There’s an App for That

Do you ever get the sense that kids are more tech savvy than most adults? Technology is everywhere and our kids are very adept at using iPads, iPods, computers, smartphones, and touch screens.  While too much screen time isn’t good for anyone, there are many apps that are great for helping little ones (and school-aged kids) learn.  We’ve complied a few of our favorites below…

Jib Jab Jr.
Yes, the company that brings you hilarious animated elves with faces of your friends during the holiday season has a kid division. These genius apps deliver interactive books to your iPad.  For a small fee, a new book will appear each month.  Use a photo to create personalities (your child, your pet, yourself) then put a character into the story.  The free sample download is a charming story about creating the world’s biggest pizza.  Other titles tackle the alphabet, animals in the ocean, camping, a princess story, and more.   To check it out online, visit: or search the Apple App Store for “Jib Jab Jr”.

Duck, Duck, Moose
You can’t go wrong with a single option from this great group.   Duck, Duck, Moose boasts an impressive list of awards for their apps for children and it won’t take you long to figure out why.  The animated, interactive versions of familiar children’s songs are easy to use and provide hours of fun.  You can change the instrument playing the song, the voice, and even the language.  Don’t miss “Wheels on the Bus” and “The Itsy Bitsy Spider”.  “Old MacDonald” features latte drinking cows that read the Moo Yorker.  Preschoolers will love Draw and Tell, Park Math, and Fish School.  We’d like to give special mention to “Musical Me!” which introduces concepts like rhythm, pitch, and even musical notation in a fun, interactive way.   Visit them at: or search the Apple App Store for “Duck, Duck, Moose”.

For school-aged kids, there are few apps as cool as Toontastic.  This creative learning tool allows kids to  draw, animate, and share their own cartoons.  Kids choose from a cast of characters, add a setting, and animate by dragging and tapping the screen.  Then, they provide the narration by recording their own voices as they watch the animation.  Bonus points for introducing kids to literary words like “plot”, “climax”, and “resolution” and encouraging them to think about a beginning, middle, and end to the story before they start.  Finally, kids add music (and get a nifty lesson on how music helps create a mood) to complete the story.  And, Moms and Dads?  This app is FREE.   Find it at: or by searching the Apple App store for “Toontastic.”

Are there apps you are glad you’ve downloaded on your iPod, iPhone, or iPad?  Share with us in the comments.

photo credit: <a href=””>Ernst Vikne</a> via <a href=””>photo pin</a> <a href=””>cc</a> 

The Tooth Fairy

According to a website that has compiled a list of such things, tomorrow is National Tooth Fairy Day.   Maybe your house hasn’t had a visit from the tooth fairy.  Maybe you’re still at the first tooth or 2-year molars stage (Hang in there! It gets better.).   If your child has lost a tooth, did the tooth fairy visit?  What did she leave?  Did you start a special ritual with a tooth pillow or box?  Did your child write the tooth fairy a note?

When I became a parent, I knew that there would be decisions to make about diapers, bottles or no bottles, choice of pediatrician, choosing activities–like Kindermusik, and eventually choices about elementary school.  I didn’t know there were so many different ways to “do” the Tooth Fairy thing.  Once my son started elementary school, it seemed there were as many Tooth Fairy traditions as there were colors of crayons.  Some children left their tooth in a special pillow or box under their pillows.  Another child claimed that you had to leave your window open a crack or the fairy wouldn’t be able to get in.  A few wrote letters asking the Tooth Fairy to draw a picture of herself or to reply in a note.  The one thing all the kids could agree on was that the Tooth Fairy left cash.  Cold. Hard. Cash.  Not a quarter, mind you.  Bills.  The going rate for teeth in our elementary school seemed to be $1 to $20*.  Luckily, our Tooth Fairy decisions fell in line with those of my son’s peers.  We were right in the middle of the tooth fairy spectrum.

*The $20 for a tooth story is actually pretty amusing.  After hearing from a kiddo that the tooth fairy left him $20 for one tooth, I will admit, I couldn’t decide if the kid or his parents were crazy.  Later, I found out the scoop.  The family had gone camping and the little guy lost his first tooth.  Stuck in the middle of nowhere, hours from an ATM, Mom and Dad weighed their options. A note from the fairy saying she would visit once the family was home? Not for the first tooth.  That wouldn’t do.  So, Dad checked his wallet and found only $20 bills.   Dad was quick to add that the Tooth Fairy left a note saying that this was an extra special tooth, highly valuable and rare.  Most teeth wouldn’t be worth $20.  The lesson in this story: Always have a stash of tooth fairy cash.

