Age: toddler, child
Skill for Bub: Just for fun, Mind builder
Music allows children to explore sounds with their voices and to use instruments as tools, helping them to understand melody and rhythm.
Music allows children to explore sounds with their voices and to use instruments as tools, helping them understand melodic direction, tempo and rhythmic patterns. Learning to sing develops language, articulation, diction and expression. As the earliest form of nonverbal communication, music encourages movement as an outward manifestation of inner thoughts. You can foster a sound-touch connection with your baby by singing or playing music while stroking your child’s head or patting her knee to the beat.
Here are some more ideas to get you started playing with your toddler through music and fostering the sound-touch connection:
- Chant nursery rhymes – Nursery rhymes have been around for many generations for good reason: They are imaginative, rhythmic and easy to remember. While you recite your favourites from childhood, bounce or rock your child. Or clap her hands and tap her feet. Hearing the rhymes helps infants develop auditory memory, and the movements convey the feeling of “steady beat.” You don’t need to be original – classic nursery rhymes were composed many years ago, and the more your child hears them, the more they are likely to love and remember them. Repetition is comforting to children.
- Do finger plays – Remember “This Little Piggy” and “The Itsy Bitsy Spider?” Finger plays connect physical sensation with hearing and helps a child orient her body (“There are my toes!”). These activities offer another opportunity for close physical contact to give the child a secure feeling.
- Sing! – Try some old favourites like “You are my Sunshine” or " Mary Had a Little Lamb." Sing it softly, then loudly, fast, then slow. If you want to expand your repertoire, go to the library and get some recordings or take a music class with your child.
- Dance together – Put on your favourite music and dance with your child, gently bouncing or swaying. Children love music with a heavy beat, so use your old rock-and-roll recordings! You can even let your child hold a little egg shaker (a percussion instrument popular in child dance classes) so he can hear it make noise as you dance around or as you help him shake it to the beat. Vary the experience by listening to classical, folk or ethnic music.