Lazy Hazy Crazy Days

The old-time melody “Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer” evokes images of small town festivals, parades, popsicles, watermelon, and corn on the cob. It reminds us of our childhoods spent running through sprinklers and playing night games with the neighbor kids.

The summers of childhood have changed dramatically in the last generation. More and more children today spend their summers addicted to screens and computer games. We find ourselves over-scheduled with work, finding child care alternatives, summer camps, vacations, reunions, festivals, barbecues, and more. It’s easy to let the extra activities of summer overwhelm us and make us yearn for the predictable schedule of the school year. Some schools are already back in session!

Now our long summer days are shortening incrementally with every sunset. The oppressive heat is starting to abate ever so slightly. The back to school supplies hit the stores weeks ago. Our joy-packed Summermusik camps and classes have wrapped up. Many of us have spent our summer rushing from one activity to the next.

And while we may be looking forward to routines and cooler temperatures, we still have a little time to indulge our senses and renew our minds. Perhaps we can channel Mr. Nat King Cole’s memorable lyrics and eek a bit more summer out of the next couple of weeks.

So go out into your backyard with fresh eyes. Hunt for the nectar gathering bees. Take your little one by the hand and run through the sprinkler. Take your shoes off and let the sensory input of the dirt, sand, and grass ground you. 

Our Fall classes will be here before you know it. Reserve your spot (in one of our TWO locations) and rest easy in the final days of the season. Find a moment to breathe it all in, and love it all out.

Thank you for spending part of your summer with us. We loved every minute of it.

Fair and Fun and Skipping Free

“And when we grow up, do you think we’ll see, that I’m still like you, and you’re still like me? I might be pretty, you might grow tall, but we don’t have to change at all.”

No, I didn’t have to play my record of Free to Be . . . You and Me on a gramophone, but I did wear grooves on the LP (I’m pretty sure my kids are unclear on the differences). And when I was in first grade, after I was already familiar with the album, I got to participate in our school production of the show. There are of course several parts that stand out for me, now some 35 years later. But the memory that makes for the best storytelling is that J.D. (the 6th grader on whom I had a crush) was in the same number as I was (well, along with a dozen other school kids). I’d like to think he played Christopher John to my Agatha Fry, but that would just be embellishing things. Nevertheless, as cell phones hadn’t yet been discovered (thus, nobody kept a camera with them at all times) and film was valued, the one and only picture with which I have to remember my first love comes from this stage production. Le sigh.

Have you noticed the posters around the studio?

Free_to_Be..._You_and_Me_(album_cover)I was so excited to see that Song of the Heart studio is doing a musical theater camp for one of its Summermuisk offerings! Hooray!  Yet another generation of children will learn to treasure Marlo Thomas’ gift as I do.   (Well, maybe only if there are cute boys in the play, too.)  It runs from July 27-August 8 (just right about the time that summer has lost its newness), and anyone from 6-12 can join–no audition necessary!  Register here: Free to Be. . . You and Me Musical Theater Camp

Like any other mom, when my kids were born I became eager to introduce them to the songs and stories of my own childhood. Free to Be. . . You and Me had been pushed aside for R.E.M. and the B-52’s in my teenage years, but it was one of my first CD acquisitions as a new mom. By then, Thomas had done a follow-up about families, too. So I got to give my kids a double dose of memories (love, love, love hearing Christopher Reeve narrate the story of Superman’s adoption).

But as a parent, listening to these songs and stories gave me a whole new love for what Ms. Thomas produced back in the early 70’s. If there is anything I want for my kids, it is that they be who they want to be. My journey as a mom has not been without its pitfalls. And my education as a parent certainly is far from complete. Nevertheless, I have learned to appreciate that it is our imperfections that make us beautiful. I have learned the most about this unconditional love by following my kids’ leads, and by loving myself as much as I love them. Everything about Free to Be. . . You and Me reinforces this message.

