Shake! Shake! Shake!
Make shakers by putting a small amount of dried rice, beans, metal bolts, sand, or pebbles in empty plastic bottles. Glue the caps securely to the bottles. Reinforce them by covering the caps with masking tape. Let the infants explore the different sounds made by the shakers. Sing the song:
Shake it high (hold the bottle overhead), Shake it low (hold the bottle by the feet), Shake it, shake it, shake it, Watch us go (shake it as you turn around) Repeat the song replacing high/low with fast/slow and front/back.
Use a pillow large enough for the infant to sit on. Sing "Pop Goes the Weasel," replacing weasel with the child's name. When you sing, "Pop goes (child's name)," have the child jump up and stand on the pillow. Younger infants will need you to hold their hand and help them stand.
Sounds of Music
Put out different types of instruments such as drums, shakers, and bells, so infants can explore them and compare the different sounds they make. Name the instruments and demonstrate how to hold each one. Let children explore the different volume levels for each.
Where Is Baby?
Sing to the tune of "Where Is Thumbkin?", Where is (insert the baby's name)? , Where is (insert the baby's name)?, Here I am; here I am. (Gently pat the baby on the belly as you say the words.), How are you today, (baby's name)?, Very well, I thank you. Clap your hands, clap your bands. (Help the baby to clap his hands.)
Chanting and moving lets toddlers experience rhythms with their whole bodies. Chant the following and match the words with actions:
Jumping up high, Jumping up high, Look at us, We're jumping up high
Repeat the chant changing jumping up high to clapping our hands, stamping our feet, rubbing our tummies, and so on.
Tape large pieces of paper to a table or the floor. Make crayons available for each child. Play a distinctive type of music, such as jazz, opera, or country, and watch what the music inspires in each child's drawing. Repeat with different music. Notice the colors children choose as you talk about the drawings. You can also put out a large piece of paper so children can create a group picture. Don't be surprised if toddlers start dancing as they draw!
Let's All Sing
Audiotape the songs that you sing and movement activities that you play with the children. Share the tape with parents by drawing their attention to it as you play it at drop off or pick up time. If possible, encourage parents to spend some time in the room singing and moving to the music with their toddlers. Sharing common experiences builds important connections between home and school.
Using containers such as empty oatmeal boxes, make a drum for each child. Children can pat the drums with their hands or use a small wooden spoon as a drumstick. Play music with a brisk beat and parade around the room or enjoy the freedom of the outdoors where the drummers can drum and stamp their feet to make loud, boisterous rhythms.