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Musically Montessori: "The Musical Balloon Garden Game," Exploring Pitch with Preschoolers and a Freebie!

MONTESSORI PRESCHOOLERS CAN EXPLORE THE MUSIC CONCEPT OF PITCH WITH THE "BALLOON GARDEN" STORY AND MUSICAL SCALE MOVEMENT GAME! My Preschoolers always say: "Again...again!"


Understanding the concept of "pitch" in music can be a challenge for young children. That's why creating games designed for children to explore this concept of high pitch and low pitch is a real winner in the Montessori music room.

During my Orff-Schulwerk music education training nearly two decades ago, I was fortunate to study with Janet Greene. She introduced us to some fun ways for little children to explore this challenging concept of "pitch" in music. 

One of her games that has been very popular with my Montessori Preschoolers over the years, is the Activity I call the "Musical Balloon Garden." 
PREPARATION
Here's what you need to present this fun Activity to your groups:
  • An open and safe space for movement 


  • Various pictures of balloons being blown up and then popped and deflated 

  • A pitched instrument such as a Glockenspiel, Xylophone, Piano or the Montessori Brass Bells  



  • A small hand drum  

THE STORY

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful garden. (1) Not an ordinary garden! This was a garden of balloons. (2)



However, all the balloons were flat. Completely flat! (3) 

So, they had to all be blown up...(4)




Puff...Puff...Puff...Puff...Puff...Puff...Puff...Puff! (teacher pretends to blow up a balloon, while playing an ascending the scale on a pitched instrument)

Then, the balloons were floating all around in the sky (5) and up in the trees. (6)

All of a sudden, the balloons got caught by a prickly part of the tree (7) and BANG! they all popped and fell flat on the ground below. (8) (teacher or child taps a hand drum to make a bang sound, then teacher plays down the scale quickly on the pitched instrument)



Now, all the balloons had to be repaired.  That way they could fly up in the sky again. So, the balloons got patched.  (9)

Then they were blown up all over again, (10) and the balloons from the "balloon garden" (11) flew up in the sky once more. (12)


Every time these balloons were flying up high, they kept bumping into prickly things that caused them to pop! 

Then, they would fall flat down on the ground, and have to be patched over and over again... 

HOW TO DO THE ACTIVITY
1. Start by showing the children some pictures of balloons when they are flat and then when they are all blown up.

2. Invite the children to pretend like they are balloons in a "Balloon Garden." 

3. Begin telling the "Musical Balloon Garden" story (see above) and have the children lie down flat like balloons waiting to be blown up.


4. Play up the scale (ascending) on the Pitched Instrument: Pretend to blow on a balloon each time you play one of the ascending notes on the instrument. (See chart below in this article: do-re-mi-fa-sol-la-ti-do' or C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C')

5. Invite the children to move from lying flat to gradually standing up until you have reached the high "do" on the pitched instrument.


6. When you have reached the high "do" (or C') on the instrument, then play a glissando to accompany the children pretending to be balloons flying up high in the air. 

A "Glissando" means rapidly sliding the mallets across the bars or keys of the instrument so that you are moving up and down the scale. 


7. As you tell the story to the children, the "balloons" are flying in the trees where they get pricked by a prickly part of the tree and then they pop.  Here, you tap the drum to create a sound like a balloon popping. POP! Then, you play down the musical scale (descending) on the pitched instrument, to indicate the falling motion of a deflated popped balloon.


8. The children then fall flat to the floor, as if they were popped balloons.


"AGAIN...AGAIN!"
9. This part of the story can become a fun little game in which you go around to each child and pretend to repair each "balloon" with a "patch" so that the story can be re-inacted again. 

10. You will probably find, as I have, that the children love to act out this musical story over and over and over!



I INVITE YOU TO DOWNLOAD
WITH MY FREE 
"BALLOON GARDEN" VISUALS  FOR THIS ACTIVITY!

This set of Activities has been a great success in my Preschool classes for decades! It has turned out to be a really fun, hands-on way to present a first introduction to the concept of pitch (high and low) in music and the musical scale. (ascending and descending tones)

I've created a Freebie for my Subscribers Freebie Collection and my subscribers can access it HERE!


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