Scrunchies are fabulous resources for Early Years and Primary music lessons! They have so many applications to support musical learning!
Katie's little list of ideas for giant scrunchies!
1. Firstly for young children, scrunchies are great for holding a circle... so use in Ring a ring a roses,.. Here we go round the Mulberry Bush.., Old Brass Wagon.., Sally go Round the Sun (IMEY) and other circle games or dances. The children can hold on with one hand and walk around whilst singing! (NB never allow scrunchies to be used without adult supervision!)
If you prefer to use the scrunchie for sitting down activities you can either bounce it to the pulse or pass the scrunchie around the ring clockwise or anti clockwise. Sing Welcome Everybody (IMEY) and include everyone's names as you move the scrunchie round (or bounce it to the pulse).
2. Scrunchies can support the wonderful subconscious musical learning that happens in the Early Years classroom ... Try using it to develop and reinforce understanding of pitch by encouraging everyone to lift it up and down in songs such as Up and Down (JM) and See Saw (IMEY). Try also using to support pulse keeping. Set up a nice bounce to the pulse and watch as all the children gradually get drawn into keeping the steady pulse. Those who are struggling a bit can be put between two more able children... the 'struggler' will have no choice but to move with the others!
3. With some songs, I like to move clockwise in phrase 1 and then switch to anti clockwise for the next phrase. This supports and reinforces children's awareness of phrase.
4. "PING" children love to ping the scrunchie at various times - try letting go at the end of Sally Go Round the Sun (IMEY). Careful not to allow the circle to get too big before the ping, and definitely don't allow anyone into the middle, as it could hurt someone... If everyone pings simultaneously then the scrunchie will do a little leap into the air ... really pleasing!
5. In KS1 I sometimes involve the scrunchie when I am working on pitch matching... We sing a song and pass the scrunchie round. At the end of the song children look at the colour/pattern of the fabric they are holding. I then adapt the song "who has the penny?" (IMEY and SGREY) and sing "who has yellow?" and those with yellow pitch match and sing "I have yellow" ... other questions could be "who has two colours?" "who has spots?" Once used to the game, children love to take turns to be the leader and sing the questions.
6. In KS2 we enjoy 'Button you must wander' (IM KS1) and I use one special scrunchie that I have prepared by (very securely) attaching several buttons. There are so many possible games so this is just a suggestion: Child A sits in the centre with eyes closed and the children sing the song. At the end child A sings "who has a button?" and those with the button answer. Child A has to guess the child(ren). If the buttons are each a different colour, Child A could specifically sing 'who has the blue/red/pink button?'
7. In upper KS2 classes we sometimes use scrunchies when we are part singing! I have two or three scrunchies of different sizes and work with concentric circles of children. Find a song that works in two or more parts and sing in two or three circles. The inner circle turns clockwise and the next turns anti-clockwise etc. This is huge fun ... try it!
If you would like to know more about Katie's experience of teaching and training in Primary School, or have any questions related to this article, please contact Katie!
IMEY is the Foundation's EY book written by Katie - please contact Katie if you would like to buy a copy directly.
IM KS1 is the Voices Foundation's KS1 book and can be bought directly from VF
JM is Jolly Music is written by Cyrilla Rowsel
SGRTT (Singing Games and Rhymes for Tiny Tots) and SGREY(Singing Games and Rhymes for Early Years) are both fabulous books from National Youth Choir of Scotland