We Play Along Children’s Activity Songs – How it all began

Georgia and I have always included musical activities, traditional children’s songs, and Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes as part of our life with our children from the time they were born. When our children were young, Georgia and I would make up songs for them. These were silly songs for children or some type of adaptation to a Mother Goose Nursery Rhyme. Often, they were songs that our children wanted to write with us. We were active in Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts and participated and led activity songs at various meetings, gatherings and camp outs. I was also the favorite “Room Dad” for our elementary age children because I loved to bring my guitar and sing with the classes. My first song for children, that I wrote down, was called Let’s All Roar. It is a silly song to deal with being afraid at night. A dragon roaring was fun to do and the funny image of a spider roller skating offered my children a way to push away fears in the dark. I’m currently recording this song to put up on our YouTube channel some day in the future. Georgia and I, along with our children, began to perform for children’s and family programs and it quickly became clear to us that to offer a 45 minute program for 200 to 2000 children we had to get the audiences involved. Activity songs were what children loved to sing and do. From there we produced our 1st album called K.C. and Company New Classics, like Choo, Chucka Choo, Wild, Wild Hare, and Whales, Whales, Whales, were all written for and with my children. We looked for, and found, traditional activity songs, often hundreds of years old, to use with our audiences. If any children’s song was 200 or more years old and still being sung it had to be good! We then started to also create new activity songs based on our experiences of singing with thousands of children. It became clear to us that we had a clear concept of children’s music. Our view is that children’s music is music that involves children in some way (rounds, fingerplays, movement, creative language use) and are also educational songs. We looked for educational songs that: * support fine and gross motor skill development, * help vocabulary growth, * include the learning of concepts like ABCs, numbers, colors, rhymes, opposites, etc. * could be creatively manipulated by children using their imaginations, language, and vocabulary skills to create new verses, rhymes, and even songs using our or traditional melodies. We later added American Sign Language (ASL) to songs because it offered us a way to add movement and a visual component to almost any song we wanted to use. We created ASL songs and added ASL to Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes like Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. This ultimately led us to create the We Sign series of ASL songs for kids and ASL for Babies and Toddlers instructional videos. Our goal, from the very beginning, was to provide quality products that would teach and empower parents, teachers, early childhood professionals, and caregivers to use and learn ASL songs and other activity songs. Once learned everyone would be successful at singing, signing, moving, and interacting with their children. Activity songs and ASL songs offer great bonding activities as well as offering children a fun, playful, and powerful way to learn. We Play Along YouTube channel and the children’s songs featured there came from our experiences and our audience reactions to the songs. Sometimes we performed songs with audiences that, for whatever reason did, just did not work – they ended up on the circular file. But the children’s songs featured on our YouTube channel have all demonstrated that they can and do work with children from infancy through elementary school. At our website, www.4parentsandteachers.com you can find products we designed for adults to use and then engage their children in these activities. Our products include our We Sign series of ASL and song DVD’s and CDs – a winner of over 50 national awards. Our Play-Along Songs music books featuring activity songs for children that we’ve presented to thousands and often hundreds of thousands of children all supported by online video demonstrations and instructions. You will also find our award-winning Sign to Speak Books with ASL songs, activities, and instruction for signing with babies, toddlers, preschoolers and elementary children. We have recently added our Signed Phonics book. Signed Phonics is an entire signed phonics curriculum with lessons, phonics songs, and phonemic activities to support phonics learning from preschool through early elementary.