Tot School: Xylophone And Music Theme

by Melanie on January 29, 2014

27 Months Old

Music Activities Guest

That red instrument you see with the colorful keys in the picture above… did you know that is not a xylophone? I didn’t either until I learned it in one of our music books this week! The rainbow-colored instrument is called a glockenspiel. 

The one on the right side of the picture (where he’s pointing his finger) is a xylophone. The keys of a glockenspiel are made of metal whereas the keys of a xylophone are made of wood. Even us grown-ups learn so much in tot school!

If you know my son at all, you know that he breathes, eats, and sleeps music. Literally. He is constantly breathing tunes and making up lyrics, drumming on the table during mealtime, and strumming on his plush electric guitar in his sleep. Music is this boy’s ultimate passion.

I’ve been looking forward to our Xx theme, knowing how much he’d love a schoolroom designed completely around xylophones and other musical instruments. I love that he loves music so much because the degree to which music builds the toddler brain is phenomenal. Music is scientific and mathematical, yet at the same time creative and artistic. It is cultural, historical, and a language of its own.

And our music theme was every bit as successful as I’d imagined it would be!

Letter: Xx

Object: Xylophone

Vocabulary Development Theme: Music & Musical Instruments


 

Xylophone & Music Theme Tot Trays

 

Music Theme Tot Trays

From left to right, top to bottom: 1. Guitar Picks & Bells Sorting, 2. Bafflers Puzzles, 3. Making A Marble Shaker, 4. Lacing Xylophone, 5. Letter Xx Printables, 6. Cutting, & 7. Xylophone Vs. Glockenspiel Activity- Wood & Metal Sorting

These trays were designed to expose the following skills:

  1. Guitar Picks & Bells Sorting (sorting/fine motor skills)
  2. Bafflers Puzzles (stacking/open-ended play)
  3. Making A Marble Shaker (spooning/open-ended play)
  4. Lacing Xylophone (stringing)
  5. Letter Xx Printables (Xx recognition/vocabulary exposure/using writing utensils)
  6. Cutting (cutting/fine motor skills)
  7. Xylophone Vs. Glockenspiel- Wood & Metal Sorting (sorting/creative play)

Since I mentioned in the intro what we learned about xylophones and glockenspiels, I’m going to start by talking about our tray activity that was designed to expose this difference. The Xylophone Vs. Glockenspiel- Wood & Metal Sorting tray was composed of a large bowl filled with random items around the house- some made out of metal and some made out of wood.

To complete the activity, I put a xylophone on one side, a glockenspiel on the other, and it was Rocket’s job to sort the items based on what materials they were made of. Metal items went on the side with the glockenspiel and wooden items went on  the side with the xylophone.

Music Activities Guest

Rocket started the activity by playing a little tune on both instruments to hear how metal keys sound compared to wooden keys.

Music Activities Guest

As he pulled out a wooden egg shaker, he played it together with its coordinating instrument- the xylophone.

Music Activities Guest

He did the same with the wooden kazoo.

Music Activities Guest

There was a lot of music making during this activity!

Music Activities Guest

This instrument had both wood and metal components, so we made a new category for both.

Music Activities Guest

Examining the metal pencil case.

Music Activities Guest

Playing the metal triangle before putting it in the right category.

Music Activities Guest

Ding! Ding! Ding!

Music Activities Guest

Tossing the stick on the wood side.

Music Activities Guest

He pretended this fork was a guitar before putting it with the other metal items.

Music Activities Guest

The pencil was a tricky one- mostly wood, but Rocket notice a metal band around the eraser, so he put it in the “Both” category!

Music Activities Guest

Remember this house from last week’s window & house theme? Well, I kept it in the schoolroom and when Rocket came across the metal key in the Xylophone Vs. Glockenspiel activity, he decided to go open the door with it!

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Checking out his door hinges with the key in hand.

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Pointing out the triangular window!

