“Brand New Garden”

One of the reasons to have a garden is to grow vegetables and berries.  Another reason is to grow herbs.  Sometimes people enjoy flower gardens.  I planted a completely new kind of garden in my yard.  For the past several years, I have been filling up my yard with perennials and native plants.  When I learned how much water is conserved by a garden like that, I became very interested.  When I also learned how much pollution is eliminated by not having a lawn to mow, I became convinced.

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Little by little, year by year, I observed how much light different parts of my yard received.  As part of the Master Gardener program, I had a soil analysis done.  Using the soil I had, I planted appropriate plants for my region’s soil type.  Over a period of about ten years, my yard has filled up with plants and edibles that I only watered for a few weeks when they were first planted.  I have ended up with over fifty different types of plants.

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There are sources on-line where you can find out what grows naturally in your area.  You can also go to the local university Agricultural Extension office.  They will be able to give you a list to take to your local plant nursery.  I had many plants that did not survive in my yard.  But over time, I found many which did.  After watering my plants for a few weeks, I learned how to “neglect” my plants so they really could get used to the natural growing conditions in my area.

© 2013 Kathryn Hardage       www.MyMusicalMind.com       kackymuse@gmail.com   “I have a musical mind, musical indeed.”–Kacky Muse

“Young Animals” Chant

Part of the fun of our language is naming.  In “Young Animals”, young children get to learn the names of animals and their babies.  Every type of animal in the ocean, land or air, has a special name for its baby.  Some baby animals have the same names even though their parents have different names. (Rabbits and cats both have kittens.)  The rhythm of this chant helps you to remember the names of parent animals and baby animals.

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There are word cards to cut out at the end of the chant.  You may read a parent animal  name and ask your child to answer with the baby animal name or read the baby animal name and receive the parent animal name that matches.  You may help your child match the parent and the baby names as he learns to read.  As you repeat this process may times during the month, with your child sitting next to you and helping you with the cards, you will both feel the excitement as she gets involved with the reading process.

© 2013 Kathryn Hardage              www.MyMusicalMind.com             kackymuse@gmail.com          “I have a musical mind, musical indeed.”–Kacky Muse

“What I Have to Give and Receive”

This Theme identifies some of the most important qualities in our lives.  It shows how we live when we are sharing and giving.  When we hear that it is good to share our love, our time and our attention, we validate those activities in our lives.  It is important for our young children to hear that innocence and friendship are valuable.  It is important for them to hear that knowledge and trust are real practices.  That sincerity and honesty are part of their every thought.  We can help imbed these ideas in our young children when we sing and talk about them.

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When you share this Theme with your child, hold him in your lap.   Bounce him up and down as you say the chant, “What Do I Give With All My Heart?”  Touch her fingers one by one as you say the fingerplay, “I Am Giving of My Heart”. Wrap your arms around your baby and sway back and forth as you sing the song, “What Do I Have to Give?” and learn the answers to that question.

You are your child are sharing intimate, trusting time.  This is a time for quiet, for reassurance, for peace.  It is a good way to go to sleep, in each other’s arms, peacefully reflecting on the ideas of giving and sharing.

© 2013 Kathryn Hardage    www.MyMusicalMind.com   kackymuse@gmail.com  “I have a musical mind, musical indeed.” –Kacky Muse

“Starting a Garden”

Whether you are an experienced gardener or a beginner, you will go through the same steps when you start your garden each year or each season.  Preparing the garden means you prepare the soil and add mulch to help contain the moisture.  Then you plant your seeds, water them, and let the sun do its work.  Later, you get to enjoy the harvest of your vegetables and flowers.  It is valuable to take your part in the cycle of growing food and flowers.

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The Chant, “What Do You Do to Start a Garden”, the Fingerplay, “My Garden Has…”, and the Song, “What Do You Do With a Piece of Ground?” take you through all the steps of starting a garden.

The verse of the Song “What Do You Do With a Piece of Ground?” will sound familiar to you.  It has the same tune (with different words) as the chorus in the Song for the Theme, “I am a Gardener”.

© 2013 Kathryn Hardage      www.MyMusicalMind.com     kackymuse@gmail.com  “I have a musical mind, musical indeed.”  –Kacky Muse

“High and Low Sounds”

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Two-Tone Guiro

I have had the most fun introducing the two-tone guiro to my pre-school students.  It is a little bit heavy for them, so I usually hold it while they are getting used to producing the sounds.  They can tap it (for a short sound) or scrape it (for a long sound).  Since there are two different lengths for the sound tubes, they learn which one is higher pitched (the short one) and which one is lower pitched (the long one).  The two-tone guiro is ideal to teach the very important concept of indeterminate pitch, high and low pitch, rather than high and low loudness, or volume.

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The Chant in this Theme lets you play with your voice, making low sounds and making high sounds.  The Fingerplay lets you be silly as you slide your voice up for the high sounds and slide your voice down for the low sounds.  The “Low, High” Song lets you feel the sensation of your voice sustaining low sounds and high sounds.

