Tag Archives: instruments

Appreciating African American Music with Your Kids

12 Jun

shutterstock_136464914Want to celebrate African American Appreciation Music Month with your kids, but not sure how? Don’t worry! We have some great ways for kids to creatively engage as they learn more about African American music. From learning about true artists, such as Louis Armstrong and Chuck Berry, to listening to age-old children’s tunes, there is always something new to appreciate about how the African American community has helped shape our music culture.

Learn Through Reading

The first thing little ones need to understand is where African American music originated as well as how determined musicians had to be to become successful. We’ve come up with a list of kid-friendly resources that will introduce them to African American music:

-Parent’s Choice has a stellar list of books revolving around African American musicians. From enchanting stories of Harlem, to admirable life story of black singer Marian Anderson, to tales of modern-day tap-dancing, these titles will get your little ones excited about music!

-Richland Library presents an inspiring list of reads celebrating women and African American music. Read along with your children about the success of independent women and how they made their mark on music.

Feel the Beat!

Are your kids already fans of modern day rock ‘n’ roll? It’s important for them to understand that such music forms wouldn’t have originated were it not for genres like blues and jazz, both shaped by talented African American artists including Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Ernest Hogan, and Wynton Marsalis. To encourage kids to understand and appreciate the different music genres, try gathering them in an open space and have them dance to music selections varying from slow to fast. Here is a CD of fourteen catchy songs drawn straight from the heart of African American music for children to dance to: http://www.kaplantoys.com/store/trans/productDetailForm.asp?CatID=%7C%7C&PID=11533

Once they’ve danced to their heart’s content, you can teach them to pay attention to beat patterns found within the music, an important part of African American music. Here are a few games you can play with kiddos to help them understand rhythm and beat:

  • Have children listen to the music and count the “boom booms” or “heartbeats” keeping track of how it changes throughout the song.
  • To even further understand beat patterns, have little ones toss around a ball, stuffed animal, or other soft items while the music plays. Model the steady beat for your children when the song first starts by either tapping your toe or patting your leg. When you pass the item, have the child who’s holding it pick a new place to pat the steady beat (on their head, knees, belly, toes, etc.) The only rule is that it can’t be anywhere someone else has already played it. Have the kids sit after they’ve had a turn, so you can see who still needs a turn!
  • Listen for different instruments in your song choices. Assign each child to an instrument and have them pretend to play it when it is heard. This is a fun way to not only recognize the variety of instruments being played, but it is also a great opportunity for dramatic play!

Listen to Live Music

Now that your kids have had an introduction to African American music, it’s time they got out and experienced it! There are several opportunities to see live music performed by current African American artists. Check concert halls, music festivals, and city events for a list of which artists are playing near you.

Make Your Music

Need instruments for your kids to play? Check out our selection of drums, pianos, maracas, and more! Hopefully, African American music awareness will inspire your children to make music of their own.

Happy music making!

Ring in the New Year!

30 Dec

As this year coasts toward an end, we must remember all of the things there are in life to celebrate. You can send off 2013 and bring in the new year with a little musical celebration! Make some noise and give your kids a chance to unleash their creativity with these musical instruments. There are items for all ages!

10 Musical Instruments to Bring in the New Year

1.    Glockenspiel

  • Age range: 3 years & up.
  • Description:This unique bell set features letter names on each colored bar, accurately pitched with a diatonic range from C2 to C3 and rounded corners for safety. Pair of mallets included.

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2.    Tap-a-Tune Drum

  • Age range: 12 months & up.
  • Description:Tap-A-Tune musical toys help preschoolers and toddlers take their first steps into the world of music. This brightly colored drum and drum sticks encourage children to tap into developing creative skills and make their own musical tunes. Color may vary.

