Making Music With Toddlers


In the warm, summer months, finding fun activities to do inside when the heat is just too much for toddlers is essential. During the next heat wave, make some music with the toddler in your care.


Music is more than entertainment for your toddler; it’s an opportunity for fostering social, emotional and cognitive development. Exposing your toddler to different types of music and sounds not only evokes strong emotions and encourages communication; it can help to form additional pathways between the cells in their brain. These connections or pathways will help your child later in school, especially with learning languages and math. During the toddler years provide your child with daily opportunities to actively experience various types of music.


Here’s 20 ways how.

1. Sing songs that have hand motions or encourage movement, like “The Wheels on the Bus” or “The Hokey Pokey”.

2. Sing songs that are finger-plays like “Five Little Ducklings.”

3. Encourage your toddler to clap, sway, or march to music.

4. Make up silly songs and sing them to your child.

5. Personalize song lyrics by adding your child’s name.

6. Purchase instruments for your toddler to play with. Bells, egg shakers, rattles and tambourines are great choices.

7. Introduce props like scarves, hats and stuffed animals for your toddler to dance with.

8. Dance with your toddler.

9. Play musical games with your child. Clap out a rhythm and encourage your child to clap it back.

10. Give your child a pot and wooden spoon to bang on while you’re cooking dinner.

11. Enroll your toddler in a quality mommy and me music program like Music Together®.

12. Expose your toddler to various types of music by playing music of classical, folk and other styles.

13. Sing new lyrics to familiar tunes. Encourage your child to make-up a verse to his favorite song.

14. Tap out the beat with your foot while chanting or singing nursery rhymes.

15. Sing songs to coach your kids through clean up time and bath time.

16. Play soft, gentle music to signal to your child that it’s bedtime.

17. Turn on the music while your toddler finger-paints or colors.

18. Have a family marching band. Everyone can grab in instrument and march around the house.

19. Sing a conversation, rather than speaking it.

20. Teach your child to hum a tune.


By Michelle LaRowe. Excerpted from A Mom’s Book of Lists. Baker Books. Revell 2010.


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