© 2013 Kathryn Hardage   www.MyMusicalMind.com   “I have a musical mind, musical indeed.”  –Kacky Muse


“Precious Baby”

This Theme is appropriate for babies, 0-2’s and for very young children, 3-5’s.  It teaches how to speak to babies so that they begin to understand vocabulary.  A child who is an older brother or sister can use this Theme during play with a baby sister or brother.

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My two-year-old classes would pretend to hold their baby in their arms and to rock it as we sang “Precious Baby Girl and Boy”.  We would lower our voices and just whisper the last verse before we tucked our baby in the bed and said “Goodnight, baby”.

The rhythm of the action words in the Chant as you introduce the names of parts of the body, (toes, eyes, etc.) creates deep memory.  Since all children are precious, it is valuable to be reminded of this.  It gives a child a deep feeling of security to be held and told “You are mine”, as in the Chant and the Fingerplay.  When I asked the children to choose a song, “Precious Baby Girl and Boy” was a favorite request in my classes for two-year-olds.  It is very comforting to rock and sing, both for the parent and the child.

2013 Kathryn Hardage   www.MyMusicalMind.com   “I have a musical mind, musical indeed.” –Kacky Muse

“Who I Am”

“When we love who we are, we can love each other and create happiness and peace.”  This is one of the lines from the meditation at the beginning of this music book, “Who I Am”.

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Action words in the chant “I Am Me and You Are You”, help identify a young child to herself.  Sharing time together with a parent or special person while having fun deepens that identity.  In the Fingerplay, “Who I Am”, the young child learns to identify himself with qualities such as happy, honest, good, calm.  The Song, “I Am a Beautiful Child” identifies ways a child uses the five senses, plus the abilities to think with the mind and to love with the heart.

I taught this theme to about three hundred children in two pre-schools with a total of fourteen classes over the period of a month.  We all had the fun of chanting together, keeping a beat, and singing these wonderful words to describe ourselves.

© 2013 Kathryn Hardage    www.MyMusicalMind.com     “I have a musical mind, musical indeed.”–Kacky Muse


“Spiders”, a Theme for older children

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The “Spiders” Theme uses scientific facts to tell us about spiders.  With tens of thousands of spider species, it was hard to choose what to talk about.  The Chant is called, “About Spiders”.  It tells about different kinds of web shapes and patterns and colors which identify spiders.  The Fingerplay is called “Graceful Spider”.  It tells about spinning a web.  There is a little extension for the pinky finger’s part while we all count the eight legs of a spider.

The jazzy shuffle rhythm of the song, “Spiders Are Part of the Natural World”, swings us into the melody with a rhythmic pronunciation of scientific vocabulary, a sure way to keep it in memory.  Here is how I wrote it.   As I read my words, I realized I wanted it to have a shuffle beat.  So I just started kind of singing anything as I read and the tune that “happened” is so very simple and almost silly.

But who am I to question the Universe?, especially as It is so very generous!  So there is this cute, hokey melody, with scientific vocabulary in this theme for older children.  Bet they’ll never forget the scientific terms once they’ve spoken them in the Chant and sung them to this rhythm!

© 2013 Kathryn Hardage     www.MyMusicalMind.com  “I have a musical mind, musical indeed.” — Kacky Muse


When I have plants which attract butterflies in my garden, I get to see them at different times during the seasons.  It is so delightful to watch them alight on different flowers for their nectar.  I love observing them from indoors and being around them outdoors, too.  I know they are just eating, but they are so beautiful, it is always fun to watch them.

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The Chant in this Theme is “They Visit Gardens Just to Eat!”  Touch your child’s finger for each line of the Fingerplay, “Caterpillars Become Butterflies”.  The Song, “Watching Butterflies”, describes how they flit and light on the flowers and then fly away.

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© 2013 Kathryn Hardage    www.MyMusicalMind.com    “I have a musical mind,musical indeed.”  –Kacky Muse

“I Am a Gardener”

One of the best things about gardening is the outdoor activity.  It is so beautiful to watch little plants growing.  Another wonderful thing is that garden activities are very appropriate for young children.  They can see the progress of the plants and they also learn patience and responsibility.  They even get to taste the harvest.  Sometimes, a child will try something new in a garden because it is something they grew.

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The Chant is called, “That’s What They Call a Green Thumb” and it explains the steps from planting to harvest along with garden enjoyment in general.  The Fingerplay is called “As a Gardener…”.  As you touch each of your child’s fingers, say a line.  The Song is called “I Am a Gardener”. In a simple tune with chorus, you review many of the gardening activities you have learned about in the rest of the Theme.  It is totally fun to act out the motions of digging and moving dirt as you sing the chorus!  This theme will help you become part of the growing community of gardeners.

© 2013 Kathryn Hardage    www.MyMusicalMind.com    “I have a musical mind, musical indeed.” –Kacky Muse