Summertime Music Resources and Activities

Summertime Music Resources and Activities (A blog post by Anja Wade)

When I was a kid, summertime offered the opportunity to explore. Whether it was books, arts and crafts, outdoor activities, or music, I reveled in the chance to learn new things. Not much has changed now that I'm an adult. :) In the spirit of a creative, meaningful summer, I put together a list of resources for students and families in music. There's something for everyone!

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Remember puzzles? Sometimes it's easy to forget the simple pleasures of turning our devices off, sitting around a table, and actually spending time with one another while working on a project. I remember my family used to put together a variety of puzzles, often on beach trips or during winter vacations. This included 3D puzzles, as well as simpler ones inspired by famous paintings or scenery. I thought of this when I came across a 2-sided puzzle in the shape of a Fender Stratocaster guitar, and a mini wooden piano puzzle that doubles as a music box. Then there's this Instruments of the Orchestra Puzzle, which doubles as an introductory guide to musical instruments like the cello and timpani. Fun!


In addition to time spent around the table, who can forget time spent together in the car? Or on a plane... or a train... or a boat... for many hours... in close quarters. Listen, there's only so much McDonald's ice cream and snacks to go around before even the nicest souls get cranky with one another. Solution? Coloring books for all ages! (Those who must forego coloring books due to motion sickness, I got you, keep reading). It's true that coloring books aren't just for kids anymore. I found a variety of them to pique the interest of kids and adults alike. 

First, check out this Hip Hop Coloring Book: East Coast Edition. For the traditionalist, there's a Great Composers coloring book (which includes often overlooked female composers Clara Schumann and Fanny Mendelssohn). For those more interested in abstract art, this Symphony coloring book offers pages of accessible yet intricate designs. And before I forget, Crayola recently debuted a new line of multicultural crayons/colored pencils/markers (in addition to their expansive line of metallics, neons, regular boxed sets, etc.). Très cool.


As promised, for those who get motion sickness, there are several options available to entertain and educate. At the top of the list are audio books or e-books for Kindle. This is great for avid readers (and drivers) too! Just activate the narration feature of your favorite e-book reader and travel in peace. Some Kindle book titles for adults and teenagers include A History of Film Music, Debussy: A Painter in Sound, A Student's Guide to Music History, A History of Rock and Roll (Volume 2), and Music: A Subversive History. A fantastic series for children is the Little People, BIG DREAMS collection. Check out the kid-friendly picture books about Elton John, Aretha Franklin, and more. 


Now, how does one keep children occupied while listening to audio books? Well, I was happy to find that both Barbie and Playmobil are still in style and adventurous. Barbie now has a keyboard and a guitar, professional microphone, and headphones. You can also find Barbie recording music at a studio. Playmobil has some fun pieces as well, like this princess set complete with a harp and other musical instruments, or this singer with a keyboard. To allay anxiety related to the pandemic, there is the option of a school bus (great for visualizing a return to "normal") and a music classroom.  


Did I miss anything? How are you going to spend the rest of your summer creatively? Let me know in the comments below! In the meantime, feel free to explore my Amazon storefront for more ideas and resources


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