This is a creative and educational pastime that can be enjoyed by the whole family!
My younger kids like it – my older kids like it – even my husband has a blast with this! AND YOU can use it in YOUR homeschool endeavors!!
The HUE HD Camera
The HUE HD camera is a USB camera tht has a weighted base, flexible neck, a focus ring, and a microphone.
Is a super tool for stop motion animation, live videos or time-lapse recordings (using HUE Animation in conjunction with the camera). Time-lapse recordings can be really interesting when used in conjunction with science experiments.
Is a super fit for student presentations.
Works for video journals (vlogging.)
Is great for interactive whiteboard lessons.
Can be an alternative to a basic microscope.
Can be removed from its base and plugged directly into a USB port for use as a webcam with online chat applications, such as Skype, FaceTime, Google Talk, Yahoo! Messenger and every other major network. It can also work with web-casting services such as uStream.
There are system requirements. Unless your computers are really old, the requirements shouldn’t be an issue. The HUE HD camera works on all computers which have a USB port and support UVC ‘plug and play’ cameras, including Windows (10, 8, 7, Vista, XP), macOS (Mac OS X 10.4.3 and later) and most Linux distributions.
Suitable for both 32-bit and 64-bit editions of Windows 10, 8, 7 and macOS
Also compatible with the 32-bit editions of Windows XP and Vista
Universal Mac compatibility: works with both Intel and PowerPC Macs
128 MB RAM (512 MB RAM recommended)
Available USB 2.0, 3.0 or 1.1 port
Microphone requires a compatible sound card and speakers (recommended 16 bit or higher)
Info on the HUE Animation Software
HUE Animation is easy-to-use, user-friendly software that lets users visually express their ideas. Just install from a CD or download the software installer from huehd.com.
Your kids can make a LEGO® brick film; animate their own characters with claymation or capture a flower as it blooms using time-lapse photography. They can use for fun, or for academic purposes. And you can too!
Again, there are system requirements – they weren’t an issue for us:
PC: Windows 10, 8, 7 or XP and graphics drivers with OpenGL 2.0 support
Mac: OS X 10.5 (Leopard) or higher and an Intel processor, or any Mac running macOS
512MB RAM (1GB recommended)
HUE Book of Animation
The HUE Book of Animation is a 64-page full color guide that features step-by-step instructions for creating 20 stop motion videos.
The book contains ideas for creative projects using claymation, pixilation and many other techniques.
Examples of HUE HD creations highlighted in the book can be found here.
You can view additional videos in the HUE Animation gallery on Creatubbles, and leave feedback for other creators in the form of bubbles and comments on their pages.
HUE Animation Studio Product Review – What I like about this product
It fosters creativity. Gotta love that!
It’s easy to use. My younger kids use it – as do my older kids. I’ve used it for interactive whiteboard presentations and as a microscope. This is a tool that works for EVERYONE in the family. My husband recently spent three hours “playing with” this educational tool.
It makes learning fun. Fun learning “sticks” with my kids. Yours too?
And while your kids are having fun, they may be learning about science, and gaining new software skills. That’s a win all the way around!
Everything – and I do mean EVERYTHING you need to get started is included in the HUE Animation Studio kit. In fact, the box is a stage you can use for your stop action masterpieces.
The camera is easy to use, portable, sturdy, and attractive (I like the overall design). And it contains a built-in microphone.
The HUE software includes sound effects, printable backgrounds and activity sheets – plus, it allows users to add text and graphics.
The HUE Book of Animation has step-by-step instructions for creating 20 stop motion videos. It’s a great starting point. Once your kids make a couple of these – get proficient with the software and techniques – they’ll come up with fun ideas of their own. You’ll enjoy watching their creativity bloom.
I’ve been teaching music for over 20 years and I can’t wait to tell you about Theory Time ! The fact of the matter is, Theory Time can’t be beat for excellence in Music Theory. Heather, the author, provides very clear, concise instruction to reinforce new concepts for the student and I love seeing students understand not just the music that they are playing, but music THEORY. If you’re wondering what that means, Music Theory as a practical discipline that encompasses the methods and concepts composers and other musicians use in creating music. So, while your student is learning to play, they are also learning methods and concepts that will help them be a better musician down the road.
Learning basic Music Theory is also essential for enhancing creativity and developing a sense of musical awareness. It is a challenging but rewarding set of skills to learn. Music Theory examines key signatures, pitches, intervals, scales, chords, and other music fundamentals. It also provides insight into the basic building blocks of music that form harmony, melody, and rhythm. If you listen to music or play music by ear, and you want to know more about how music is organized and notated, Music Theory is what you need to study and learn.
Many music students make the mistake of learning Music Theory on paper only. Hearing the music first in your mind and then in real life on the piano is of utmost importance when learning Music Theory. Far too many students end up learning theory only on paper and they rarely understand how the music actually sounds in real life. For them, learning music theory is like solving a math problem, whereas applied theory is really what is most important, since that is what actually teaches you how to play the piano. Your goal when learning an instrument is to develop real musicianship — to really to understand the notes you play — not just the memory of where the notes are on the keyboard.
Let me backtrack a little bit (and get off my soap box as well). I mentioned I’ve taught music for over 20 years. Specifically, the Piano and Violin. However, I can’t get my son to pick up any instrument (slowly puts soap box away). My husband and I have tried everything. He just has no interested in it. So, I was excited to review these workbooks to see if they would pique his interest at all. I have to tell you, they did! The first workbook we zoomed through — he thought it was fun. We did skip a few sections because he wasn’t interested in learning the “keys” but I didn’t push him. I wanted him to take the lead on this.
