TIPS & IDEAS FOR PARENTS, TEACHERS AND GROUP LEADERS
Music with Babies, Toddlers and 4 to 7 Year Olds
Helping children to learn through music is one of the most enjoyable and productive activities you can do with your children…. there are so many benefits – they develop skills, cognition, co-ordination, sensory awareness, social and language development, and creativity, just to name a few positives!
We’ve put together some ideas to help you too! Some you’ll already know or be doing and some ideas might be new, or a variation on a theme!
Sing with your children – this is such a fun shared experience for you both.
Put actions to songs whenever you can – this definitely makes the experience more enjoyable! Invent your own or with our songs you can use our suggestions. Little children love “Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes”, “The Wheels on the Bus” – two very well known ones. The Rainbows and Sunshine songs are all designed for you to invent actions to go with them – be creative, there’s also cues in the videos and in our tips blog about the specific videos! Try these Rainbows and Sunshine gems for great action songs and dances: “Toodle Toodely Doo”, “The Alphabet Dance”, “Old MacDonald Had a Farm”, “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”, “The Wheels on the Bus”, “Incy Wincy Spider”, “Row Row Row Your Boat”, “The Grand Old Duke of York”, “Five Green Monkeys”.
Use props to enhance the sensory experience of music – scarves, puppets, soft toys, books, balloons, capes, hats, safe children’s musical instruments, etc.
Invent musical “instruments” from (safe) items found around the house.
Dance with your children – to your singing, or audio recordings. There are lots of traditional songs to dance with – “Here we go round the Mulberry Bush”, “Ring a Rosy”, “Hokey Pokey” etc. Our song “The Alphabet Dance” is an action dance that’s super fun to do with children – it moves pretty fast and after a couple of times the children will know what comes next but help them out the first time by doing the actions with them!
Watch the song videos with your children and talk about what you see or saw. There’s lots of learning opportunities with our videos and books which have been very carefully thought out – look for shapes, sound effects, funny moments, subtleties in the images, etc.
Ask children questions about what they saw or heard in the video.
Screen time watching and interacting with videos can educational and productive and it is important to be selective about the quality of videos or music that children are exposed to. The Rainbows and Sunshine music and videos have been well designed for “learning through fun” and have interesting, sophisticated musical arrangements. There’s more about the how to use screen time with pre-schoolers from “KidsHealth” here.
With little children slow down your singing at times to fit children’s vocalisations or attempts at hand gestures and actions to the songs. Sometimes they need a little more time….. there’s no rush!
Involve other children in the musical experience when they visit – it’s great for socialization!
Use books which have matching songs – this is great stimulation for cognition as well as the visual, auditory and tactile senses.
Create your own songs about your children and the family – use their names or things they have done that day.
Children from toddler age upwards love to play “freeze” games with the music –
When the music stops…. “freeze” (stand very still)! You can ask them to run and freeze, walk and freeze, or alternating walking and running then freeze by singing fast or slow…… specific songs on this later!
Use creative movement ideas with this game – e.g., “freeze and look like a tree”, “freeze and look very small”, etc.
Build up a library of songs on your mobile/cell phone for them to listen in the car. I’m sure I’m not the first mum to drop their child at kinder and arrive home only to realise they’re still singing along to children’s music with great gusto – and you are the only one in the car!
Music can be used to great effect with two year olds just starting to assert their will! For example, be a “train” and sing a train song when they’re involved playing but it’s dinner time and they are reluctant to leave their toys. Or a rowboat, and “row” your way to the table!
“Head and Shoulders”, or a variation of it, or “If you’re happy and you know it touch your nose/cheek/ears/etc.” can be very handy at nappy/diaper changing time too! Another useful one for diaper/nappy changing time is….”Where is (name)?” using a scarf or something for them to hide their face while you sing “Where is……?, where is…..?, where, where is…….”. Then you (or they) whisk it playfully off their face and sing “There is……(name), there is……., hello, hello, hello!”
Have fun….enjoy this very special time with your own little ones! Feel free to email us any photos or videos of your littlies watching the Rainbows and Sunshine videos, reading our books or cuddling “Moooo”! We love to see them.
Check out our great range of kids music products HERE!