For instance:

“There are a lot of things, a lot of mommies, and a lot of daddies, and a lot of parents can do. . .”

 “It’s alright to cry. Crying takes the sad out of you.”

 

A person should wear what he wants to, and not just what other folks say. A person should do what she likes to, a person’s a person that way. (I found this especially helpful advice to bear in mind when my youngest wore the Dorothy costume every day to preschool for a month.)

“Of course you (are mixed up). Why should you be any different from anybody else? Most people spend their lives trying to get un-mixed up.”

“Glad to have a friend like you. And glad to just be me.”

Making the Most of Summer Camp, Part 4

Kindermusik Summer Camp Extension Ideas

Ahhh. . . summer.  I’ve actually had some slow afternoons.  It’s been lovely.

Kindermusik summer camps have started, of course, and the kids are having so much fun.  Today I’m back for my last installment, giving you ideas of how to extend summer camp into additional themed learning.  I present: Pirates!  (Check out our previous installments here: 1, 2 and 3)

Peter Pan would be a great place to start.  Depending on the age span of the kids in your family, there are many ways to get at the Peter Pan story.  Older children would enjoy a Peter and the Starcatchers read along, or even reading the original Peter Pan story.  If not, the Disney movie version is classic.  You might also consider Hook or Finding Neverland.  And for a quick respite from the outdoor heat, Jake and the Neverland Pirates is a hit at my house.

Other great stories include How I Became a Pirate and Pirates Don’t Change Diapers, and if your kids are Muppet fans, there’s Muppet Treasure Island, for a non-Peter Pan-themed flick.

Go for a neighborhood stroll, and have the kids walk a plank every chance they get (curbs make for great planks).  Feeling extra adventurous?  Send (or go with) the kids on a neighborhood treasure hunt in the neighborhood.  There’s a simple scavenger hunt here.  And then you can come back home for some pirate booty! (Popsicles are easy—but you could pick up some Rolos or chocolate coins at the grocery store if you want to go that route).

Teach the kids how to use binoculars.  OutsideMom.com has some great tutorials and ideas here.  Not a telescope, but perhaps a little more accessible.  Of course, if you have a telescope, it would be fun to take it out and do some similar activities.

Finally, dig out all your dress-up jewelry, bandanas and pretend swords and let your kids’ imaginations take over.

Summer fun from Kindermusik Camp!

I promised in the last blog post that I’d put together a list of activities that you might consider using in conjunction with our Kindermusik summer camp programs. Just remember—these are simply ideas to get the juices flowing, not a list to look at on the fridge as a reminder that you’re not a good enough mom if you’re not doing any of it. And, if you’re not coming to camp, (we’ll miss you!) there are lots of great ideas for Summer family fun anyway.  Enjoy!

Splash:
• Go swimming (of course)
• Run through the sprinklers (Remember how much fun you used to have, even before the invention of the Wham-O Slip ‘N Slide Triple Racer? It can be the good, old-fashioned Rainbird sprinkler, it doesn’t really matter to your kids)
• Go to one of the city’s fountains—check out The Gateway Mall; City Creek (water shows run at least every hour on the hour, perhaps more often); and the new Mountain View Park (at 1651 E. Fort Union Blvd.)
• Enjoy a popsicle
• Watch “Finding Nemo” as a family

Up in the Sky:
• Visit the birds at Tracy Aviary
• Attend Sandy City’s Hot Air Balloon Festival (BONUS: it is held August 9-11, which nicely corresponds with the August summer camp)
• Create a rainbow—use paints, crayons or clay—you could even do some fun mixing experiments with colored water
• Learn about rain cloud with this cool (and simple!) cloud demonstration
• Watch “Up.”