A few weeks later, we picked up the workbook for Grade 1. He is a second grader, but I thought it was important to go in sequence. Especially since he has never had an interest in music. He does, however, have an interest in words. So, we went right to the vocabulary section. He had no idea what any of it meant. So, it was my time to explain to him what they meant and what these words meant in regards to the piano. He actually started lighting up. We sat down at the piano and I started playing a little tune that he knew well. I said the words out loud as I performed them. Now I want to be clear — you don’t have to be a music teacher to do this or get your kids excited about learning the piano. I believe these workbooks can get any kid excited about playing…even if you know nothing about music.
The key to these workbooks and learning to play music is that you understand the vocabulary. Once you learn how to read music, you can play anything. This starts students out at a young age and teaches them the basics, so that they have a foundation to build upon. We’re still working with these workbooks and I can’t express my gratitude enough to the author, Heather, for writing these and producing them. I’m excited to be able to use these workbooks with my students in the months to come, but what really makes my heart happy is that my son, who has never been musically talented or had any interest in music, has now taken up an interest. I even found him the other day playing a few notes. When I told him it sounded wonderful and asked him what he was doing, he said “practicing the C major scale.” I almost died right there in the hallway.
If you’re interested in learning more about Theory Time and what they offer, I highly suggest you head over to their website. Theory Time designs and publishes instructional materials for general music theory study, and currently offers over 120 products for music educators and homeschoolers. As a homeschooling mom of 3, quality educational materials is always something I strive to bring into my household, and these workbooks are no exception. They are high quality and really provide a ton of value to any homeschooling parent that wants to introduce music into their homeschool routine.
As a quick note, each workbook level includes vocabulary, ear training, graphic hints, Fun and Challenge sheets, and a comprehensive review test. The reason that all of these are so important is that each level requires practice. We all know that learning something new requires practice, but what I love about Theory Time is that you learn not only how to play the music, but the background needed to excel at it.
Check Out the Theory Time Video Below
Info on each workbook follows. I’ve included pictures of actual pages from four of the 12 books.
The Primer Theory Fundamentals Heather Rathnau, NCTM workbook presents keyboard drill; high, middle and low; up and down; music alphabet; introduction to the staff; dynamics; line and space notes; steps and skips on a keyboard/staff; repeated notes; treble clef lines and spaces; bass clef lines and spaces; quarter note and rest; half note and rest; whole note and rest; dotted half note; rhythm drill; ear-training and a review test. The Primer workbook is perfect for a Kindergarten student or a young first or second grader. It’s also a good place to start if you know absolutely nothing about music. My son and I went through this book quickly – I’m glad we didn’t skip it.
TheGRADE ONE Theory FundamentalsHeather Rathnau, NCTM workbook presents info on the music alphabet; an introduction to keyboard and staff; stem rule; steps and skips on a keyboard and staff; repeated notes; dynamics; treble clef line and spaces; bass clef lines and spaces; quarter note and rest; half note and rest; whole note and rest; dotted half note; bar lines; double bar line; measures; time signatures; rhythm drill; vocabulary; ear-training and a review test.
The GRADE TWO Theory Fundamentals Heather Rathnau, NCTMworkbook presents the music alphabet; keyboard drill; stem rule; steps; skips; repeated notes; drawing the treble and bass clef; treble and bass clef lines and spaces; quarter note and rest; half note and rest; whole note and rest; dotted half note; introduction to two-8th notes; measures; bar lines; double bar line; time signatures; sharps and flats; ear-training and more.
The Grade Three Theory Fundamentals Heather Rathnau, NCTM workbook presents information on the music alphabet; rests; stem rule; drawing the treble clef; treble clef lines and spaces; drawing the bass clef; bass clef lines and spaces; measures; bar lines; grand staff; intervals on a keyboard and staff; half and whole steps; sharps and flats; major scale pattern; the major scales of C, F and G; triads, ear-training and a review test.
The Grade Four Early IntermediateHeather Rathnau, NCTM workbook teaches half and whole steps; sharps; flats; major scale pattern and scales of C, G D, A, E and F; circle of 5ths; drawing and naming major key signatures; triads and chords; Major 3rds and minor 3rds; and more.
The Grade Five Early IntermediateHeather Rathnau, NCTM workbook covers the topics of stem rule; the introduction to 16th note and rest; dotted quarter notes; ledger lines; melodic and harmonic intervals; half and whole steps; major scale pattern; major scales and key signatures through 5 sharps and 5 flats; circle of 5ths; major and minor 3rds; drawing major triads; primary chords; cadence; vocabulary; ear-training; a review test; and more.
The Grade Six IntermediateHeather Rathnau, NCTM workbook presents info concerning stem rule; treble and bass clef note drill; ledger lines; introduction to 6/8 time; triplets; intervals; major scale pattern; all major scales; circle of 5ths, drawing and naming major key signatures; major and minor 3rds; major and minor triads; plus so much more.
The Grade SevenIntermediateHeather Rathnau, NCTM workbook teaches writing and identifying intervals; melodic and harmonic intervals; chromatic and diatonic half steps; double sharps and double flats; simple and compound meter; a review of major scales; key signatures and triads; relative minor keys; natural minor scales; lead-sheets; chording, vocabulary; ear-training; and more.
The Grade EightIntermediateHeather Rathnau, NCTM workbook covers the topics of perfect, major, augmented and diminished intervals; chromatic and diatonic half steps; major, minor and diminished triads; simple, compound and asymmetrical meter; cut time; natural, harmonic and melodic minor scales; a review of major key signatures; composition; parallel keys, primary chords on a single and grand staff; ear-training and more.
The Grade NineAdvanced Heather Rathnau, NCTM workbook covers the following – classification of intervals by type and size; inversion of intervals; major, minor, diminished and augmented triads; relative major and minor keys; 3 types of minor scales; parallel keys; authentic and half cadences; voice-leading rules; perfect and imperfect cadences; melody writing; ear-training; review; and more.
The Grade Ten AdvancedHeather Rathnau, NCTM workbook covers the topics of augmented and diminished intervals and inversions; chromatic and diatonic half steps; enharmonic notes; major, minor, diminished and augmented triads and inversions; diatonic, chromatic and whole tone scales; three types of minor scales; seventh chords; major and minor circle of 5ths; relative and parallel keys; simple, compound and irregular meter; open and close harmony in four-part writing; lead sheet notation, and more.
The Grade ElevenCollege Prep Heather Rathnau, NCTM workbook teaches the following – simple, compound and irregular meter; music algebra; major, minor, diminished and augmented intervals; triads and inversions; chromatic and diatonic half steps; scale degree names; major/minor circle of 5ths; relative and parallel keys; major and minor scales; seventh chords; melody writing, vocabulary, ear-training, and more.
The Grade TwelveCollege Prep Heather Rathnau, NCTM workbook – this workbook includes information on simple and compound intervals; major, minor, diminished and augmented intervals; triads and inversions; scale degree names; four-part writing with inversions using figured bass; voice leading rules; seventh chords and inversions; primary and secondary chords; doubling rules; monophonic, polyphonic and homophonic music; Alberti bass, and more.
In addition to the workbooks, Theory Time also offers music theory worksheets formatted in unbound packets including the following legally reproducible products:
The content is so thorough. Really, so much info is presented!
The info is presented logically – with a building block approach – and is presented in a user-friendly format.
New concepts are introduced while continually reinforcing previous material
The lessons are fun. Now, that’s important.
You don’t have to be a musician, to start this program.
Theory Time grows with your child – which I like, as I appreciate consistency. Plus, it makes it a little easier on me. I’m not going to have to shop for another music program for YEARS. Yah!
The workbooks are a nice size, with a wipe-able cover (wipe-able is important at our house).
I like that the books are different colors. If you have multiple kids, in different books, it’s nice for you child to know which book is hers. It’s also fun to graduate to the next colored book.
I like the Congratulations page at the end of each book.
I like all the extras you can get for free or purchase on their site, including revised and additional pages for Theory Time Workbook Series Grades 1-10.
Theory Time is developing a new video subscription website. This will be an absolutely GREAT teaching resource for the homeschool community! This website will eventually feature Heather teaching every lesson in every workbook that Theory Time has in print, including the K-12 Series and Medallion Series. When finished, this website will have approximately 280 videos of Heather teaching the content of the Theory Time workbook series. I can’t wait. But in the meantime, I’m glad we’ve started the workbooks. They’re absolutely wonderful! 🙂
Do you use coloring apps at your house? Coloring apps help 1. build creativity, 2. color combination skills and 3. overall focus. Plus, they’re fun – and many are free. ColorMinis combines the fun of a coloring app with a 3D art project (think of a 3D coloring book but with realistic figures instead of paper). ColorMinis is a great product for just about everyone – and I do mean everyone! My 4 year old loves it, as do my six and ten year olds. I have fun using ColorMinis – and so does my Mom.
You can check out a ColorMinis Kids Preview below
So, what are the ColorMinis app features? With the app, kids can:
Color and design anime figures, animals, robots, dogs, castles, and more (The app includes a variety of figure styles and themes created by artists from around the world)
Create their own color combinations or use designer palettes
Combine color with gloss, shine, metal, glass, sparkle and more
Tap the materials and color, or pinch to zoom on the HD figure details
Swipe the figure to view from different angles
Add custom name tags and fill a collection shelf (see our castle example below)
Create animated gifs and pictures of their creations
ColorMinis Product Review – What do I like about the ColorMinis app?
There are so many combinations/options! On the Little Missy figure you can change the dress color, the material, choose buttons or zippers, choose sock and shoe color, hair color, and more. Here are just a few that my daughter has made.
Kids can also color castles, owls, robots and more. Again, there are so many color options.
It works on apple and android products, and the app is easy to download.
Kids can work offline. No wifi is needed.
Because of this, this is a great activity when riding in a car, waiting at appointments, etc.
There is also a physical figurine your child can paint! What do I like about the Simple Missy figurine?
After playing with the app for HOURS, my kids were truly stoked when a physical figurine arrived in the mail
The figure is made of high quality vinyl and is ready to paint, right out of the box
The Simple Missy figurine is great for kids of all ages – even young ones can have fun painting it
The ColorMinis figurine is easy to paint as it separates into parts. Once painted, the figurine is a cinch to assemble
You can use any craft store acrylic paint (although the company does recommend Liquitex Heavy Body Acrylic)
You can test your colors in the ColorMinis app – it’s a great way to choose the perfect color combination
You can add stickers, glitter and more
Painting the figurine is a fun, creative project
The figurine is really cute
It arrives in a charming, eco-friendly box
ColorMinis Product Review – In Closing
The ColorMinis app and figurine provide hours of creativity for your kids. My four year old is so proud of her creations – and watching her focus when she’s on the app, kind of makes my heart soar. Really!
