On Monday we had our group, homeschool preschool and I was in charge of teaching again. I had the letter M and decided to do M is for Music! I minored in music in college (I played the French horn from the 5th grade through my senior year of college) and my husband was once a vocal performance major (at IU and has a beautiful singing voice). Needless to say, we love music in our home! I put together the following preschool lesson plan for M is for Music.
The Letter M
First, I introduced our letter for the day, the letter M, showed them what it looks like. I showed them how to write the letter (up and down, up and down), upper case and lower case. We then talked about what is sounds like, “Mmmmm.” I asked them what foods they eat make them say “Mmmmm.” We also talked about what common words start with the letter M – Mom, Museum, markers, music, Monday, mice, microwave, and so on.
When he had our snacks, M&Ms, I gave the girls a piece of construction paper with an upper and lower case M written on, and had them line up their M&Ms on the lines to make Ms.
M is for Music – Introducing Instruments
I had the little preschoolers come over to the computer and watch a YouTube clip called “Orchestral Musical Instrument Sounds #1 for Children Kids Toddlers.”
Once they got to the bass drum, they started screaming and covering their ears, saying it was too loud (because I had turned up the volume…) but it was fun and a quick introduction to some of the sounds common musical instruments make.
We then came back to the table where I had some books (from the library) on different instruments and instrument families. I didn’t read any of the books in their entirety to the kids, but showed them pictures, had them repeat the instrument names back to me, or the group name (percussion, woodwind, brass). The favorite book I had, because it is actually a fun informative story, is “The Brass Family on Parade!” There are others of the same series that, I would assume, be just as fun and informative – “The String Family in Harmony!” and “Around the World with the Percussion Family!” and “Opening Night with the Woodwind Family!”
I also liked the Let’s Make Music Series by Rita Storey. The one I had from the library was “The Drum and other Percussion Instruments.” What I liked about it is that it had some fun crafts (how to make your own drum) and it talked about vibrations making the sounds and at the end of the book it has a list of websites, videos, CD’s and other resources to look into, as well as being a very informative book all its own.
M is for Memory and Matching
I printed off a sheet of instruments, thanks to clip art and Microsoft Word, and made a matching memory card game with musical instruments, which you are free to download for personal use. (There are three pages, 16 matches total, but I’m just showing the first page, for your reference).
I glued the sheets to construction paper so the images couldn’t be seen through the paper, and then I cut them out. I wasn’t sure how well my group of 3.5 year old preschoolers would do with memorizing where the cards were, but they did well. One of my daughters kept sneaking glances at all the cards on her turn, checking out more than two. One of the other girls was really good at the game, and if she knew where the match was, would find and flip, even though it wasn’t her turn. But, it worked out great!
M is for Maracas – Craft and Music Time
I found many pins on Pinterest for making maracas, and I have to say, this way of making homemade maracas is just so, so easy and cheap (I already had everything I needed on hand, minus the washi tape).
Pour white rice into some empty plastic Easter eggs, close it up, put the head of two plastic spoons on either side of the egg and then wrap some colorful Washi tape around it. Then tape the bottom of the spoon handles together with tape, and you are done! Now you can let your kids shake it and make music! The great thing? These maracas are not very loud and annoying! It’s an added bonus!
At this point I pulled out some other musical instruments I and my other preschool moms had. One brought a harmonica (a definite hit!) and a drum. I had bought some little instruments from Target for a few dollars each (a tambourine, castanets, and bells). And then we had our own random band going.
There are tons of other easy homemade instruments you can make as well. I remember making a “xylophone” in the 8th grade by placing wrenches of varying sizes between the bottoms of an egg carton, and then playing them with a knife. Almost Unschoolers did it, if you want to see what I’m talking about. You can also make your own drums (pots and pans will do too), horns, pan pipes, guitars, noise makers, and much more. Do a Google or Pinterest search!
I then cleared the floor and put on different types of music – country, hip hop, dance, pop, heavy metal, piano, instrumental (or ballet music), etc – and would play a little clip, have them dance fast or slow, depending on the song, and then I would stop the music. When the music stopped, they had to FREEZE!
You could also play Mother, May I?
Music isn’t just made with instruments, it made with our voices! I had the kids sing like two songs with me, but you can definitely sing a ton of songs, or incorporate different songs throughout your lesson! We sang Mary had a little Lamb (going for an ‘M’ song). Old McDonald would also be a great ‘M’ song, as well as The Ants Go Marching.
For our treat we ate M&Ms! We did a few little things with them before we ate them (sorted them by colors, and put them into Ms). We then drank milk with them.
Other snack/treat ideas are:
- Moon Pies
- Malt Shakes/Milk Shakes
- Muddy Buddies
- Mandarin Oranges
- Macadamia Nuts
- Milky Ways
- Milk Duds
- Mushrooms (?)
- Minute Maid Orange Juice
- Mini Wheats
- Crunch N Munch
And that’s it! That’s “M is for Music” preschool lesson plan! My lesson took about one hour, leaving an hour for the kids to play freely in my house, taking their instruments around with them. They all had a great time!