Friday, September 28, 2012

Sing With Our Kids Day 3 Countdown Idea

Dinosaur Fun:

Do you know how big the biggest dinosaur egg ever to be discovered was? About as big as a 12-inch balloon! Kids love this..
Slowly blow up a 12-inch balloon, telling children you're going to show the how big the biggest dinosaur egg discovered is. You can stop along the way at the chicken egg, and the largest egg today, the ostrich (about 6 inches). Then slowly keep blowing until you get to the full 12 inches. Tie a knot, and toss it behind you.

Now sing the traditional song, Here's a Baby Birdie, beginning curled up in a ball, then move body, changing the words to:
Here's a baby dinosaur, he's hatching from his shell
Out comes his head, then comes his tail 
Next his legs he stretches, he gives a great big ROAR 
Then he stomps and stomps and stomps and sits back on the floor.
Down, down, down, down, down, down, down, BOOM!

If you don't know the song Here's A Baby Birdie you'll find it in the free song library at It should be up tomorrow or Sunday. 


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sing With Our Kids Day 4 Countdown Idea

Here is your song idea of the day.

This one is easy...
  • Sing Bingo, using a dog and several other animal puppets. Give each puppet a name and spell it on a piece of paper or card stock ( I use rhyming "names" like Ringo, Jingo, Mingo
  • Sing Bingo, using the dog puppet first, having his paw point to the letters as you sing.
  • Then I say, "Bingo has some friends. Would you like to meet them?" Bingo disappears behind my back, and out comes a different animal who then points to the letters in his - or her- name. It's simple and silly, but the familiarity draws the kids in and it's great for letter knowledge!
And here is your friendly reminder that there are only 4 more days left to donate to Sing With Our Kids!  Here's the link to the campaign.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sing With Our Kids Day 5 Countdown Idea

Here is your song idea of the day: 

This is another great idea that came out of my Florida workshop last week. It's simple, but let's see if I can describe it easily!

This is a variation on my Four Little Paper Dolls song.
Here is a link to the song if you don't know it, and by the way, if you don't it's a real hit with the kids, so be sure to do it too!
Now- here is a way to expand your use of the song so you can use it for all kinds of things.
Instead of paper dolls, you're going to make a sturdy folding book. I would use cardboard, because you're going to use this a lot! I just by 8X10 photo mailing cardboad pieces found at office supply stores, but again, you can use or make what you have. 
  • To make a folding book that hinges properly, stack the first two pieces of cardboard and tape along one they are hinged when you open them. I use clear packing tape because it's nice and wide. 
  • Open the "pages" and flip them the other way, again stacking them, and tape the other side.Now your hinge will be taped on both sides of the cardboard. 
  • Add your next piece of cardboard and do the same thing, so now you have three pieces of cardboard that will lie flat and hinge back and forth.
  • And finally, add your last piece and tape it. Now you should have four pieces of cardboard that can lie flat and hinge back and forth, essentially making them work like paper dolls (the cut kind). 
  • Now for the easy and fun part. Place a small piece of Velcro in the middle of each "page." 
  • Cut out four of anything you want, (four letter, four teddy bears, four ducks, four cars, etc. ). Make whatever you want, but make all four identical. 
  • Laminate and put the other half of the Velcro piece on the back of each picture. 
  • Put one picture on each of your cardboard pages, and voila! Instead of Four Little Paper Dolls, you have four
     little _____ (whatever you've Velcro'd onto the pages). You can easily change the pictures to go with whatever you're doing. It's kind of like having the other kind of paper dolls, where you change the clothes! Hmm. That's kind of funny!
If you need any clarification for the above instructions, let me know! You know how to find me!

And here is your friendly reminder that there are only 5 more days left to donate to Sing With Our Kids!  Here's the link to the campaign. 

Thanks so much for your support!


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sing With Our Kids 6 Day Countdown Idea

Here is your Countdown Song Idea of the Day:  Mystery Letter!

Prop: Put a letter in a small box, or a shoe box,  or any container you have handy. If you have a wooden or magnetic letter, great. Otherwise, just draw a letter on a piece of paper and put it in the box. If the letter is paper, put something else in the box so it makes noise when you shake it.


Sing the ABC Song with the kids. 
Then tell them you have a mystery letter in the box, and you're going to sing the ABC song again but you're going to stop when you get to the letter. Sing slowly shaking the box once for every letter, the kids singing with you. The sound of the letter in the box really peaks their interest! When you get to the letter, make a big deal of stopping and freezing. Then ask the kids what letter you stopped at... 