A quick search of the internet will yield thousands of ideas on ways to make the Tooth Fairy’s visit memorable beyond the $1 under the pillow.  There are tips for adding glitter to the money (fairy dust), printable certificates, and even websites devoted to her visit that range from “super girly fairy focused” sites to “this is what happens when you don’t brush and floss” sites.

In this time of Google searches and Pinterest, is the Tooth Fairy of today different from when you were a child?  Beyond making sure you have small bills around to prepare, what do you do to celebrate the arrival of the Tooth Fairy?

Classes Begin Soon: Enroll Today!

We are looking forward to the start of our 2012-13 classes in just 3 weeks.  Here is a preview of our themes.  You won’t want to miss out, so enroll today!  Not quite sure of your fall schedule? It’s okay.  We offer “anytime” enrollment.  Join us anytime for as long as you wish.  With easy online enrollment and automatic monthly payments, joining a Kindermusik class at InJoy Music is easier than ever.   Best of all, enroll today but pay in September!

NEW!  For the WHOLE FAMILY… A family-style version of WIGGLE & GROW

This music-filled class celebrates the unique joys of childhood. Each week your children will love singing, dancing, and playing instruments with each other and with the others in class.  During class, we’ll also share tips and ideas for using music throughout the week. Plus, the fun (and learning!) continue with our all-new Kindermusik@Home digital home materials, including music from class, musical activities, and the story from each unit.

For BABIES newborn to 1.5 yrs… ZOOM BUGGY and DREAM PILLOW

How many ways can you and your Baby ZOOM? Hop in the ZOOM BUGGY and find out! Get ready to experience the rumbling of a baby buggy, the squeaky stroller, the bumpa bumpa bumpa of the wagon, the train chugging up the track, and much more.

Your child is the star in DREAM PILLOW, with each activity carefully planned to stimulate his developing brain, thereby promoting physical, social, cognitive, emotional, and language development. But it is the parent who is watching and guiding this little star on the rise, and Dream Pillow, like all Village units, is written with the parent very much in mind.

Home Materials with each unit: A literature book, baby-safe instrument, Home CD, and Art Banners

For TODDLERS 1.5 to 3 yrs… MILK & COOKIES
You never knew how fun it could be to stir, wash, dust, hammer and saw until you added a song! It’s all about helping at home, and what better place than a cozy kitchen or Dad’s workshop to nurture a toddler’s need for security balanced with his need for independence.  Delightfully captured in Milk & Cookies, these special moments at home are times to be shared and treasured through the joy of music.

Home Materials: Literature books, stir xylophone, Home CDs, Home Activity Book, and Carry Bag


Cloudy with a chance of musical fun! It’s time to turn your attention to the sky as you pretend to jump in mud puddles, make a musical storm, sled in snow, slide around in the wind, and whistle with Mr. Sun. Children will be surrounded in a creative musical environment that integrates music, pretend play, story telling, movement, and more.  Children will explore a variety of musical concepts, like fast and slow and loud and soft. Adding to the thrill are at home projects such as making wind chimes, rain hats, sleigh bells and snow boots!

Home Materials: Literature books, ankle bells and rain shaker, Home CDs, Home Activity Book, Story Play Cubes, and a Backpack (free for all first-time IT students!) 


Semester 1:  Is your child ready to read and write music? We’ll get you there with age-appropriate dances and games. And a keyboard instrument – the glockenspiel – which will be used throughout all the Young Child classes to get ready for piano lessons.  Themes include “Music is Everywhere”, “Meet the Mallets”, and “Discovering Melody and Mozart.”

Semester 2: Your child will continue to build on skills introduced in Semester 1 with new call and response songs, dances, and games. Children will learn to play new songs on the glockenspiel while practicing musical concepts and notation.  Special focus is given to the instrument sounds of strings and woodwinds. You’ll also delight in Peter and the Wolf and an excerpt from Britten’s Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra.

Home Materials: Song book, glockenspiel (semester 1), Home CD, Music at Home cards, Folder, Activity Pages, Games Bag, and carry bag (free for all Sem. 1 students!)

