Celebrate 4th of July with Music Smart Activities

By Dr. Marian Fritzemeier, Ed.D.

Ahhhh, summer vacation. Your kids have only been out of school for a few weeks. You had great hopes that this summer would be different. But somehow, the kids are already bickering and complaining, “I’m bored.” Thank goodness the 4th of July is coming soon.American Flag [pixabay.com]

Multiple Intelligences: Music Smart

Lucky for you, there are many fun activities that you can do with your children that enhance Multiple Intelligences. One of the eight multiple intelligences is Music Smart. With the 4th of July coming soon, Music Smart can add fun to your 4th of July celebrations.

Characteristics of Music Smart

  • Loves to listen to music, sing, hum, whistle, move to rhythm, create & replicate tunes
  • May show sensitivity to surrounding noise
  • Speaks or moves in rhythmic way
  • Awareness of melody
  • Creates melody & rhythm

Activities to Develop Music Smart

Kylie's new rain stick

Kylie’s New Rain Stick

  • Let’s get patriotic. Sing-a-long with patriotic songs on YouTube. You and your kids may be unfamiliar with old traditional songs that your parents and grandparents learned in school. Try America the Beautiful; My Country ‘Tis of Thee; God Bless America; Halls of Montezuma; and Yankee Doodle.
  • Don’t forget the popular country song God Bless the USA by Lee Greenwood. One of my favorites is Coming to America by Neil Diamond played at full blast.
  • Create songs to remember new things (or use familiar tune with new words)
  • Perform sound and vibration experiments: i.e. fill glasses with different amounts of water (school age)
  • Expose to different kinds of music & instruments. A rain stick is one of my favorites (photo)
  • Play nature “music.” I buy souvenir CDs of places I visit, such as The Sounds of Yosemite; The Living Desert; The Sounds of the Grand Canyon

    2016 La Quinta Jan

    Khloe and Kylie Dancing

  • Dance with music; make up a dance, dance silly, do the Macarena, the Twist, Chicken Dance, and Electric Slide
  • Provide long ribbons or scarves for children to use while dancing (photo)
  • In the car, sing along to a wide variety of music via radio/satellite/CDs
  • Use pots and pans to teach rhythm and tones
  • Make homemade musical instruments
  • Have a parade with homemade instruments and/or rhythm band instruments

Additional Resource



Image source: American flag [pixabay.com]

World Giraffe Day (June 21, 2016)

C DSC_0505 - Copy - CopyB 10 DSC_0518 - Copy - Copy (2)A 9 DSC_0523 - CopyBy Dr. Marian Fritzemeier, Ed.D.

I’ve loved giraffes since I was a little girl. My mom would ask me, “What sound does the giraffe make?”

“No noise,” I answered while shaking my head no.

I was excited to learn that there’s a World Giraffe Day. Every time I visit the Palm Springs area, I visit The Living Desert. The first exhibit I visit is the giraffes.

I go see “my baby” giraffe. I enjoy watching him grow up. I’m including some of my favorite photos.

Another baby giraffe was born this spring but I don’t have any photos yet. When I visit in July, you can bet that I’ll go directly to the giraffes to see “my babies.”

Do Giraffes Make Noise?

Giraffes don’t usually make any sounds although they do have a developed larynx. 1 The larynx is located up at the head end of the neck.

Raymond Nakamura states, “Giraffes have narrower trachea than other big mammals which reduces the amount of dead air. They breathe slowly and have disproportionately large lungs to accommodate this dead air.” 1

Because of this, giraffes can only run for short periods of time. They also don’t have a lot of extra air for making sounds. So now you know.


What does a giraffe sound like? By Raymond Nakamura. March 24, 2011. https://www.scienceworld.ca/blog/what-does-giraffe-sound. Accessed 6/21/20

Day 9 Asheville Adventures: Conference Beginnings


I get up earlier today for the final Writing with Children workshop with Nancy Lohr, Acquisitions Editor of journeyforth. I actually arrive on time. Nancy’s an amazing person and teacher.

Afterwards, I drag my luggage to the shuttle area. The Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference is over.

I expect few conferees will stay for lunch, but the cafeteria is filled with chatter. I choose a quiet table with two ladies. After a few minutes, we add to the chatter. The conference is not over. Some people may call it coincidence, but I believe God arranged for me to sit at this table.

“What do you write,” I ask. Her answer surprises me.

I write about sustainability and Christianity,” replies Ros.

I’m immediately engaged. “That’s amazing. . . I’m writing about nature and children. I never thought about including sustainability for kids. Maybe I could interview you for an article.”