I have a "J" in my box. I then asked the kids if any of them had a "J" in their names, and we sang two of my songs with "J''s". JUMP, and To Market, To Market, both on . Both have printable pages with pictures, letters, and words. But you could just as easily read a book about something that starts with "J" (or whatever letter you have in the box).

Here's the link for JUMP

This activity has been a real hit because of the mystery element! And it helps children understand that the ABC song is made of separate letters. Encourage parents to do the same thing at home with letters in a box, and a book or song. Easy and fun! (I knew this was a good idea today when I finished a concert and the librarian said, "That's a great idea- I'm going to steal it!"

And here is your friendly reminder that the Indiegogo fundraiser ends in 6 days. So if you have already donated, thank you thank you! If you haven't, you can click here to learn more about the project and make a donation. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Sing With Our Kids Song Idea and 8 Day Countdown

Here is your Song Idea of the Day:

This is an amazing and inspirational idea e-mailed to me by a librarian following a workshop I did in Florida (yes Florida!) last week. I am so excited to share with you- it's brilliant, simple, and something we will all want to do! I have included her story, since it's so wonderful and a good reminder to all of us about the important work we do. Notice she adapted Bluebird Through My Window. You can find that song on the Sing With Our Kids website. Here's the link.  Notice also, that there are bonus materials at (free, of course!) so be sure to get it all!!

Thank you, Rebekah for sharing your great idea with all of us!

 I just wanted to share a story from last week, following your training.

I have two jobs. I work at the public library but I am also the school librarian for a special needs school. Our students have intellectual disabilities. I do a storytime for the youngest kids every week. This week, the theme was pirates (to celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day). I had never heard the Bluebird through my window song but I loved it and I adapted it for this theme. I changed it to “Bluebeard, Bluebeard, through my window”  and we pretended to look out of the window. Then, “Arrrr, mateys, be scared!” at the end. One of my little girls is not yet verbal. She can make sounds but is not yet processing words. I had 5 cards printed, each with a pirate that had a different colored beard on it, so we could change the song and sing, “Purplebeard” etc. On each chorus, she got very excited with the “Arrrr” and made this sound right along with us. At the end of the song, she pointed to her hand. I was not sure what this meant, so her teacher translated- she was asking for more! (One of her hands doesn’t function completely correctly, so she wasn’t making the sign I recognize, but an adapted one). She really loved this song! And I loved sharing something that I learned. You were right, there is something magical about that tune. She engaged immediately and communicated with me in a way she hadn’t before. It was awesome.

And here is your friendly reminder that the Indiegogo fundraiser ends in 8 days. So if you have already donated, thank you thank you! If you haven't, you can click here to learn more about the project and make a donation. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Song Tip of the Day and Final Fundraiser Countdown.

Let's make this final countdown fun and useful! 

Okay, so I've got eight days left to try to raise enough money to build the Sing With Our Kids website. I already made my initial plea, and some of you responded with lighting speed! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!  But you know how this fundraising thing works-  I'm supposed to remind (hound and harass) you until you remember (can't stand it anymore and decide you will do anything to make it stop), the theory being that that the squeaky (most annoying) wheel gets the grease, because we all know most people have to read something multiple times before acting on it.

I have NO desire to harass, annoy, or intimidate you. But here I am in the self-imposed position of having to... you know, raise funds!  And I'm an artist, so you know that doesn't come naturally. The good news is my passion for this project is superseding my discomfort with this business of raising money. So here's my plan to make it painless, and in fact productive for you (and me!) and FUN!

I will write a short post here for the next eight days, but instead of the dreaded nagging plea, I will simply give you a fun tip you can use whether you are a parent, grandparent, teacher, librarian, or care provider (and of course a short reminder of the fundraiser). Believe it or not, I have some really great new ones you don't know about yet!

That way, whether you've already donated, or are unable or don't want to, or keep planning to but need a reminder, you'll still get to take something away you can use in your work with young children.  And we all win! So just use and enjoy! In fact you might even want to print out and collect these ideas in your songs collection. And do let me know if there are any traditional songs you would like added to the song library so parents can sing them at home, too! That's the whole point, after all; creating continuity between what you are doing in story times and home; educating while building community through singing. So I really want to know what traditional or Nancy Stewart songs you are using (I only add mine, since I hold the copyrights). 

