Winter Music With Your Toddler: January

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January is a great time to try some new things with your toddler! It is a time of fresh starts and new motivations, so I always find it easier to make just a little more effort at this time of year. After a very lovely and very indulgent Christmas, I have found myself ready to get ‘back-to-normal’, and craving a sense of routine. This is definitely heightened now we have a little person, because he is much easier to entertain when he has slept well and isn’t over-stimulated. Try some of these winter music activities this January:




1. Try lots of action songs

Beat the sluggish, post-Christmas feeling by getting active with the little ones. I have always found it hard to find time to exercise since having J, and even more so now that I am pregnant, as I’m too tired to work-out in the evenings. Toddlers have absolute endless streams of energy though, so they are always happy to move. Follow their lead, and enjoy a work-out that you can do together. Forget conventional squats and burpees – you’ll burn off all the mince pies with energetic renditions of your kids’ favourite songs. Bonus points for lifting them up and swinging them round. Start with these:

Shake My Sillies Out

Gotta shake, shake, shake my sillies out
Shake, shake, shake my sillies out
Shake, shake, shake my sillies out
And wiggle my waggles away

I gotta clap, clap, clap my crazies out
Clap, clap, clap my crazies out
Clap, clap, clap my crazies out
And wiggle my waggles away

I gotta jump, jump, jump my jiggles out
Jump, jump, jump my jiggles out
Jump, jump, jump my jiggles out
And wiggle my waggles away

I gotta yawn, yawn, yawn my sleepies out
Yawn, yawn, yawn my sleepies out
Yawn, yawn, yawn my sleepies out
And wiggle my waggles away

Hokey Cokey

You put your left leg in,
Your left leg out:
In, out, in, out, shake it all about.
You do the hokey cokey,
And you turn around.
That’s what it’s all about!

Oh, the hokey cokey,
Oh, the hokey cokey,
Oh, the hokey cokey,
Knees bent, arms stretched rah, rah, rah.

You put your right leg in,
Your right leg out:
In, out, in, out, shake it all about.
You do the hokey cokey,
And you turn around.
That’s what it’s all about!

Oh, the hokey cokey…

You put your left arm in,
Your left arm out:
In, out, in, out, shake it all about.
You do the hokey cokey,
And you turn around.
That’s what it’s all about!

Oh, the hokey cokey…

You put your right arm in,
Your righty arm out:
In, out, in, out, shake it all about.
< You do the hokey cokey,
And you turn around.
That’s what it’s all about!

Oh, the hokey cokey…

You put your whole self in,
Your whole self out:
In, out, in, out, shake it all about.
You do the hokey cokey,
And you turn around.
That’s what it’s all about!

Oh, the hokey cokey…

If You’re Happy And You Know It

If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands
If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands
If you’re happy and you know it, then your face will surely show it
If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.

If you’re happy and you know it, stomp your feet…

If you’re happy and you know it, shout “Hooray!”…

If you’re happy and you know it, do all three…

2. Start a band!

Toddlers have pretty complex relationships with each other, and they have a lifetime of learning how to get along ahead of them. They are more aware of each other than they were as babies, but tend to still play individually. They play next to each other, rather than together. This can be better understood if you look at how toddlers interact with adults and older children. They play games with them, laugh at them, watch them, and enjoy being with them – but the adult usually starts the interaction. If you’re child sees a stranger who ignores them, your child is likely to do the same.

Toddlers don’t interact with each other very much, because neither child is leading the interaction. The exception, of course, is if children take things from one another – that can lead to some tears and disagreements! Imaginative play is also in its very earliest form with young toddlers, so they are not yet fully submerged in the world of make-believe. They are starting to get there though, as demonstrated by the enjoyment they get from copying things that you do!

Music has been proven to improve listening and interaction skills, and so this is a lovely age to begin playing music together. Invite some of your child’s toddler friends round, and ask them to bring any percussion instruments they have at home. Select a lively playlist of music, and give the children a free choice of all the instruments you have collected together. Lay them out around the room, and let them negotiate their own way through them. They will be more aware of each other if they can hear the effect of another child playing an instrument (especially if it’s one they fancy trying!)

3. Read books that your toddler can join in with

Even if your toddler isn’t talking yet, you will probably find that they start to experiment with lots more sounds. They mimic letter sounds, imitate inflections, and are able to portray how they feel with the tone of their voice. All of the singing and communication you do with your little one will help immensely with their language development, but books can help here as well!

Try reading stories that encourage them to join in, and help them to remember words and sounds. Try:

  • Books with repeated refrains, such as:

Wake Up Do, Lydia Lou! – Julia Donaldson & Karen George

The Paper Dolls – Julia Donaldson & Rebecca Cobb

 

 

  • Books with lots of animal noises, such as:

Moo Moo Mooing – Ben Whitehouse & Melanie Joyce

 

  • Books with words for your toddler to repeat:

At the Park – Nicola Lathey & Tracey Blake

 

Repetition is so important, so don’t give up if your toddler isn’t playing ball at first – keep trying! 🙂

4. Use music to inspire creativity

Studies have shown that music helps learning across a huge range of subjects. If the right music is selected, having it playing in the background can help memory and a wide variety of cognitive skills. It also has a great impact on our mood and how we are feeling, and so can be used very effectively to help other creative arts. Inspire your toddler to bring out their inner artist this month!

Arrange some art materials on a table. These don’t have to be anything out of the ordinary – some simple paper and crayons are great. In fact, the simpler the materials, the more scope there is to use the imagination! Carefully select a playlist of music to include something that fits each of these categories:

  • Something slow and quiet
  • Something fast and loud
  • Something happy
  • Something sad
  • Something angry
  • Something cheeky

Even if your toddler is not yet trying to draw pictures, the music they can hear will still influence the choices they make. It can affect the colours they choose, the speed at which they make strokes on the page, and whether or not they are interested in drawing at all. This is very interesting to try while your child is very young, because you can begin to learn more about which styles of music they relate best to, and which ones evoke the strongest reactions in them.

5. Use simple instructions when playing with instruments

As your toddler gets older, they will begin to have more nuance in their actions.  They will learn that they can use their hands in different ways to produce different effects, and will begin to experiment with this concept. You can use instruments to teach them a little more about this. Using percussion instruments, keyboards, wooden spoons, or simply their hands and bodies, try asking them to do things in the following ways:

  • Loud
  • Quiet
  • Fast
  • Slow
  • Smooth
  • Jagged
  • Up high
  • Down low
  • With their fingers
  • With their palms

Demonstrate what you mean by playing along with them, and let them discover the full wealth of different sounds they can create!



Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means I get a small payment when you purchase via these links, at non extra cost to you. We have read and loved all of these books, and I would never recommend anything that J hasn’t enjoyed and benefitted from.

 

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