Joy School: Music & Cooking (Month 1: Dynamics)

Early this year, some mom friends and I decided to start a little joy school, or a coop toddler preschool class, once a week.  We all had kids of similar ages, and we planned to each teach one week a month.  There are four of us, so we reserved any 5th weeks for field trips.
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I’ve enjoyed it more than I ever expected.  The kids love it, and it’s been so fun coming up with themes and activities.  We decided to each focus on a particular area of interest.  I chose music & cooking, both of which I love.

I found it really difficult, though, to find any sort of lesson plan or ideas or themes, especially (surprisingly) for music.  While there are tons of music games for slightly older kids, it was tricky finding ideas for younger ones.  Moreover, most of them just revolved around singing songs and doing music games, without teaching concepts.  While I’m obviously not teaching anything complex (I mean, most of them are only two years old), I did want to have a learning aspect to it beyond just learning words and tunes.

Now that I have several different lessons under my belt, I thought I’d share them here.

For the first week, I went with the theme of “Dynamics.”  I thought it would be fun for the kids to learn about loud and soft, and changing between the two.  Plus, any opportunity to make noise was sure to be a hit.

Craft: While some of the other moms do the lesson first, I usually end up doing the craft first since we’re often making some type of “instrument” that we can use during the lesson.  This time, the kids decorated some brown paper bags with markers/crayons/stickers and I poured some unpopped popcorn kernels in each bag.

Lesson: After circle time (welcome song, songs with quiet hand movements, weather song), I taught a little lesson explaining about loud and soft.  I turned on my iPod and played some loud music and some soft music, and had them identify it.  I did the same thing by playing some songs on my violin to change things up, which they loved.  I let the kids use their bags of popcorn to participate – they could shake them loudly or softly along with the music or for other games.  We also read one book at the end of lesson time, this one about loud & soft animals.

Cooking/Snack: For cooking time, we popped the popcorn from their bags (I was lazy and didn’t want to pop each bag so I combined the kernels into one bag, folded it a few times, and popped up the corn).  The kids liked to hear it popping and would tell me when the popping was getting louder and softer.  We also sliced up some cheese into little sticks and sliced some bananas, and made musical note shapes out of them.

Exercise/Dancing: We kept it pretty simple this time with just some loud/soft iPod music dancing.  We like to do some stretches and make shapes out of our bodies.  We’ll sing some louder songs with more movement like Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes as wells 5 Little Speckled Frogs (the kids love all piling on the couch and jumping off one by one through the song).  We finished off with a final circle time and book reading.

Linking up with the winthrop chronicles

2 Responses

  • that is such a neat idea ! …my littlest girl starts preschool today at public school but she never attended play group school or day care, I did similar things instead…it worked out great for us.

  • I participated in a co op preschool for a year and a half and had a great experience. Now I am letting my 4 yr old go to a private pre-k 3 days a week and then have mommy preschool with my 2 yr old the other two days. I like to do actual lesson plans to help hold myself accountable and so I can actually remember what I have planned. I will probably use this next month! Thanks for posting.

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