TIPS & IDEAS FOR PARENTS, TEACHERS AND GROUP LEADERS
Music with Babies, Toddlers and 4 to 7 Year Olds
Most toddlers LOVE music! And videos! And time with the special people in their lives! Sing with your toddlers – any nursery rhymes or traditional songs you know are fine. You’ll be amazed how many you know! Do create songs of your own too. Toddlers love to hear their name… don’t we all! So use their name in the songs too – you’ll be surprised how often you can substitute or insert their name in a song!
Toddlers enjoy songs with hand gestures and actions. Easy examples you probably know are “Where is Thumbkin?” and “If you’re Happy and You Know It”. Songs with actions are great for developing fine motor skills, gross motor skills and co-ordination. One thing to remember is to sing a little slower in parts than you would normally – toddlers sometimes need time to sort out their gestures! Pause if necessary so they don’t feel rushed!
One of the Rainbows and Sunshine songs called “Toodle Toodely Doo” has its actions done by the children characters – these have been designed for adults and children to copy – do these with your toddler while watching the video (available to own as a download from our website). You can then create your own actions for the animals like the duck (your hands “quack”), the cow (a finger either side of the back of your head), the panda (hands in front like “paws”), etc. The matching book also shows the children doing these actions and there’s a butterfly pictured (some almost hidden) on every page for the children to find!
Here’s some fun ideas for using the book “Black and White Cow”: You can use the book as a fun educational learning tool for your little ones by asking them questions about colours, numbers and shapes. Examples include “What colour is the tractor?”, “How many flies does the cow have flying around her tail in this picture?”, “Let’s count the haystacks! “What shapes can you see on the front of the barn?” Little children love to look for the butterfly that we put into each page especially for them to find! The pages vary in style occasionally also to give that element of surprise of what might come next.
To encourage creativity in your little ones with “Black and White Cow” or other songs like this, invent some actions to go with the words! Suggestions are: “Happy and contented cow” (put your pointer fingers at the top of your head, to look like the horns), imitate “munchy”, “itchy”, “big voice” with actions, etc. Putting actions with the song make the experience much more fun because it directly involves the children in the story! They can do actions while singing the song, reading the book, or watching the animation. Children also love to make “Moo” the plush toy cow do the actions!
Dancing is a lot of fun with toddlers! Even “Ring a Ring a Rosy” can be done with just you and your toddler. Bring out your inner child and you will have as much fun as they do! A fun way of getting a reluctant toddler away from their toys and to the dinner table is to sing a train song and be a “train” with them. They will love it! More ideas on this later in future updates to our blog……