Singing & Dancing (birth - 33 months)

Before Watching

Children love to sing and dance. Turn on some music and you'll find your little one moving to the beat, smiling, and clapping. When you expose your child to music and movement every day, you not only have fun together, promote healthy physical activity, and learn about cultures both near and far, you also build skills that will help your child get ready for school. Through music and movement children learn about patterns and counting, develop listening and comprehension skills, build their awareness of sounds, and discover new words. For this reason, rocking out to a good song actually helps children succeed in math, science, and literacy.

Singing and dancing also provide wonderful opportunities to connect. Whether through your singing a lullaby at bedtime, sharing a song or dance from your culture, or having an impromptu dance party, music and movement bring families closer together.

In this video you'll meet children from five families:

  • Ronan (2 years) as he plays his harmonica.
  • Siblings Aliyah (6 years) and Lamarques (3 years) and their cousin Rosonn (17 months) as they form an impromptu band.
  • Baby Kash (4 months) as he listens to lullabies.
  • Marcelo (20 months) as he sings the ABCs.
  • Siblings Eloise (3 years) and Otis (16 months) as they get silly with music.

Watch the learning and fun that happens when they sing and dance.

After Watching

The Joys of Singing and Dancing. Music and movement offer wonderful opportunities throughout the day. In the video, siblings Aliyah and Lamarques, and their cousin Rosonn, have a blast forming a band, Kash is soothed when he hears lullabies in his mother's home language, and Otis can't help but get his toes tapping when he hears a rhythm. How do your children respond when they hear music? What role does music play in your household? Do you begin your day with a "wake-up” song? Does your baby calm down when you sing her a lullaby? Does your toddler dance on his way to the breakfast table or while you’re waiting for the bus? Does listening to music and singing along in the car make the ride feel a little bit shorter?

Try This. The next time your little one is feeling frustrated, help him to "shake it off" with a song. Listen to an upbeat tune (or sing one!) as you encourage him to shake different parts of his body. Watch his mood transform as he wiggles around the room.

Learning through Singing and Dancing. The combination of music and movement is also a great way to build math and literacy skills. In the video, Ronan learns about letters as he sings the ABCs, Otis and Eloise develop math skills as they make rhythms together, and Aliyah, Lamarques, and Rosonn build vocabulary as they act out the words to their song. What has your child learned through music and movement?

Try This. Make up movements to match the words in your child’s favorite songs. As you do, you'll be building his vocabulary and helping him get ready to read. Try counting as your little one bangs out a beat. He’ll begin to discover that music is actually full of math.

Do It Yourself. Making music does not require anything special. In the video, Ronan's dad ends the day by making up words to a song as his son falls asleep. Otis and Eloise turn ordinary spice packets into shakers. What everyday objects do your children use to make music?

Try This. Run a spoon along an ice tray—you'll have an instant instrument. Fill a plastic bottle with paper clips and cotton balls to create the sound of rain. Encourage everyone in your family to make a homemade instrument—and then have a family music parade! March around the house as you make different rhythms together. Take turns leading the parade. The leader can introduce a beat and a movement that everyone copies. Now switch!

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