Baby’s Song

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There’s a reason educators use songs as teaching tools so often; lyrics are remembered long after spoken words are forgotten, and simply hearing a familiar tune can become a cue when it is consistently attached to a specific activity. Today, Veronika and I focused on specific songs for specific occasions.

You can make these up entirely for your baby as long as you are consistent. We like to use the songs from Baby Signing Time, which helps connect word signs to specific moments. Like mealtime…

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Or playtime…

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Or diaper time, or bedtime, and on and on.

If you make up your own song, try a familiar melody. At bathtime, I always sing the following to the tune of “Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush”:

“This is the way we wash your hair

wash your hair

wash your hair.

This is the way we wash your hair

While you take a bath”

Similarly, I have a wordless melody that I hum to Veronika before her morning nap. It works like a charm every time, and I love that we made it up and it’s unique to the two of us.

What musical cues or songs do you use during your baby’s day? Please share in the comments!

 

Young Musician

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Toy pianos are a fantastic instrument for babies who have graduated beyond the most basic noisemakers (like maracas and bells). These first instruments (drums, maracas) give baby an immediate connection between their action and the noise that follows. Pianos are one step more sophisticated; the key makes a noise when pressed, but the mechanism (hammer and string) is unseen.

All that aside, what baby doesn’t love just banging on the keys? Certainly Veronika took right to it! I played a few notes and she came crawling over.

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Her little fingers were soon pounding along.

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For extra fun, this is a good chance to go through a children’s songbook to play simple ditties. You can introduce baby to classics you might have forgotten about, like London Bridge, The Muffin Man, Three Blind Mice and more.

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As I played, she grabbed my fingers and wrists to join in.

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Toy electric keyboards are fun for babies too. Veronika presses every button and loves the way she can vary the sounds.

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Here’s to my little musician!

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Music is Hiding

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Musical toys are a great way to teach babies about object permanence since they can be out of sight but not out of ear shot. Today, I pulled out several of Veronika’s musical toys and music boxes to see if she could find them once hidden. This is a slightly more sophisticated variation on a musical “hide and seek” game we played when she was just an infant. This time around, there’s an added element of enticing your baby to crawl.

She loves music boxes when out in the open.

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I thought for sure she’d go for them right away once I hid the box under a blanket, but little Miss Busy had her attention elsewhere.

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A toy music cube grabbed her attention better. I pretended to crawl around next to her. Where was the music?

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I had to slightly pull back the edge of the blanket before she truly noticed the musical toy.

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But now she’s got it!

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If you repeat this game over and over, you’ll reinforce the idea of object permanence. Later in the afternoon, I hid the music box behind pillows.

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This time she was more interested. She bopped along to the sound and then went looking.

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Ta da!

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You can have so much fun with this one in various ways as your baby continues to grow. Once he or she is really crawling, try hiding the musical toys behind furniture. And during the toddler stage, let them be the hider, and mommy and daddy can go on a music hunt.

Maraca Music

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I’ve made homemade maracas for Veronika before, but today the idea was to see which one she liked best out of a few variations!

I set out three small snack containers. Make sure whichever container you use has a tight-fitting lid, or one that you can tape shut.

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The first received a few scoops of dried beans, the second some dried orzo pasta, and the third a little bit of dried rice.

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Next I presented them to her to shake. Veronika has loved bopping along to music lately, so she loved having a container in her hand to shake, too. Beans were a big hit!

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She seemed to enjoy the subtle sound of the shaking rice when I held it up to her ear.

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Of all of them, the orzo seemed easiest for her to shake and made her preferred sound.

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She also loved when I piled the “maracas” into a tower which she could then knock down, or reach over and pick up a container to shake.

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These made for great solo play while I prepared dinner, too!

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This Is the Way…

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Let’s be honest; taking care of a baby can seem like a series of repetitive steps that you do each day – feeding them, dressing them, bathing them. But don’t forget that everything you do is fascinating for your little one, still. One way to make it fun – not only for Veronika, but also for myself – is to put it to music.

My favorite song to sing as we do daily routines is “This is the Way” (to the tune of Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush. Pretty much anything can fit into this song.

This is the way we take a bath

Take a bath, Take a bath

This is the way we take a bath

Early in the morning

Adapt the lyrics for each thing you do each day!

“This is the way we wash our hands… after having a meal.”