Here's Your Song Tip of the Day:
Simple variations for infants and toddlers for Who Has A Penny?  This song is available here, but tomorrow should also be available on

  • To use my Who Has a Penny song with infants, give each parent a large solid-colored item (like a big soft block), using only three different colors, as the song indicates)  and sing the song, having parents sing the repeated line with their babies. Of course that being said, you may want to change the song to add more different items.That's the beauty of a song. You get to be the boss of it!!
  • To use the song with young toddlers (too young to handle small objects usually used in the song) laminate animal pictures on card stock, and place on popsicle sticks. Parent can help guide child to hold up the animal as you sing, "Who has the doggy?" Parent sings to model, "I have the doggy." You only need to have  3 different animals, so you can make multiples of those three so each child can have one.You'll find the song at today, but it will also be on www.SingWithOurKids tomorrow.
  • Simple Early Literacy reminder tip for parents: The more you talk to your baby, the more words he or she will know, and the more success they will have with reading. Songs no only provide lots of words we don't even use every day ( like curds and whey and water spout), but putting them in a melody makes the language "stick." Its' just the way our brains work!
If you want to donate to or find out more about the Sing With Our Kids Project, click here: 

p.s. after today, you'll just get the tip and short reminder of fundraiser, not all the extra text as above!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sing With Our Kids is a Research Project!

Research, research, research!

In addition to being a resource website, is a research project. And that's why I've been passionate about including a nine-month pilot project in my own community as part of those resources.. Our culture and so many things about it have changed, especially when it comes to raising our children. And it just feels to me like it's time to take our pulse, to reassess; to adjust our thinking and our actions. So here are the questions I hope to if not answer, at least spark a conversation about. It's already happening. Everywhere I go as we talk about the project, the questions below arise. Together, over the next nine months, let's work together to try to find answers and solutions!

We don't need an official study to answer most of the questions below, but documenting this project will certainly add to the conversation and perhaps result in a ripple effect for positive changes (more singing!).

So here are the questions we will be asking and documenting:

1. Do we sing less with our children? (we already know the answer to that!)
2. If the answer is yes, (yes it is!), does it matter, and if so, why? ( we already know the answer to that, too!)
3. Do parents, teachers, and care providers know all of the benefits of singing with children? (again, I can tell you from my work, the answer is no!)
4. So here is the really big unanswered question...

If parents and care providers knew how important singing is to the development of young children (and all human beings!), would it make a difference? If they had the knowledge, and were given all the songs and tools, would they use them?

I am an optimist, as anyone who knows me can attest. So I believe the answer to that big unanswered question is YES! But I am also a realist, and I also know it's going to take a lot of work to make a difference. I believe it will take every bit of the nine months scheduled to change habits and behaviors. I believe this can only be accomplished with a BIG, BOLD, project with HIGH VISIBILITY and a LOT of HELP FROM YOU!!

So I hope you will participate in Sing With Our Kids. Here are some of the ways you can do that:

  1. Go to and sign up for updates, or leave comments
  2. Use the website, and share it with teachers, parents, grandparents, and caregivers
  3. Click on the Indiegogo link( Indiegogo Sing With Our Kids Campaign )and watch the video, and read about the project. The fundraiser will only be going on during September.
  4. Make a donation, however small, and or leave a comment. Comment about how you sing with your kids, how you remember your parents singing with you, camp memories, how excited you are about the project, anything that might inspire others to sing with their kids!

This is important work we are all doing, raising our children and building our future community. And there is no doubt that singing makes that important work more joyful, more fun, and more productive!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Back to School. Let's Sing!

As I start my school visits back up, I'm excited to be able to use the project materials myself! I'll send a letter home to the parents explaining the project (you'll be able to download the same letter yourself at, so you don't have to reinvent it!). Then as I add songs, just print out the sign for that sign and post it outside each classroom. It will have a QR code so parents can read it when they pick up their kids and immediately have the song! Or, of course, download it from the alphabetical list when they get home Of course they'll have the website bookmarked! Why didn't I think of this years ago! It's so simple, and will make such a difference. The kids I see are in daycare, and I'm a visiting music specialist, so I never even see them. The songs will be such a great way to connect - for all of us!

Don't forget! You can help build the website by donating to the project at Indiegogo. Here's the link. Please share this with anyone you know who has or works with young children. The campaign only goes for 27 more days!!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

We did it! We're live!

Wow! What a tense suspense-filled last 24 hours leading up to the launch of Sing With Our Kids yesterday!You know how the story ends, but since you've been here with me for the last 30 days of counting down, I'll fill you in on the gory details!

