I am an avid supporter of action rhymes and finger play – singing rhymes with just your voice and body is great for children’s visual, motor and musical memory.
BUT, its great to inject a bit of FUN into your Rhyme Time, especially if it something you will be doing regularly. It makes it more of an occasion, somehow.
Here are the three ways I have revitalised T’s Rhyme Time:
1. Make a Music Box
T has a little suitcase, which came with a gift of a Steiff Teddy Bear when he was born. This is where we keep all his interesting rattles. He loves to open it and reveal them all, then pull them out at random and play with them.
What to put in your box:
Well, it’s up to you really, and depends what you already have to hand. I’ve just collected about six or seven interesting rattles from what we were given, charity shops and ebay. They all look different and make different sounds, which I think is important because it is more interesting for T to investigate and explore them.
As he gets older, I’m going to keep adding instruments to suit what he’s into and able to master – until one day he is a concert pianist ha-ha!
Just yesterday, T picked up my water bottle and started shaking it up and down, watching the water slosh around – this entertained him for a good few minutes!
If you literally don’t have anything at all you could collect a bunch of different sizes and shapes of bottle and containers with lids – water bottles, Tupperware pots, juice bottles, old (plastic) jam/peanut butter jars with screw lids and fill them with beans or lentils. I’m defo doing this in a few weeks’ time.
2. Build up a bag of props
EVERY Early Primary teacher has a bag of props for singing with. It really engages the kids and they love anticipating and being surprised at what you pull out. It also makes each Rhyme Time different because you can pull the props out in any order.
Here are some easy ones to get together TODAY:
Old Macdonald – look around charity shops for farm animal soft toys or puppets. I’ve managed to get together a horse, a cow, a pig and a chicken from various places – they are all a bit mismatched but T doesn’t care! Obviously finger puppets are easier and take up less room, but they are often £5 a pop, so something you’d probably have to think twice about buying.
Five Little Ducks – easy – rubber ducks are sold everywhere! Probably your cheapest option is the internet or local supermarket
Dingle Dangle Scarecrow – find a “flippy floppy” hat somewhere and pop it on your or your baby’s head when you sing the song
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star – Cut a star shape out of cardboard and wrap it in foil. Hole Punch a hold into it and string a ribbon through. Dangle it above their head when you sing the song. Keep your eyes out for a fairy wand with a star on the top or maybe a star xmas decoration to replace it with.
Wiggly Wiggly Woo – I shamelessly stole this idea from the ladies at our local library – they have a stick with a bit of fur attached which they wiggle around – all the babies love it
Little Peter Rabbit – A soft toy rabbit – use him to do all the actions in the song
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear – a teddy bear – as above
You’ll find that, as your little one grows, they will start using the props themselves – so starting this early will make them more independent in their creative play.
3. Make a Rhyme Time Song Sheet
I don’t know about you, but when it’s been a long week, sometimes I sit down to do a singing session with T and my mind goes completely blank. I know I know loads of songs and rhymes, but I just get a weird block where all I can think of is the dreaded Baa Baa Black Sheep!
So I made myself a little record of all of our favourite songs. I have hung it up in the nursery, where we usually have our Rhyme Time. That way I can quickly glance at it and pick a song! It’s also for daddy when he has to take over for whatever reason. This is how to do it:
- Type or write out your favourite action songs and rhymes,
- Laminate them in your local stationers
- Punch a hole in the top, thread a ribbon through and attach it somewhere accessible.
Right – now go off and get started pimping your rhyme time right now! Your little one will have fun watching you or if they are asleep, you can pop them in the pram and go round the charity shops!
- The Magic of Music: The Best Songs and Rhymes to Teach Your Baby (playitagainmummy.wordpress.com)