Back to School

Break out the new backpacks, sharpen those pencils!  It’s that back to school time of year (it does feel early, doesn’t it?).  Many of the local school districts will start the 2012-13 school year next week.  Preschools and Parents Day Out programs will be welcoming children to their earliest classroom experiences.  Regardless of age, the start of new school year is met with a variety of emotions… the excitement of new friends, teachers, and a fresh box of crayons… nervous butterflies for the first day… the tired yawns of waking up earlier than summer… and, even a few tears (sometimes moms and kids).

Will your child begin a new school experience this fall?  Parents Day Out? Preschool?  Kindergarten?  Even if it’s the same school and a new grade, children often feel anxious as they anticipate the first day.  Sometimes, as parents, we’re nervous, too.  Here are some ideas to help prepare your whole family for back to school and make the countdown to the first day fun.

* Play “School”:  Take turns role playing as the teacher and the student.  Act out common preschool activities and routines.  Sing a hello song, read a story sitting on the floor, do a coloring page, have recess.  If you have a child who is reluctant to leave you at drop off, practice this ritual together at home.  Role play what you will say, what your child will say, what the teacher will say.  Give hugs.  Then role play your return at the end of the day.  Often, practicing ahead of time will give your child a sense of control and will help ease the first day jitters.

* 3-2-1 GO!: Create a countdown system to the first day of school.  Use a calendar and mark off the days at bedtime.   Create a simple paper chain and remove one link per day.  As you get down to the last couple of days, have a small wrapped item your child can open each day.

* Fashion Show: What will your child wear the first day of school?  For many children (yes, even boys), choosing what to wear the first day of school is exciting.  Maybe it’s a new outfit from head to toe, maybe just a new shirt or “school” shoes.  Perhaps your child will be most comfortable wearing his/her favorite t-shirt.  (Remember that PDO and preschool can be a messy business and that many preschools have a tennis shoes only policy.)  You can even take pictures of several options and get input from others.

* Hello, My Name is..: Does your school do a preview day?  If so, plan to stop by.  Meeting the teacher and seeing the classroom will help build the excitement.   Help your child introduce him/herself to the teacher.  After your visit, talk together about the room, the teacher’s name, and imagine all the fun to be had this year in school.

What are you doing to get ready for school?  Share with us in the comments.

Kindermusik Olympics

Has Olympic Fever hit your house?  We know many of our Kindermusik families are making the games a family affair.  We’ve seen pictures of Opening-Ceremony-themed family dinners (fish and chips, homemade signs for Team USA, Olympic Rings and Gold Medal cookies), glow-in-the-dark baths with red, white, and blue glowsticks, and even know a family who is playing a version of Olympic BINGO that will span from the Opening Ceremony to the Closing Ceremony.

The games provide endless possibilities for conversations with your child.  While watching the events, here are some age-specific conversation starters:

Babies and Toddlers
* Name the colors of the uniforms and flags.
* Talk about the shapes you see (the pool is a rectangle,  the ball is a circle).
* Describe the events you are watching.  Use verbs to label the movements, etc.
* Use your best Olympic Commentator voice to narrate a gold-medal winning session of getting dressed, drinking a bottle/eating lunch, or even bath time.  Be sure the crowd cheers at the completion of the event!

* Ask which event they’d like to try.  Pretend to be an Olympic athlete.
* Keep a count of medals won.  Let your preschooler add tally marks to keep track of gold, silver, and bronze.
* Play a rhyming game with Olympic words (what rhymes with red?  White?  Blue?  Badminton?)
* Discuss how to be a good sport.

School-Aged Kids
*  Talk about goals.  Imagine together how hard Olympic athletes must have to work to meet their goals.
*  Find some of the countries competing in the Olympics on a map.  Talk about the similarities and differences between the USA and each country.
*  Design a Team USA flag, poster, or uniform.
*  As you watch events where the athletes earn points, talk about greater than/less than, do some simple addition and subtraction, talk about fractions and decimals.

Because we know music makes everything more fun, check out this Kindermusik Olympics Playlist:
(To hear a sample of each song and to purchase, click on the song title to visit
What a Day
Catch Me
Yankee Doodle
Keep the Ball a-Rolling
The Keel Row
Burpee, Burpee, Jumping Jack & Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes
Swimming, Swimming
Walk and Stop
Follow My Leader to London Town 

We know the InJoy Music community is full of creative parents and great ideas.  What is your family doing to celebrate the Olympics?  Have you been watching the events?  Which are your favorites?  Will you have a family version of the Olympics?  Share with us in the comments!