Musical, sing-along books – Parenting “life-hack”

This is a blog post straight from the heart. For those who know me, you know that I’m a real enthusiast of these two things: music and good kids books. So there you go: Today’s post is about sing along books, which are one of the best parenting tools that I can imagine.

 

In our house “sing-along books” are the most read books (so don’t expect any new photos of new books here :D) Not only because these books are the most fun, meaning I reach for them the most, but also because they’re the books which my children reach for the quickest and most frequently. When I ask my four-year-old or two-year-old if they can read a book to themselves, they explain to me that they can’t read (although of course, they can look at the pictures). But sing? Everyone can sing, so for them to get a book and “sing it” is no problem.

 

Some of you who don’t have English as a first language write to me saying, your children (especially the older ones) don’t like reading books in English and the only acceptable form of introducing a second language is in the form of music. That is why such “tools” at home are basically a parental “life hack” 🙂

 

 

If there’s anyone here still not convinced to have such books at their home (which I’m sure there’s not ;)) There are so many advantages including:

  • They are great for those of us who don’t feel confident or comfortable making music – if you’re tone deaf and you’re worried you’re going to hurt your children’s ears with the sounds you’re making then you’ll see that these books help give you the confidence and the words to sing.
  • They are like the spark for making music – because once you’ve sung once, why not next time accompany your singing with a drum or give your kids some instruments to play on. And once you catch the hang of banging the drum then maybe you could learn the three chords needed to sing “Old McDonald had a Farm” And on and on it goes… Not to mention the fact that soon you’ll start singing books that you don’t in fact have to sing at all, then you’ll melodically call your children for dinner, or while sitting in traffic with your child you’ll start to sing from memory some of the songs from the books you’ve been ‘reading’. This way you’re providing your child with the best conditions for their musical development – naturally, without even noticing.
  • They are perfect for newborns – reading a book to a few week old baby probably seems pointless, whereas singing to a young baby just comes naturally.
  • If a book comes with a CD children learn to listen actively, focus their attention, and it helps to grow their auditory memory and imagination. The elastic narration illustrates the context, reflects the music’s character and makes it easier to comprehend the concept of a given piece.
  • They’re an ideal way to close the day. The Bed-Time routine in my house involves the ritual of my kids listening to music before going to bed, to calm down and fall asleep. And then I quietly go in and I pull out books from under their cheeks 🙂
  • You can also just ‘read’ them! – but why do that?

My absolute number 1

I love buying cheap things and finding good deals (as you will see for yourself in the next part of this blog post, which will be based on the same deals and bargains) but you can learn from my experience that it’s worth paying for it! About a year ago, on one of my first blog posts, I wrote about how much I love ‘Barefoot Books’, in particular, one book with a lullaby CD “Mrs. Moon ” which I received ages and ages ago while living in the USA. You could imagine my excitement 4 years ago when I saw that they created their own YouTube channel full of  wonderful music and beautiful animated versions of their sing-along books. It never occurred to me that I could get such “sing- along” books. So you can imagine my joy (yet again) when I found out that I can buy these books online in the Polish bookstore: Kangurek (https://ksiegarniakangurek.pl) and at a price that doesn’t destroy your bank account (which is what I was afraid of) – PLN 34 for a book with a CD and music notes!

It’s also worth mentioning that in the books, apart from what you see in the animated videos there are also a few additional pages giving some context to the song. You’ll also a receive a CD with the original song and also the instrumental version 🙂

I have:

Driving the tractor
The wheels on the bus
Up, up, up!
Space song rocket ride
We all go traveling by

And I feel that it’s not going to end there. They’re all beautifully illustrated, all come with a CD and excellent music on it. So for everyone here who still doesn’t believe, I’ll let you be surprised.

A nice number 2

Now I want to talk about the many different deals or bargains that I’ve picked up. I bought a set of six books from TK Maxx for about a 12 zlotys! But I would have happily payed one hundred without even batting an eyelid.

The books have been interestingly illustrated – it’s like the author has taken a photo of a picture that was created by sewing various scraps of fabrics together.

The books don’t come with a CD, but instead, the special thing about them is how the song’s original lyrics have been modified. So for example in the book: Old McDonald had a farm, you’ll find that there are some wolves who scared all the animals so Old McDonald had to come and get rid of the wolves in order to save the animals (since there is no way they can live in such terror).

In my collection I have the books:

– Old McDonald had a farm

– Hey diddle diddle

– The wheels on the bus

– Twinkle twinkle little star

– There was an old lady who swallow a fly

– Incy Wincy spider

It’s possible that there were more book at TXMaxx, but you know how it is with hunting there – sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.

Not the prettiest but very practical

Now here another great bargain that I found in TKMaxx – a set of 4 books for just over 20 PLN from what I can remember. Even though the pictures here are quite average (which is a pity) they are made out of cardboard which makes it very hard for my kids to destroy them! The books included in this set are:

– Old McDonald had a farm

– The wheel on the bus

– Five in the bed

– If you’re happy and you know it

I could include even more books I have at home, because I’m not exaggerating when I write that I’m an absolute, huge fan of sing along books, but unfortunately I came across the remaining sing along books in our collection in ways that’s not possible to recreate. Some I found at garage sales, I bought some at second hand shops or were given them by friends who were moving …

So in order for this blog post to be specific and on topic, I will end this way:

If anyone here doesn’t have such a book in their house already, you should buy one and try it, and I suspect that you’ll soon ‘go crazy’ like me and buy a million books. And if you don’t love it than I’m sure at least your child is going to love it!
Hurray for the Kangurek bookstore (and maybe other bookstores – I’m not sure, I didn’t check them since I was so happy when I found these, that I didn’t need look any further) because it sells pearls like these sing-along books from Barefoot Books and hurray for successful finds in TKMaxx.