Hi, Music Time Kids!

Music Time Kids

Looking good! You are ready to return to the verification page and complete the process.

Go To Board

Happy Pinning!

©2019 Pinterest, Inc.| All Rights Reserved
Privacy Policy | Terms and Conditions

Learning Piano Fingers Number is Fun for Kids!

piano fingers number

Do you have a child that wants to learn how to play piano? If so, you know that they are going to need to learn the piano fingers number on their hands for playing notes. Piano fingering can be quite frustrating for kids as it is difficult to develop the finger coordination and finger independence that they need. In addition when the hands are at the piano keyboard, the finger numbers go in opposite directions. This can be confusing even for older beginners. In this blog post, we will talk about ways in which parents and teachers can teach piano finger numbers in fun ways so that children are more likely to remember them! Let’s get kids ready for piano lessons!

Piano Fingers Number

You have five fingers! So you will count from one to five on each hand beginning with your thumb. The thumb is number one, index finger is two, middle finger is three, ring finger is four, and pinky finger is five.

finger numbers

Mirror Images

When you put your hands together you can practice wiggling your thumbs, wiggling pointer, and so on. You can play a little piano game imitating what you want the student to do. With your hands together and wiggling finger one (your thumb) ask, “Where is finger number one?” and have the student copy you by wiggling the thumb and they will say “Here is finger number one.”

Kids love playing this game! Make sure to keep a steady rhythm as you speak and make sure the student copies with a steady rhythm too! You can try to trick them by wiggling the same finger more than once, or skipping the fingers And you can also let them be the teacher and ask you where a finger number is. They will need to check to make sure you wiggle the correct finger!

Finger Number Direction

You will notice that when you open your hands up to play the piano the finger number for each finger is a mirror image (they go in opposite directions).

Because children are taught to read from left to right, this really confuses them because the Left Hand finger numbers don’t read from left to right. The left hand fingering moves right to left.

Remembering the left hand finger numbers move right to left becomes increasingly important when kids are ready to play in a five finger position (using all five fingers with each finger placed over one piano key).

How do you know which fingers to use when playing piano?

When you learn to read music, the finger numbers are often written into the music. If they are not, the piano teacher will generally write the finger numbers into the music score. Most piano teachers don’t like music filled with finger numbers because they want to teach piano students how to read the music notes and music that is filled with finger numbers is considered a crutch.

However, for young beginners, learning to read finger numbers is very important, so it is wonderful to use some pre-reading materials to teach this! Helping kids identify the Right Hand, Left Hand, and finger numbers move in contrary motion takes a lot of time to understand when beginning piano students are playing the piano.

It’s also important to bridge new ideas with things kids already know, so using songs with actions, like “Where is Thumbkin,” is helpful.

Here is a video showing how early beginners can play with only one piano finger.

Five Finger Position

Beginning piano books introduce a few songs that do not need to play all five fingers. The younger the student, the more important this kind of music is. I believe most piano teachers look for more of this music for very young kids because music books pretty move quickly into note reading.

Toddlers and preschoolers are usually not ready to play in five finger positions as their hands are smaller and they need to develop a relaxed arm, stronger fingers, and finger independence.

So when I first teach toddlers and preschoolers, I allow them to play with the fingers they are most comfortable with and we practice strengthening the ones they don’t like to use.

Eventually, with enough games, fun activities, and rote music, they will develop their five finger position. Just keep in mind that a three or four year old, it could take several years for this to happen and that is okay!

Piano Fingering

Here is a downloadable pdf piano finger chart. Feel free to print this and use this at the piano with your student as a kind of cheat sheet. Kids will eventually memorize the finger numbers for the correct piano hand position for each of the major five finger hand positions.

Piano Keys Letters for Beginners

Click here to get this free PDF!

Pre-reading Songs for Piano Lessons

Pre-reading songs provide notes off the music staff. I use pre-reading music with all beginners so we can learn how to read rhythms, piano fingering, hand position and fix any bad habits that might develop.

With pre-reading music notes with stems pointing up will be right hand notes, and notes with stems pointing down will be left hand notes. Sometimes I will circle groups of right hand or left hand notes into little bubbles. Kids can practice these bubbles by themselves and then when they are good at each bubble they can practice playing the song.

Practicing these little bubbles helps them develop muscle memory (their fingers know where to go) and allows them to play tiny parts of the song without being overwhelmed.

Rote Music for Piano Lessons

Providing rote music (music that is played by imitation and not note reading) allows students to learn many concepts like finger numbers and keyboard geography (where the notes are located on the piano) without the requirement of note reading.

Although some newer piano methods encourage rote music so students can learn to identify patterns, and play bigger sounding music all over the piano without reading notes, it may be hard to find a piano teacher who actually encourages this kind of creativity and learning.

keyboard and finger numbers

Hand Positions and White Keys

The first note most students learn is middle C. And the first five notes most kids learn is a five note C Major scale. Middle C is easy to identify because it is just to the left of two black keys. The right hand thumb plays on Middle C, pointer finger is a step higher on D, middle finger is a step higher on E, ring finger is a step higher on F and pinky finger is a step higher on G.

C Major piano fingers

Hand Positions and Black Keys

There are groups of two black keys and groups of three black keys. Many little beginner songs can be played on just two notes or three notes. The most important thing to remember is that the black keys are easy for kids to identify. So I start preschoolers on the black keys and not the white keys for the first several lessons.

We can begin learning about the music alphabet at the same time as playing on the black keys, but general guidelines for many piano primers focus on black keys first.

Use Finger Names Instead of Piano Finger Numbers to Begin

Toddlers and Preschoolers may have a difficult time with finger numbers because they may not even understand the basic names of the fingers yet. So learning finger names is a really important foundation to lay.

Playing games that ask kids to find middle fingers, pinky, thumbs, ring fingers and so on are a fun way to help kids learn piano fingerings.

Use Ordinal Numbers to Identify Fingers

Ordinal numbers for finger numbers are first, second, third, fourth, and fifth fingers. Making sure students understand that the thumb is finger one and is also the first finger is important. Five Busy Honey bees (video below) is an example of a song that uses ordinal numbers.

What is fingerplay?

piano fingers numbers

Finger play is moving arms, hands and fingers to short rhymes, stories, or songs. Kids learn many finger plays, like the Itsy Bitsy Spider, when they are very young. Finger plays help develop gross motors skills (like arm and hand movements) and fine motor skills (more detailed finger movement).

What about Fingerplay in Piano Lessons?

Toddlers and preschoolers enjoy fingerplay as a part of their piano lessons. Finger play activities help kids make the correlation between something they already know and the piano. These fingerplays are also helpful in providing the repetition kids ages 3-8 need.

“Open Shut Them”

“Here is Beehive”

Get your free piano finger number activity

“Itsy Bitsy Spider”

“One Little Finger”

“Where is Thumbkin”

“Baby Shark”

“Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”

“Five Busy Bumble Bees”

“Baby Bumble Bee”

“I Built a Little Snowman”

Fun Finger Number Piano Games

There are piano learning games that make piano playing a little more fun for kids. These games can be used as an extension of piano lessons or they may be played at home with parents or by the child on their own!

