All too often, things do not go our way.

I am writing this on Wednesday, and I just sat down at my computer to edit the video on Rhythm Sticks that was due to go out today (Thursday. I booted up my laptop, opened Camtasia, imported the video file, clicked play, and discovered I was blue.

Think Charlie and the Chocolate Factory blue.

I don’t have enough time to record and edit a new video before my self instated deadline of Thursday, so here I am reaching into my Back Up Bin. It just so happens that the back up for today is my Back Up!

No matter what your role in life (therapist, educator, parent, etc), having a Back Up Bin is important. Things don’t always go our way and having a back up plan or activity is great in a pinch. Doctor’s can be running late, traffic can be backed up, you can run through your session plans in half the time you predicted.

Depending on the person I am working with, my back ups tend to change, so I am going to share with you the top three general Back Ups I use!

Singing Known Songs: The simple act of singing songs together can work on many goal areas including speech, vocabulary, listening skills, and attention span. If the song has movement to it, we can also develop important motor skills! This also gives me a little bit of time to churn my wheels so I can come up with something more specific.

Musical Games: Contrary to my thoughts as an early music therapy student, there are lots of musical games that can be easily adapted to just two people! I’ve used musical tic-tac-toe, catching/singing games, instrument simon says, and dance freeze all with just myself and one other person. Over the years I’ve become a pro at modifying the rules based on what skills area needs addressing.

Improvisation: Sometimes the perfect thing to do is just pull out some instruments and jam. I’ll lead on my guitar, or a drum, and let my client play around on different instruments. This presents an excellent opportunity to work on listening skills, social skills, following directions, and a multitude of other skills as well. Sometimes these jam sessions even turn into pre-written songs and we get to incorporate a sing a long as well!

I shared my back ups in general categories, since listing each one individually could turn into a very lengthy post. I’d love to hear what you have in your Back Up Bin! No matter what the role, we can all learn from each other!