at home ideas
For a baby, making “music” and creating sounds is a very powerful way to learn about the physical attributes of many different materials, concepts such as loud and soft, as well as explore patterns and sequences. Adding a little “voice” by singing or naming the sounds your baby is making as she bangs, is also a playful way to exercise language skills.
FOLLOW THE (BAND) LEADER
- Metal cookie tin, pot or pan
- Wood bowl
- Plastic bowl (with our without lid)
- Kitchen utensil such as a mixing spoon or rubber spatula
Set the different bowls up in front of you child as a “drum” set. Model using the kitchen utensil as a “drum stick” to make a sound on one of the bowls. Name the sound. For example, the sound of a metal tin or pan might be “boing” or “ring. Let your child bang on one of the bowls/pans Follow his lead by repeating his banging pattern (for example, if he hit the bowl three times, you should hit the bowl three times, etc.) Once your baby has established a “rhythm” you might bang on one of the items that your child has not been banging and point out the new noise that item makes. If using the utensil is a challenge for your child, model how he can bang an item with his hand to make a noise. Sing or say the sounds aloud.
SHAKE IT UP
- small plastic containers with snug fitting lids
- “shaker” filling such as dried cereal or rice
Pour a little cereal into one of the containers. Comment on the sounds it makes as it falls into the container. If your child is engaged by watching the cereal flow, place her hand in the cereal “stream.” Place the lid on the container when it is about half-full. Hand it to your child and model shaking the container to create the shaking sound. Listen to the sounds together. Name the sounds—shake, shake, shake. Mimic the sounds as the shaking is soft or loud. Play a game where you only say “shake” sounds when your child is shaking the container and “freeze” when she is not shaking the container. Toddlers, in particular, will delight in this game once they catch on to your “rule.” For another variation, compare the sounds that different materials make in different containers. For example, use water in one and cereal in the other. (Make sure not to use little objects that might be choking hazards.)
- 1 medium size bowl/plate
- 1 spoon
- Cereal or baby food
Try this silly singing game at snack or meal time. Place some cereal or your child’s food on a plate/in a bowl and introduce the food and the spoon by singing a simple story about them as you point to or hold up (or eat or feed) each each item. For example, “The spoon goes stir, stir, stirrrrrrr; and the cereal is yum yum yummy (or crunch, crunch, crunchy) and it’s time to eat, eat, crunch, yum, yum. Repeat the sequence a few times. When your child appears to be anticipating the sound effect, wait a few seconds before you sing those words. Once your child becomes familiar with your little opera, as a variation, ask your child to show you which item she wants you to sing about. Remember, there are no right answers. Just musical possibilities. Use a silly voice, make up silly sound effects, have fun.