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Play Time Guest Post: Eight Fun and Frugal Ways to Bring Music Home

The benefits of early music education have long been touted, but signing up for mommy and me music appreciation groups or finding instructors to teach private lessons can cost a lot. Fortunately, there are multiple ways to provide your kids with exposure to music at home and on a budget, from crafting your own instruments to taking online music classes. Here are some easy but effective ways to give your children experience with music which can positively aid their growth and development.

1. Sing and Dance

While it might feel a little foolish as an adult, engage in singing and dancing time with your children. Put on some fun music and get goofy. Most little ones already love dancing and singing along. Join them and encourage this free method of participating in music and art.

2. Instrument Craft Time

For creative and crafty families, try making your own instruments from recycled materials around the house. Paper towel roles and empty tins and paint cans can quickly be decorated and transformed into a drum set. Without any mess, musical glasses can be simply set up with different amounts of water in each. For more ambitious creators, cardboard guitars or rubber band harps can be devised.

3. Play With Percussion

Once you have made a band of recycled instruments, spend some time playing them. Though clapping along with a song sounds simple, it is often a skill which you can impart to your children as you show them how to follow the rhythm and come in on the beat. And if your cardboard and paint cans don’t hold up, it might be a good idea to invest in a set of toy percussion instruments such as a tambourine or set of maracas.

4.  Hear Live Music

Most children will sit spellbound by live music as they watch the musicians’ movements and hear the loud full sound. While a night at the symphony might sound expensive, many colleges present free or less expensive musical programs and even professional symphonies often host children’s concerts.

5. Learn at the Local Library

Your community library most likely hosts weekly musical programs geared for an audience of young children. This is a wonderful, free way to connect with other kids and moms in your area while enjoying live music and stories.

6. Read About Classical Composers

While you’re at your library, pick up a few books on Mozart or Handel. The children’s section boasts tons of material on famous composers as well as recordings of all types of music. Many recordings also blend story with song such as “Peter and the Wolf,” a story narrated with the help of the symphony.

7. Write Your Own Songs

One blogging mother cleverly suggests taking a simple children’s song such as “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and asking your “children to parody this tune” with their own lyrics. This is a fun and simple way to give your children a chance to compose their own words into songs.

8. Begin Music Theory

One final tip is introducing your children to music theory as they mature. While it might sound complicated and scary at first, many sheet music companies publish beginning music theory courses. Purchasing an elementary workbook can introduce your children to some of the more technical aspects of music and open up a subject which they may later choose to pursue.

With these fun yet affordable ideas, you and your family are set to enjoy the wonder of music without spending an uncomfortable sum.

Guest Post author Abby Evans is a freelance journalist and mom currently reviewing health options for her family.  
Thanks for sharing your tips, Abby.  We love to listen to Pandora and dance, and Jed plays the guitar for the kids.  The Bear loves playing with our keyboard as well as turning anything and everything into a percussion instrument.  How do you bring music into your home?

20 Ideas for Summer Fun with Preschool Kids

20 Ideas for Summer Fun with Preschool KidsSummer is here and we are ready to play! Are you looking for fresh ideas to keep your little ones entertained this summer? Here are 20 ideas for summer fun with preschool kids to help you have fun with your family during the hot months ahead. Need ideas for your toddler? You’ll find five fun ideas to entertain your toddler this summer here. I’ve joined with my favorite kid bloggers to share our favorite summer ideas for kids and families, so be sure to hop around to the links at the bottom of this post.


Preschool Fun: Painting and Lacing Hearts

Preschool Valentine's Day Fun Painting and Lacing HeartsToday I’m sharing a fun activity that pairs art, creative play, and fine motor skill practice for your preschooler. We painted cardstock hearts and then practiced lacing with yarn. The kids had a blast and were so proud of their finished hearts. Be sure to check out all the other Creative Valentine’s Day Activities for Kids from my friends in the Kid Blogger Network at the bottom of this post.


