Everyday Play with Music

Everyday Play with Music

While Mozart composed a delightful series of 12 variations on the song “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”, our Ruth Washburn children inspired many more variations on the song “Pop Goes the Weasel”.

The set up was very simple. It involved a cardboard box large enough for a five-year-old child to climb into and a musician (cutting a child-size door into the side of the box made for easy entrance and exit). Our musician was RW alumna Mari with her clarinet. During free play Mari sat beside the box and anytime a child climbed in, she played the song “Pop Goes the Weasel.”

“All around the cobbler’s bench The monkey chased the weasel The monkey thought ’twas all in fun Pop! Goes the Weasel.”

Children took turns climbing into the box and popping out in tune with the “pop” of the music. This was great fun both for the child in the box and the children watching. It became more fun and funnier when a child decided not to “pop” when the music indicated “pop” requiring Mari to play “pop” multiple times until the child’s head finally appeared.  Another trend that started was popping earlier than the “pop.”

Mari played the familiar tune over and over again. The children who did the activity several times experimented with tempo. Logan requested that Mari play the song slowly so that he had a longer turn. Emmy on the other hand tested her ability to time the “pop” right when the song was played faster. Lucas popped with his foot. Three children climbed into the box to pop together. Over the course of an hour of free play almost every child in the class participated in the popping fun. The time was filled with smiles, surprise, laughter and joy throughout this musical activity.

My only concern was for the musician. Mari estimated that she played “Pop Goes the Weasel” between 40 and 50 times. Maybe next time we’ll try just 12 variations of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”. Thank you Mari!


Sukie Jackson , Ruth Washburn Alum Teacher, Director and Parent