Busy Days: The obvious answer here is to go to each of the places we visit during class (the store, the park, to a family gathering). However, you might add a Becky Bailey I Love You Ritual to each of them (as well as include the songs you sing in class while you’re there—YES! I mean sing a song as you’re waiting in line at the grocery store. The person who most deserves your connection is your child—don’t let any embarrassment in front of strangers-who-you’ll-never-see-again dictate if you make a connection with your child or not).
A ritual to consider: Story Hand
Tell the child, “It is story time.” The child will probably think you are going to read a book, but instead, take her hand. Starting with the pinky finger, give this finger a nice massage and say, “This little finger wanted to learn how to ride a two-wheel bicycle.” (The story you will use will be telling will be based on your child’s life. I am using the success story of learning to ride a two-wheeler as an example.) [Or, use something from camp—pick out bananas to buy/play with cousins/feed the ducks] Go to the next finger and give it a nice massage, saying “This finger was a little scared she [or he] may fall off.” Continue to the next finger, saying “But this finger said, ‘I can do it. I just know I can.’” At the index finger, continue with the story by saying, “So I decided to try and try again.” Finally, come to the thumb and with excitement have the thumb say, “Did she [or he] do it? Did she [or he] do it?” Then tuck the thumb into the palm of the child’s hand and say, “No problem. All the fingers knew she [or he] would do it all the time.” –pg. 165, I Love You Rituals, Becky Bailey, Ph.D.

Peek-A-Boo: Ready for more I Love You rituals? That’s the whole theme of this camp! Things you could do to amplify this camp would be to (as mentioned earlier), employ the rituals you learn in class to as many of your daily activities as possible (play peek-a-boo when helping your child get dressed, for instance). Here are some additional thoughts about the importance of these rituals from Becky Bailey:
“Remember your purpose. The goal of the activities is to join with our children. These rituals allow us to rejoice in togetherness, experience each other’s beauty, and delight in the expression of love that we all are. They are not about having your children learn their body parts or which way is up or down. Learning these things are valuable subgoals, but the ultimate goal is to connect. Relax, have fun, giggle, sing, just be yourself—begin to trust that all is well.
“Be fully present with your children.. . .
“Be in the moment. Simply stated, your mind must be clear of clutter. . .
“See yourself and the child as complete, good enough, and totally deserving of this precious interaction.” (p. 39)

Sing-A-Story:
• Share the classic Bugs Bunny cartoon “The Rabbit of Seville” with your kids (what did we ever do before Youtube?). (By the way, the clip I’ve linked to is incomplete and child-friendly. However, a user whose user name includes some not-for-kids profanity posted the only entire episode I could find—so it’s there, but search at your own discretion).
• Read Magic Treehouse #41: Moonlight on the Magic Flute together
• Invite the kids to put on a puppet show, re-writing lyrics to favorite songs in order to create a story (maybe re-working your favorite classic children’s tale, such as “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.”)
• Find as many sing-a-story picture books as you can at the library—consider: I Know an Old Lady, The Lady with the Alligator Purse, or How Much is That Doggie in the Window

Jumping Beans:
• Choose a night for Latin American food. Maybe enchiladas from Mexico, an asado from Argentina/Uruguay (just throwing some meat on the grill will do!), or a simple Chilean salad.
• Make a Quetzal Bird or a Day of the Dead mask
Color some flags of Latin American countries
• Learn some Spanish
• Play “Identify which instruments do you hear” when you’re listening to songs in the car.

Prince and Princess:
• Build a castle out of your favorite building toy (or find some supplies around the house—toilet paper rolls for turrets, ribbons for flags—maybe even with marshmallows and toothpicks!);
• Create a shield or sword or magic wand with poster boar
So many books to choose from
• Get the neighbor kids together and create an obstacle course, with all the boys and girls getting “knighted” upon successful completion
• Watch The Princess and the Frog (because apart from being the one with the best music, Tiana rocks).

Sound fun? Anything you’d like to add? Tell us in the comments. Maybe you could even get together with the other families in your Kindermusik camp and plan a playdate outside of the Kindermusik studio!