Music Activities Guest

I really wanted to include these pictures to show that tot school is ALWAYS flexible in our home. We may start with a tray activity, but if Rocket associates some part of that activity with something different, I encourage his creative mind to explore the “something different” (within limits). Some of the most fun we have in tot school are ideas that HE comes up with, not me. By following the child’s lead, we teach our little ones to think outside the box in creative ways. Some loose structure is always set up to expose Rocket to guided options, but the choice of what interests him is ultimately his. This is a Montessori style of teaching and I believe young children learn best this way, as their unique ideas are not stifled, but rather positively reinforced. This creates confident and free-thinking children who do not feel anxious about exploring the world.

The Baffles Puzzles tray featured puzzles that Rocket had received from his grandparents for his birthday. The set has encased maze puzzles with a metal ball inside each one. The actual mazes are too advanced for Rocket at the moment, but he loves to stack them on top of each other. And I thought they were fitting for our music theme because when shaken, they become percussion instruments!

Music Theme Tot Trays

Stacking the puzzles.

Music Theme Tot Trays

The round puzzles take even more hand control and balance to stack, building on his fine motor skills.

The Lacing Xylophone tray included a hole-punched lacing printable from 1+1+1=1  and a black shoestring.

Music Theme Tot Trays

It had been a while since I introduced one of these printable lacing activities to Rocket. He worked on it a little bit, but is still mostly uninterested at this point.

I found a tube-shaped container with a lid and decided to use it with a bag of marbles for a Making A Marble Shaker tray. Scooping and spooning as focal skills for trays are not new to us, but to tie this one together with our theme, the object was to fill the tube, close the lid, and make a shaker!

Music Theme Tot Trays

Scooping up marbles with the measuring spoon.

Music Theme Tot Trays

Filling the tube with marbles.

Music Theme Tot Trays

He was being silly and sticking his measuring spoon into the tube!

Music Theme Tot Trays

Adding some more marbles with his fingers.

Music Theme Tot Trays

Shaking it!

I was using scissors last week to cut out some materials for a baby scrapbook I’m making. Rocket saw me and requested to use scissors himself. I threw together this Cutting tray with his safety scissors and some scrap paper.

Music Theme Tot Trays

He’s gotten pretty good at cutting by himself!

Music Theme Tot Trays

This guy is definitely a righty.

Music Theme Tot Trays

Concentrated on cutting.

I’m glad we did a Letter Xx Printables tray for the music theme. He LOVED it! I’ve mentioned that recently, he hasn’t been extremely interested in printables. But that all changed as soon as he saw instruments on them! Thank you, Carissa of 1+1+1=1 for these wonderful free teaching tools.

Music Theme Tot Trays

Working on number recognition.

Music Theme Tot Trays

Coloring with the yellow marker on his numbers sheet.

Music Theme Tot Trays

I put these printables in sheet protectors and gave him dry-erase markers. This way, they can be used over and over again.

Music Theme Tot Trays

Finding and coloring each letter X.

Music Theme Tot Trays

Showing me how well he knows his shapes.

Music Theme Tot Trays

As I asked him where the shapes were, he colored each one.

Music Theme Tot Trays

We erased the sheet and did it again, this time with him naming off to me the shapes as he colored them.

Music Theme Tot Trays

Using the colors sheet to work on colors.

Music Theme Tot Trays

Coloring.

I think the Guitar Picks & Bells Sorting tray might have been his favorite one for this theme. It involved guitar picks, so no wonder! I cut a container’s lid with two shapes- one slot to fit the guitar picks and a larger circle to fit the bells. In addition to the container, there was a bowl mixed with bells and guitar picks for him to sort in the correct slots.

Music Theme Tot Trays

When cutting the shapes, I made sure that the guitar picks did not fit in the circle and that the bells did not fit in the slot. This way, he had to sort them correctly by shape.

Music Theme Tot Trays

He greatly enjoyed this activity!

Music Theme Tot Trays

He had to turn the guitar picks in a vertical position to make them go in.

Music Theme Tot Trays

The bells made a fun jingle noise as they dropped.

Music Theme Tot Trays

After he was done, he pulled everything out to try again.

Music Theme Tot Trays

Laying the objects on the tray.

Music Theme Tot Trays

Taking more objects out of the container.