A forty-five minute conversation ensues with countless resources and ideas. We connect on some unusual “Christian” topics. I learn there’s a Poverty and Justice Bible. Homelessness and restorative justice are two more of my passions.

But the highlights of our time together are her references to early childhood guidelines and six components of environmental literacy. The first component is reverence; sensitivity to nature. Sounds like God’s amazing creation . . . my topic.

Two former college professors chat away about sustainability curriculum and content. The conference isn’t over, it’s just beginning.


Day 8 Asheville Adventures: Life Guidance


Note taking in writing class

Nancy Lohr’s a former children’s librarian; she may even like children’s books more than I do. Her passion for children, especially reluctant readers, and writing books that are developmentally appropriate align with mine. Today is day 3 of her workshops Writing for Children.

Later, I met with Nancy to discuss my book idea. She provided thoughts and slants on how I could combine nature, children, and parents/caregivers. Her feedback on a simple book idea became many possibilities. Time spent with her is one way God directs my future writing path.

I never delete Mary Denman’s Photo Tip Friday post until I’ve read it http://marydenman.blogspot.com. Every Friday she posts photography tips on a topic. She usually gives 3 to 4 examples with well written instructions and corresponding photos. I’ve been following her blog since I met her last year. What fun to learn more in her workshop. If you like photography, you will like her blog.

After a powerful workshop the day before with Lucinda Secrest McDowell, I attend Word Power in Everyday Life. Words have power; words can hurt; words can heal; and words offer hope. When she says, “You need to forgive yourself,” her eyes meet mine as my eyes fill with tears.

On my afternoon Prayer Garden walk the Lord whispers, “You need to forgive yourself for losing your job.”

As I pray, the domino pieces fall. I lost my job, which reduced my income, which resulted in losing our Atwater house. We moved back to Modesto. I lost most of my work friends. My disability is permanent. I lost my career.

Tears and grief flow. That’s a lot of loss and guilt to carry. The Lord can carry this; I cannot.

What a precious day. I felt God’s presence moving me forward and not feeling stuck. I thank God for words. Especially the words of others.

Day 7 Asheville Adventures: Ideas Flow

Instead of attending the evening keynote, I spend my time outdoors on my favorite swinging bench. I start coloring a devotional I read earlier. A few minutes later I get an idea. I remind myself that when I get an idea I need to write it down if at all possible. I trade my colored pencil for my pen and my coloring book for my notepad.


Refuge. Residency. Release.

I furiously write ideas for a children’s nature activity book. My handwriting is so sloppy I wonder if I‘ll be able to distinguish the words. The results are five  pages and not one book, but two. One is for 3 to 6 year olds (Preschool – Kindergarten) and the other for 7-10 year olds (2nd – 5th grades).

Earlier in the day I attended the Writer’s Dwelling Place workshop by Lucinda Secrest McDowell. On the handout is a picture of blue eggs surrounded by a nest. Anything with birds and I’m all in.

After the workshop, I make my own version of the key 3 points in my multimedia journal: Refuge, Residency and Release. When I connect words with my own sketches I retain the information much longer. Plus, it brings me joy and relaxation.

On No. I’m late for my next workshop . . . again. #BRMCWC

Day 5 Asheville Adventures: Signs of Struggle

It’s a good thing I had a late noon checkout; it took me all morning to eat breakfast, pack and get ready. I ride the shuttle to the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. After I unpack everything I’d just packed, I leave my room to explore.

This year I’ll hike to the lake. At 0.5 miles it’s more DSC_1465of a stroll. That is if you can read a map. My 3 ½ year old granddaughter Kylie can read a map better than her grams. “It should be somewhere right around here,” I mumble. The map shows yet another dark line. I ponder, Maybe I haven’t gone far enough yet. I keep walking.

When I arrive at the open softball field I clearly see a set of stairs directly across from me. I wish my life’s direction was this easy so I know where I’m supposed to go.

I begin walking up the steps. I see a beautiful flower. Stay on the trail, I remind myself. With my telephoto lens I can still get a great shot. Three flights up and I reach the top. Yep, this is way easier. I know exactly where I’m going now.

Until I turn to the left. A dead end just 10 feet away.

Really, a dead end? It seemed so obvious and clear that this must be the right trail. Where did I go wrong? I look at my useless map again. I go back down the stairs and roam around the field looking for anything that could be a path towards the lake. I feel like an Israelite roaming around for 40 years looking for the Promised Land. I pray, Lord, I’m so tired of roaming, roaming, and more roaming. Please show me a clear path of what You want me to do.