Piano Activity: Fidget Spinner Finger Builder

Play Doh and the Hokey Pokey

Sneaky Mouse Game

Five FIngers Game

five fingers game

Five Fingers piano game will leave beginning students wanting more… more piano lessons!
Students have several ways to play this Five Fingers Piano Game.  The most exciting variation has students rolling the dice as fast as they can to be the first to cover all their hands.  They can also race against the clock.  Or multiple players may take turns to see who can be the first to go out.  Fun and easy game to add to a piano lesson.  Kids learn/reinforce Right Hand, Left Hand, Finger Numbers, Counting, and Counting on dice.

The First Fingers for Young Students

In this video a new student is learning a song with left hand fingers 2 and 3. Notice how the first knuckle joints collapse. The student starts to notice at the end of the clip and you will see an attempt to correct this.

Pointer Finger

Finger 2 is the easiest finger for kids to play on the piano. Songs like Itsy Bitsy Spider, Hot Cross Buns, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Charlie Chipmunk, I Love Coffee, and so many more can be played with only the pointer finger.

Lesson plans that teach a student to play an entire song in one lesson make kids feel so accomplished! They can leave their very first piano lesson with a song they can share with their family and friends.

Middle Finger

Finger 3 is not as strong as the pointer finger, so I generally have the student put their thumb behind the first knuckle joint to the finger stays curved and doesn’t collapse (like in the video above).

The middle finger can play all the same songs that pointer finger can play, so it is good to go back and play those songs again using the middle finger.

Ring Finger

The ring finger is the most difficult finger for young children to use. This is normal because of how the tendons for the ring and pinky finger are connected in the hand.

Fingers rarely move in isolation and so this generally works itself out as kids begin playing songs, playing games, and building finger strength.

I like to add in the ring finger to pointer and middle finger after those fingers are playing songs well. Ring finger is difficult so I look for ways to minimize it’s use while actually allowing it to play.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I want to encourage you! Learning the piano fingers number takes time. It’s okay to write some finger numbers into your sheet music. It’s okay to let kids learn to play piano using piano fingering. And just know… note reading will also come along in the journey as young students get older.

Let’s meet young students where they can shine! Where they can feel good about making music and sharing their musical talent with friends and family. Play games, use finger plays, learn some rote music, learn some easy piano songs with pre-reading song sheets.

And if you’d like to get my favorite FIRST piano game I play with every new student, be sure to join the Music Time Kid community below! I know you will have so much fun playing this game and you’ll be surprised how much learning can be taught with just one game! Enjoy!

Get My First Preschool Piano Game for free!

Do you want your child to learn preschool piano?

This is the first game I play with every one of my students. Now you can play at home!

    We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at any time.

    Practice Chart: Piano Preschool Lessons

    Discover how having the right practice chart for piano can turn kids who are bored into kids who love to play piano!

    Kids love music! And preschoolers are eager little students who love the fun activities in piano lessons. But practicing at home can be a struggle for a few reasons:

    Frog Theme Practice Chart for Piano

    1. Parents are unsure what their child should do in practice
    2. Parents may not be prepared for how much energy at home practice requires from them.
    3. Kids may love the piano, but practicing at home can be a challenge if their only assignment is to play one or two songs over and over again. Kids want to have fun at the piano every day!

    So learning how to make practice at home interesting, fun, challenging, and rewarding week after week takes effort on the parents’ part. Together kids and parents can find a way to mark progress in their daily practice and enjoy the process of making music.

    practicing piano

    Piano Lessons for Preschoolers

    Teachers of preschoolers have to have a different approach and teach them differently than they teach an 8 year old beginning piano student. A preschooler’s attention span is approximately the number of minutes for how many years old they are. So a 3 year old has a three minute attention span, a 4 year old has a 4 minute attention span, and a 5 year old has a 5 minute attention span. There are always exceptions to the rule, or one amazing activity that transfixes a child for 10 minutes, but generally these young kids need LOTS of activities that reinforce the simple concepts they are learning. And teachers need an arsenal of activities!

    Repetition

    Preschoolers need a lot of repetition. There are now method books for young piano students as young as 3 or 4 years old. However, the mistake I see over and over again is that parents and teachers expect preschoolers to learn musical concepts the first time they are taught. Afterall, that is how older kids learn. But preschoolers are different. They need multiple layers of learning the same concepts. And that is why I teach outside the box of method books to little ones. You can too! So how do we do this?

    Find as many teaching resources as possible and add them to lessons. It’s okay with me if these resources all come from different places. I really haven’t found just one company, teacher, or website that has it all. The good news… I am curating a lot of great materials for you. AND I am creating content that fills many missing holes. You can benefit from all that I have learned over the years.

    preschool piano activity
    preschool piano game for practice at home
    preschool piano practice activity
    preschool piano finger game for piano practice

    Activities

    Preschoolers learn through movement. So kids need lots of body movement and gross motor skill activities as they develop the fine motor skills needed for playing the piano. Here are some ideas you can use to structure lessons and practice time at home. It’s okay that practice isn’t perfect at this age… practice should be fun!

    How do Kids Learn to Keep a Steady Beat?

    Provide one song each week a student can play an instrument to. Perhaps they are even going to march around the room as they play their instrument. Select music that is pretty straight forward and easy to tap a beat to like the song Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Baby Shark, and more. Here is a video to help you see what I mean.

    How do Kids Learn Short and Long Rhythm?

    Preschoolers are at the age where they are just learning the alphabet letters and learning to read some simple words. They may not be ready for music notes. I recommend that you first begin with pictures that represent short and long sounds (like these). This will help you teach the concept in a context that is easily understood by a young child. Then when kids are successful with that activity, you can move to the most simple music notes: quarter note, half note, and quarter rest. Try creating rhythms and rhythm patterns with these simple notes. If a student isn’t quite ready for the notes, put them away for a couple months and try again later.

    Kids love making patterns and long rhythms on the floor with these fun short and long animal cards.

    Teach Finger Numbers with Rhymes and Games

    Select a finger rhyme or a finger game that a student can practice at home. It takes a while for kids to really learn these rhymes and games so I recommend using only one or two per month. It’s great that some students will memorize the rhyme, as that will help prepare them to memorize music. It generally takes a while for fingers to cooperate and strengthen. Get more ideas for finger play here.

    Charts and Printable Resources for Piano Practice

    I like to use different printables for different seasons. I think kids love that too! I always have had my piano students use 3 Ring Binders to keep their practice chart, sheet music, and other printables in. I divide the binder into sections with tabs so they can easily locate the different sections, but many still need parental help with this. I put the piano practice chart for the current week in the very front so it is the first thing kids see when they open their binder.

    How to Organize a Piano Three Ring Binder

    Like I said, I put the piano practice chart in the very front of the binder. Then the next section will be any sheet music that I printed for the student. Other printable resources will go in the third section. I use post it notes as tabs for the pages kids need to see that week every day. This makes it easy for parents to know which pages are for piano practice at home. The binder is key for students and parents to find success at their home practice.

    Piano Practice Chart

    It’s okay to write on your practice chart and customize it for each student. Most parents appreciate detailed information and love it when you take two minutes toward the end of the lesson to explain what the child should do for practice at home. If you use any of the piano practice charts I have created, write in which rhythm cards they should practice, the name of the song they should play for keeping a steady beat (moving and playing with musical instruments), the finger rhyme they should practice, the piano game they are playing, and the names of the songs they are currently practicing . These activities will help teach your child so many things they need to know about playing the piano.