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“This is the way we put on your clothes…early in the morning”

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I also sing the song to her as I go about getting ready for the day, with verses for my shower, for toweling dry, and for getting dresses. You can also enlist baby to be your helper. “This is the way I brush my hair,” I sang to her, and then let her have a turn.

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Musical cues like these can help a baby understand where you are in your daily routine, and also sneaks in language learning.

 

Horsey Ride

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Here’s a fun way to add a sensory element to a favorite nursery rhyme! Using the classic Ride-a-Cock-Horse as inspiration, I threaded small jingle bells onto a silver ribbon for Veronika. Make sure to secure these tightly, either by knotting the ribbon once finished or even sewing the bells on so no bells can come loose. This is especially true if your baby tends to put things in his or her mouth.

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As I recited the rhyme, I jingled the bells for her.

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Touch them to your baby’s fingers on the word “fingers” and toes on the word “toes” as you go through the rhyme:

Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross

to see a fine lady upon a white horse.

With rings on her fingers

and bells on her toes

she shall have music wherever she goes.

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We also turned this into a bouncy lap ride. Have fun playing around with the lyrics as your little once bounces on your knee and listens to the bells. Since Veronika was all in pink today, our horse was a pink horse instead of a white one!

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You can also substitute your baby’s name for the word “lady”.

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Sing in a Silly Voice

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I love musical play with Veronika, but today when I pulled out the songs, it was less about rhythm and more about the giggles!

Sit with your baby and sing a few favorite childhood tunes. Each song you sing, use a different voice. For inspiration, I flipped through a small songbook we have with musical chimes. The chimes definitely held Veronika’s interest, sometimes more so than my voice!

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But she took notice and started giggling when I began singing oddly. Try a high voice.

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Or a low voice. Mom, you sound weird, her look seems to say here.

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I sang in silly accents, like country or French. And of course, I provided Veronika with a few baby instruments to play along.

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If you prefer, stick to only one song but switch up your voice each time. This might even help your baby anticipate the change! Another fun one to try is whispering the song.

Maraca Craft Challenge

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Last month, Travis’s Highlights magazine challenged him to make robots with only a few simple items. This month, the challenge was maracas!

I laid out: empty plastic water bottles, dried beans, tape, and craft sticks. “How would you make these into a maraca?” I asked him.

“Let’s add beans first,” he decided right away.

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He began dropping in the beans one-by-one. When I added a few faster to a second bottle, he admonished, “No, copy the way I do!” My teacher for the day!

Next, he needed to figure out how to use the craft sticks. He requested a piece of tape and soon had a handle.

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Then he decided a double-handle in the shape of an X was sturdier.

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Finally, the caps were reattached, and we could shake up a storm! I loved watching him puzzle through this challenge. What does your child’s maraca look like? Please share in the comments!

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Dance to Different Tunes

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Dancing with baby never gets old, as evinced by the blogs I’ve already posted on the topic. Today, for variation with Veronika, I deliberately selected a few types of music with different rhythms and tempos in order to expose her to a range of sounds.

First up was marching! For this, my go-to music is Sousa marches. Put on some good old Stars and Stripes, and march around.

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For added fun, I gave Veronika some bells to jingle as we marched about the apartment to the beat of the drums and brass instruments.

Next up, a slow song! As the intro chords played, I held her close and we swayed side-to-side. Warning: you might get a little verklempt during this part of the activity.

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Then it was time to bounce around. We put on an exuberant upbeat song (from one of big brother’s favorite TV shows!) and just had some good old dancing fun.

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Try this game with any style music you like, making sure to mix it up, and have fun feeling the rhythm.

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Play the Pots and Pans

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A few days ago, the family formed an impromptu band and entertained Veronika. Today it was her turn to play! Make sure your child is sitting comfortably for this game; if he or she can’t sit unsupported yet, add a pillow so there’s no falling over near the “drums”!

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I set out a few small pots, and gave her a variety of tools with which she could make percussive sounds. We had fun testing the differences between each one.

The whisk was soft but very metallic.

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The wooden spoon made a fun boom boom.

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You can even hit the pans with a baby rattle or plastic spoon! And of course I demonstrated simply drumming with my hand.

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In all honesty, Veronika had way more fun putting each item in her mouth than drumming with them.

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But she looked so pleased every time she made a sound by accident.

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Drum drum drum!

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