I finally find a narrow path that looks like it could possibly be a trail. The obvious trail wasn’t right. Guess I’ll try this hill. I call out to God again. Lord, my life is so hard. Every day is a struggle. Why does life have to be so hard?

I continue trudging up the hill in my flip flops, carrying my diet coke, with my camera backpack slung over my shoulder. After all, I am only “hiking” half a mile. I don’t need water or snacks. I see a sign ahead. I feel hope for a brief moment. The sign reads, Rattlesnake Trail.

Lord, this isn’t funny; You know I HATE snakes. You wouldn’t place a snake in my path.

I walk more cautiously up the hill. I recall daily obstacles I encounter as I walk over endless tree roots protruding above ground, dead tree limbs blocking my path, and rocks that require maneuvering in something other than flip-flops.

Then I think I see the top of the hill. Do I really have to walk all the way to the top? My question is quickly answered with the appearance of another sign. A left arrow points to the Lake. Woo-hoo! I finally find the lake path.

The downhill path narrows. I think I’m on the right path, but I actually can’t see the lake. I sense God’s presence as the trees gently sway over head. The birds’ songs add to His presence.

This isn’t what I pictured but there is actually a lake. The lake below is mostly blocked by trees, but occasionally I get a glimpse. In a brief clearing, I see a bridge. My hope returns. I walk a little faster. This is what I was hoping for. A long bench sits overlooking the peaceful lake where I can write in my journal and pray.

As I turn the final corner, I see another sign. Trail Closed. I cry out, “Are you serious Lord?” I sit and sob.

Day 4 Asheville Adventures: Animals, Outdoors & Photography

I started the day off pretty slow, so I went back to bed and slept. As a three-day experienced Uber user, I took Uber to the WNC Nature Center. One review called it a “poor man’s zoo,” but I knew I’d enjoy it. Animals, outdoors, and photography. What’s not to like?

They had so many amazing children’s interactive activities, such as a music center, building, and water. I took many photos for examples. I’ve always wanted to design a children’s museum. A nature one would be way cool.


I enjoyed the river otters, the wolves, and red fox. I was really focused on eyes today. It started with the sheep’s tilted head and the way he looked at me.

I was going back on forth in my mind about whether or not to visit the NC Arboretum. I thought, “If you can’t make a decision, you are too tired.” As I took Uber back to the hotel, it started really raining again. The weather report said no rain today. I hope this is the last day of rain.


I’m happy with my decision, which doesn’t always happen. I relaxed and watched TV, did laundry, iced my back, took a warm bath to soak my aching shins, and ate dinner. I’m creating a “Naturalist” definition in my mixed media journal.

In less than 24 hours, the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference begins. I can’t wait.

“Lord, please help my focus. Help me make effective decisions on which workshops to attend. Provide open doors to my writing and learning.”




Day 3 Asheville Adventures: Uber to Biltmore Estate



I’m so proud of myself. I downloaded the Uber app and used it twice today. Way to go girl! I toured the Biltmore Estate.

Due to anticipated rain, I viewed the gardens first. I enjoyed the gardens way more than the house. Wedding dresses from movies were displayed throughout the house. So different than current day gowns.

Day 2 Asheville Adventures: Plan B – Books, Nature & Chocolate

Like so many days, today was a Plan B day. I slept in late today with the 3 hour time change yesterday. I take the trolley to nearest stop to the Biltmore Hotel entrance. Trolley driver comments, “You have to have a car to get there.”

No car. I enter the Grand Bohemian Hotel where I was just dropped off.

Rescue #1: Concierge directs me to Guest Services two blocks away to get a shuttle.


Two new books, nature items, photography and chocolate cake. What more could I want?

Rescue #2: After I eat lunch its now 3:00. At the Biltmore Hotel Guest Services I discover the last shuttle was at 2:30. So she re-issues my ticket for tomorrow.

Plan B is shopping in Biltmore Village. Purchase a child’s book, Exploring Biltmore Estate from A to Z. I get a new slant on a book idea. Discover a nature store – too fun. Take photos. Explore. I buy a piece of chocolate cake for breakfast & head toward the Christmas Store to get the trolley. Last trolley for the day left 5 minutes ago. Who knew you had to check time schedules?

Rescue #3: Back to the Grand Bohemian Hotel for help. This time I’m offered a ride back to my hotel for gratuity only. “I’m not staying at this hotel,” I mention. He assures me that if their transportation is available they will drive me.

Ten minutes later the same man asks, “Are you ready?” The driver is none other than Mickey, the Bell Captain.

Plan B was a great day, especially due to the kindness of others. Thanks Lord for taking care of me when I forget details, like time.