    Plus! The first 100 days are crucial to setting the tone for your family. Establishing good habits and great attitudes right from the start help keep practice time enjoyable and fun for kids.

    Piano Challenge Printables

    Sometimes I like to run piano challenges in the entire studio. I generally will put a piano challenge chart in the front sleeve (right on the cover) of the three ring binder. Because it is front and center, students and parents can see and remember (hopefully!) to practice for this challenge. Some challenges I have run in the music studio include learning all the note names on the grand staff in one minute (for older kids!), challenge to learn all the five finger patterns on the white keys, composition challenge to create their own song, and so on.

    practice piano

    What Piano Practice for Preschoolers Should Look Like

    Preschoolers learn by moving, so piano practice at home should be a combination of playing some songs at the piano with some movement activities and games sprinkled in. I try to have at least 10 activities for a 30 minute piano lesson for a 4-5 year old. So a short 10 minute practice time should have at least 4 activities. If you practice for 15 minutes, plan on at least 5-6 activities.

    Your piano teacher may not assign these kind of activities. It may be because they aren’t trained in working with young children, but teach piano to these kids because parents are asking for it. Piano lessons for preschoolers need to include more activities to help them learn at the level they are at. One example of games and activities for the song Itsy Bitsy Spider can be found here.

    Often kids decide they don’t like piano because it isn’t fun, and that is generally not true. It’s just the experience they had wasn’t fun. So parents… you can help provide a successful experience for your child! Whether your teacher does this for you or you do it for yourself! So let’s discover ways you can simply add more fun to at home practice.

    Fun Activities for Home Piano Practice

    1. Let’s build finger strength and fine motor skills through games, finger plays, and rhymes.
    2. Join in on the fun and play musical instruments together with your child’s favorite songs. You can find more ideas here.
    3. Move to the beat by walking, marching, stomping, jumping, hopping, skipping, etc.
    4. Use stuffed animals as practice pals. Put three on one side of the piano and have your child move one animal at a time to the other side as they practice their song. So this for each song.
    5. Use piano printable resources like charts to mark the practice for each day. This will help you monitor kids progress.
    6. Piano games are other printable resources you can use in your every day piano practice.
    7. Allow your child to learn to play songs they want to play!

    Games for First year Concepts

    The concepts most preschool students learn in the first year of piano will include:

    1. The difference between high and low and where they are located on the piano
    2. The difference between long and short sounds and that these sounds can be made into patterns
    3. The difference between soft and loud sounds and how to play these sounds at the piano
    4. How to identify the music alphabet within the groups of 2 and 3 Black Keys structure at the piano
    5. How to name, wiggle and play the different fingers: thumb, pointer, middle, ring, and pinky fingers
    6. Strengthen fingers, practice making rounded and curvy fingers, and how to sit at the piano with great posture
    7. Playing simple songs they already know like Mary Had a Little Lamb, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, or Baby Shark

    If you concentrate on playing games that provide a lot of repetition and reinforcement of these concepts through out the first year of piano practice, your student will have so much fun and will learn so naturally. All of these basics make good piano practice for new students.

    Technique

    Preschool Students are all over the place when it comes to technique because their tiny hand is just not ready for playing all five fingers like a beginning 8 or 9 or 10 year old is. So focus on games like mentioned above and expect to use pointer finger a LOT!

    Talking about Technique is another article, but playing games that focus on fine motor skills will help your child make quick progress.

    Creative

    Why do people want to learn to play the piano? Well…. the answer is usually because they want to learn to play songs they enjoy.

    And no one wants to take piano lessons for YEARS before they can ever play something they want to learn. It is SO important to find music for new students or teach them in a way that gives them access to music they love. This is the key to longevity in playing a musical instrument.

    If a teacher’s teaching style is set and the method books are set, I can usually predict the outcome. Eager kids usually begin to dread lessons and they never want to practice.

    One way to solve this dilemma is to let kids create. They love making their own songs! If they are learning about soft sounds, kids can create a song about a sneaky mouse or the frog that lost his voice. If kids are learning about low sounds, they can create a song about an elephant parade, or climbing down a mountain and going into a valley. Creating music means there is no right and wrong and kids can be successful EVERY time! This makes learning fun! When we let kids explore the piano and make music on their own they make discoveries and the learning is genuine.

    Keeping Track of Practice

    I think keeping track of practice is helpful for parents and kids. Even little children can see that if they work hard and practice they will make progress. If kids do not practice much, then a practice chart helps with personal accountability. Until kids are about 10 years old, it is so important that parents are involved in daily practice. And it is unreasonable to expect new students to do this on their own.

    Every single parent of my own piano students WANTS to know what their child should be practicing each week, so some kind of practice chart is helpful.

    For the very young piano student, I provide a chart like this so parents know how to work with their child at home.

    The First 100 Days of Practice are Important

    I mentioned earlier and I think it is important enough to restate: The first 100 days of practice set up the student for success. I wrote an article about the 10 Ways to Get Your Child Ready for Piano Lessons. Preparing for piano lessons and then being ready for the daily commitment of practice help everyone have a good experience: students, parents, and teachers.

    Piano Practice Chart for the Young Child

    I have created a set of piano practice charts for young children. These are simple to use. Each day your just cross off one of the icons to the right of the assigned item.

    If your teacher does not provide you with these kinds of activities, then go ahead and implement them at home. Too many parents just do not know what their new beginner should be doing other than practicing the songs in the book. But having these other activities will keep a light in your child’s eye and keep the joy of discovering about music alive!

    If you are interested in getting these free piano practice charts by joining my music community, then fill in your email below. I know you will love all the content I am creating to help you discover how you can be the best parent for your budding musician.

    10 Ways to Get Your Child Ready for Piano Lessons

    Parents often struggle with how to get their child ready for piano lessons. How do they prepare? There are so many questions, such as what type of lesson should they take? What age is best? What if my child doesn’t like it? If you’re a parent who has been asking these questions too, then this blog post is for you!  In the following 10 ways to get your child ready for piano lessons, we will discuss all the aspects of getting started and offer tips on how parents can make sure that their child enjoys his/her first experience.

    How to get ready for piano lessons

    get your child ready for piano lessons

    Realize that parental involvement is the key to success before you start piano lessons.

    Even if your child is reading on their own, children need active and daily parental involvement with piano lessons.  Young children especially will need help reading the teacher’s practice instructions, locating the pages in the books, doing assigned homework, working with apps, instructional videos, music games, and flashcards.  Parents who didn’t play piano themselves may not feel qualified for such duties, but piano teachers expect parents to be involved. Learn some basic tips about how to practice at home so that you can help them get started with this.

    I have been teaching piano for decades (yikes, that sounds like forever) and I always say the same thing to new students starting piano lessons… parents must carve out time in their day (every day!) to make sure their child is successful!

    Parents need to monitor their child as they begin lessons to make sure things are going well.  Does their child need help developing fine motor skills?  Is their student practicing willingly?  Remember to give your child positive feedback everyday!  It’s okay to make mistakes (we all do). Be patient with mistakes, but don’t let it go on too long before correcting the problem.