Out of curiosity, I looked to see how many stars this app gets from other users. It’s a very well received/well reviewed app.
I go to websites all the time – it’s part of my job – and I have to say, the Wikki Stix site is one of the best! There is so much info, so many fun options – and it’s so easy to see almost everything at once. I’m impressed.
So, what are Wikki Stix and how do they work?
Wikki Stixare an award winning original waxed yarn creativity toy. They’re made of hand-knitting yarn enhanced with a microcrystalline, food-grade non-toxic wax, the kind used in bubble gum and lipstick. They are fun and colorful, soft and pliable, and they stick to each other for 3-D creativity and fun. They are also easy to peel up and re-position so “mistakes” are a breeze to fix. And guess what? There’s no prep, clean-up, or mess involved. Gotta love that!
And Wikki Stix are great for educational purposes and for crafts. They’re also great for home room decoration… seasonal fun… and party time! In addition:
They appeal equally to boys and girls and span a wide range of ages (from 3 to 103!)
Wikki Stix are perfect for quiet, independent play or interaction with others.
They help enhance learning through hands-on kinesthetic involvement.
Wikkis stimulate the imagination and creativity in everyone.
And…there is no right or wrong way to play.
They’re safe! Wikki Stix conform to all US Consumer Safety Standards including ASTM D-4236, CA-Prop 65 and F-963, as well as the European Standard BS5665/EN71.
Examples of educational projects you can do with Wikki Stix
Wikki Stix for crafts
Not only are Wikki Stix great for educational purposes, they’re also super for craft projects. Everything from greeting cards to seasonal and holiday crafts can be created with Wikki Stix. They’re perfect for preschool, kindergarten, and elementary school arts and crafts. For crafts ideas, you can click on this link – https://www.wikkistix.com/crafts-for-kids/.
The Wikki Stix activity book has 28 pages of fun and educational activities geared towards school (homeschool) readiness skills, such as visual discrimination, fine motor development, number and literacy awareness, and more. But Shhhh…. your kids won’t know they’re learning… because they’ll be having so much fun! The Activity Kit includes:
1 8.5″ x 11″ Wikki Stix Activity Book (28 pages)
72, six-inch Wikkies in assorted colors
Here are some pages from the book.
As you can see, Wikki Stix are really versatile. You can use them for educational projects (especially STEM and STEAM projects) and for fun craft products. They encourage creativity and problem-solving. Wow – that’s a win-win in my book! Yours too?
FYI – I LOVE this parent magazine. And you will too!
Creative Steps Magazine Review – Creative Stepsis a magazine that “helps kids (0-11 years) learn through creative play”. It is chock full of GREAT info and amazing inspiration. Specifically:
Over the years the magazine contributors have devised 4000+ original craft ideas and activities. I’ll repeat – 4K plus! Surely, there are HUNDREDS of activities (if not more) that will pique your interest and/or give you great inspiration.
All of the projects have been tried and tested in real settings. This is HUGE (in my opinion). Because how many times have you tried something that just didn’t come out like the pictures, and was a giant disappointment? How did it make you feel? How did it make your kids feel? I appreciate tried and true. Athough of course, any creation my child makes is beautiful – even if it doesn’t look like a magazine picture! 🙂
The projects are cross-curricular. As homeschoolers, we love this! Anytime I can make one project or assignment have larger appeal, I’m all in.
The projects are multi-cultural. This is very important to me.
The projects can easily be incorporated into homeschool activities and lessons. Again, a huge plus.
Plus, the magazine is vibrant. I’m a pushover for visually attractive publications/articles, etc. – they totally draw me in. You too?
The magazine is available in both print and online versions. I like options. And I love physical, in-hand magazines that I can flip through leisurely while on my sofa. That said, the magazine originates in the UK so the high postage from the UK currently makes the digital subscription (at just $18 per year) more attractive. You can click here for subscription info.
I do have a year’s worth of physical magazines – and I have flipped through each one while leisurely drinking a cup of coffee – yes – on my sofa. It was nice. It was relaxing. 🙂 I do like the physical copies as they have wipe-able covers (very important), they even have wipe-able pages (extra bonus!) – and they’re colorful/attractive. My kids have earmarked the pages they’re interested in – which they’ve enjoyed doing.
Color The Classics provides multi-sensory coloring books and CDs that help your young children understand the history behind various pieces of classical music – and appreciate classical music. Most of the curriculum is faith-based.
I absolutely love multi-sensory products – and of course, I like music, so I was excited to learn about this product, and to have the opportunity to do a Color The Classics review.
FYI – I received the Godly Composers I book and the accompanying CD and the Christmas Classics book/CD.
Color The Classics Review – Here’s some really important info about all of the Color The Classics books/CDs:
You don’t need a musical background to use/teach Color the Classics – if you can read you’re good to go. Whew! That’s great!!
Color The Classic recommends you take a year to go through four of their books. If you choose to do the one year program, you should start with the Godly Composers I book.
The illustrations are reproducible – so you can use the coloring book for one or more children in your household. That’s nice! I like curriculum that’s economical, don’t you?
