Celebrating Mom — and Mother Nature

Everywhere we look this time of year, we see motherhood being honored and celebrated. Back on April 22, we celebrated our "mother planet" for Earth Day, and on May 10, we'll be honoring our own moms for Mother's Day.

This season also offers us some of the nicest weather of the year, with April showers (mostly) behind us and the summer heat still a few weeks off. So as you take time to celebrate the mothers in your life, why not take the celebration outdoors while you share and enjoy the Music Together®® repertoire?

It has been my experience that children naturally break into song when they have freedom to be without constant instruction for adults. I suggest going outside as often as possible and giving your children free play time (no instruction). This is a wonderful opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of your children's interests as you observe them in their natural state.

Just last weekend, I went to the beach with my children. I told them we were on our way to Galveston by singing "Agarra tu sombrero y pontelo." This line from the song "Maria Isabel" is about grabbing your hat and going to the beach to enjoy the sunshine … and we did just that! When we arrived, the sky was teeming with seagulls, so I broke into "Birds in the sky, singing songs, flying high" from the song "She Sells Sea Shells." I just started the song, and then my son took it and ran with it. Literally!

Music Together offers us so many songs that help us better appreciate the wonders that Mother Nature offers us every single day. Here are some of my favorites:

"Two Little Blackbirds"

Two little blackbirds sittin' on a hill,
One named Jack and one named Jill.
Fly away, Jack, fly away, Jill.
Come back, Jack, come back, Jill.

This is a wonderful song to sing at the park. Let your children notice the sounds of nature — especially the birds — and sing with them about it. While you share this special moment, you're also helping them to improve their attentiveness and enhance their listening skills.

"Rain Song"

Drip, drop, drip, drip drop.
Drip, drop, drip, drip drop.
Oh me, oh my, I long to be dry!

Have you ever tried singing in the rain with your children? It might sound crazy, but I must tell you that singing in the rain (especially hard rain!) has been a source of great laughter and fond memories for my family and me. Enjoy the experience and really notice the rain: What does it sound like? What does it feel like?

"Ladybug"

Ladybug, she creeps along, and as she creeps, she sings her song.
Ladybug, she spreads her wings, and as she flies, her song she sings.

Now that spring has sprung, our friends the ladybugs will be coming out to play. The next time you see one, try breaking into song as you let it crawl onto your hand. Let your child notice how she "creeps along" and maybe even how she "spreads her wings." Better yet, let your child hold the ladybug and enjoy the experience on his or her own.

There is so much in our beautiful world to sing about, and I encourage you get out there and enjoy it. Children need outdoor time every day. If it feels natural to break into song, go for it! Music Together provides many songs about nature that you can enjoy with your children. How about we enjoy them outside too?

Today I want to leave you with a quote from Richard Louv's wonderful book Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder:

We have such a brief opportunity to pass on to our children our love for this Earth, and to tell our stories. These are the moments when the world is made whole. In my children's memories, the adventures we've had together in nature will always exist.

What is your favorite way to enjoy musical play outdoors? Leave a comment and tell us about it!