 

  Music Theme Sensory Tub

 

Music Theme Sensory Tub

Sensory Tub Filler Material:

  • Beans, Beans, Beans!

Sensory Tub Featured Items:

  • None – The focus of this sensory tub was to create shakers.

Sensory Tub Exploratory Tools:

  • Spoons & Scoops
  • Various Containers – Metal, Plastic, & Glass

The concept of this sensory tub was a little different from our usual. For our music theme, I set up several different types of containers with lids and allowed Rocket to fill them up and close them to make all kinds of different shakers. This sensory tub was a big hit and perfect for our music theme!

Music Theme Sensory Tub

Filling up a tiny plastic container with beans.

Music Theme Sensory Tub

And now, the largest container!

Music Theme Sensory Tub

Trying to decide which container needs more beans.

Music Theme Sensory Tub

He also used some of the smaller containers to scoop beans into some of the larger ones.

Music Theme Sensory Tub

He made a special request for a tube, so I took this orange one out of our tot school supplies.

Music Theme Sensory Tub

Pouring beans into a container using the tube.

When he was done filling them up, we put the lids on and shook the containers to make different sounds. He played with this sensory tub over and over again throughout our music theme!

 

Tot School Toys

 

Our big ol’ box of musical instruments was out in the schoolroom all week long. He had free range to play with them and we did- often!

Music Theme Other Toys

Over time, we’ve gathered quite a collection of child-friendly musical instruments.

Music Theme Other Toys

“Tuning” his lap harp.

 

Xylophone And Music Books & Current Reading List

 

Music Books

Rocket already has several favorite music books, but I decided to take them ALL off the shelf this week and get completely new ones. I’m glad I did!

I was having the hardest time finding books for our theme at the library, so I asked him to help me find any books about music. I couldn’t believe it when he brought me book after book about music. I followed him and what do you know? He stumbled right upon the kids’ music section! This child is a magnet to anything and everything music.

His absolute favorites this week were a series by Angela Aylemore which he had found at the library himself: Banging, Shaking, and Blowing. These were daily reads! I have included links below to the other books that he absolutely adored for our music theme.

Music Books

Reading the Blowing book with a wind instrument in hand!

Xylophone & Music Books:

      1. My Octopus Arms by Keith Baker
      2. The Cardboard Piano by Lynn Rae Perkins
      3. Yo, Jo! by Rachel Isadora
      4. I’m Good At Making Music by Eileen M. Day
      5. Banging by Angela Aylemore
      6. Shaking by Angela Aylemore
      7. Blowing by Angela Aylemore
      8. The First Music by Dylan Pritchett
      9. Sleepsong by George Ella Lyon
      10. Soon Baboon Soon by Dave Horrowitz
      11. Music: An A-Z Guide by Nicola Barber

 

Music Craft

 

Music Craft

To celebrate music, Rocket decorated a music note for our craft. My husband also used sheet music to define the different notes and musical symbols for him. He was eager to learn!

The invitation was set up like this:

Music Craft

I cut out a music note freehand and set a container full of chalk beside it for him to use for coloring. I think this was our first craft project using chalk.

Music Craft

He started with the blue chalk.

Music Craft

And from there, added some white.

Music Craft

He then requested white paint. How could I say no?

Music Craft

Painting the different parts of the music note with white paint.

Music Craft

Mixing the white paint up in the dish.

Music Craft

Deep in concentration mode!

Music Craft

He had an itch to paint his cardboard house with the white paint as well! I was more than happy to let him.

Music Craft

Painting around the window.

 

Music Activities & Other Fun Things

 

1. Instrument Sorting.

Since we have so many instruments and Rocket is so into our new library finds by Angela Aylemore, it only made sense to use her books to sort the instruments in our music box.

The invitation was set up like this:

Music Activities Guest

Instrument Sorting Activity

Music Activities Guest

As he pulled each instrument out of the box, he played it before deciding where it went!

Music Activities Guest

Putting the tambourine with the Shaking book.

Music Activities Guest

His electronic drums went with the Banging book.

Music Activities Guest

Adding bells to the shaking instruments.

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What else is in there?

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Making sure it’s a blowing instrument!

