Being vocal, being LOUD, being quiet, moving your mouth… these are fun skills to practice both when singing and when learning to say words. Whether you make up your own songs or sing along with your favorite tunes, the repetition and rhythm of singing can be a great way for little ones to practice sounds, syllables, and words… even if they don’t always know what they are saying!
For a little one to sing along, the best music will have lots of repetition, few words, a simple rhythm, and easy or silly sounds – which is why kids love songs like Old MacDonald and The Wheels on the Bus.
Mother Goose Club is a great song collection to play in the car.
You can also take the melody for any of these familiar tunes and make it even more meaningful. For example, take the tune of “Row, row, row your boat” but instead of rowing your boat, you can eat your food:
“Eat, eat, eat your food… Put it in your tummy… Eat, eat, eat your food… It’s so nice and yummy”
Using your child’s name in any song may get their attention even more!
“(Name, Name) eat your food… Put it in your tummy… (Name, Name) eat your food… It’s so nice and yummy”
In the toddler play classes that I teach, I use some of the music from Rachel Arnston, MS, CCC-SLP. Her songs are wonderful for those who may be limited with words as she focuses on syllables, meaningful sounds, and songs for specific consonants and vowels. I also recommend her songs for families with older siblings as they can sing along with the music and let their younger siblings fill in the easier sounds. Her CDs also come with printable materials you can use to help engage your little one or give them something to hold or move while singing.
Whatever music or songs you choose, have fun with it! Even if you aren’t a great singer (like me), chanting or talking with a rhythm or beat can have a similar effect. Bonus points if you add marching, spinning, jumping, clapping, or even more elaborate dance moves!
Playing musical chairs may be a little too difficult for those under age 3, but FREEZE dancing is fun! Run around the room, jump, wiggle, dance…whatever BUT when the music stops – we FREEZE. It’s a good spin on any “ready, set, go” game or just getting your active toddler to understand the concept of NOT moving! Ha!
For more ideas about playing with songs and sounds, check out my previous posts:
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