Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Just for Fun

Here are some delightful resources I've found in my online wandering. Some fit the blog's theme of children's literacy, literature and learning; others don't.

Have you seen the movie Big? I haven't but I loved this clip from it. To me, it demonstrates our innate human joy in creating music. Why not share it with your kids, then think of all the ways you can make music together.

While we're in the mood for making music, my new favourite game is Isle of Tune which I discovered via Larry Ferlazzo. Basically, you arrange a street scape and each element you add makes music. Try Demo Island where you can start building streets by adding to an existing layout, or start from scratch. Click on an element to bring up a menu which allows you to change the sound, or copy that element to add it other places on your map.

This is simple enough for younger children to manage. I'm not sure if it will start them on a career in music, but I love that Isle of Tune emphasizes experimentation and creativity and best of all, it's fun! If your kids are 10 and up, they might prefer to play with music at Incredibox, where they drag and drop sound icons onto characters.

I love some of the things technology inspires in creative people. Here's a multitrack collaboration between Trudbol (vocals) and Mesnier (guitar), Bye Bye Blues. Anyone else like Barbershop?

CBeebies have some Christmas games, perfect for younger kids. These are not your boring shoot'em - blast'ems. I liked Pantomime Collage Maker. You get to choose elements from a show like Aladdin or Cinderella, drag them to your stage, click to see them interact then press play to see and hear a cute song. What a great activity to do after you've read some fairy tales with your kids! You can decorate a Christmas tree, help an elf collect gifts by using arrow keys on the keyboard, make music with Zingzillas (not really Christmas-themed, and slow to load but great for auditory discrimination) and many more.

There's also a section for Christmas songs which wouldn't work in my area, Christmas stories, and a lovely craft section with ideas like a Finger Puppet Nativity.

Does anyone else have a Christmas family tradition of performance? Here's one of my heroes, poet Michael Rosen, reciting Boogie Woogie Buggy. Why not let Rosen inspire you and the kids to share some poetry, or learn it by heart so you can share it with your guests over Christmas?

Little Einsteins is a Disney TV show and has games, activities, music and stories for kids. I liked some of the creative art activities, and love the fact you can play classical music snippets while you create. And the Silly Song Machine is another way to have kids listen to classical music, this time while they organize voices to the beat.

Looking for more ideas to get your kids creating? Each Friday over the last several weeks, I've provided a prompt to help you start. You can link to the whole series here. For more activities that involve kids in creative thinking and expression, with an emphasis on writing, you might like these articles:
Making a Book at ToonDoo
Create a Story with Story Jumper
Fast and Fun Writing with Kids
Quick Writing Online
Keep Calm and Carry On
Learn Something Every Day
Fun with Words - Spell with Flickr

You'll also find some great word games and language activities in The Book Chook Bag of Tricks.

If you're looking for websites where younger children can interact and create online, you might like to read Little Treasures (Boowa and Kwala) Fun with Spot or Poisson Rouge.

See you back here at The Book Chook on December 30. I hope you enjoy your holiday as much as I plan to, and get lots of reading, writing and creating done! If you'd like to read about the changes to The Book Chook I'd like to make in 2011, check out yesterday's call for contributors. 


  1. One of my favourite posts. Michael Rosen and Tom Hanks! We share a similar taste in what makes us smile :) Happy Holidays x :)

  2. The Book Chook28 December, 2010

    Thanks Carly!

  3. Karen Tyrrell28 December, 2010

    Hi Susan,
    I loved the movie BIG ...such an original idea for a screenplay. A great list of Creative musical resources for kids and and parents/ teachers Karen T:))

  4. The Book Chook28 December, 2010

    Thanks for mentioning that, Karen. I've added it to my list of movies for the future.

  5. I love that scene from Big too!

    Cool blog, pop over to bigwords if you ever get a chance

  6. The Book Chook29 December, 2010

    I got the chance, bigwords! It's so great to know people do actually win contests through writing!


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