kids were a little unsure and not super into it.  The second time they took right off and just love it.  Ever since then they get totally into the drawing and listening and often ask for the song again throughout the days.

Last time we did something extra fun as an extension--we completed the drawing/listening portion.  Then we played the music again and had fun dancing to it!  Such great ways to explore music, encourage body movement and critical listening skills.

You should totally do this!  It is super easy to pull off, takes 1 minute of prep work and your kids will grow to love it!

Ps) Quinn took a picture of the spot where we display our drawings (above).