You can start this program with kids as young as four years old. The stories are interesting for any age, and the music works for any age, so there is no top end. This is super, especially if you have multiple children of different ages.
You can easily teach history alongside this program (why a composer’s era impacted his compositions), as well as art – or you can use the program as-is.
So, how do you use the Color The Classics curriculum? It’s easy (if you use the program as-is and don’t supplement, there’s no prep time involved) and it’s a TON of fun! Supplementing isn’t difficult either.
This is how I did it (BTW, I used this curriculum with my two girls, ages 8 and 11):
As suggested, I started with the Godly Composers I book. I looked over the book ahead of the first lesson – to become acquainted with the resource. It didn’t take long – maybe ten minutes.
I checked out the Table of Contents and the Suggested Schedule for the lessons. Also, I perused the Recommended Reading in the back of the book.
I took note of the illustrations and how they coincide with specific parts of the composer’s biography.
I read over the first lesson to get a feel for it. That’s it. Really, that’s all I did. Maybe less than ten minutes!
Since this curriculum was new to me, I followed it precisely. (However, I decided to supplement for the Christmas Carols book.)
I gave my girls an illustration to color (I copied the page from the book, so each had their own page). My youngest colored with crayons, my oldest used colored pencils or markers. The medium is entirely up to you and your kids.
For each lesson, I re-told the info from the book – kind of as a story. Per the directions, I didn’t read the info that describes the illustrations – I retold it. Re-telling gave me the flexibility to paraphrase the stories to match my girls’ level of understanding.
I then played the music that coincided with each illustrations. Although, not required, I re-played it several times during the day. Why not? The music is nice, and of very good quality, and much of it is soothing.
During both the story-telling and the music portion of lessons, I encouraged discourse.
During and after the discourse, my kids finished their pictures.
I put their pictures on the refrigerator and we discussed what they learned at the dinner table, as their Dad wanted to be a part of the conversation.
FYI, here are the four books that make up the recommended year-long educational program, and the suggested order for the books:
First Quarter – Godly Composers I (September-November)
A multitude of Christmas carols are included! Songs on the Christmas Classics CD include: O Come All Ye Faithful, Angels We Have Heard on High, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, For Unto Us A Child is Born, Hallelujah Chorus, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, Joy to the World, O Holy Night, O Little Town of Bethlehem, Silent Night, What Child is This, and more.
And you’ll learn the answers to these questions, in addition to other questions as well:
How/why did it take over 115 years to write the carol we now know as “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”?
Was there was a time in England when caroling and celebrating Christmas were against the law?
Was “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem“ was a poem before it was a song?
A few of the pages from the Silent Night lesson
We LOVE, love, love this book! Because I’m supplementing this book with additional info, we’ll probably go through half of it this year and half of it next year. My girls are so interested in the subject matter.
The “Move! Sing! Play Along and Learn!” CD series – Margie La Bella Songs Review
Do your little ones love music? And do they play the same songs over and over…. and over again? Do you know that you can use this to their educational advantage!? The “Move! Sing! Play Along and Learn!” CD series of songs from Margie La Bella are definitely educational – the songs are designed to spark your children’s:
conceptual learning/understanding (many songs give an opportunity for children to physically act out their understanding of a concept)
language (expressive, receptive, and auditory/listening)
Margie’s collection of songs and activities are of great value for ALL children but they really hit a chord with kids on the autism spectrum and children with special needs. And if you happen to work in a day care center or if you have a pre-school program in your homeschool co-op, you might find these exceptionally helpful.
There are four CDs in the The “Move! Sing! Play Along and Learn!” series. They include:
More action songs about singing, movement, and simple rhythm instruments.
Since there’s a lot to cover in these four CDs, I’m actually going to jump right into what we like about these CDs, before getting into each one individually.
So, what do we (the kids and I) like about working on the Margie La Bella Song Review?
We all appreciate how clear they the lyrics are – we know what EVERY word is! So many CDs we’ve listened to, aren’t clear at all. Maybe the instrumentals are too loud – or the singer is trying to fit too many words in at once – I’m not really sure what the issues are. But these lyrics are clear as a bell! That means my kids (and yours too!) can easily sing along. And my kids do – very joyously – and very loudly!
These songs are really catchy! YOU’LL find yourself humming along and bopping your head! Even when doing this review, and listening to the songs as I write, I can’t help but move to the music – the song Teddies to Turtles has me hooked!
Looking for a song to teach something in particular? The songs are broken up into goal areas and objectives so you can actually get songs on the topic of your choice! Kids bickering? There’s a song for that!
The lyrics encourage kids to listen and learn through music – and to get up and MOVE to the music. I’m a fan for anything that encourages movement!
The music introduces kids to pop, jazz, folk, rap, swing, reggae and other styles of music. My kids enjoyed all the styles, especially swing and reggae. And these weren’t genres that were on their radar previously. That’s cool.
Songs, videos, and fun activities just go together. Margie knows this and includes videos and activities on her website. She shares how to use her songs in different ways (so nice)!
Margie La Bella also includes lyrics on her site – although really, you don’t need them as the CDs are so clear. Still, it’s nice that she includes them/it’s nice to have them.
Margie La Bella has a Links page is helpful – if you want to know more about music therapy in general, or other song sites/artists you might want to look into. It’s nice that she plugs other artists – even her “competitors” – although I’m sure she doesn’t see them in that way.
Margie La Bella Songs Review – Now, onto each CD! (more than the 4 will be referenced!)
