Santa’s on His Way

Here is a fun song that I use as a zipper song. A zipper song is a song where you leave blanks for the children to fill in. Here I ask the children what they want for Christmas and sing the song, “Dear Santa, want you bring me a ____” and I fill in the blank with what the child tells me he or she wants for Christmas. Children absolutely love zipper songs. They feel totally empowered when they fill in the blanks of a song you sing with the entire  class.  They also love telling you what they want for Christmas.

This song can be sung with or without an instrument. If you use an instrument the chords are G, C, D, G in verses repeated and chorus has these chords, C, G, D, G, (D, G) repeat.

One thing that I do when I sing my Christmas songs is to bring a Santa for the children to see. In my image here you can see that I  have added a sleigh.

If you don’t want to do the activity, the children will still very much enjoy the song on the CD as it talks about Santa and toys.

Santa’s Dancing Around the Christmas Tree

This is simply a fun movement song for Christmastime. Children will love “dancing around the Christmas tree” with Santa! As a matter of fact young children love Christmas so much that this will make this song all the more fun!

As I do in all of my movement songs I start with clapping and gradually move to jumping.  I give little ones plenty of time to know what the movement they are supposed to be doing is.  I keep the movements simple enough so that very young children understand them. This is a very important component of movement songs for very young children.

This song is available on my CD, Santa’s on His Way that you can purchase through CD Baby or Amazon.  It is also available on Spotify, iTunes, YouTube, Google Play and many other favorite streaming sites.

One More Night ’til Christmas

Here is a song with all of Santa’s reindeer named.  This song is written and designed to teach young children the names of Santa’s reindeer.

Here’s what I recommend doing.  Assign nine different children a reindeer either in stuffed animal form or felt form or have nine children wear antlers and represent one of the nine different reindeer. Have a designated place for each child to go or to put their stuffed animal or felt reindeer as they hear the reindeer being named in the song. If you are concerned about including every child you could have a few double up per reindeer.

This activity works best for children who understand how to read or differentiate between each reindeer given to them. For year old children, kindergarten children and maybe older ones will understand it best.

Christmas Tree

I love this song on my album, Santa’s on His Way. This song is a favorite. It involves the simple activity of decorating the Christmas tree. As the children hear the items such as a stocking, star or bell, they simply put the item on the Christmas tree.

Teachers or parents, you can use a small Christmas tree for your child or children to decorate or you can create a felt tree for children to decorate and make the items to put on that tree. Gather the ornaments that we sing in the song or make them for your felt tree. This is a festive activity that little ones absolutely love. Little ones feel very involved in the process of decorating the Christmas tree and they also will have to listen to the cues on the song to invite them to add the ornament.

How Does Your Child Develop and Learn?

This issue came up in my music class today and I realized that this is something I need to write to all of you parents about. How can parents know when their young child is ready to start formally learning a new concept? What and how should I teach them things?

I have worked with children all of my life and I have raised two. I was educated to teach children and very early in my life I learned about this basic concept of cognitive development in children. It is fascinating to understand that children learn certain concepts when they are ready to learn them and not a day before. Have you ever noticed that all of a sudden in just one day your child started understanding how to hold his spoon or how to tie his shoes. She went from drawing scribbles to making circles. And then I noticed she started making faces.

One of the most important things to understand when you want to teach your toddler new concepts is to understand that very idea that they truly get it when they are ready. As a teacher of very young children I have learned to rely upon something that I used as a mother. That is exposure. In other words I would constantly expose my children to stories, pictures, shows or music about colors, numbers, counting, ABC’s, clapping, speech and conversation. Understand that your toddler is a little sponge who is constantly absorbing and learning as he watches, listens, feels, tastes and smells. His or her little body is constantly moving. One day he is sitting up and the next he is crawling. And notice that he does what some call the soldier crawl before he actually fully crawls. As a parent you know the joy of those first smiles and later giggles, those first coos and then later words. And have you noticed that every baby is developing at different times but very much in the same stages. Exposure to many concepts puts this information into a subconscious bank from which they will take to help them with new concepts. New experiences and different forms of media are of immense importance for your very young child.

When I was in college learning to be a teacher I studied about this man named Jean Piaget. Here is an article for you to read about his basic stages of human development. I will not bother to elaborate on the different stages here but you will see that he has divided human development into four basic stages. And yes within each one of these stages it has its own details and stages. As I have worked with very young children I am fascinated with their development and readiness to do new skills.

So how as a teacher and a parent do I use this knowledge when teaching my children. Most importantly is the idea of readiness. A child will not learn a concept until he or she is ready. I can tell it to him, show it to him, read it two her, act it out for her as many times as a want, but he or she will not learn that concept until he is cognitively ready. If I get frustrated or push too hard we all know that the child will also become frustrated. As a music teacher one of my most important goals has always been to make it fun! Parents, this is most important. Never push any concept before they are ready. This will create stress and rebellion. Work with the process and know just how to do that.

