Buggy Xylophone

There are certain tasks that are fairly simple but when you throw kids into the mix, it can be downright miserable… especially when that task is to simply wait.

Take getting an oil change, for example.  Today we were quite lucky to only have to wait about 45 minutes, but there have been times where it has gone longer than the estimated time.

After about 2 minutes of everyone, including my toddler, cooing at my smiley 10 month old, we were already searching for a new game.  Here is when I invented Buggy Xylophone (patent pending).

I pulled several items out of the diaper bag and we brushed each of them against the metal rungs of the basket.





Auditory Learning / Music skills

Mommy Teacher:  “Does the pen make a HIGH pitched sounds or a LOW pitched sound?” (Make your voice go HIGH and LOW when saying those words.)

Mommy Teacher:  “Does the wallet make a LOUD or a QUIET noise on the basket?”  (Make your voice go LOUD and QUIET when saying those words.)

Mommy Teacher:  “Let’s change the tempo.  Can you move the pen fast across the rungs of the basket?  That is a fast tempo.  Now move the pen slow.  That is a slow tempo.”

Listening Skills / Following Directions / Counting / Rhythm

Mommy Teacher:  “I can tap 3 times tap tap tap.  Now you tap 3 times.”

Mommy Teacher:  “Repeat after me tap pause tap tap.”


Mommy Teacher:  “Which object is loudest?”  “Which has the highest pitch?”

Grouping Like Objects (Science and Math)

Mommy Teacher:  “The spoon and the pen are both hard and are both LOUD.  The wallet and the purse are both soft and are both QUIET.”

Predicting (Science Skill)

Mommy Teacher:  “Do you think the spoon is going to be LOUD or QUIET?”


Mommy Teacher:  “The pen is LOUD.  The wallet is the opposite of LOUD which is what?”


Loud, quiet, high pitch, low pitch, opposite, tempo, fast, slow

And that, my friends, is how you annoy the other patrons at Walmart… OR that is a great way to entertain your kids while waiting for your car to be ready.  I prefer the latter.

A Couple Apps for the New Year

 HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!   I have been soooo busy soaking up time with my little ones as a working mom that I haven’t made time for posts.   But I assure you, I have TONS in the “Posts Drafts” Section of my website that I my new year’s resolution is to share 😉

Here is a quick share for you…

My sister showed me this Montessori Crosswords App that her TWO YEAR OLD was playing and I immediately wanted it on my phone for my little one.   It amazes me how many tools there are in the tech world these days and I love learning about them.

This App is a letter-sound matching tool that sounds out the first, middle, and ending sound of each word one letter-sound at a time.  A child matches the letter to its sound by dragging and dropping the letter in the correct space.   If a child isn’t sure what letter matches the sound, he/she can click on the question mark at the top to show the way the word should look.  Then, the skill changes to a letter recognition skill.

I was amazed that my niece was using deductive reasoning to figure out the right letter that makes the matching sound.   She was either trying different letters until she found the correct one or she was using the self-correct options to check the right letter.

See what I mean here:

This App is great for ages 2-7  in my opinion.  It is a great pre-requisite for phonetic spelling.

My two year old has known all of his upper case for almost a year, but this is a great tool to help him with lower case letter recognition by changing the letter case option to lower.

I don’t like to buy apps but this is one that I caved in and forked out the $2.99 because I know what a reading benefit this kind of tool can be.   Check it out and let me know what you think.

The Montessori Numbers App from the same group is pretty great too! It covers Numbers, Quantities, Numerals, Numerals from quantities, and tracing.  Awesome skills to build on!

Leave a comment with other Apps you like….I love to check them out and see what’s out there 🙂

The 4-second Learning Opportunity from Kidspired Creations

My Go-To Girl, Casey (with Kidspired Creations), shared another teaching treasure with us and I get to glean from it too 🙂

Great learning opportunities do not have to be completely planned out nor do they necessarily have to require much time at all.  They do not have to come at a certain time of the day and do not always have to be  over-the-moon exciting.  Great learning opportunities DO need to have a goal in mind and this one, in particular, needs to be routine.

I give you the every-time-we-leave-the-house-4-second-learning-opportunity…

My kindergartner came home with his first day of homework.  He had to trace the word RED three times, color the picture red, and do a word search where he had to find the word 4 times.  After, I asked him how to spell RED without looking at his paper… r-e-d.  Perfect.

The next day he came home with his homework for the color BLUE.  After completing the same tasks as he did with the color red, I asked him to spell BLUE, but he couldn’t remember.

Then I remembered a teaching trick I used to get something to stick in my Pre-K and Kindergartners’ heads:  repetition.  How can I guarantee that I remember to enforce this repetition?  Through practiced routine.  And what better routine is there in a classroom than how to enter and exit the classroom? It is, in fact, the most rehearsed and the most repetitive… going in and out and in and out all day long.

I always had a sight word of the week (Kinder) or letter/number of the week (Pre-K) posted on the door frame and any time a student entered or exited the classroom they first had to hit the door frame and say (and spell) the word/letter.

For your beginning reader…

“B-l-u-e! Blue Blue Blue!”

or for your 1-3 year old…

“Big A, little a, /a/ /a/ /a/!”

You can even have just a colored piece of paper and use this repetition to teach colors.  Or math facts…

“2 x 3 = 6!”

Or Bible verses!  Or pictures of animals for toddlers! The learning opportunities are endless!  Keep your one word/letter/color/number on the door for the entire week and any time you and your child leave, make sure to hit it on the way out!  Be careful, though, it’s super easy to just remember the SOUND of this repetitive activity without looking at the actual word/letter, so make sure your child is also LOOKING at the card on the door frame to also remember its visual representation as well.

What other things can you teach using this 4 second activity?

Pack Your ClipBoard!

This past weekend our little family took a day trip to the zoo, and when I got home I thought…Why didn’t I pack the clipboard?  In my classroom I always allowed the kids to “document” the nature walks or other outdoor events for several reasons:

1) Kids love to feel “professional.”

2) Kids like to have a (fun) job/task.

3) Kids need a great age-appropriate recording sheet to “write about” or “draw” what they see.

So, I made it easy on you…  Not only did I make a Zoo Animal Checklist :

I also made a Kid’s Grocery Checklist with all the staples:

I made the grocery checklist because if I keep a stack of them on the clipboard in my bag then grocery trips can go smoothly.  The picture to the left shows the calm before the craziness.  This is when the clipboard comes in handy! Your child can either check or “x” what he sees or doesn’t see.  OR check off items as you place them in the cart.

Kids love this kind of thing!

Need a clipboard?

This gave me ideas for more clipboard checklist fun so I’ll be posting two more checklist printables THIS WEEK! Stay TUNED 🙂


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