I don’t know about you, but music makes me happy. And by the look on my little girl’s face, she seems to be a pretty big fan of music too. It brings me so much joy to be able to share my love of music with you every week. Introducing your children to music is the best gift you will ever give them.
I hope you are enjoying some of the activities I have presented in Musical Mondays so far. As a quick recap, we have talked about the general benefits of music for babies, the importance of the steady beat, massage and tickle rhymes and action and beat activities. And even after all that musical goodness, I still have loads more to share.
Today, I am excited to introduce one of my most favorite activities with you: floor and chair games. These activities are yet another way to reinforce the steady beat. And at the same time, expose your little one to so much more.
Music evokes movement. Children delight in and require movement for their growth and development. Timing games and movement activities develop motor skills, body awareness and spatial concepts. Floor and chair activities help to naturally develop and improve balance as movements such as rocking and swaying provide stimulation to the vestibular system. Spatial orientation, such as up, down, and moving through planes, helps orient children to space which is one of the most important development behaviors for infants and toddlers.
Social skills are also developed through floor and chair games. Important concepts such as eye contact and bonding are encouraged through movement and play. When we participate in these activities in my weekly classes we encourage the babies to face outward so they can see their friends. Participating in a group activity is a wonderful way to create a sense of community for our little ones. At home, this activity can be done with parent and child facing towards each other so that they can see you speaking and you are able to watch their reactions.
Floor and chair games can be done to almost any song or rhyme that contains movement related language (up, down, side, front, back). Actively moving your child to these words while listening to the sounds, helps to foster language development. Similarly, it is important that our singing voices vocally match the actions of the words to further associate the movement to the sound (see action suggestions for activity below).
A great floor/chair game that we can all participate in is Humpty Dumpty. Check out the action suggestions to this familiar poem.
Parent sits on the floor/on a chair with baby perched on top of bent knees. Bounce baby to the beat by lifting toes.
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Bouncing.
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. Add a vocal sounds effect here; a long “Ooooooo”.
At the same time, straighten legs so
that baby “falls” but remains upright on your knees.
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men Recite the remaining lines with legs straight, but keep
little bounces in your knees.
Couldn’t put Humpty together again. Now make a vocal glissando upward on “Oooooo”
while moving back up to starting position. Pause and
What makes this activity even more fun is that as your little one memorizes the rhyme, they will begin to anticipate the “fall”. So we encourage our parents to pause before the “fall” so that you can add an element of surprise. With younger, newer babies, this rhyme can be done slow and gentle. But as the children begin to grow, the rowdier and the sillier, the better.
Repetition of these activities is important for language development and timing. As the children become familiar with the rhymes, they begin to own the material and this builds confidence in their skills. If you are not singing these activities to yourself while you brush your teeth or take a shower, you might not be practicing them enough :)
So whether it is to Humpty Dumpty or your favorite nursery rhyme, feel free to bounce, sway, move and groove with your baby. The joy it brings is infectious!