    Try to make practicing fun. If your child says what you are telling them is incorrect, then contact your teacher immediately to clear up any confusion. Stay positive and be a source of encouragement and support.  Don’t give up! Acknowledge it will take time, but the benefits are worth it in the end.

    Select your first instrument before you begin piano lessons.

    When should a child have a piano?

    It’s wise to have an instrument in the home for children to explore before beginning their musical education.  In fact it’s a great idea to have a piano in your home long before you even think your child is ready to start learning.

    Younger kids who are allowed to explore the piano will naturally realize many things about this musical instrument.  At a young age they can hear low sounds on the left side of the instrument and high sounds on the right side.  They will notice long sounds if they play a note and hold it, or a short sound if they play a note quickly.  Kids who have this kind of exposure to the instrument in early childhood learn piano very quickly because they already have so much time to explore their natural curiosity and learn foundational concepts.

    I wrote an article “How to Create a Joyful Home Using Children’s Music” and putting a piano in the home is one way of incorporating more music into your home.

    ready for piano lessons

    What kind of piano should I get?

    There are acoustic or electronic pianos.  There are many pros and cons to each and I will discuss those in another blog post.  Be aware that piano teachers may have a preference and may not begin piano lessons with your child if you do not select what they require.  So you may want to investigate who you may select for teaching piano and ask what their preference is.

    Get the best instrument you can afford. Piano teachers want full size digital keyboards that have fully weighted keys and a pedal, or an acoustic piano that is in tune.

    Where should the piano be placed?

    Make sure the instrument is placed in a location free of distractions.  Also be sure your music bench is the correct height for your child.  This will change as you child grows, so an adjustable bench is wonderful.  Make adjustments to your bench if it is not the correct height.  If you have questions about this, your teacher will give you detailed instruction when you start lessons.

    Explore the piano together before music lessons begin

    Unstructured exploration

    Find out what music interests your child – it might be classical, jazz, or rock!  Knowing your child’s interest before your child is ready to begin lessons will help you focus on finding music your child is excited about learning.  Do they love Itsy Bitsy Spider, or Jingle Bells, or Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, or Ode to Joy?  These are all songs kids can learn without reading instructions or notes. I am linking some examples below.

    Kids lives are busy.  And much of their days are scheduled.  So piano offers a time in their lives when they can unwind… a time when they can forget about the world and the stress around them and just create music.  This is why I think the kind of music kids play is important.  If they don’t love the music they are learning, then piano is just another thing to put on the “to-do” list and will not be enjoyable.  Giving kids time to explore the piano that is unstructured is so so beneficial to kids.

    ready for piano lessons

    Structured exploration

    Parents can play simple piano games to help kids notice things about the piano.  Discovering together with your child will help them learn many musical concepts.  Playing simple games can help parents teach basics in a fun and non-threatening way (especially parents with no prior piano experience).

    Beginning Piano Concepts

    Here are some of the basic concepts beginning piano students will learn:

    Piano Games

    There are many resources for parents and teachers. An article I wrote about how to teach a song by rote (imitation… read more here!) will help parents explore the piano with their child as they get ready for piano lessons.

    These piano games are fun to play. Parents can easily print out and play these games at home.

    1. Piano Race Game
    2. Music Alphabet Match Game
    3. Piano Match Game
    4. Itsy Bitsy Spider Piano Activities & Games
    5. Animal Lovers Short & Long Rhythm Activity
    6. Hot Cross Buns Sweet Treat Cards
    7. Sneaky Mouse Cards
    8. Music Match & Memory Game
    9. Five Fingers Game
    10. Twinkle Twinkle and The Mixed Up Little Star
    11. Fidget Spinner Counting
    12. Hokey Pokey Play-Doh Activity
    13. Here is the Beehive Music Activity

    Piano Keys Letters – Cards you can place over groups of 2 and 3 black keys, like piano keys letters help kids see the music alphabet and how it fits on the piano. Knowing some of the basics of the keyboard geography is very helpful! 

    Discovering high sounds, low sounds, and the sounds in the middle. Learning where the famous Middle C is located is wonderful.  I love to have students learn to sing the sound of middle C everytime they pass by or sit at the piano.  This helps develop the inner ear (and perfect pitch).

    Pay attention to your child’s learning style and personality.

    Parents can get their toddlers ready for piano lessons
    `

    Paying attention to your child’s learning style and personality will help you select the right teacher for your child.  Is your child a visual learner?  A teacher who emphasizes note reading may be a good fit.  But that teacher may not be a good fit if they only teach classical music and your child wants to learn more popular music.  So knowing what you and your child want out of piano will help you get ready for piano lessons.

    Find the right teacher

    You will want to find a teacher who can recognize the needs and desires of your child and who will provide feedback in ways that are understandable.  They should also be someone who is caring, encouraging and supportive.

    The right teacher will be asking questions about your child and aligning their teaching strategies and music to help you achieve your goals.  Some teachers have their own agendas and goals.  If their goals line up with your own, that’s great!  But often parents don’t realize that not all teachers teach piano with the student’s goals in mind.  Knowing this as you talk to teachers will help you select the right fit for your child.

    Realize not all learning happens at the piano

    These days there are amazing apps that are beneficial to piano students.  Take advantage of technology in order to make learning fun.

    There are also hands-on piano games that can be printed and played.  For instance, I have a free piano race game that teaches the musical alphabet in a fun way.  This game is at the piano but students are not sitting!  They are moving all the way from the lowest note to the highest note.

    Also, kids can learn by using youtube videos and other online resources for learning.

    Encourage your child to learn some songs without reading music

    Encourage creativity!  They can compose their own creations. Then ask engaging open ended questions about their song.  Why did they begin the song like they did?  Did the song tell a story?

    Kids will also love to learn a song they know (like Baby Shark, Itsy Bitsy Spider, or Twinkle Twinkle Little Star) by ear. I remember learning Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater, Chopsticks, and Heart and Soul long before I began taking piano lessons.

    Learning fun songs kids already know really do help them get ready for piano lessons. Plus, they will have some songs to play at their very first piano lesson!

    Play games that help develop fine motor skills

    fine motor skills games help kids prepare for piano lessons

    Kids need to be physically ready for piano playing.  Piano requires  so many new skills and they will have greater success if they do not struggle with finger independence and finger strength. 

    Your child’s readiness will be apparent if they can wiggle (one at a time) each of their five fingers, know their right hand and left hand, and their hand size isn’t too small.  Can they play each finger on the piano?  Can they play a simple melody like Mary Had a Little Lamb?

    If you focus on playing with toys that prepare kids for piano lessons (like these) then kids’ fine motor skills will be more developed and they will be ready to start lessons when their interest develops.

    Children who are 4, 5, and 6 years old struggle the most with moving their fingers independently.  But I have found even 7, 8, 9,  and 10 year olds struggle.  I believe this is because as a culture kids spend more time watching television and videos and do not play outdoors as much (the kind of activity that strengthens hands).  They also spend less time writing which is an epitome of fine motor skills.