Friday night, 8:30 pm. 

I finally had a chance to make it to my computer to work on the Indiegogo campaign, which I full intended to have finished days ago (life making other plans again!).

Here's how it went...

Really tired from too many late nights, and having trouble writing the campaign text.
Decided to take a break and upload the video which has been on my desk for the last 3 months.
Oops! Where is that CD? No, really, where it it? It's been here for THREE MONTHS!!!
Uh-oh, it really doesn't seem to be around... next hour spent turning my office upside-down. 
Okay, found a DVD with the master video... need to convert it to mp4... How do you do that?
I haven't a clue! (and as it turned out from a quick Google search, I needed a program).
Okay, an hour later I have bought and downloaded a program, converted the movie, and it looks fine.
Whew! crisis avoided!
Upload to YouTube. .................. What??? Why is my mouth out of sync with the video? 
Try a few more things then realize I am REALLY brain dead now... Go to bed....
Next day, call my brother-in-law who is a computer tech.... 
He takes the DVD to his office to try converting using another program....

Meanwhile, I'm back to trying to finish writing the text but I'm having some kind of writer's block.  I feel panic creeping in... our official launch is about 3 hours away, and the Indiegogo site isn't ready to go live, and the website can't go live until it does......... 
Call my brother(webmaster) and discuss moving the countdown clock on my artist website and missing the deadline. . No! This can't be happening! (Where in the world could that CD have gone..) Did I mention it had been sitting innocently on my desk for the last 3 months?.......

Called my daughter who is a middle school language arts teacher, for help editing the text. Boy is she good! Great edits. Then my brother-in-law came by with new version of video. It looks like it might work when we upload it to YouTube... an hour and a half  'til launch. Maybe we can do it after all!

My sister stops by to see if I'm still alive! She is among other things,  a researcher and academic writer. She edits. Has wonderful suggestions! (so sorry I took your things without asking when we were growing up!) 
An hour 'til launch.

I finish the text and upload all the parts to Indiegogo. It presents me with a checklist that needs to be complete before the site goes live. What? Checklist? Don't panic, I tell myself... there is still an hour! 
Oh good, it just wants me to complete my profile. Easy! I do it and press enter... It says I need to complete my profile.. But I did, I tell my computer... the clock is ticking loudly now, and that's funny because it's digital..I calmly enter my info again; e-mail, photo, bio...and click enter... Again it says, enter your profile! I do this a few more times.

That's it, I think, I'm doomed! So close and yet so far! So I did that thing we do when we run into walls on the computer and start behaving irrationally. I started pushing buttons, exiting the site, re-entering, pushing more buttons mindlessly (that digital clock is really ticking now, I'm sure of it!), and right there....before my very said "complete!" I rubbed my eyes in disbelief. There before me was the "live" button, just waiting for me to click on it. This was it.... I.....clicked on it! 

Ta da!!! WE'RE LIVE!!!!!!
I call my brother and tell him to throw the switch on the website and connect the Indiegogo links.

Still time to walk my poor dog who's been sitting patiently (okay, not really patiently) waiting, waiting for his walk. So I figure ten minutes, I can do it. Ran into a neighbor walking his dogs. Making conversation, he asked what I was doing with my music these days.. I spilled it all! And said I had to be at Island Books in half an hour. He said, (and I kid you not), "HALF an hour? You better go put some makeup on and those hippie clothes or something. You better do something!" 

So the happy ending, is, we got the Indiegogo site up, we got the website up, and I had the loveliest group of families with young children and grandparents, and Nancy and Roger Page the owners, and yes, my neighbor Warren who came down to support me! We sang songs and read and sang books, and everyone had a great time. I soaked up every minute of the twirling and dancing and singing! It was a true celebration, and everyone there knew how hard I have been working, and they have been my cheerleaders. 

I don't mean to be political, but right now I am acutely aware (as I have always been, but for some reason it's become controversial to say) that none of us does anything alone. I could not have done this, the Mt Everest of my career without the love and support of my family, friends, and fans. We are the village!

So now onto the actual project! Walking my dog Jack today, I already have more ideas for the website and project! 

So thank you for being here for me, for allowing me to create and flesh out the plan through this blog. It's been its own little journey!

And oh yes, please donate or share, or leave comments, or all three at
And one more thing... be sure and watch the video!

Stay tuned for regular posts and updates! As we say in our family, "We're really on our way now!"