Margie La Bella Songs Review – CD ONE
The first CD “Move!” focuses on the receptive language skills needed to understand and follow directions. Each song fosters concept development through active movement and dance.
Skills addressed include single and multi-step directions, the concepts of body parts, opposites, verbs, prepositions, creative problem solving and more.
Descriptions of individual songs on this CD, plus the benefits of each song follows:
Song 1 – Everybody Wave Hello
This song opens the CD and sets the stage for upcoming learning.
Children have the opportunity to follow three one-step directions, while reaching out to connect with other people.
Song 2 – Doin’ the Robot Dance
This song helps improve auditory processing skills (listening and following directions).
The rapid-fire lyrics require a child’s attention.
The lyrics help children learn the words associated with specific body parts.
Older children can move to the beat.
Song 3 – Move and Stop
This song is good for improving auditory attention skills, and motor/impulse control.
Children relate body parts with an associated motion.
Younger children can follow the one-step directions.
Older children can perform the last line (three 1-step directions in rapid sequence).
Song 4 – Stand up, Sit Back Down
Provides a positive outlet for kid’s energy(encourages them to leave their seat).
Fosters the learning of body parts and ways to move them.
Children move in creative ways as suggested by the lyrics.
Song 5 – Growl, Growl, Stomp
This song helps with listening and pretending skills, both needed for cognitive development.
It also stimulates attention, as well as auditory anticipation and vocalization of “Grrowl!”
The repetitive “growl, growl, stomp!” gives a sense of sequencing and energy/vocal release.
Song 6 – The Yee-haw Song
This song requires receptive understanding of body parts and associated movements, as well as expressive use of the word “Yeehaw!”
Children can simulate the galloping sound of a horse by tapping their knees during the chorus, or by pretending to ride a horse.
Older children can perform the directive twice and sing “yeehaw!”
Song 7 – Multi-Step Blues
This song improves a child’s ability to follow a long string of quick one-step directions and to control one’s actions.
The song focuses on body vocabulary and associated verbs.
It strengthens attention, backward sequencing of directions, and motor control.
Great outlet for a child’s energy.
Song 8- OPPOSITE JAM
Helps facilitate the understanding of each concept individually and in contrast to its opposite (tall, small, happy, sad, fast, slow, squeeze, and relax)
Teaches body vocabulary and associated verbs.
Encourages attention, backward sequencing of directions, and motor control.
Great outlet for energy.
Song 9 – THE CATERPILLAR
Stimulates pretending and other higher process thinking skills.
Fosters focus, body relaxation and the concept of slow.
Teaches how a caterpillar turns into a butterfly and how our own lives can change.
Song 10 – Move it by Your Chair
Children learn about spatial relationships.-
They also learn the concepts: in front of, behind, on the side, over, and under.
Children count while dancing to a fun beat.
Song 11 – One Step Blues
This song helps kids process the meaning of verbs and related body parts.
Children carry out the one part direction to the timing of the related sound effects.
Good for auditory attention and memory.
Song 12 – Thinking Song
Helps teach body parts and simple problem solving.
Older children can pretend to rock a baby each time they hear the words “baby” and “honey.”
Older children can also alternate or switch sides of the body each time a direction is given within a verse – this is good for integrating sides of the brain.
Song 13 – Stand Up, Sit Down (Version Two)
The directions to the song are easier to understand is this version.
Song 14 – Thinking Song (Version Two)
This song fosters listening and creative problem-solving.
It requires knowledge of body parts and quick deciphering skills.
Older children can pretend to rock a baby each time they hear the words “baby” and “honey.”
Older children can also alternate or switch sides of the body each time a direction is given within a verse, as this is good for integrating sides of the brain.
Song 15 – Growl, Growl, Stomp (Version Two)
This is just a nice song to listen to, or to sing along to.
Song 16 – Music Time is Over
This song offers a nice conclusion to the CD – as it ends on a positive, relaxing note.
This song lends itself to swaying, rocking, and holding hands.
Margie La Bella Songs Review – CD TWO
The second CD“Sing!”focuses on vocal play and expressive language.
Children are actively engaged with songs that were written and designed to elicit vocal play, vowel and consonant production, articulation and simple sentences.
Songs are presented in a variety of styles including hip-hop, new-age, folk, pop and reggae.
Descriptions of individual songs on this CD, plus the benefits of each song follows:
Song 1 – Open your Mouth
This song starts the CD off in a friendly/social manner.
It helps children create the “ah,” “oo,” and “ee” vowel sounds and articulate the “ooh-ee”.
Song 2 – Monkey Song
Children gain vocal and oral-motor experience as they sing “ah,” “ee,” and “ooh.”
Kids remember and sequence sound patterns.
Song 3 – The Leeway Train
This song helps kid’s speech skills through making sound effects.
Song4 – The Puppet Song (Version One)
Children connect an animal with the sound it makes.
Children vocalize the animal sounds.
Children hear and produce soft and loud sounds.
Song 5 – Tap it on Your Head – Acapella Version
Helps to teach body part vocabulary and articulation/vocalization.
Because it’s acapella the words are really easy to hear and the feel of the music is gentler.
Song 6 – Variations on the Miss Mary Mack
This song encourages children to repeat each short phrase.
Song 7 – Sing an Echo Song
This song is used to help children improve their abilities to produce certain sounds and increase phrase length.
Improves auditory attention and memory.