Always expose your child to the concepts you want them to learn. Put up pictures of the alphabet, numbers, colors, emotions in her room. Read to him everyday starting at a very young age. Talk to your child regularly. Communication is a huge piece in learning. Even if your child is not understanding your words he is absorbing them. Your child may not comprehend those stories or those pictures or songs but he is absorbing this information. One concept that drives me as a teacher of young children is that I believe in exposing these children to these concepts very early and simply having fun with them. My child will learn so much more quickly and energetically if he or she is having fun. When your little one is old enough play games with her. This is by far one of the best teaching tools out there for young children.

Relax. Your job is to expose and fill the subconscious bank. That isn’t that hard is it? Of course we teach concepts when they are ready and that is always more challenging, but when we are relaxed teaching and learning are fantastic. Most of what we do as parents of young children is to expose them to new things. In one way this is very simple. In another way this adds a huge sense of responsibility. So very often it is not just what we say, it is what we do and even more importantly who we are.

I could go on and on, but I will close with this statement. Fall in love with learning. If you enjoy learning and teaching these concepts, so will your child. Your child is a little sponge now. Fill him with all the good stuff and he will have a bank of information to use when he or she is cognitively prepared to use it in the next stage. And very importantly he will love to learn which is priceless.

Zipper Songs: My Kitty’s in My Bottom Dresser Drawer, Frogs in My Backyard

Young children love zipper songs. What are zipper songs? Zipper songs are songs that allow children to fill in the words to complete the song.

Young children love these songs because they are the ones who are adding the words. I can tell you from experience just how empowered this makes them feel. For this reason I have already written two zipper songs, Frogs in My Backyard and My Kitty’s in My Bottom Dresser Drawer.

When I recorded these songs I had already put the words in because the song would not be too interesting on the CD without the words. I added words that the children tend to use.

So how can you use these songs? You will need to sing them without the CD and ask the kids to fill in the blanks. For Frogs in My Backyard you will have to ask them what kind of foods do the frogs like to eat. They will love naming the foods. I usually tell them to think of food that they love to eat. The chords on this song are C, F, G, C for the verses and the very end. On the part that says, “They were eating ____________, they were eating ____________” you would use the chords F, C, G, C and then back to C, F, G, C for the end. You could play that on a ukulele, guitar or a piano or whatever instrument is accessible or you could sing it acapella.

My Kitty’s in my Bottom Dresser Drawer is totally a favorite. The children will tell you what the kitty leaves in the bottom dresser drawer. My chords are D, A, D, D, G, D, A, D and that repeats. If you play an instrument you will likely hear these.

My Kitty’s in My Bottom Dresser Drawer is on my CD, Clap Your Hands, and Frogs in My Backyard is on How Do You Walk Like a Dinosaur?


According to Gina Perry in the January 21, 2013 edition of the BBC news magazine, lullabies have been around for over 4,000 years. Bambi Turner in How It Works health article points out that lullabies have been proven to be far more effective than the spoken word. For me, writing lullabies has been my deepest and most personal expression in my songwriting. I have to step back to realize that I am truly at one with my genre or children’s music. Lullabies come to me as easily as a movement song that makes little ones jump up and down.

I have written over the course of six years 11 lullabies that I finally compiled on my CD, Say Goodnight. I must confess that my lullabies are the songs that I have written that I personally love the most and take the most pride in. Moms and Dads will love the very personal expressions of love between parent and child expressed in many of my songs. I have sung many of these lullabies to babies in my babies class and watched them relax, fall asleep, start to fuss as they fight sleep so I know they work. I encourage you to listen to my lullabies on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, YouTube, SoundCloud or a CD you decide to purchase. Add them to your sleep time play list. Look at my albums page to find the places they are available.

Meet My New Pippilo

I’m totally in love with this guy. I’ve been writing and singing about my Pippilo for almost five years now, but the last song I wrote demanded that my Pippilo join me in my act. I had to get him to stay on my shoulder in such a way that the children would be able to see him, and what I had was just not working. I had a link to a company that could make a stuffed animal to match a child’s drawing. This company, Budsies, was able to do the job, and how wonderful was the work they did!

After I received my Pippilo, I sewed Velcro on the bottom of him and now I attach him to the other part of the Velcro that is successfully stuck to a sturdy leather vest that I wear while I attach my Pippilo to me. I attached a hair elastic to his left hand so that I could attach his left hand to a pony tail that I have in my hair. Voila! He is successfully attached and sits perfectly on my right shoulder.