    Listen to Music

    Listening to music is beneficial to kids.  There are many reasons listening to music is beneficial to kids and in this article I list 15 of those reasons.  One way to listen to more music each day is to create several playlists that you can utilize at a moment’s notice.  Playlists for soothing, relaxing and calming down, energizing and getting ready for the day, rainy day movement music, uplifting and positive energy music, night time go to sleep, etc.

    Recently I have had students who cannot feel a steady beat.  This is a very very important skill in all music education and it really starts with listening to music. So I firmly believe the more babies, toddlers, and preschoolers listen to music, the more prepared they will be when they are ready for piano lessons.

    Sing, Dance, and Play musical instruments together

    Kids can start playing musical instruments from the time they are babies!  You will see a child hold a rattle and shake it!  Sing to them!  Sing with them! Create music! Move with music!  Kids learn best when they are moving! And play various rhythm instruments to help develop a steady beat or play along with a fun rhythm.

    Some parents need a little help when it comes to knowing what and how to do something. So if this is you, I will give you a confidence booster. When the pandemic began and I closed my early childhood music classes, I decided to record a 6 week online class. You can watch episode 1 on my Music Time Kid YouTube Channel below:

    You will be able to see HOW I work with kids. Using these ideas you can use your own favorite songs to help establish a strong musical foundation for your child. If you aren’t sure what kinds of music you should use I have a couple of links in the LISTEN TO MUSIC section above that will give you a lot of great songs.

    CONCLUSION:

    I am thrilled when parents of my beginning piano students are thoughtful and provided these kind of activities for their children before beginning piano lessons. Kids make quick and efficient progress. So I hope you find these ideas helpful as you help your child get ready for piano lessons!

    Get My First Preschool Piano Game for free!

    Do you want your child to learn preschool piano?

    This is the first game I play with every one of my students. Now you can play at home!

      We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at any time.

      Itsy Bitsy Spider Piano Activities & Games

      The highly imaginative Itsy Bitsy Spider Piano Song lends itself to many different piano activities and games. Because kids learn this nursery rhyme as toddlers, they know it already and are eager to play a song on the piano that they know! Interested in learning this as your first piano song? I will show you some of the ways I teach this nursery rhyme to young beginners!

      So many preschool and beginner piano music books progress in a manner in which there is very little opportunity for repetition. I often hear teachers of preschool piano students wonder what they should do when a child doesn’t grasp a concept in the lesson because they worry about moving forward in the book. This is where easy piano activities and games are important. Music concepts can be taught over and over again in different ways until the students understand.

      Itsy Bitsy Spider Song

      Itsy Bitsy Spider (actually I learned this as Eency Weency Spider and yes! there is another version Incy Wincy Spider) is one of the first nursery rhymes young children learn. They love the finger play! Actions include climbing higher, then water coming down the water spout, making a big sun, and then climbing up and up and up again! How fun!

      Itsy Bitsy Spider (free download)

      The itsy bitsy spider went up the water spout
      Down came the rain and washed the spider out
      Out came the sun and dried up all the rain
      And the itsy bitsy spider went up the spout again

      First Piano Lessons

      Beginning piano students want to play music they already know. Sometimes those songs are a little more difficult than the first songs they would sight read in a piano music book. But, with a little practice, most kids easily learn songs they already know because their ear will guide them and they have a strong desire to learn.

      Beginners benefit from playing easy piano songs of familiar music because they can be successful without even reading a note. Plus piano lessons can focus on foundational piano skills before note reading is introduced.

      Toddlers and preschoolers are eager to explore the piano and young children must have plenty of movement activities and piano games ( I have a lot of piano games for beginners in my SHOP) to reinforce musical concepts. They need lots of repetition!

      Printable Sheet Music with Alphabet Letters

      sample of itsy bitsy spider piano song with alphabet letters

      I prefer young students play music with music alphabet letters at their first lessons. This allows me to teach the keyboard geography and basic rhythms before getting to the notes on the music staff. Because Itsy Bitsy Spider is a familiar nursery rhyme, I do not provide notes for rhythm in this piano music. I will let them play the rhythm by ear.

      Here is one example of sheet music that has no notes. This easy piano music only has music alphabet letters and the student will play and sing along (and the rhythm is usually spot on!).

      Printable Sheet Music with Notes that have Alphabet Letters

      Another easy piano sheet music I like to use will have notes (so yes, students can see the rhythm) but you can write the music alphabet letters next to the note. This version also has finger numbers for kids who can play with all five fingers. If they are not ready for that, just cross them out.

      What sheet music I give a student really depends on the age of the child and if they have played any other songs already. So it depends if I give them the printable easy piano sheet music with notes or only letters.

      Printable Sheet Music with Notes on the Staff

      The piano sheet music above is what I will use to provide the staff with regular notes. I will give this music to a student who is currently learning to read music notes on the staff. However, it is harder than a song like Hot Cross Buns. The fingering is included but can be changed. If a student knows where to place their hands on the piano and which finger is placed on each note, they will be very successful.

      Some teachers criticize the use of finger numbers, but I am a firm believer that kids need this kind of instruction for a couple reasons.

      First, learning the finger numbers can be tricky. We read from left to right, but the fingering for the left hand goes right to left. The hands are a mirror, so the fingering in the left hand is often difficult for beginners.

      Secondly, kids need some easy wins. If everything is about moving forward and always making progress, kids can get discouraged. They need to have lots of successes and feel good about learning piano, so writing fingering in songs is not a crutch. It is educational and motivational.

      Incy Wincy Spider

      The incy wincy spider went up the water spout
      Down came the rain and washed the spider out
      Out came the sun and dried up all the rain
      And the incy wincy spider went up the spout again

      Piano Games for Itsy Bitsy Spider

      I am always on the look out for fun games for kids. Games that can teach keyboard geography, rhythms, note values, music alphabet, and the like. Math is strongly linked to music, so I also teach patterns, counting, adding, etc.

      I believe kids learn best through games. Sometimes they don’t even realize they are learning! So when you combine easy sheet music with fun games it is easy to teach many many concepts at a time!

      The games I created in the Itsy Bitsy Spider Piano Games & Activities Book include:

      Music Alphabet Path Game – This game provides a forward moving alphabet, but the path moves right to left. This is intentional to provide opportunities for kids to track going the opposite direction of reading.

      Tic-Tac-Toe Game – This game provides an opportunity for kids to build a relationship with the teacher.
      Pattern Cards – You can also use the cards to make patterns and sequences which is an important math skill for Kindergarten.

      Music Alphabet Memory Game – Alphabet letters can be matched to the corresponding piano keyboard cards for a memory style game. Alphabet cards can also be used separately to teach the music alphabet forwards and backwards as well as teaching skipping.

      Music Activities for Itsy Bitsy Spider

      Movement Activities for Itsy Bitsy Spider

      1. Move fingers, hands and arms to the nursery rhyme.
      2. Puppets or stuffed animals can be bounced to the nursery rhyme.
      3. Students can practice moving with their whole body!
      4. Tapping! Kids can tap on their lap or bounce a stuffed animal to the steady beat as the song is sung. (See this blog post or this video for more ideas on teaching a steady beat)
      5. Most instruments like shaker eggs, hand bells, tambourines, drums can be played to the beat or rhythm while singing the nursery rhyme. (See this blog post or video about short and long rhythm)

      Piano Activities for Itsy Bitsy Spider

      1. Learn to play the song Itsy Bitsy Spider
      2. Make up your own Spider Composition
      3. Tap your finger along with the nursery rhyme
      4. Play with rhythms – short and long sounds of Itsy Bitsy Spider

      Preschool Learning Activities for Itsy Bitsy Spider

      Learning activities for beginners may include worksheets (shown below) that help develop fine motor skills, math skills, music alphabet skills, coloring, and more.

