Beat to the Rhythm

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No doubt you’ve pulled out pots and pans and Tupperware for your baby already, and discovered that it’s a fantastic way to keep little ones occupied in the kitchen. And while a free-for-all jam session is fun, don’t discount introducing real rhythms at this young an age; kids pick up on it much earlier than you think.

So today, I sat down with Veronika and first we simply banged on our saucepan “drum.” But then I showed her one beat with my hand.

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She banged her hand a few times, but I repeated until she, too, was doing one solitary beat.

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It may have been coincidence, but this worked when I moved up to two beats as well. If I tried for three, it became a free for all of tapping and banging.

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We also tried the game with a spoon, first one beat, then working up to two and three.

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Again, don’t expect your baby to be a maestro, but you’re introducing the idea of beats and rhythms, and your little one gets to have a blast! Big brother wanted to be a demonstrator, too, and loved making one beat with his hand and watching her copy.

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Needless to say, the spoon and pot entertained her so thoroughly that I was able to clean the kitchen undisturbed!

Fee Fi Fo Fum

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Grown-ups are likely all familiar with the common syllables “fee fi fo fum” from the giant in Jack in the Beanstalk. But there’s no need to include the scary giant as you introduce this word play to your baby! The syllables echo a baby’s babble at about 10 months old, so today, I recited this classic for Veronika… with a twist.

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Sitting in front of her, I said:

Fee fi fo fum,

Here’s my fingers, here’s my thumb (open your fingers and then your thumb).

Fee fi fo fum,

Fingers gone, so is thumb (tuck fingers and then thumb away).

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To add a little learning in, I then repeated the rhyme with a different first consonant. For each letter, I handed her the accompanying foam letter to play with – a little extra learning to absorb! So she played with a big foam B for “bee bi bo bum” and giggled over T for “tee ti to tum”,

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We also did the rhyme on “dee di do dum” and then finally on “mee mi mo mum.”

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A big hit, for little effort!

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Floating Toothpick Trick

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After learning about how water molecules help each other up the roots of a tree (just imagine cute water droplets holding hands!) Travis and I tried this fun way to break those same water molecules apart. All you need is a bowl and toothpicks! My kindergartner found it slightly naughty to break the bonds, meaning he thought this experiment was hilarious!

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First, fill a shallow bowl with water. Wait for the water to be still, then very carefully arrange four toothpicks in a square. It helps to overlap them slightly, but not so much that they will stick together.

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Dip a toothpick into the center of the square. Nothing happens! There is nothing to break up the water bonds.

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Now dip a second toothpick into dish soap. Dip into the center of the square and… the toothpicks run away from each other!

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As stated above, Travis thought this was pretty hilarious, and he wanted to repeat with our toothpicks in different configurations. We tried a zig zag, although the results weren’t as pronounced.

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So then we needed to repeat the square a few times (if you repeat, start with fresh water; once the water is soapy, the effect isn’t as pronounced).

Floating Toothpick (6)In sum, a very kid-friendly way to illustrate some big (or should I say, microscopic) scientific concepts!