At around a year and a half old, your toddler probably has one volume these days, and that volume is set on loud. Whether playing excitedly or having an epic meltdown, toddlers sure do know how to make noise. So here are a couple ideas for playing with dynamics, and teaching them when to be quieter!
First, we pulled out a variety of instruments that naturally lend themselves to dynamics. Drums were for loud, and soft maracas were for quiet noises.
A fun song to sing for this game was Yankee Doodle because, well, he rides away on his horse! Starting loud, I drummed along during the first line:
“Yankee Doodle came to town riding on a pony!”
Then I dropped my voice to a whisper and shook a gentle maraca; Yankee Doodle was riding away.
“Stuck a feather in his cap and called it macaroni.”
She joined in on the dynamics with sticks on the drums, and even shouted out “Loud!”
Beyond just learning vocabulary, there are many benefits to teaching your toddler dynamics. Because we’re inside so much these days, I talked with Veronika about how we have two voices, just like she has two arms, two legs, two eyes, etc. The outside one can be loud!
We headed outside to find examples. Loud trucks! Loud birds! Loud airplanes! Veronika happily squealed along.
Inside, I demonstrated a whisper instead. This was perfect for the “good night!” game my kids have taken to playing (which simply involves lying down on a pillow and saying “good night!” to each other.
So Veronika is definitely starting to get the concept of loud vs. soft, and when to use each. Bonus points: if you teach these lessons now, you might just trick your kids into whispering while adults work from home during the coronavirus!