Children are encouraged to put words together in increasingly complex sentences.
Song 8 – TDLN 50s Arctic Song
Improves the ability to “Do-wop” and articulate the “T”, “D”, “L,” and “N” sounds (these sounds all involve placing the tip of the tongue behind the top of the upper teeth).
Song 9 – Three Little Monkeys
Encourages sentence use.
Also good for sequencing of ideas.
Song 10 – The Wolf Cub
Children vocalize the “ooh” sound of the wolf.
Children act out the lyrics, and demonstrate an understanding of the concepts of: open, shake, over, under, up, down, side, and families.
Song 11 – The Vehicle Song
This song emphasizes vocalization and vocal play.
Encourages children to imitate and articulate common sounds.
Song 12 – The Puppet Song II
Elicits vocalization of animal sounds (this is necessary for speech and involves articulation of specified sounds).
Song 13 – Tap it on your Head – Full Version
Helps to teach body part vocabulary and articulation/vocalization.
This version works with kids who need the extra stimulation to elicit their attention.
Song 14 – Sing an Echo song – Blank/Fill-in Verses Version
Kids sing the first sound of their name, or they can blow a kiss.
Song 15 – Goodbye Now
This is a natural way to teach the goodbye interaction, and it can include waving, shaking hands, holding hands, and blowing kisses.
Margie La Bella Songs Review – CD THREE
The “Play!” CD is really two CDs in one and centers around the auditory skills needed to 1) listen, 2) follow directions, and 3) understand directions; as well as how sounds and directions are combined to build memory.
The first 30 minutes helps teach awareness of loud, soft, fast, slow, and the presence and absence of sound. The second half asks children to listen to, interpret, and respond to instrument sounds and music clips.
Margie La Bella Songs Review – Descriptions of individual songs on this CD, plus the benefits of each song follows:
Song 1 – Homemade Band
This tune opens the CD on a positive note – kids are introduced to several instruments of a jazz or rock band.
Song 2- Soft, Loud, Slow, Fast Review
This song introduces children to recognizing (perceiving) and creating different volumes and speeds (this is important as the sound qualities used in music are also used in speech).
Song 3 – Children, Come Play
The song encourages auditory attention, processing, and conceptualization.
Children experience creating fast, slow, loud, and soft music.
Song 4 – Play and Do This
Teaches sequencing/patterning of events.
Teaches the ability to follow directions.
Helps children with the concepts of under, stop, and get it.
Song 5 – Play and Pass
Encourages turn taking and sharing among friends (and siblings!).
Song 6 – You’ve got to Wait!
A catchy song for a topic that can be tricky, and one that all kids (and adults) need to learn.
Song 7 – Three Little Sound Effects
Encourages vocal/sound play.
Encourages auditory memory.
Song 8 –Play an Echo Song
This song encourages auditory attention and auditory memory.
It also fosters coordination and patterning.
Songs 10-15 and 16-21 – Make you Move! and Hear and D0 – Instrument Sounds
These songs encourage auditory discrimination.
They encourage impulse control.
The songs encourage energy release – as they get kids moving.
Song 22 – Sound-Off
This song closes the CD.
It enforces the skill of “audiation” or hearing the sounds/music in your mind.
Margie La Bella Songs Review – CD FOUR
“Margie La Bella Songs Review –Mixing it Up!” uses more action-based participation songs to address expressive and receptive language skills as well as auditory attention and processing skills.
Plus, it covers a diverse range of musical styles (which my kids enjoyed)!
Descriptions of individual songs on this CD, plus the benefits of each song follows:
Song 1 –Hey Hello
Good for encouraging language via the catchy, predictable, repeated “hey, hello” phrase.
Song 2 – Move it to the Music.
One step direction/movement concepts of move, shake, scratch, twist, jump, and dance.
Impulse and motor control via stopping and starting.
Song 3 – I’ve Got the Music In Me
Encourages following simple directions.
Also good for fun sounds that can help with articulation and intelligibility.
Song 4 – Body Rap
This song incorporates sequencing patterning and memory skills.
Provides for a great release of energy – always a plus!
Song 5 – Everybody Touch Your Head
This song helps children learn various body parts and spatial concepts.
Song 6 – We All Have Feelings
This song assists the verbal and non-verbal expression of feelings.
Song – 7 Tweet, Tweet Little Birdy
The song encourages vocalization and listening comprehension.
It also encourages pretending/abstracting.
Older children can echo each phrase during the short pauses. This helps develop sentence length and related memory.
Song 8 – Very Best Band
This song strengthens attention span.
Also encourages taking turns and impulse control.
Good for instrument vocabulary and identification.
Encourages group participation.
Song 9 – Everybody Touch – Karaoke/Fill-In)
This version teaches personalized concepts.
Song 10 – Jump High, Turn Around
In this song, children follow a sequence of three directions.
Song 11 – Teddies to Turtles
Kids follow multiple directions.
Encourages creativity and imagination (abstraction).
Song 12– Sharing, Caring, Moving and Growing
This is a relaxing song and a nice song to end the CD.
Margie La Bella is a music therapist and an educator (she has a master’s degree in special education).
Margie chose music therapy as a profession because she has seen the power of music and wants to share that with others. “The reason I became a music therapist was because of what music did for me and my life. I wanted to give that opportunity and that tool to other people.”