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3.    Kaplan Shake, Rattle, and Beat Bag

  • Age Range: 3-6 years old
  • Description:This unique set of multicultural instruments with get bodies moving to the rhythm. Set includes a Kente cloth bag, 4 MoJo sticks, 2 agogos, 4 den den drums, 4 caxixi baskets, 3 single bell jingles, 3 confetti bell jingles. Kente cloth fabric may vary.

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4.    Chimalong Jr.

  • Age range: 3 years old and up
  • Description:Encourages kids to sing along and experiment with notes and expression. Rich musical quality promotes understanding of tone and pitch. 8-note metallophone comes with 2 mallets and a 28-page songbook.

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5.    8 Note Hand Bell Set

  • Age range: 3 years old and up
  • Description:Introduce tonality and the one-octave scale with these colorful hand bells. Promote cooperation by having each child play one bell, creating their own melody.

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6.    Zoo Rhythm Instruments (Set of 7)

  • Age range: 3 years old and up
  • Description:Young children are invited on a musical adventure by seven beautiful wooden zoo animals, such as a crocodile guiro, whale jingle, shark bells, snail shaker, dolphin bells, elephant den-den and cow tone blocks. Each instrument is approximately 8 inches long.

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7. Rainmaker

  • Age range: 3 years and up
  • Description:Multi-colored beads cascade through the clear tube creating fascinating visual tracking opportunities while enhancing listening skills. 16″ long.

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8. ABC Clappers 

  • Age range: 2 years and up
  • Description:Set of 3 wooden castanets, each with a different sound. Features numbers 1, 2, 3 on one side and A, B, C on the other. Use for color, number, and letter recognition; beginning pattern making; and hearing high and low sound changes. Activity guide included.

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9.    Baby Tambourine

  • Age range: 12 months and up
  • Description:Perfect for a toddler’s first tambourine! Features include comfortable grip for small hands, light weight and durable design and 4 pairs of steel jungles under safe clear cover. Colors may vary.

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10.     Baby Piano

  • Age range: 6 – 36 months
  • Description:Four easy-to-press keys are a great way to introduce little ones to the piano. Smooth rounded corners for added protection.

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Don’t forget to set goals  with your children for the New Year. You never know, one of your kids might make a resolution to become even more musically inclined!

For  more musical instruments from Kaplan Toys, you can browse here.

Rub-a-dub-dub: The Best Toys for the Tub!

25 Nov

One-two-three-four, say goodbye to bath time wars! The experts at Kaplan Toys are counting down the best in bath toys – all of which are sure to have your young ones toddling to the tub!

#5: Cup O Fun

The perfect bath toy for floating puzzle fun! Activities include sifting water, matching faces, and “I Spy” star. This puzzle set includes one floating tray, four large puzzles, four shaped cups, and five foam pieces. For ages 12 months and up.

Item Number: 00373

Price: $19.95

#4: Princess in the Tub

Now she can be a princess even in the bath tub! This fun bath time set includes a foam tiara with shiny printed jewels, foam safety mirrors and of course, a magic wand! Dipping the wand into the water will trigger magical lights and sounds – sure to delight every little princess. For ages 3 and up.

Item Number: 00232

Price: $21.95

#3: Squirter for the Tub™ Jungle

Your child will love these jungle creatures made for oodles and oodles of water play fun! This set of five soft water squirters, perfectly sized for little hands, will make any infant or toddler excited for bath time! For ages 6 months and up.

Item Number: 00229

Price: $6.95

#2: Tub Tunes Symphony™

Every little musician can now practice while in the tub! This deluxe gift set includes three real instruments that will bring out their inner Mozart – a xylophone, drum, and flutes – plus laminated sheet music for each instrument! For ages 3 years and up.

Item Number: 00233

Price: $37.95

#1: Color Your Water Fizzy Bath Tints

Drop tablets in water and watch the water change colors! Create all of the colors of the rainbow using 50 tablets of each primary color! The bath tints will not stain fabrics when used as directed. For ages 2 years and up. (Bottles shown are not included)

Item Number: 85533

Price: $6.95

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