Music Activity Monday: Cotton Balls Music

I know it’s hardly Monday anymore, but I did say I was going to do better at posting more frequently, so here we are. Better late than never, right?

Today’s music activity was actually adapted from an occupational therapy activity website (when I remember which one, I will post it). If you ever need fresh inspiration for activities, I highly recommend searching for OT activities via Google, Pinterest, ect. They use a lot of creative interventions just like we do, but their methods don’t always include music. When I found this activity I got so excited and giddy because I had never thought of it before, and I love stumbling across new and creative ideas! Since the activity was on a site geared toward occupational therapists, the emphasis is placed on the specific physical skills it works to rehabilitate; however, I can think of many social and cognitive skills this can be used to address as well. I haven’t received the opportunity to try it out yet, but hopefully I will in the not-so-distant future.



Cotton Balls Music

This is a great activity to do in a group setting. However, it can be done with only one client as well. The goal of this activity is to use the clothespins to pass the cotton balls without letting them pile up in front of the client when the music stops.


  • Clothespins
  • Cotton Balls
  • Tongs


Crossing Midline, Finger Strength, and Pincer Grasp


Have the group sit in a circle. Give each client a clothespin and a cotton ball. Instruct the group to pick up and drop the cotton ball on the lap of the client sitting to their right when the music starts. When the music stops, each client should pick up his/her cotton ball using the clothespin and raise their hand.

You can make it into a game by giving an additional cotton ball to a client who raised their hand but did not have a cotton ball caught on his/her clothespin. The client with the least number of cotton balls at the end of the game wins.


  • Instead of using clothespin, you might want to use tongs or tweezers. For an even greater challenge, use two rhythm sticks.
  • If you are playing with 1 client, you may want to just use one cotton ball and see who has it when the music stops.
  • After a few times passing the cotton balls to the right, switch and have the passing go left.
  • Instruct the group to pass to the tempo of the music.

Music Suggestions:

  • For this one I would suggest random chords and strumming patterns on the guitar; that way you can challenge your group more by adding the slow/fast variation.
  • Tailor the music to your group.
  • If you want to use recorded music, I think “Cotton-Eyed Joe” or “Peter Cottontail” would be fun 🙂


What do you think? How would you add to this activity? If you know the origin of this activity, please let me know by leaving a comment or email at
You can also follow me on Twitter at @KatelynFarrisMT


Music Activity Monday: A Justin Bieber Hello!

Happy Monday to all! I’ve seen many music therapy blogs write posts every Monday sharing some great activity ideas that they use and can be “stolen” by other MT’s for use in their own practice. I believe that there’s no such thing as too many activity ideas, so I figured I would follow suit. Without further ado, I introduce to you my very first Music Activity Monday post!

This activity is a Hello song I wrote for a resident of mine who absolutely LOVES Justin Bieber. Although I’m not a huge JB fan myself, I had so much fun writing my first rap! It’s also tons of fun to perform, because it’s not often I get to show off my mean rapping skills 🙂

Not only is this Hello song a fun way to kick off a session, it also addresses a few goals. Encouraging your client to drum and/or freestyle rap targets areas such as nonverbal cueing, creative self-expression, and following directions. The call-and-response aspect of the rap encourages expressive and receptive language areas such as impulse control and listening skills. I’m sure this can be creatively adapted in numerous ways to fit your clients needs, so unleash your inner Belieber and enjoy!

Hello Song  in the style of “Boyfriend” by Justin Bieber


  • Karaoke track of “Boyfriend” by J. Biebs
  • Drum of choice
  • CD Player



Welcome to music, Ima tell you hello,
We gon’ do some stuff you ain’t never done before
Baby take a chance or you’ll never ever know
I got drums in my hands that I’d really like to beat
(begin drumming) *beat *beat *beat  for you
We’ll sing and we’ll play and dance a little too
I dunno about me but I know about you
So I’ll say hello to you in three, two…

 Hello (insert name), how are you today?
 Hey boy (or girl), let me sing to you

Hello (insert name),  How are you today?
Tell me how you’re doin, what you’ve done today

We can talk about it, anything you want

Hello (insert name), how are you today? how are you today?

Your client can use the next verse to improvise on the drum or freestyle rap about how he/she is, what he/she has done that day, ect. When the pre-chorus comes back in, you can either begin singing again or encourage your client to sing to you this time!

Have fun and keep looking for more Music Activity Mondays in your future!