Music is a great theme to explore during a month where inside activities are a must(global warming is real y’all!). So we slated August to be our music exploration month. Between the heat and humidity we can barely make it from the car to front door without succumbing to heat exhaustion(slight exaggeration). Having an indoor theme is a great way to keep occupied.
I started the week before our month began by gathering supplies and sifting through my chaotic Pintrest boards while taking notes on activities I wanted to explore with my 15 month old. Activities need to be age appropriate so unfortunately we won’t be learning the difference between treble and bass staffs(psst! one’s high and the other is low!) but we can do plenty of other neat things!
In a previous post I detailed how I plot my themes. During the month I break down the weeks to focus on one sense/awareness of the theme. The first week of music is focused on an introduction of instruments. The second week is focused on creating music. The third week is how we can embody music. The fourth week is an interactive exploration of music in our world.
Introducing instruments was a fun first activity. The night before I set up an “invitation” on her table. Most were borrowed from my mother in law or Christmas toys that had been lying around. I displayed everything clearly and accessibly so she could grab and explore easily on her own.
We received an awesome book from my daughters great-god mother which features a unique female composer and set the stage for our theme this month.
After checking out all of the instruments and how they worked, we read the book together(four times…because toddler) which took us all the way up to nap time.
I kept all of the materials in a basket, still within reach and cleaned up every time she left the room for meals or naps to “reset” the space for her.
I followed the same approach in introducing the basket of rattle sounds.
I made them available and let her explore the differences in plastic versus metal sounds while playing independently.
Several of these were in my “to be sold” box after not seeing much use the last few months, so it was neat to see her actively enjoy them with a different and purposeful intent.
Most were purchased for under a dollar at thrift stores or given to us second hand.
The second week was spent teething molars(yay…) so we had a lot of down time recovering from sleepless nights and runny noses.
When the Nutella and the sinuses stopped flowing we got back into our creativity focused week by making an upcycled trash band!
Thank goodness for Nana’s with good eye. She saved us some real gems from the recycling bin including snow cone cups, paper towel rolls and cardboard cans.
A quick and cheap DIY project accomplished on three hours of sleep was this great oatmeal container drum. Just some glue and leftover art paper to hide the label.
I put some jingle bells inside because I hate myself and didn’t think banging on cans all day was enough noise. Super cute though!
I saw a similar “painting notes” activity on Pintrest for a slightly older kid and thought, “meh let’s do it anyways and see what happens”(basically my new motto). The Dollar Tree has giant paper pads for, you guessed it, $1! I also got this adorable art apron there as well. I picked up this pack of art brushes and sponges and paint(non toxic washable) at Wal Mart for $5 each.
I used my phone and a zoomed-in picture from google images to fudge a treble clef onto my sharpie drawn lines and taped this sucker DOWN. One thing I’ve learned is a must with toddler art is you have to secure the work space with tape all the way around or else you’ll have a half ripped piece(not ideal for fridge art) or paint will go everywhere.
I used an ice cube tray(Dollar Tree yay!) to contain the paint and did not let her have access to it. I repeat-do not hand the toddler a tray filled with paint. Maybe next time I’ll try with one of those suction bowls to the table but not today, partner!
I demonstrated once with the circle sponge and she went to town.
I had visions of her screaming, throwing paint, licking everything…nope. Just a singular focus on making paint dots and smudges. She would dab a few times and then delicately hold the brush out to me for more paint. She worked for over half an hour, until the paint started to leak through the paper.
Once the paint dried, I removed it from the table and drew on music notes to half-way resemble the original purpose of the activity.
Physically experiencing music was our next mission. The library is a great resource for CD’s to borrow. We checked out a collection from various places around the world. African, Folk, Jazz, and Latin tunes made up our soundtrack for the week. We danced, made up clapping songs to the beat to work on hand eye coordination and read books while music played in the background. This week was a light one on activities since we were also dealing with teething issues. It was nice to regroup and have some down time at home.
The last week was all about music in our world. we took advantage of several cheap or free music opportunities in our area. The library offers a baby/toddler storytime twice a week which includes songs and books. It’s a great way to get some free interactive play and socialization as well as pick up some books while we’re there!
We also love our Kindermusik class! It’s like a better version of Gymboree without the parachute.
Our local class is offered once a week for her age group with free play in the music studio afterwards. Classes are under $15 for a drop in or 4 for $50. The class and free play ends up being almost two hours so around $5 an hour isn’t bad for an amazing class like this one. They sing songs, use instruments and dance. The person who leads our class is amazing and my daughter is always right on top of her so she won’t miss a thing. The studio is super fun and we end up staying almost the entire time afterwards exploring the instruments with other little friends.
All together I spent around $25 for supplies and experiences for the month. Once she’s a little older we’ll revisit music with more focus of sounds and musical theory but this was an age appropriate plan that turned out quite well! (next month: Animals!)