I think it is safe to say that pretty much every baby gets a kick out of a good old-fashioned game of peek-a-boo. It might seem like the simplest concept, but the joy it brings to their faces is infectious. You can’t help but giggle.
Well, being that it is Musical Monday, lets spice up that game of peek-a-boo a bit and add a fun melody to it. And then let’s explore the scarves a little more and see how many other fun activities we can enjoy with them.
In the instrument kit I told you about last week, there is a little red scarf. We use this prop for lots of dancing and movement activities. But of course, we can’t help but sneak a short game of peek-a-boo in too. The scarves we use are see through so it’s not scary for the babies because they can still see their mommies and daddies through the fabric. We like to take turns hiding between the babies and their parents. Check out this fun tune for a new twist on this old favorite.
After we get our giggles out from playing peek-a-boo we like to take our scarves for a dance. Playing a variety of different music encourages our little ones to explore new ways to move their bodies with their scarves. Moving to music is a great way to promote the development of gross motor skills and rhythm.
What’s great about this activity is that it is an easy one for you to participate in at home. All you need is some music and a bunch of light weight, colorful scarves. You can purchase some here or check your local thrift shop for a cheap find. You can also improvise by using handkerchiefs, cloth napkins, or bandanas. Feel free to get creative.
Then, find some space that allows you and your little one to move about freely. Lay out the scarves so that they are accessible to your little one, while choosing a few for yourself. Turn on the music and begin to explore your own movement, making your scarf dance in time. Your little one might just want to observe you for a while or they might just jump right in. Either way, I like to label their actions. For example, “Are you watching mama dance with her scarf?”. Or, “I see you shaking your scarf. Nice dancing with your scarf”.
As you move from song to song, switch out the music so that you can explore different tempos. Help your little one to notice the contrast in the various music types by demonstrating them through your movements. Float your scarves gracefully for slow music and jiggle them jauntily for quicker music. Promote language development and color identification by saying, “Do you want a turn with the green one?” or “Is Mommy under this blue scarf?”
When you are all done, encourage your child to help you put the scarves neatly in a bag. In my classes, we always sing the “Colors are Gliding” song which ends with a verse about folding. It is a great way to teach our little ones how to take care of their things and doubles as a fun song to sing while doing laundry :)
Babies are born to dance. Researchers have discovered that infants respond to the rhythm and tempo of music and even find it more engaging than speech. This shows that babies may be born with a predisposition to move rhythmically in response to music. It was found that the more the children were able to synchronize their movements with the music, the more they smiled. So it is never to early to start moving and dancing with your baby. And why not grab some scarves to go along for the ride :)