Arrange a Musical Playdate

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Classic children’s songs are so much fun for babies. Parents will likely know the words and motions from their own childhood, making them favorites to pass down (think Itsy Bitsy Spider, Wheels on the Bus, or Open Shut Them). When you make it a group event, it’s just that much more fun!

Today, Veronika and I joined a group singing at our local library. She was thrilled to receive props like scarves and puppets as we sang to favorites like Old MacDonald Had a Farm.

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This is a great way to see other babies in action, too, playing with instruments and moving around. Our group singalong featured an assortment of rattles and shakers.

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Another fun song for movement is Row Row Row Your Boat. After we rowed our babies’ arms on the classic first verse, the library added some cute new lyrics.

Drive Drive Drive your car (move your baby’s hands like a wheel)…

Chug Chug Chug your train (elbows swinging)…

and

Fly Fly Fly your airplane (arms out)

At home, I made up a few more silly verses. We rowed up a river to see a polar bear shiver, up the stream to see a crocodile and scream, and to the shore to see a lion roar.

You can continue the musical fun long after group time has ended. I’m a Little Teapot is another one that’s great for gross motor movement (and props!).

I’m a little teapot

short and stout

Here is my handle (one hand on hip)

Here is my spout (other arm out straight)

When I get all steamed up

then I shout

Tip me over

and pour me out! (lean over to the side)

The tip gets a giggle very time – mommy is sideways!

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If your library doesn’t have a musical sing-along for you to attend, consider being the host for a musical playdate. Have a few friends over whose babies are about the same age, and scatter all the instruments in the middle. Parents sing while babies bop and shake along!

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Ribbon Dancer

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April showers bring May flowers, or so they say! Which means we’re having a rainy month and we’re on the lookout for rainbows these days. This easy craft is a cute way to bring a little color and rainbows inside, even when the days are cloudy and gray.

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First, we measured out a length of red ribbon that was as tall as Travis – he thought it was neat to see a piece so long!

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Once we had our red, we could measure out the other colors of the rainbow against it. This is a good chance to review ROYGBIV order for preschoolers. Travis used scissors to cut each to the right length.

Now fold one ribbon in half, and loop through the ring of a canning jar. Pull the ends of the ribbon through the loop.

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Pretty soon we had our rainbow strings for dancing!

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Put on some good music and just jive.

Rainbow Dancer (6)Or perhaps do a raindance.

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If you’re lucky and it’s beautiful outside, this little rainbow looks even prettier out in the sunshine!

Pumpkin Leapfrog

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Wondering what to do with all those pumpkins from the pumpkin patch? Get in a little exercise before you carve them!

Pumpkin patches are such a fantastic outing this time of year; ideally head to one where your child can truly see where pumpkins come from (attached to the vne), instead of a big lot where pumpkins have been placed in a row.

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Travis was so proud picking out our pumpkins, especially since he could lift them all by himself. At home, I asked if he wanted to play pumpkin leapfrog, which earned an eager and curious “Yes!”

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Set your pumpkins up in a line (use as many as you’d like – we had 4, but you could go up to 8 or even higher, if you want to make the course harder), and cut a line of string to mark the start and finish of your course.

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Take turns leaping over the pumpkins, and see how long it takes! You can make this competitive for older kids by using a timer, or just be silly with it for younger ones.

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Next we ran a slalom “S” course around the pumpkins, great for practicing fancy footwork.

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From there, go on and make up your own silly versions. Travis loved straddling each pumpkin, running circles around them, and more.

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The perfect activity to tide us over until its time to carve, and yet another fantastic suggestion from our Barefoot Books Kids Garden set.

 

Shadow Dancing

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With late autumn sunshine pouring in through our windows, we were inspired to take our dancing up a notch!

Depending on the direction your windows face, play this game when shadows are best projected against the wall. If it’s a rainy day (or nighttime!) you can continue the fun by putting out all the lights in the room except one, and then angling one light to hit a wall.

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Have fun dancing up a storm, bonus points for songs that involve hand motions and gestures.

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Travis loves Shake Those ‘Simmons Down from Music Together, and it was an absolute delight to dance with our shadow partners.

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To continue the fun, I showed him how to make a few hand shadow animals, such as birds…

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…And ducks.

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Bonus points: our cat loved watching the action!

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Traffic Light

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This week, I made red, yellow, and green “traffic” lights, which lend themselves to so many games! The set-up is easy, although just for the grown-ups. Cut red, yellow, and green construction paper to fit paper plates, and staple on. If you like, secure a popsicle stick handle to the back of each with duct tape.

Travis’s favorite game by far with these props was to drive a “car” past the traffic lights. I made him a small cardboard “wheel” and he ran about the room driving an imaginary car. When he passed the green sign, it was time to Go! full speed.

But if he passed yellow, he had to slow down.

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When he reached the red stop sign, it was time to stop of course, until I shouted ‘Go!’ again.

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You can also make mini versions for toy cars. I taped small red, yellow, and green circles to a few of Travis’s blocks to line the roadway of the block city we built.

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Another fun option – and a way to get your kids exercising – is to play music while holding the signs. Your little one gets to dance fast when you hold up green and slow for yellow. Here’s Travis racing about in a fast jig:

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And here he is doing a very careful, slow bell dance:

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Then they need to freeze when you hold up the red. You could also press pause on the music you’re playing, for added effect.

Once all those games at home are done, tuck the signs into your diaper bag and bring along for a car ride. Ask your child to be your traffic cop, holding up the red sign when you come to a red light, and the green when the light changes.

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Ready, set, go!