My 4 year old daughter loves to build with blocks ~and in particular, castles! As I was planning her lessons for the week, I saw an opportunity to create something that could not only get her excited to play with over a period of time, but would also serve as a platform for learning. This week in music I wanted to cover long and short sounds. She designed the city; I provided the streets and together we invented some fun sounds!  

I started with a folding table and taped some white paper on top. I gave her blocks and she built several structures all over the table. I then told her to draw streets connecting the buildings (to lay the groundwork for the next day). We spent the afternoon with dolls acting out stories from her imagination using this as our setting. Her favorite was ~ while a mom was at the coffee shop, her little girl ran away to hide and she had to go find her. Mom received help from a magical unicorn who told her she had to go into the enchanted forrest to find her little girl. We celebrated every time mom found her!

The next day, I set up train tracks to connect the buildings.  

We put the trains that came with the set on the tracks and made a “train sound”. As you can see the tracks are of varying lengths. Although I didn’t point it out, she was practicing making long and short sounds without knowing it! (The best kind of learning!)

The next step was to put Note Knacks in place of the tracks. (You can use whatever you have)

We drove back and forth…..

We drove from one castle to another….

I didn’t worry about her continuing her sound from one bock to the next, as someday she will learn about ties 🙂

We then thought about different cars having different sounds ~ big cars = low sounds and little cars =high sounds, fast cars =fast and slow cars =slow, etc…

From there it was easy to replace the cars with our singing voices! I asked her about the lengths of the blocks and we compared them. We then spoke about the longest block having the longest sound and the shortest block having the shortest sound…. and all of the others in between.

For older kids, you could easily add simple rhythms:

Their cities will be more elaborate, so the possibilities are endless! Kids can use rhythms not only as streets, but as passwords to get into certain areas or as 3D compositions to be used as buildings.

The idea is to make it their own! Have a great time and let us know what your kids come up with in the comments below!