Monthly Archives: October 2013

The Power of Pretend Play!

The Power of Pretend Play

My 2-year-old daughter’s sense of pretend play is really taking off! Last night, she went looking for the “beach” in our basement. After about 2 laps all over the basement she picked out a spot and decided it was the beach. So we laid down a “blanket” and I gave her “sunscreen” to put on, while I put some on myself. I offered her “sandwiches” and “pink lemonade” for a picnic. Even without any props to stand-in for all the imaginary objects, she was fully engaged in this pretend play for a very long time without losing interest.

We watched “airplanes” going by with ads trailing from the tails, like “Tonight: Jungle Gym Jam at the Stone Pony!” We saw colorful “kites” flying around and even flew one of our own. She kept asking for more “sunscreen” and kept re-applying it to her shirt and pants as if it were “beachwear.” We watched other beachgoers playing “baseball” and “volleyball” and joined in the fun.

When my little girl started to yawn, I pointed out how it was starting to get “dark” and what a beautiful “sunset” was over the water. Once the “sun” went down, it was time for “fireworks.” I gave her a “headset” so the fireworks wouldn’t be too loud. She put it on and watched all the dazzling colors burst (over our washing machine). Pink fireworks, green, blue, and gold all lighting up the “sky.” She was reaching out to catch the fireworks as they streaked down to the horizon.  Finally it was time to fold up the “blanket,” pack our things and go home to bed. After a bath and a change into pajamas, she drifted easily into sleep, aided by a little evening daydreaming with Daddy.

All in all, not a bad way to spend a mid-autumn evening in the “warm summer sun!” What are your stories of pretend play with a child in your life?

A Very, Very Musical Weekend!

This may have been my most musical weekend to-date. It certainly was my most musical weekend as a kindie artist!

Over the past weekend, I performed at a Mommy & Me fitness group Halloween party, a 5th birthday party and a new friend’s CD release party.

For starters, I entertained several cute little Halloween revelers and their grown-ups thanks to a connection I made with Fatima at Fit4Mom Stroller Strides (Westfield/Warren, NJ).

Jason acoustic at Stroller Strides Halloween party

After a break in the action (which was happily spent attending my 2-year-old cowgirl’s friend’s 3rd birthday party, complete with pony rides and a mobile petting zoo!) it was off to Rutherford, NJ for a 5th birthday party arranged by a new friend of mine, concert promoter John Grande at New Memory Productions. This time I put on my wireless headset-mic and added plenty of movement to my songs (3 sets of original, cover and traditional songs). The birthday boy loved strumming my guitar in his Avengers/Iron Man costume! Since a young partygoer asked me to sing a superhero song, I made one up right on the spot – look for it in the near future once we refine the lyrics!

Sunday meant one more stop – this one with the full band, in support of Baze and His Silly Friends’ CD Release Party! What a blast that show was! Of all the shows we’ve played since we started this kindie band this past March, this was the first one we played in a rock club, and – Wow! – when you have a great sound technician like Mark at the Crossroads in Garwood, NJ operating a great sound system, what a jolt of energy it gave every member of every band on stage. Add in a genuine kindie superstar like Suzi Shelton and a TV voiceover star (literally – she plays the voice of Star on Sprout’s Good Night Show!) – that’s Stacia Newcomb – it was an atmosphere where kids and their grown-ups couldn’t help but have an amazing time!

Were you at any of these performances? Tell us your story in a comment below!

Jason Didner and the Jungle Gym Jam at the Crossroads in Garwood, NJ

Jungle Gym Jamming at the Crossroads!

Baze and his Silly Friends with Suzi Shelton joining in

Baze and his Silly Friends with Suzi Shelton sitting in on vocals!

Baze and his Silly Friends with Stacia Newcomb on vocals

Baze and his Silly Friends with Sprout TV’s Stacia Newcomb adding a guest vocal part!

Were you at any of these performances? Tell us your story in a comment below!

I’m Hosting a New Music Video Show for Kids and Families

I love when an idea becomes reality!

That happened for me yesterday when I was out on an errand yesterday and saw an email on my phone announcing that Episode 1 of the Cool Rockin’ Daddy Video Show would be airing at noon that day and every day until November 10 on Montclair, NJ’s TV-34 municipal station, and that the episode would be viewable online at any time from anywhere around the world.

Cool Rockin' Daddy Video Show

Amy and I have been discovering great videos on YouTube by kindie artists; our 2-year-old daughter loves the engaging pairing of the kid-friendly music and the vibrant colors and images found in the best videos of their kind. Given that my relationship with TV-34 has been growing over the past year, it seemed natural that I’d combine our family’s love and knowledge of kindie music with our desire to provide quality children’s programming in our area and to extend the reach of the kindie movement into more households.