Happy Kids Songs Review – I LOVE teaching with music. Take multiplication facts and history dates for instance. If you pair them with music/lyrics, facts become fun…kids learn them…and they tend to remember them for years, if not their entire lifetimes (When did Christopher Columbus sail the ocean blue? I bet you remember)! And because music makes learning fun…lots of times kids don’t even know they’re learning. So, why not teach everything with music? Well…maybe not everything…but the important stuff for sure…
Character and kindness? You can certainly teach these through music!
There may be no more powerful method of learning than through music, and no more important lessons for children than those that focus on character and social and emotional skills.
That’s a quote from the Happy Kids Songs website, and I couldn’t agree more. When I read this, and learned more about the company, I couldn’t wait to listen to their songs.
We had the chance to spend time on the Happy Kids Songs review and I am so glad we did. Even after we completed the Happy Kids Songs Review, we still play Happy Kids Songs in our home and in our car. (I don’t know about you – but I use car time as an extension of home/homeschool time. I always have something educational and interesting playing – and this music is a great fit.)
We play these songs A LOT! That’s because Happy Kids Songs has TEN downloadable albums. Each album has 5 songs on it, and they cover a variety of important themes, including shyness, friendship, responsibility, dealing with feelings, manners, kindness, and much more.
Here’s a little more info on each of the albums in the Happy Kids Songs Review:
This album contains five highly entertaining kids songs about the essential ingredients of friendships, tools for reaching out to others, sharing time together, saying goodbye, being happy with friends and including others in play. Age-appropriate for kids ages 4 to 8.
For kids ages 4-8. Themes of songs include ways of expressing feelings constructively, the handling of unwanted thoughts, overcoming fears, and the need that children have to stay connected with people they love.
The songs on this album help children learn about the importance of working through conflict, expressing feelings through words, the value of listening, speaking to others in a constructive manner, and being assertive. Again – great for kids ages 4 to 8.
The topics of this album include appreciating differences, practicing manners, keys to happiness, taking responsibility and saying goodbye.
If you’d like more info on the songs we used and listened to in our Happy Kids Songs Review, you can click on album covers for song samples here. I have also included a handful of songs, and a few lyrics you might find interesting, below.
An Attitude of Gratitude – Thank you for the sky that’s blue…for the pouring rain…flowers that bloom. Thank you for the air I breathe…for the morning dew…thank you for the sun and moon….
H-o-n-e-s-t-y – if you want people to be honest to you, you should tell the truth to them; if you tell the truth the whole day, you’ll feel really good inside; being a good friend is an honest friend…
In the Same Boat – You and I are in the same boat…whatever I do to you, I do to me; you’re my left hand I’m your right… hands together.
More Kind – I wish we could be more kind…being kind like doing good deeds…the kind of kindness everybody needs…
Sailing on the Seven Cs – Sailing on the good ship Friendship – sailing on the 7 Cs – caring, consideration, commitment, communication, concern, curiosity, cooperation…
Shake It Out and Dance – I can, I can, you can…I can…
Stand Up – Don’t Stand by…it’s never OK to be unkind..stand up for each other…don’t be a bystander standing by…this is a rap-type of song, and one of my kids’ favorites.
Talk It Out – It’s a magical moment when everyone feels heard…why don’t we work it out face to face and sit here and talk it out…
The Golden Rule – If you want to be my friend, there’s one thing that’s got to end… your teasing me is not OK let’s find another way…Yes I want to be your friend…I forgot the Golden Rule…say something nice or nothing at all…
The Magic Word – The most powerful and magic word of all… PLEASE…the magic word…
We’re the Chorus – Take us back where we belong…where’s my basket said the trash…where’s my shelf said the book…we hope you won’t ignore us … take us back where we belong… This is a funny song about putting your stuff away/where it belongs.
As you can see from the lyrics, these songs definitely have value! I play whichever one I need to, depending on what’s going on in our home. The kids aren’t sharing – there’s music for that! They aren’t grateful? Again, there’s a song for that! Too much bickering in the car? There’s an album….well…you get the idea…
And if it’s clean-up time, I put on We’re the Chorus – and play it on an endless loop until the mess is cleaned up – the kids don’t even mind!
That’s because my kids like the songs. They aren’t “kiddy” songs – they’re full production kid songs. There’s a difference. My children like how kids talk within the songs – and they talk along (instead of sing along). My kids especially like the rap songs, the theme songs, and the funny songs. I have to admit, these are my faves too.
In addition to the songs, there is a workbook that accompanies them (not necessary – but a great addition).
Happy Kids Workbook: Hands-on Activities to Build Character, Social and Emotional Skills
The 125-page activity book includes lyrics and coloring pages plus more than a hundred lessons and activities. You can see sample pages on Amazon. And you can easily make this part of your homeschooling day!
We really enjoyed spending time working on the Happy Kids Songs Review. Not only do I believe that music should be part of teaching every day homeschool subjects, I believe it can have a huge impact on character and kindness education and training as well.
One last thing – here’s a bio for the man behind Happy Kids Songs, just in case you’d like the info – Don MacMannis, Ph.D. is a psychologist and author of two highly acclaimed parenting books. He offers a free live webinar for parents of 3 to 10-year-olds called The 4 Essential Keys to Parenting Strong-Willed Kids. Also specializing in creative projects for young children, he has been music director and songwriter for the PBS hit, Jay Jay the Jet Plane and also writes for Mutt & Stuff on Nick Jr. You can download 3 free award-winning songs at http://happykidssongs.com.