Saturday, April 16, 2016

Do "The Shaker Hop!"

Hooray! Spring is arriving 
(finally) in Chicago, and here I go - Miss Carole of Macaroni Soup! 

           HOP HOP HOP

It’s a great time for you to pass out shakers and get hopping, too!  Indoors, outdoors – wherever!  
    Wait – you don’t have any shakers?  Make bottle shakers or buy some egg shakers – see directions below.

But first – “The Shaker Hop!”  Hear it HERE, or on my DANCING FEET recording.  It’s a hybrid of “The Bunny Hop” and “The Hokey Pokey” or “Looby Loo!”  So easy – SO MUCH FUN!  All you need is some kind of shaker or maraca – one for each child.

Put your shaker in, put your shaker out
Do “The Shaker Hop” – Hop! Hop! Hop!
Put your shaker in, put your shaker out,
Do “The Shaker Hop” – Hop! Hop! Hop!
Put your shaker in, put your shaker out,
Do “The Shaker Hop” – Hop! Hop! Hop!

(Marching or dance break**, then repeat sequence.)

Up and over to put the shaker out!

Yup – it’s that simple.  We often start in a circle – it makes the in and out motion less dangerous.  Another tip from many years of shaker hopping – teach the children to rainbow arc the shaker overhead when going from “in” to “out” – they are less likely to whack each other!

Watch where you're going when it's BACKWARD!

** I vary the dance break – sometimes we march, sometimes we boogie!  We even walk backward (with my 4’s and K’s), walk low, walk on tiptoes – ask your students for a new way to move each time you do it and add it in.  Their creativity (and difficulty) will astound you!

Let’s make bottle shakers – it’s not hard and it re-uses plastic bottles and newspapers you might be recycling anyway.  Save enough 12 oz or smaller bottles – the sturdier ones will last longer.  NO WIDE-MOUTHS.  If the bottle makes a crinkly sound when you squeeze it lightly, find a different bottle.  Often the best bottles are from carbonated drinks – my latest fav is Ice Mountain Sparkling Waters.  Got a 24 pack at Costco, enjoyed the bubbly then made shakers for a whole class!

STEP 1:  Fill each clean, DRY bottle with ½ cup of filling – beads, buttons, popcorn, or rice.  If using beans, be sure to rinse and dry completely or they will sprout in a few days (yes, I speak from experience!)  Remove the label and plastic ring left when the cap was removed.

STEP 2:  Make a handle.  Cut a section of newspaper (8 pages) from the fold side across – about a 4” hunk.  Then roll tightly from the fold side to make a compact cylinder.  Stuff it into the top of the filled bottle.  If it’s too big, unroll and take off one or two sheets of newspaper and re-roll.

STEP 3:  Duck Tape!  Cut a 3-4” length and drape it over the top of the handle.  Fold in the sides.  Then wrap more tape from the top of the handle to the bottleneck (securely over the ridge where the cap sat) and then all the way back up to the top.  Two layers of tape will make your shakers last longer.  Some of mine are still shaking after 15 years of glorious music-making!

NOW SHAKE IT, BABY, SHAKE IT!                  

Watch the video for a step-by-step demonstration on my Facebook page!

My 4’s and K’s help make their own shakers.  They prep and fill them.  Then I give them a laminated nameplate to slip into the bottle before the handle goes on.  It’s easier for them to identify their own bottle shaker later.  My K’s wrap the colorful duck tape of their choice – some 4’s can do this step, some require assistance.  At the end of the year, each child takes their shaker home.

Children love to compare and examine what's in a shaker.  You might ask them to find another child who has the same color handle or same filling before shaking it up!

We're having fun now!
  • NOTES:  If you have a child that is sensitive to loud noises, encourage them to choose rice, colored sand or cottonballs for inside their shaker.  It’s easier on the ears!
  • Making a handle for a shaker turns it from a science project into an instrument. 
  • Do not use cereal as filler – it breaks up and turns to powder in short order.

We put our shakers away by the color of the handle.
Egg shakers are great, too!  Please do not make them out of plastic Easter eggs.  If they break, they turn into sharp shards that can injure a child.  Likewise the inexpensive egg shakers on Oriental Trading – they can split open after a few uses.  Purchase quality shakers from West Music ($1.75 ea, less if purchasing 10 or more),  or Rhythm Band Instruments (2 for $5.99 or 12 for $20.99) – worth the investment as they’ll last many years safely.

Another great shaker song:  “We’re Going to Kentucky!” on my Baloney! recording.
Check my YouTube Channel next week - I'll have video of "The Shaker Hop" ready then!


A big thank you to Rindy Powell, Director and superb photographer, and Mrs. Johnson and Mrs. Koek's class at St David's Nursery School in Glenview, IL for shaking and singing with me.  Another shout out to 3's teacher Mrs. Michols for the beautiful artwork behind me in the shaker-making video!

Yours for a Shaker Song!                    
 “Miss Carole” Stephens

Need professional development, a conference keynote or school visit?  Contact me:
PHONE: 847-384-1404

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