I reached out to kindie artists our daughter loves and obtained permission to use their videos on our show. Then I booked some time with Heather at TV-34 to film my spoken introduction to the show and the videos. I gave Sharon and Heather a list of the videos we would need. The content of the first episode was done, but we needed opening titles and music. We needed closing credits as well.

Along came my friend Trevor, a brilliant 13-year-old kindie devotee with his own successful online radio show Goober Kids Radio and a wildly successful band The Zing Zangs. He also happens to be a multimedia wizard. He immediately volunteered to create our theme song, logo and an animated opening sequence. He and I co-wrote the lyrics and he took the ball and ran with it to create an excellent melody and chord structure. I learned his melody and created a high-spirited recording, leaving open the space where he did a very clever rap. I sent him back my parts and he added some guitar, harmonies and the rap, full of fun sound effects, along with his Zing Zangs counterpart Elliott the Ninja. The results were jaw-dropping to see this eye-catching animation paired with the peppy theme song. We could not have asked for better.

The wonderfully shocking thing about learning the show was airing yesterday was that it was just the Tuesday night that I had gotten the title theme and credits videos from Trevor. Heather and Sharon’s turnaround of a high-quality show for kids was lightning quick.

This pilot episode features videos from Baze and His Silly Friends, Suzi Shelton, Princess Katie & Racer Steve, Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights, Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band, and Josh and the Jamtones.

Future episodes will feature Amy interviewing kindie artists, some of them with outstanding recognition in their field, including Grammy nominations.

An official web site for the show is coming soon.

Be on the lookout for our own band, Jason Didner and the Jungle Gym Jam’s first video in a future episode; we just shot the footage for the video yesterday!

Kindie artists can submit links to their videos for consideration for the show to Jason@CoolRockinDaddy.tv

This Sunday can be the Best Day Ever for you and the kids!

We’re all excited for the concert coming up this Sunday morning 10/27 at the Crossroads in Garwood, NJ (Union County). This will be their first time hosting a kindie concert, and what an occasion! NJ kindie mainstay Baze and His Silly Friends are releasing their 3rd album, the critically acclaimed “Best Day Ever!” Here’s their new video from this album: “Poor Mother Goose.”

We’re opening the show and can promise you a highly energetic performance that will get the kids super excited and create lasting family memories. Here’s footage of us performing our theme song, “Jungle Gym Jamming!”

Baze and his Silly Friends will be joined by a kindie rock star and a children’s TV star! Suzi Shelton will perform with the band on the song she appears on for the new album, as will Stacia Newcomb, the voice of Star on the Good Night Show on PBS Sprout TV!

Baze and his Silly Friends CD Crelease Party

See the event on Facebook and tell us you’re coming!

Doors open at 10:30 AM Sunday 10/27

  • Adults $7
  • Children $5
  • Children under age 2 free

“Everyone’s Invited!” Participate in the Release of Our First Album!

Everyone's Invited and No One Gets Left Out

I’m very excited to announce our partnership with PledgeMusic.com as we prepare a winter release of our debut album, titled “Everyone’s Invited!” This is where we invite you and your family to become active participants in our sharing this album with the world. We offer you some truly memorable family music experiences. You might wish to arrange a Skype call  from me on your child’s birthday, or even have your family participate on a creative team that will suggest artwork for the album or present ideas for a music video that we then make. There’s even an offer where I meet your family in New York City to go guitar shopping (or any other instrument). If your child loves the stage, we have an offer where he/she can introduce the band at the beginning of one of our concerts.

Badge

The songs are all completely recorded. Seven new tracks are in post-production, to go along with the five tracks on our Music page which are already fully produced and have been enjoying international radio airplay.

Here’s our list of song titles (order to be determined):

  1. Jungle Gym Jamming
  2. The People Exhibit at the Zoo
  3. Five Sea Lions
  4. My Glasses
  5. Mimi the Ladybug
  6. The Pick Song
  7. A Bowling Party
  8. Stay in the Pool
  9. Glass Bottom Boat
  10. Window of the Train
  11. Peek-a-boo Moon
  12. Down By the Bay

“We’re happy to provide a place where Jason Didner and the Jungle Gym Jam can get entire families involved with the release of their new album,” said Ariana Purro, project manager with PledgeMusic, “especially since this is one of our first projects in the children’s music genre!”

Guitars in the ClassroomA portion of your pledge will also help lots of other kids have positive musical experiences by supporting Guitars in the Classroom (guitarsintheclassroom.org), an organization that strives to enhance all kinds of learning for kids in school, resulting in a stronger grasp on all academic subjects and improved social interactions and self-confidence. Beyond simply donating instruments, Guitars in the Classroom trains teachers to make the best use of them.

You can learn more about this exciting new project at http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/everyones-invited and watch a short video to get more of a feel for what we’re bringing to life. We look forward to doing great things and creating great moments with you and your family!