      Here is another fun finger builder activity to help develop curvy fingers. I am not a huge fan of too many worksheets at a time because I believe children learn best by moving and playing games.

      Eency Weency Spider (free download)

      The incy wincy spider went up the water spout
      Down came the rain and washed the spider out
      Out came the sun and dried up all the rain
      And the incy wincy spider went up the spout again

      Plastic Spider Rings

      Plastic rings are fun for kids and I like to use them to play finger number games. How fun is it to play music with pointer finger wearing a little spider ring!

      Some links may contain affiliate links which means if you click through the link and make a purchase I may make a small commision at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting my blog.

      Kids love these colorful rings! Use them to identify finger numbers or make patterns!

      Little Miss Muffet Lyrics

      Little Miss Muffet
      Sat on a tuffet,
      Eating her curds and whey;
      Along came a spider,
      Who sat down beside her
      And frightened Miss Muffet away

      Another spider nursery rhyme! Use this nursery rhyme to have kids create another original song they compose on their own!

      Conclusion

      I hope you have found some of the ideas I have on this blog post useful. I started this blog to help parents and teachers introduce music to young children. I’m convinced parents can teach their own young beginner many musical skills with a little help. And I know many teachers value the ideas of other teachers who have years of experience.

      Leave me a comment below what you found helpful or useful in this post. And share any ideas you may have for a future post!

      The resources I am creating are great for a beginner. You can purchase this Itsy Bitsy Spider Game & Activity Book on my website here.

      What are Lullabies that Calm and Put your Baby to Sleep?

      What are lullabies?

      what are lullabies

      A lullaby or cradle song, is a soothing song or piece of music that is usually played for (or sung to) children. Parents sing a lullaby to help their children fall asleep.

      Because most lullabies are passed down from one generation to the next orally, there are no known composers, but rather the songs are identified by their countries of origin. Most lullabies are repetitive and have very simple melodies and parents can create a joyful home using children’s music in their everyday lives.

      Often a lullaby is thought of as goodnight song because parents typically will sing these songs or play soothing lullabies when it is time for babies to go to sleep. I always encourage parents to sing live lullabies because it is so important for your child to listen and hear your voice! There really is nothing better to put baby to sleep.

      Lullabies Create Memories

      I remember my mother sang many lullabies to me. One of those song I remember is Too La Roo La (an Irish Lullaby). I can still remember the rocking chair in my bedroom. And I remember putting each of my own babies to sleep with a soft hum or song. Those are wonderful memories! You can create music memories with your child too!

      Below I will share 10 traditional lullabies that are very well known and will include a couple of my favorites (I can’t resist!)

      Calm Kid Music for Parents

      I recently created a music video filled with soothing, calm and relaxing music. It is wonderful not only for children (naptime, bedtime, study time, and such), but all of my mommy friends love it too (think a relaxing soak in the bathtub with this music!) I don’t know about you, but I find adding relaxing music to my day just helps my mental health so much! This is the video below!

      Why do lullabies calm a crying child?

      Parents find lullabies calm babies because they listen to them singing. Imagine a mother soothingly humming and looking into the lovely face of her beautiful child. I struggled to get my first born to sleep at night for an entire year (or maybe 3!). Sleep time was always a chore of hand holding, singing, reading stories, and more. My husband and I took turns at bedtime because it was so exhausting. Why won’t this child go to sleep? I asked myself over and over.

      There are many children who resist bedtime because they do not want to separate from their parents. So I have found soothing, calm music and lullabies to be very helpful. Below I will share 10 of my favorite lullabies, but please know…. there are thousands of lullabies from around the world.

      Passed down from parent to child, these soothing melodies stand the test of time in beauty and simplicity. Parents may sing to their child until he falls asleep.

      I admit, there are many lullabies that have dark undertones. Found in old fairy tales or folklore, those lullabies have images of baby stealing, little grey wolf, scary giant, baby plummets, black eagles soaring, and the like. These creepier lullabies generally taught a moral lesson and although the outcomes were sometimes sad, message is delivered with love. Nonetheless, in today’s post we will focus on the less gruesome (I hope!) because you will see even popular lullabies still sung today aren’t always full of sunshine.

      10 lullabies that calm crying children

      Rock A Bye Baby

      Still sung today, this popular lullaby is sung by Raffi. This version comes from his album Calming Classical Lullabies

      This article published in the UK states, “Rock-a-bye-Baby, also contains danger, warning in the nicest possible way that the baby and cradle will drop from the bough of a tree. Night-time has always been associated with darkness and fear and this may go some way to explaining the threatening themes in some lullabies, says Sally Goddard Blythe, author of a number of books on child development, and director of The Institute for Neuro-Physiological Psychology. But all lullabies – even the scary ones – she says, are rooted in “love, tenderness and caring”. Many lullabies, regardless of the meaning of their words, possess a peaceful hypnotic quality.”

      Nina Perry, BBC World Service

      Rock a Bye Baby

      Rock a-bye, baby,
      On the tree top,
      When the wind blows,
      The cradle will rock.
      When the bough breaks,
      The baby will fall,
      Down will come baby,
      Cradle and all!

      baby lullaby

      Hush Little Baby

      Lisa Loeb sings this lullaby from her album Nursery Rhyme Parade!

      Hush Little Baby (Mockingbird)

      Hush, little baby, don’t say a word,
      Mama’s going to buy you a mockingbird.
      And if that mocking bird don’t sing,
      Mama’s going to buy you a diamond ring.
      And if that diamond ring turns brass,
      Mama’s going to buy you a looking glass.
      And if that looking glass gets broke,
      Mama’s going to buy you a billy goat.
      And if that billy goat won’t pull,
      Mama’s going to buy you a cart and bull.
      And if that cart and bull turn over,
      Mama’s going to buy you a dog named Rover.
      And if that dog named Rover won’t bark,
      Mama’s going to buy you a horse and cart.
      And if that horse and cart fall down,
      You’ll still be the sweetest little baby in town.

      You Are My Sunshine

      The Fox + The Hound lullaby version from the album Moon Songs: Lullabies for Baby and Parent

      You are My Sunshine

      You are my sunshine
      My only sunshine
      You make me happy
      When skies are gray
      You’ll never know, dear
      How much I love you
      Please don’t take my sunshine away

      Cradle Song (Brahm’s Lullaby)

      Brahms’ Lullaby sung by Celine Dion on her album These Are Special Times

      I love this lullaby version because lullabies sung by true vocal artists with a mother’s voice like Celine Dion are just heavenly.

      Brahms’ Lullaby

      “Lullaby and goodnight,
      With roses bestride
      With lilies bedecked, ’neath baby’s sweet bed
      May thou sleep, may thou rest, may thy slumber be blest
      May thou sleep, may thou rest, may thy slumber be blest…”

      Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

      This lullaby version is by Lisa Loeb and Elizabeth Mitchell from the album Catch the Moon. I hope this inspires you to realize you can hum any children’s song and it is a lullaby! Twinkle Twinkle Little Star is my 2 year old grandson’s favorite song. It would be his hands down favorite lullaby!

      Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

      Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
      How I wonder what you are
      Up above the world so high
      Like a diamond in the sky
      Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
      How I wonder what you are

      All the Pretty Horses

      This lullaby version from Beautiful Chorus is from the album Good Night Moon Child. This was probably my favorite lullaby when I was in grade school. I remember learning this folk song and I just loved it! I never sang it to any of my children though, because by the time I was a mother, I had other lullabies I loved even more.

      Hush-a-bye (All the Pretty Little Horses) Lullaby

      Hush-a-bye, don’t you cry
      Go to sleep little baby
      When you wake
      You will find
      All the pretty little horses:
      Oh, dapples and greys, pintos & bays,
      Oh, all the pretty little horses.
      Way down yonder
      In a meadow
      Poor little baby cryin’ mama
      Birds and the butterflies
      Fly all around him
      Poor little baby cryin’ mama.
      Oh, hush-a-bye, don’t you cry
      Go to sleep little baby
      Oh, when you wake
      You will find
      All the pretty little horses.

      Swing Low, Sweet Chariot

      This lullaby version is by Suzy Bogguss from the album American Folk Songbook. This was my ALL-TIME favorite lullaby to sing to any child. I am very fond of American Spirituals and along with the following song, All Night, All Day they were the best pair of lullabies for this mother!

      Swing Low, Sweet Chariot

      Swing low, sweet chariot
      Coming for to carry me home
      Swing low, sweet chariot
      Coming for to carry me home

      I looked over Jordan, and what did I see
      Coming for to carry me home
      A band of angels coming after me
      Coming for to carry me home

      Swing low, sweet chariot
      Coming for to carry me home
      Swing low, sweet chariot
      Coming for to carry me home

      If you get there before I do
      Coming for to carry me home
      Tell all my friends I’m coming, too
      Coming for to carry me home

      Swing low, sweet chariot
      Coming for to carry me home
      Swing low, sweet chariot
      Coming for to carry me home

      I’m sometimes up and sometimes down
      Coming for to carry me home
      But still my soul feels heavenly bound
      Coming for to carry me home

      Swing low, sweet chariot
      Coming for to carry me home
      Swing low, sweet chariot
      Coming for to carry me home

      The brightest day that I can say
      Coming for to carry me home
      When Jesus washed my sins away
      Coming for to carry me home

      Swing low, sweet chariot
      Coming for to carry me home
      Swing low, sweet chariot
      Coming for to carry me home

      If I get there before you do
      Coming for to carry me home
      I’ll cut a hole and pull you through
      Coming for to carry me home

      what are lullabies

      All Night, All Day (Angels Watching Over Me)

      This lullaby version is by Shaina Noll from her album You Can Relax Now. I always taught this song to my Christian Daycare kiddos. Lyrics akin to the children’s prayer… Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. Amen. I like the lyrics to this song better…. Stay with me through out the night, and wake me with the morning light.

      All Night, All Day (Angels Watching Over Me)

      Chorus:
      All night, all day,
      angels watching over me, my Lord.
      All night, all day,
      angels watching over me.
      Now I lay me down to sleep.
      Angels watching over me, my Lord.
      Pray the Lord my soul to keep.
      Angels watching over me.
      Lord, stay with me through the night.
      Angels watching over me, my Lord.
      Wake me with the morning light.
      Angels watching over me.

      Highland Fairy Lullaby

      There are many beautiful lullabies from around the world. This lullaby comes from Scotland. This is an example of what I mentioned above in terms of creepy storyline. But if you listen to the melody, you will see it is simple and singable. If you learn this melody (I am providing an instrumental version) it is easy to hum. Let me know if the comments below what you think of this melody after you listen to it.

      Highland Fairy Lullaby

      She left her baby lying here,
      Lying here, lying here,
      She left her baby lying here
      To go and gather blaeberries*.
      She saw the wee brown otter’s track,
      Otter’s track, otter’s track ;
      She saw the wee brown otter’s track,
      But she ne’er saw her baby!
      (Chorus)
      Ho-van, ho-van gorry o go,
      Gorry o go, gorry o go;
      Ho-van, ho-van gorry o go,
      She never found her baby.
      She searched the moorland tarns and then,
      Wandered through the silent glen;
      And she saw the mist upon the ben,
      But she never saw her baby.
      She heard the curlew crying far,
      Crying far, crying far,
      She heard the curlew crying far,
      But she never heard her baby.
      (Chorus)
      Ho-van, ho-van gorry o go,
      Gorry o go, gorry o go;
      Ho-van, ho-van gorry o go,
      She lost her darling baby.
      She left her baby lying here,
      Lying here, lying here,
      She left her baby lying here.
      To go and gather blaeberries.

      Do you have a favorite lullaby?

      Do you have a favorite lullaby? Leave me a comment and let me know what your favorite lullaby is. AND if you have a favorite version (or artist) of your lullaby. I am always looking for beautiful songs to add to my playlist!

      Create Music with Toddlers!

      music with toddlers

      Let’s create music with toddlers. The benefits of music and movement activities are many. And music is the perfect medium to teach important concepts in fun ways.

      Music will get children moving, singing, and making music. The sound of music will increase the joy in your home. So, whenever you can, find ways to play music. You will not only encourage children to be happy, but will also be stimulating their cognitive development.

      Guess what! Music will make you happier too! Sharing music and movement activities with toddlers and preschoolers is something any parent can do, so check out my favorite ideas!

      Why is music so important for toddlers?

      Music has saved many children’s days. Because music makes it possible to get quiet and focus, it has become an amazing teaching aid for toddlers and preschool students. Parents can help their toddlers make music to foster an interest in learning.

      You don’t have to follow an early childhood lesson plan or even know how music works to support child development. Just know that by implementing fun activities you are providing so many benefits to your child. Cognitive, social-emotional sensory motor skills and classroom preparation skills are developed naturally while kids are listening to their favorite music or singing a song.

      Music is one of the most powerful gifts in the universe.

      One of the benefits of music is that listening to music makes our souls happy. Use song based activities at home, in daycare, or in the preschool classroom helps children learning about important concepts. And when concepts are learned with music attached it helps improve short term memory.

      create music with toddlers

      Music and Movement Activities Benefit Kids

      Musical activities are an important part of childhood development and help preschool children in many ways. Music helps promote cognitive development and provides a chance for children to express their emotions and be creative. In this section I will list a few activities for toddlers (see my pinterest board for more ideas!) that will help your child explore music and learn foundational learning skills.

      I also have suggestions on how you can improve playtime for toddlers. So, let’s get started with these great ideas.

      Turn on background music

      Recent studies suggest background music playing while kids do other things helps with concentration. You can use background music while kids do other things… activities such as art & crafts, cleaning up toys, or cleaning up from dinner time. Background music may also help kids relax before bedtime, help kids get energized in the morning, give comfort in times of distress.

      Prop dancing

      Props can create dancing fun and spark the imagination. Kids love dancing with a stuffed animal, a puppet, a magic wand, or even cowboy hat. Designate a different prop for each song and watch! See how children explore different ways to move to music.

