Peanuts the Elephant
I'd like to introduce you to a Kodaly Crafts regular - Peanuts the Elephant.
Peanuts usually makes an appearance in one of my first prep lessons and will be a mainstay of the music room for years to come. He's a great all-purpose puppet and my students respond to him in a really great way.
In the early days of prep music, I use him for vocalisation exercises. I ask my students to follow Peanuts' trunk with their voices - when his trunk goes up, their voices must get higher. When his trunk goes down, their voices must get lower.
It's not that common at their young age, but if I do have any self-conscious singers or students who are otherwise shy about performing in front of everyone, then Peanuts comes to the rescue!
It never ceases to amaze me, but whenever I have a student who doesn't want to sing, as soon as I put Peanuts in their hands and tell them to sing just to him, it works! Whether the kids pretend they are singing just to Peanuts or whether they pretend to control Peanuts and make him sing instead, it never fails to get a result!
A little later on, both to practise steady beat and prepare taa & ti-ti, my students learn the song "On A Little Piece of String" which is all about elephants walking a tight-rope. So, once again, Peanuts makes an appearance!
I use him to model steady beat-stepping and singing while we walk. I also find that these interactions with a puppet or prop make these songs a more meaningful experience for my students and they are more likely to retain all the elements of the song further into the future. Instead of being a dull rhythmic exercise, their imaginations are given more fuel to take flight and the song becomes a joyous excursion to the circus!
As much as I love my entire puppet collection and want to show them all off all the time, I also think it’s great to have a few regulars that the kids can get to know and look forward to.
It’s also a great cognitive prep for repeated exercises - for example my prep kids know that each time they see Peanuts, there’s a good chance they’re gonna do some vocal sirens. If they see Sammy Snail, they know it’s inner hearing time. This strong visual character creates an association which allows kids to recall prior learning much more quickly, saving you “tuning in” time and allowing you to get on with the class!
How wonderful! Three cheers for Peanuts!
You can find an elephant-themed song pack on my Teachers Pay Teachers store.
Have a favourite elephant song? Drop me a line and let me know!