10 Gifts for a Christ Centered Christmas with Your Kids

10 Gifts for a Christ Centered Christmas with Your KidsEvery year it is the same struggle. Will I let the busyness of the season overwhelm me or will I focus on the real gift of Christmas – the birth of Christ? Gift giving can me stressful and expensive, and as I watch my kids’ wish lists expand as quickly as my own I worry that we are drowning the joy of Christmas with our wants and desires. Gift giving is an important part of how we celebrate the holiday, so today I’m sharing ten gift ideas to help your family have a Christ centered Christmas. As a bonus, the generous folks at Zonderkidz are giving away five of the books I’m featuring to one lucky reader. Read on find out more, enter the giveaway, and then hop over here to find 75+ Gift Guides and Holiday Ideas for Kids from my favorite Kid Blogger Network friends.


Fall Green Scene Mom Awards Giveaway ~ Win the Best in Eco-Friendly Baby Gear

Once again we’ve partnered with the folks at Green Scene Mom to bring you an awesome giveaway featuring the best in eco-friendly baby gear. Check out this season’s award winners below and enter to win them for your family. We are very excited to help announce the 2015 Fall Green Scene Mom Award Winners, celebrating Eco-friendly product design and creative innovation, and bring you an awesome giveaway featuring some of the award-winning products.




A Thank You Letter to the Teachers Who Made a Difference in My Life

dear teacher big

Most of have at least one, that teacher we remember who cared about us, challenged us, brought out the best in us, that made a difference. I was lucky enough to have many such educators in my school years, and today I’m joining a group of bloggers to take the time to say thank you. I has been 18 years since I graduated from high school, and yet the memories of my school years are still vivid. Good times and bad, my worst moments as well as a few great ones, the school years shape us and give us a foundation for the future. During this Teacher Appreciation Week, take a minute to thank a teacher. Thank one who made a difference in your life or the life of your child. Teachers work hard and get paid little to mold young minds, and the demands on them increase year after year. I want to thank the teachers who made a difference in my life.


Clean Mud Bubble Dough – The Easiest Sensory Dough Ever

Making Clean Mud Bubble Dough with Kids - The Easiest Sensory Dough  Ever

We love to play outside, but sometimes need fresh ideas to get the kids engaged. They’ve been really in to bubbles lately, so after making a DIY bubble solution with dish soap and water I was inspired to try a new twist on clean mud dough. Play dough of all kinds is so much fun and give kids a great sensory experience, but making it yourself can be a challenge. This recipe for clean mud bubble dough is pretty much the easiest sensory dough ever and creates clean bubbly fun for your kids. It takes only 3 ingredients and about 5 minutes, plus the clean up is super simple as well. Ready to have some bubble dough fun?


My Best Cloth Diaper Advice After 4 Years in the Trenches

After four years in the trenches I'ms haring my Best Cloth Diaper Advice and what I'd do differently.My oldest child is about to turn 4, and his birthday always makes me reflect on all I’ve learned in these few short years of motherhood. One of my favorite parenting decisions we made was the choice to use cloth diapers. We have saved thousands of dollars using cloth diapers for our kids, and have kept tons of waste out of landfills. Besides the obvious economic and environment benefits, cloth diapers are super cute and great for my babies’ sensitive skin. Today I’m sharing my best cloth diapering advice after 4 hard fought years in the trenches so you can learn from my mistakes.


What is Natural Childbirth Really Like? A Mom’s Perspective

The two most common reactions I get when I share that I had an all natural birth with my daughter are, “Why would you choose NOT to have pain medicine?” and “That’s cool, but I could never do that.” As her birthday draws near, I’m reflecting on the choices I made surrounding her birth and the beautiful experience it was. I’ve only birthed two children, but because of the choices I made each time I’ve experienced both a very clinical, controlled, medicated birth and an all natural, no medication, no intervention birth. Spoiler alert: the all natural birth was by far my favorite for many reasons. Because of these experiences, today I’m sharing what all natural birth was like for me and why I preferred it to the medicated version. No two births are alike, and you have the right to choose what is best for your body and your baby. I’m just a mom sharing my experiences.

What is Natural Childbirth Really Like A Mom's Perspective


Easy Ways to Green Your Home

Easy Ways to Green Your Home

Creating an environmentally friendly home can seem like a daunting task. There is always something more we can do to decrease our home’s footprint and lower our damage to the environment. How do we start down the path to green living without being intimidated by all that needs changing? At our house, we make one simple change at a time. Today I’m sharing a few simple and easy ways you can start to green your home in honor of Earth Month. Join in the conversation in the comments section or on my Facebook page here.