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Another shaker! Rocket had so much fun with this instrument sorting activity and completed it uninterrupted until we ran out of instruments.

2. Magnet Play. 

Music Activities Guest

I prepared these music magnets using the Xx printables from 1+1+1=1. He played with these magnets all week!

Music Activities Guest

Telling me all about the instruments on the fridge.

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Stacking the magnets up as tall as they would go!

3. Music Jam With Dad.

This is nothing new. We jam as a family several evenings a week as part of our regular routine. But it deserves a special note for music week!

Music Activities Guest

Playing his white guitar as Dad plays the acoustic.

Music Activities Guest

And on to the lap harp.

3. Sound Bingo.

I bought a special game just for this theme and have been so eager to share it with Rocket! He LOVED Sound Bingo and we have played it many, many times already.

Music Activities

For this game, you pop in the CD, listen to a variety of sounds, and identify them on your Bingo card. It took no time at all for my 2 year old to understand how the game works – and fall in love with it!

Music Activities Guest

Getting the markers together in the dish before the game starts.

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Preparing the markers on the bottom of his card.

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Placing markers on the sounds as he hears them.

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Watching Dad, who was manning the CD (while also playing).

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What says, “Moooooo?”

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Sound Bingo includes many different instruments we’ve been studying for our music theme.

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Two cards at one time!

4. Raining Beans On Percussion Instruments.

Remember our sensory tub with the bucket full of beans? Well, Rocket grabbed a handful and let it spill over the glockenspiel to make a really cool musical sound.

He used his creative mind to try something new and made awesome music. Scott & I were both very encouraging of his outside-the-box thinking. Even though he normally isn’t allowed to make messes on purpose, this was a “controlled” mess- and one with a worthy purpose!

When he asked if he could do more, we said yes. Beans are easy to clean up, after all.

Rocket made it rain on the xylophone, the glockenspiel, drums, plastic containers, and metal containers. Each one made a different sound. He kept the “bean raining” on the instruments and we made music together in the schoolroom like this for a good half hour the night he discovered this technique- and more on the days that followed!

Music Activities Guest

Beans in the bongo drum.

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Beans on top of the bongo drums.

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Playing with his hands.

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Scott and I had so much fun making music with Rocket using beans. I’m glad he thought of it!

Music Activities Guest

Beans on the glockenspiel! It sounds beautiful – try it yourself. Don’t let messes discourage creative play. I promise, you won’t regret it.

5. Guests In The Schoolroom.

We had a good friend come visit out schoolroom for this theme. He was really into the beans too!

Music Activities Guest

Rocket whipped out the instruments to show his friend the bean raining discovery, but his friend wasn’t as interested in it as we were!

Music Activities Guest

His friend pouring beans into the container.

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Rocket watched.

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Guest reader in the schoolroom! I love my friend Carole and her darling young son.

Music Activities Guest

He enjoyed the Guitar Picks & Bells Sorting tray as much as Rocket had.

6. Hopscotch.

Rocket made a special request to play hopscotch. Of course he could! I took out the alphabet floor mat to build it for him.

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Weeee!

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He sang the ABCs as he hopped along.

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Turning around for more.

 

Song Of The Week & Music Time

 

Our song of the week was a beautiful lullaby called Sleepsong to go with our book:

Sleepsong

 

Technology Time

 

Rocket really wanted to know what the Indonesian instrument called a bonang sounds like. We had read about it in his Banging book by Angela Aylemore.

We did a quick YouTube search to find out!


 

Mom’s Favorite Moments

 

Mom's Favorite Moments

We braved the cold to go on an adventure to The Kentucky Science Center.

Mom's Favorite Moments

His favorite exhibit this time was an air blower that held different balls up in the air!

  Mom's Favorite Moments

He was quite infatuated by his reflection in this window at the mall’s play area. The window was a dome shape, so his reflection was upside-down and looked three dimensional!

Mom's Favorite Moments

My mom made this cute sock monkey Moses basket cover in preparation for this baby’s birth (due March 6th).  Rocket did his big brotherly duty and tested out the basket for us! I can’t believe he was once so small lying in this basket.

 

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