The children absolutely love being able to see this awesome little guy sitting on my shoulder. I have to personally thank Budsies for the wonderful work. Please check out my Pippilo songs on my CDs. I have written one song about the adventures of my Pippilo for each CD starting with Dance with Me. He is really a preschooler who gets in trouble doing things that preschoolers might be apt to do or does things that encourages the little ones to laugh. He is perfect for children who are four years old and older. And adults love him too!

Parents, Learn to Give Yourself a Break

I just read an article that said that being a mom is like working two and a half jobs! No wonder we are so tired. Being demanded upon by our children non stop is exhausting. We love them, but still fantasize about being alone and free. My children have gotten past that baby stage now, but my remembrance of the commitment and hard work that it involves is exactly one of the reasons I do exactly what I do.

I have watched many parents in the course of my job and very often have a combination of envy as I miss my babies being babies and sympathy as I truly remember how demanding and hard it was. How did I survive? That is the very question I just asked myself. And here are the answers that immediately came to me.

  1. Do something you love. I can’t say enough how important this is. So very often moms and dads make their children so much the center of their universe that they forget to take care of the things they themselves love. For me, my love was piano and music with my son and guitar with my daughter. Children will resist and push against you at times, but for the sake of your own sanity, do not give in. 90% of your life is very much wrapped up in them as it should be. Children often resent anything else taking your interest (such as a phone call) instead of them. I found that my children learned to respect me far more when I knew how to respect myself enough to do those things for myself that I needed to do.
  2. Maintain Clear and Consistent Boundaries. Children are much happier and are much easier to enjoy when they know what their boundaries are and they have learned to respect them. Do you realize that children feel safer when they have boundaries? Did you know that knowing what to expect instead of constantly being unsure of what is going on feels so much more pleasant? Many parents don’t realize that children actually respect us so much more when we create those safe boundaries. They see that we totally respect ourselves enough to create these boundaries, that we know how to establish order and that we care enough about them to create these rules that keep their world safe and peaceful. This takes seemingly a little more work, but in reality it is far less stressful to plan ahead then to constantly be putting out fires that are always coming up. That is far more stressful. Just as we plan our own personal schedules and spending, plan our children’s schedules and activities.
  3. Take physical breaks away from your children. This may be difficult for some parents as it is not always easy to find that other person to help watch your children for a couple of hours while you take a much needed break away from the constant demand of their presence. This was the hardest one for me to do as my parents were a thousand miles away and my husband was not that father who knew how to take over and watch little ones. When he was better with my daughter I can remember learning to take those breaks and how good it felt. Find friends who are willing to trade off times occasionally so that sometimes you can take the break while they watch your child and then you trade the favor and watch their children while they take that break. If your parents are available this is ideal. I envy anyone who is blessed to have this circumstance.
  4. Encourage naps and regular bedtimes. This is one of those organizational disciplines that seems hard but makes you and your child both so much happier. Your child will be so much happier when he or she gets the rest he needs and when he or she knows exactly what the routine is. As I said earlier, this makes children feel safer and it gives them much more respect for you that you are indeed the person in control who knows what you are doing. When your child sleeps, you can rest and this means that you are also benefiting,
  5. Get involved in other children’s groups with other parents of children the same age as yours. This is what I do. I am the lady who leads the group for parents to get together with their children. This is wonderful as parents are finding adult conversation. Parents of the same age children are all able to share stories and advice as you are all in the same situation. Your children will learn so much by socializing with other children, and as I always say, they will learn more about socializing by watching you socialize. This is a win win!

Ten Little Pigs in a Pen

This is a song that teaches little ones how to count, how to subtract, how to take turns, how to listen to directions and how to listen to the words and instructions in a song being sung to them. That is a lot of things isn’t it? Yet the song is so simple.

You will see from my photo that I was lucky enough to find a lot of little pigs for a very good price. I have them in a little crate or a pen. That pen sitting on my table for a week is what inspired me to write this song. I just had to figure out what I was going to put in this pen, and when I found these cute little pigs I knew.

I wrote this song in a very soothing lullaby style which allows the children to relax, slow down and listen as I am singing. This was quite different from my normally very energetic songs. I instruct the children to listen to the part in the song where I say, “one ran away” before they can remove a little pig. One child at a time passes the crate around until all of the pigs are gone.

I used the number ten for the song. I can personally sing any number when I do it live with the children. There are other ways to illustrate and interact. You could create a felt activity where the children one at a time come up to remove a little pig.

This song is on my CD, How Do You Walk Like a Dinosaur? and on my lullaby CD as well. With the little stuffed pigs the little ones adore this activity. This is a great counting activity for little ones.