Lemonade Stands and Music Theory Games

Wednesday’s are already busy with gymnastics and speech classes, so I try to leave the rest of the day open to free play.

After watching a Curious George episode about George having a lemonade stand, M created her own lemonade stand. (FYI, I love the Curious George show; George exemplifies natural learning and unschooling.) At first a cup of lemonade was going for 1 cent, but by the end of the day she had raised the price to 5 cents. M is still learning monetary values, so this was good practice (at least with pennies and nickels). I had to purchase the pretend cups of lemonade with real money, because she is saving up to buy a fairy doll sticker book. M is so excited to have a real lemonade stand this summer. I told her that she will have to know how to count money by then. She pointed out that she could just use the key I had made for her that hangs in the playroom.

In the late afternoon, I decided to try out some music theory games with the girls. M has been working on a traditional piano music theory book in the piano lessons I give her, but I have been wanting to do more play with the concepts. I purchased the book, No H in Snake: Music Theory for Children. It is full of games teaching music theory. Unfortunately, many of the games need materials that the author sells on their website at an expensive price. The book is definitely meant for a music teacher, not a small-budget homeschooler like me. I knew this going in, and thought that at the least, it would give me ideas for incorporating theory into play, and if I wanted to, I could make the materials myself. I am happy with what I’ve read so far, and the girls enjoyed the games that we did together today.

We first played around with music alphabet cards (cards for the music notes A-G). We practiced the order of the alphabet, including that after G, comes A again. We played a game where someone would mess up the order of the cards, and the other person would have to fix it.

Then I introduced a staff and treble clef. The girls got to feel the treble clef that I had made, tracing their finger along the lines, and reciting that it curls onto the G, G, G line. Then we played a note toss game, where we tossed a note and called out whether it landed on a space or line on the staff. Since both my staff and treble clef were much smaller than what is normally used for this book, the game wasn’t that exciting. But my brain was working, and I quickly made a staff out of painter’s tape on the floor, and the girls got to jump to the spaces and lines. Super fun, and I was proud of my grand thinking (though I do remember my sister-in-law telling me that her daughter’s music class uses jump ropes as a giant staff, so I guess I’m not that smart after all). But seriously, I have been sooo tired all day long, so maybe I should just marvel at myself! 🙂

I labeled the giant floor staff with the abc cards, and after playing around with it for 15 minutes, M was able to put all the labels on correctly herself. I also had them “write” music; they stepped on the notes, while I played them on the piano. M really enjoyed this! The toddler was hell-bent on taking the abc cards off the staff, but luckily I had a few extra for her to play with.

Now, we had just watched The Sound of Music for the first time last week, and I don’t know if it is confusing to talk about Do-Re-Mi and then A-B-C. I do have a homeschooling friend that is an actually trained musician (by the Boston Conservatory, no less!) and I think she does a music program with her kids based on Do-Re-Mi. I think I’m going to have to pick her brain some more about this.

The girls finished their busy day by bike riding with Dad at the park, and M finally rode without training wheels…for 5 seconds.

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1 Comment

  1. timbra

     /  October 4, 2012

    GAH. . .i love your days. I finally made something like you where you put up everything that’s planned for the day, I laminated some cards and used magnets on a little part of our wall in the “hallway.” I also (without reading the directions, but just seeing your photo and liking the idea) did a set of geography type cards for alani, or maybe more S.S. that went from “me” to “family” to “city” to “county” to “state,” etc. I loved that idea. I hope you are enjoying this time because you guys are really having a rich experience, can you come homeschool my kids please 🙂

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