Last week, I shared some of my favorite St. Paddy’s Day session ideas for my middle school and teen music therapy groups. Check that post out HERE!
Today I want to share a few more ideas. I always love having a theme or holiday to inspire my session planning!
Movement to an Irish Jig
There is nothing that feels more like St. Patrick’s Day than a good ol’ Irish Jig. I use recorded music (because you just can’t recreate a jig!) and get everyone started with some basic movement patterns (patting knees, stomping feet, patting & clapping, crossing arms, etc). Then I ask each group member for movement pattern ideas that the rest of the group can imitate. Search “jigs and reels” in Youtube and you will be sure to find some excellent musical selections!
Where is the leprechaun?
Hold up a picture of a leprechaun and ask the group to identify who it is. Explain that leprechauns are sneaky and like to hide all over the place.
Next, give a duck quacker to one group member and instruct him/her to play it behind their back when prompted in the song – the duck quacker will be the sound of the leprechaun.
Then, instruct the group members to close their eyes. Sing through a song that asks “Where is the leprechaun?” (I change the words to “Where is the Tambourine?” by Kathleen Coleman and Betsey King and replace the word ‘tambourine’ with ‘leprechaun’). Signal for the group member with the duck quacker to play it as you’re singing.
When the song is over, ask the group to open their eyes and figure out where the leprechaun is hiding just by having listened to the sound. This is a great way to work on social skills like identifying names of group members (“The leprechaun is behind Andy!”) AND auditory perception and listening skills. Continue until each group member has had a chance to be the leprechaun. You can also spice it up by having the group member with the duck quacker hide in different places around the room.
Poem + Relaxation
I end my St. Paddy’s Day sessions with a relaxation to a traditional Irish poem. There are two ways to do this: Read the poem while you have slow, Irish music playing in the background (I love “Buchanan Mist” on the CD ‘The Bright Field’ by Paul Machlis). Or, use the words of the poem as lyrics for a song – create your own Irish melody! Here is the poem I use:
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
I hope you have a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day!
And if you’re looking for even more creative ideas for working with school-age clients or teens, I’d love for you to check out the E-Course I created, Tune In To Teens. It’s approved by CBMT for 5-15 continuing education credits, depending on the package you choose, and is packed with creative session ideas and strategies for working with teen clients: