Parents@Play Review – Compose Yourself from ThinkFun

compose yourself thinkfunCompose Yourself (ThinkFun)
Every once in a while game comes along that is completely unique. Compose Yourself is one of those games. Open the box and you’ll find 60 transparent, coded music cards, each imprinted with a musical staff and four beats worth of notes. Since they’re transparent, you can arrange each card in four different ways (there’s nothing on the cards to indicate a “right” side). Now comes the fun part. String together any four cards to create a unique composition (there are apparently over a billion possibilities). Then, go to the Compose Yourself website, enter the codes, and you’ll hear your composition played by a full symphony orchestra! If you’re happy, download an mp3 or print out sheet music. If not, re-compose and try again. Besides being tremendously fun, this is a great way to expose children to music and/or to teach music reading. Ages 6+. $19.99. http://thinkfun.com/

For more toy and game reviews, visit Parents@Play.

The Giant Book of Creativity + The Art and Science of Falling in Love with Nature

Bobbi Conner, author of The Giant Book of Creativity for Kids.
Topic:
500 activities to encourage creativity in kids ages 2-12.
Issues: The principles of childhood creativity; being creative as a family; art activities, music activities, pretend activities; dance and movement activities, creativity with words.

Scott Sampson, author of How to Raise a Wild Child.
Topic:
The art and science of falling in love with Nature.
Issues: What is nature and why do we need it? discovering nearby nature; mentoring young children; how to instill a love of nature even if you don’t love it that much yourself; balancing technology and nature; rethinking nature and childhood.

Mozart Shmozart

Dear Mr. Dad: I’ve got two children, ages 1 and 3 and I’ve heard that it’s possible to boost their IQ by exposing them to certain kinds of music. My wife says I’m crazy. Is there any possibility that she’s right?

A: What you’re talking about is the “Mozart Effect”—the popular idea that listening to music by Mozart would make children smarter. I don’t have enough information to say for sure whether you’re actually crazy, but I can tell you that while exposing your children to music is a great thing, it’s not going to make them any smarter. Unfortunately, that inconvenient fact hasn’t stopped all sorts of companies from claiming otherwise—and from separating a lot of parents from a lot of their hard-earned money.

[Read more…]

The Connection of Sound: Bonding with Your Kids through Music

I’ll never forget the day my mom called me into the living room and as I entered I noticed a recognizable box sitting in the middle… it was her vinyl music collection. We sat down for an hour digging through the old box as she told me all the stories she had about the music of the time.

That day was the day that I fell in love with music; it was also the day that I really started to bond with my mom on a new level because I got to know a lot more about her than ever before. Suddenly there was a “cool” factor to my mom.

Whenever I visit my parents you can bet that music is always one of those big conversation topics.

You see – music is one of those items that can really bond you and your child unlike any other type of activity or interest because music is so personal.
[Read more…]

The Amazing Healing Power of Music

Jerome Preisler, author of Daniel’s Music
Topic:
One family’s journey from tragedy to empowerment through faith, medicine, and the healing power of music
Issues: An amazing story of survival against the odds; how Daniel Trush suffered multiple aneurisms, was in a coma for more than a month, endured multiple strokes, and was given slim to no chance of survival. But just a decade later, he completed the NY City marathon.

Hofsas House + Carmel Food Tours + Thinking Teacher + Daniel’s Music

carmel food tour

hofsas house hotelKeri Tice, from Hofsas House Hotel in Carmel by the Sea, California


carmel food tourStaci Giovino, owner of Carmel Food Tours


Oliver Quinlan, author of The Thinking Teacher
Topic:
How teaching educators to become better thinkers helps children become better thinkers too
Issues: Why the traditional teaching model of simply delivering a curriculum is completely inappropriate for the 21st Century; helping children become participants in the subject they’re learning rather than simply acquirers of information; how to develop yourself into a thinking teacher who will help nurture thinking children


Jerome Preisler, author of Daniel’s Music
Topic:
One family’s journey from tragedy to empowerment through faith, medicine, and the healing power of music
Issues: An amazing story of survival against the odds; how Daniel Trush suffered multiple aneurisms, was in a coma for more than a month, endured multiple strokes, and was given slim to no chance of survival. But just a decade later, he completed the NY City marathon.