James has a birthday

Birthdays are usually exciting days, but sometimes things don’t seem like they are going to work out. In this podcast we have a story called James has a Birthday. His party is to be held at Yew Tree Farm where there is a petting zoo. James is very excited about his party. His friends will be there, and they all get a chance to ride a pony. But James in not sure he wants to ride the pony. And to go along with the theme, we have two horse/pony songs.

As a parent and teacher, I know birthdays do not always live up to expectations. Sometimes parents make “too big a deal” about the birthday activities. Children sometimes feel forced into participating in activities they are not really sure about. There are times when birthdays end in tears!!

What should parents do? My suggestions are:

  • keep the guest list appropriate. You know your child. Decide what’s best for your child. A good rule of thumb is one guest for every year of age.
  • destination party or home? Sometimes a small party playing with toys at home is all that’s needed. If your child is adventurous perhaps a busy outing will work, but it’s not for everyone.
  • outdoing others. Sometimes parents are tempted to match or even outdo their child’s friends’ parties, getting bigger, wilder, more extravagant. It should not be a competition. Keep the party appropriate. If you want to be somewhere other than home, consider holding it in the park. Playing on swings and slides, and playing games keeps most children happy.
  • family or friends? Sometimes, keeping the birthday celebration within the family is the right thing to do.
  • remember the birthday child. Most important is that you consider what’s best for your child when planning a party. After all, whose birthday is it?

Train Adventure

A train story, a train game, and a song where you can help with the lyrics feature in this week’s podcast.

Theo is a little steam engine in our story this week. Normally, he doesn’t have much work to do, but today he is asked to do a very important job. Theo is worried as it means he has to go through the tunnel. The tunnel is dark, and Theo is a little scared. Listen to the story to see what Theo does.

The first song, “The Train is going Slowly,” is also a game. Children enjoy being the train, starting off slowly, getting faster and faster, and then slowing down as the train enters the station. If you have space, children can move around your room pretending to be the train. I have also had children sitting down for the song using wood blocks to rub together to make the train sounds. Of course you can also rub the palms of your hands together for a similar effect.

Jared sings the second song, “What Lies Under the Ground We Walk On.” It is a very easy sing-along song. Jared sings about several things which can lie under the ground, such as trains, pipes, rabbits and bugs. Then you can put your own ideas at the end of the song. I wonder what ideas you have? I would love to hear about some of them.

If you are not a Listen Together Podcast subscriber yet, you can find a podcast called RABBITS on the samples page and also on the home page. It is there for everyone to listen to. Perhaps it will persuade to join our subscription holders who have access to four unique podcasts every month for a cost of $35 for the whole year. That’s 48 podcasts!!

Snow Day

The second podcast this month is called SNOW DAY. In our story Levi finds out what it’s like to stay home when school is closed because it’s a snow day. The day is not quite what he expected.

We have two great snow songs, one about building a snowman, and one about falling snow. They are both fun action songs. In the first song, “I Can Build a Snowman,” Bethany sings about the snowman getting tall, tall, tall, and then small, small, small as it melts in the sun. Children love to be the snowman as we sing, showing how tall they can be, and then slowly melting to the ground.

The actions are obvious in the song “Snow is Falling All Around” where you can show the snowflakes landing on the roof tops, the ground and on your head, hands and toes. When children know this song very well, we will “sing” it silently, keeping the words in our heads and only doing the actions. This requires a lot of concentration. It is also a very adaptable song where instead of snow falling all around you can have:

Rain is falling,

Wind is blowing,

Sun is shining,

Be creative!

This podcast is available to subscribers, who have access to four original podcasts every month, at the cost of only $35 for a whole year. If you are not a subscriber yet, you are welcome to listen to the sample podcast free of charge. This one is called RABBITS and can be found on the main page or by clicking on “samples” on the menu.