The Whole Shabang! Vol 1: Educational Multi-sensory Activities and CD for Children

The Whole Shabang! Vol 1: Educational Multi-sensory Activities and CD for Children

We really live in a small world now that the likes of Twitter and Facebook have built bridges to link us all. I just had the pleasure of reviewing a resource book and 17-track music CD from the UK entitled The Whole Shabang! Vol I by Kim Reuter and Russ Ellas with illustrations by Kath Stewart.  What does this have to do with the size of the world? It’s not so much the size but how similar we all are with the same challenges, hopes, and attempts at finding enrichment multi-sensory activities and solutions for our children with and without additional needs. Child caregivers The Whole Shabang! is the resource you need!

The Target Audience

The Whole Shabang! Vol 1 is especially designed for any primary curriculum for children.  This fabulous new  resource book with CD will be a hit in all families, nurseries, preschools, schools, after school programs, day camps, and even in any grandparents’ homes. My three granddaughters enjoyed listening to the CD with me while I followed in the resource book. When I turned to a new page they crowded in to admire each beautifully illustrated page by Kath Stewart.

Lesson Plans, Songs and Multi-sensory Activities

The cover boasts that The Whole Shabang! is A Treasure Chest brimming over with original songs and resources to educate and inspire children, with or without additional needs, their teachers and their families. The 17 simple-to-learn, catchy songs follow two themes, sea and garden. Each song lends itself to numerous, interesting learning activities very well explained in the comprehensive lesson plans. Another excellent  feature of the manual is the last section with the sheet music for each song written and arranged by Russ Elias.

The authors, two teachers, get an A+ on their creativity in finding a wealth of ways to use over and over again the same songs with a new twist in the multi-sensory activities.

[sws_blockquote_endquote align=”” cite=”Back cover” quotestyle=”style02″] The Whole Shabang! Is packed with wonderful, original songs and a wealth of inspiring multi-sensory ideas for schools, nurseries and families. Shabang! – live, love, laugh, learn … [/sws_blockquote_endquote]

The medley of songs is adaptable with spaces left to insert other words like a child’s name. The activities suggested allow all listeners to participate to the best of their abilities and being able to sing along is not a requirement. Accommodations are suggested to cater to the various developmental abilities of the children and their safety and comfort is always taken into consideration in the instructions.

This unique book reflects that the activities were developed over years of hands on experience. It is suggested to create a “Shabang Box” with the necessary props to bring the songs to life. Once collected or made, they will be used time and time again. These items can be bought when they are on sale and a few can be added each year.  Examples of props suggested

  • A basket of hankies
  • Glove puppets or wooded spoon puppets
  • A basket of shakers
  • Symbols for rain, sun, wind, snow
  • Toy watering cans and other garden paraphernalia
  • A cardboard treasure chest with sparkly treasure (beads, baubles, sequinned fabric)

Multi-sensory Approach

The ideas, games, activities, and crafts all have a sensory component to enhance any curriculum for children with sensory processing issues.  The activities that accompany each song always include a whole section entitled Sensory Ideas to ensure that participants who learn best through a sensory approach are accommodated. This makes it possible for the other students to enjoy this creative approach to learning also and opens up many new ways to enjoy each song. Which child would not enjoy the following?

  • Buried Treasure: Play sand with hidden treasures for children to use their hands or feet.
  • Cook Spaghetti: Feel the wormy texture.
  • Sounds: Scrunch up cellophane or tissue paper.
  • Rain: Splash feet in pans of water huddled under an umbrella.

These experienced teachers suggest running a Shabang Session like an adventurous journey. They have greeting songs to start, warm-up songs, themed songs for the destination and calming songs and lullabies to conclude the session.

Makaton Friendly Resource

My grandchildren were intrigued by the Makaton signs alongside the song lyrics. Makaton sign language – which is based around symbols – is included along with the musical scores to help the children participate in the songs. From the web site we learn, “Makaton is a language programme using signs and symbols to help people communicate. It is designed to support spoken language and the signs and symbols are used with speech in spoken word order.

People with learning disabilities or communication difficulties may struggle to make themselves understood – and to understand others. This can provoke intense frustration, challenging behaviour and isolation, and act as a barrier to achievement.”

I highly recommend The Whole Shabang! Vol I by Kim Reuter and Russ Ellas with illustrations by Kath Stewart! I would gladly have used it while I was teaching. It can’t get better than this… multi-sensory activities and songs that transport children into imaginary worlds with lots of opportunities for role playing, listening, language development, participation, and practicing social skills!

I was pleased to receive this Tweet from Kim, “Original songs, signed in Makaton by Shabang’s Little Tiddlers.>>Yes Please!. m4v:  and  Hello Song.m4v:  via @youtube .”  The music is wonderful and the young children singing and moving to the music brought tears to my eyes!

About the Authors

From their site I leaned, “Kim Reuter and Russ Elias –  theatre practitioners with over twenty years’ experience of taking accessible arts projects to special education settings.

We are part of a triad of arts companies who came together to realise the renovation of The Watershed, Slaithwaite, West Yorkshire into an accessible participatory arts resource. This is now our base and where we host the majority of our work.

We work exclusively within the field of additional learning needs. We are musicians, performers, designers and makers and are both qualified teachers. We combine these skills to create a blend of our own peculiar educational tomfoolery breaking through the fourth wall and invite our audience to participate in a special and unique shared experience.

We are a long standing partnership – a double act – a pair of eccentrics, committed to creating accessible arts to children, young people and adults with additional learning needs. We are all equally different – so live, love, laugh and learn... Welcome to our web site – we hope you enjoy it!

Read our online interview with Kim Reuter’s here.

Follow The Whole Shabang!

Web site.

Shabang! Facebook appreciation page

Watch Shabang! here:

Watch clips of Shabang! signing songs from the Cd here:


About Makaton


This post was written by Lorna
Lorna d’Entremont: Co-owner of SentioLife Solutions, Ltd. the company behind KidCompanions Chewelry (2007) and SentioCHEWS (2013), mother of three, grandma of 5 and wife. She is a retired teacher and special needs advocate. Throughout she has taught all levels from grade 2 to grade 9. Lorna loved teaching and enjoyed seeing the students progress in the school system. During her 30 year career she took a few years off to raise her three children.
  • Jill Wallis

    What a great review Lorna!
    I’ve used Shabang materials a lot with nurseries, schools, parents and trainee teachers.
    Its great that your grandchildren and you picked up so many of the fabulous things about this resource. You mention the “creativity in finding a wealth of ways to use over and over again the same songs with a new twist in the activity”. Parents say it’s the repetition of the simple, catchy songs, which help their children build up their language and expressive skills, whilst having so much fun. Familiarity is so important when building up a base for learning…yet this Shabang approach is consistantly novel and witty which keeps the adults actively involved and genuinely creative ashey support their child’s discovery and learning.

    • Thanks Jill Wallis for your kind words about my review of the The Whole Shabang! Vol I by Kim Reuter and Russ Ellas. Appreciate that you took the time to leave a comment. The children and families living in their area of the UK should really enjoy their live performances!

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