This week, when my oldest was at preschool, I decided to host a music time with younger toddlers and babies. This can look very different from having 3 and 4 year olds. I had fun pulling out some older materials and songs that I don’t necessarily sing as often anymore. The atmosphere of music time was a little different, as well as my demeanor and expectations.
When you are doing activities with you babies/toddlers, you have to remember what is age appropriate and what they actually are capable of. Plus you add in the different personalities, family life, and interests of all children, and to be honest, every child is a WILD CARD!
After preparing and doing music time with these young babies and toddlers I have compiled a few tips as well as a super simple song list to get you started.
Tips for Music Time with Babies and Young Toddlers
Pretend they are singing!
I always tell new mothers or teachers to just pretend they are participating. Children don’t always give you a lot of feed back. Especially in brand new experiences. They can look blank/star struck or seem to not engage. However, they are observing and over time will start to show engagement and the feedback that we as adults would like. In the meantime, pretend they are engaged and singing. Keep singing and preforming actions as if you have the attention of 20 babies!
Choose age appropriate songs and props.
Words can and should be repetitive at this age. The words don’t matter as much at this age, but the focus is more gross and fine motor skills. No need to overly focus on counting, playing a game, or telling a story in your song. These songs tend to lose the interest of younger toddlers and babies. Try using songs with noises, lots of movement, finger plays, props and visuals, and songs that say their individual names.
Example list of songs I used for my group:
- Old MacDonald – Animal Mask Visuals (linked below)
- Hey Lolli – rhythm sticks/name song
- Open Shut Them – finger play
- Tick Tock – lap bounce
- Where is Baby – scarf hide and go seek
tune: Where Is Thumpkin
Where is baby
Where is baby
There you are
There you are.
We’re so glad to see you,
We’re so glad to see you
Yes we are.
Yes we are.
- Spider Song – spider puppets
- Marching Marching – gross motor skills
Use carpet squares or blankets.
In order to have an intentional and successful music time with a group of toddlers/babies having a designated space for each baby is huge. Make this place special. Associate good things with this place. I never force my children to sit, but I redirect them back if they are young (like a baby). Or I set the visual or prop on the square and give them the CHOICE to participate.
If possible rid the room of toys or any other item that might distract your child. Make the activity/music time the most interesting thing going on in the room. This will provide one less expectation for your young baby/toddler and help set them up to be successful.
Praise and be excited.
At this age your energy is going to reflect more then the actual songs or actions. Do the actions and sing the songs! Help them if they desire! Praise every little movement or look of engagement!
Through my few years of being a mom I have learned that all kids are different. Try not to get frustrated. Most important, just love and connect with you child. Don’t make this one more battle. If the child isn’t feeling it and you are not in the right head space, put everything away and try another day or time.
Check out my other related posts for tips to engage young children.