      Play talent show

      Use finger puppets or stuffed animals to sing or dance ro a favorite song. If your young child loves acting encourage them to dress up as characters. They can even create their own songs.

      Music fast and slow

      Let your child play various song styles with different tempos. Then request your child dance accordingly. Encourage them to quickly when music is very fast and slowly when the music is slow. Let your kids have a good laugh by watching you do the same.

      Explore sounds with water and Make your own Xylophone

      This DIY activity is also a science experiment! Fill some glasses with varying amounts of water. Apply some food coloring per glass for extra sensory stimulation. Give each person a spoon and tap the sides of the glasses. The goal is for kids to explore the sounds made by the spoons tapping the glasses. Each glass will make a different sound. Some children may hear this difference in sound and notice that every glass of water is unique.

      Freeze Dance

      Play your favorite songs and let your kids move and dance the way they want. Then, when they least expect it… stop the music and say “freeze.” Take note what silly places you find yourself in. How long can your kids hold their freeze? This is can get quite giggly and kids love playing this game!

      Find musical library books

      Go to the library with your child and ask the librarian to show you the picture books that are actually children’s songs and nursery rhymes. Select books that include songs, rhymes, or easy melodies that you can bring with you home. Use full body movements with your child while you sing and read.

      Story sound effects

      Choose different percussion instruments (drum, shakers, tambourine etc.) with children and play together a story. Children provide sound effects for each character or act. Here https://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/kids/5-picture-books-filled-great-sound-effects/ is an article highlighting some great books that kids can make sound effects to.

      Paint what you hear

      Children listen to evocative songs and respond to sounds and moods they hear. Apply tape on an over sized piece of paper or cardboard on the floor then have kids create a mural.

      Instrument Petting Zoo

      Gather various stuffed animals and a musical instrument for each animal. You can even use homemade instruments for this fun activity. Pretend you are going to the zoo and visit each animal. See if you can make sounds like the animal, feed the animal, sing a song to or about each animal, and learn more about your favorite animal.

      Kitchen Band

      You don’t need fancy instruments when you get out the pots and pans and a wooden spoon. Kids can have fun and make music with just about anything! Singing their favorite tun, parents can join the fun singing and playing rhythms on the pots!

      When my kids were little I always had one low cupboard in my kitchen that was just for them. I would keep simple kitchen items in there for them to have easy access to. Sometimes they would just haul everything out of the cupboard and crawl inside themselves. These are some great memories!

      Dance with silk scarves

      Actually any lightweight scarf will work, but silk scarves are pretty, soft and they twirl and drift in the air beautifully. Young children benefit from and love moving to their favorite music. Moving the scarf helps toddlers develop gross motor skills. Encouraging them to touch the scarf to different body parts (like a shoulder or a knee) increases body awareness.

      Go to a concert

      Explore your community! Weekday music concerts specific to preschoolers have become more popular. Public libraries, performing art centers, chamber of commerce, public schools, and community park programs are great resources for locating these kind of music opportunities.

      Not exactly a concert, but local high school sporting events feature the school pep or marching bands and this is a great opportunity for kids to see other kids making music!

      music activity for toddlers

      What’s the best musical instrument for toddlers?

      Parents can provide a variety of different musical instrument sets for their toddlers. Make sure each instrument is appropriate for the age of your child. I can’t tell you how many blog posts I have seen that recommend instruments I would never give to a baby or toddler. If there is a disclaimer to watch your child closely while playing with an instrument, it’s not designed for a baby or toddler. Children under the age of three WILL put everything in their mouths. So… now that we have that out of the way…

      There are many instruments a young child will LOVE! Remember they WILL put these items in their mouth, so they need to be age appropriate and washable! Children learn about the world around them and develop physical skills by mouthing everything and that is just natural!

      I have blogged about some of the best musical instrument sets for toddlers and some of my favorite songs. And below I will list the types of instruments that provide fun music activities. Where applicable I will provide a link to a product that I personally have purchased and used with toddlers. I like to add links because there are a lot of junky toys out there that look like the good stuff but aren’t. Don’t waste you money on the cheap stuff (ask me how I know!).

      (Links may contain affiliate links that mean if you purchase a product through that link I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting my blog!)

      Can toddlers play homemade instruments?

      Preschoolers think creating their own music instruments is fun! Again, I always recommend using only instruments that are safe for kids under age three. Many musical instruments have small parts. So for example, if you want to make a homemade rattle, I wouldn’t recommend letting an 18 month old play with this DIY instrument. What if it comes apart and they choke on the objects you placed inside. However, I have made rattles, maracas, and rain sticks that I have given to a 3+ year old and they were SO delighted! There are tons of blog posts, youtube videos, and pinterest pins on making your own fun instruments. Just use good common sense about it. See my other pinterest board for even more ideas for music activities for preschoolers.

      Create a musical craft

      Simple supplies you may already have at home are all you need to make diy instruments. Kids will have fun putting these together and decorating them. You can then play pretend with the child. Put together a family band and have a small concert together. Sing their favorite tune as they play and dance along. The ideas below are perfect activities for toddlers on a rainy day! See more ideas on my pinterest board here.

      Paper Plate Tambourines

      Homemade tambourines are one of many popular homemade musical instruments. This video is a cute example of easy it is to make a fun diy instrument.

      Rain sticks

      If you make some rain sticks, try putting different fillings in each rain stick and see if they sound different. Some ideas include: popcorn kernels, lentils, oatmeal, dry beans.

      Glow Stick Drumming

      Try the short fat type of glow stick that is made for stringing like a necklace. This kind is usually this kind is very strong and it’s great to practice drumming! Use these glow sticks to have a glow-in-the-dark concert! Of course you can practice in a dark room or a room with a black light!

      This is great for helping kids learn how to keep a steady beat and also for teaching rhythm patterns. Read more about how to encourage children to feel a steady beat here. Read more about teaching a short and long rhythm activity for preschoolers here. And Read more about how to teach patterning with music here.

      What Music is Good for Toddlers?

      Let’s face it. The internet is saturated with mediocre kids stuff. Preschoolers are bombarded with cutesy-cheesy low quality music. Parents who prioritize and intentionally curate music with different sounds help their children learn more about the world around them.

      Listening to classical music, world music, folk music, and amazing musicians who have specialized in children’s music (like Raffi, Ella Jenkins, Elizabeth Mitchell, etc.) provide solid music education. Parents don’t even have to know how this preschoolers music is benefiting their child. Simple music activities such as shaking a maraca along with good quality music makes all the difference. Just do it! Here is a link to some of my favorite songs!

      Get your free music class!

      Want to make some music with your toddler? Join Beethoven, the adorable, pancake lovin’ sheepdog for some Music Time fun right in your living room!

      music class for toddlers

      Classical music for young children

      It is said that listening to classical or relaxing music increases concentration and eliminates other distractions in children. Increased concentration will ultimately result in greater academic achievement.

      When my children were young I purchased all the DVDs made by Baby Einstein. My kids loved watching these videos, but more importantly we were LISTENING! As I mentioned earlier, background music is a wonderful way to help kids concentrate and influence their mood. Some music activities may not seem like music activities at all… the music is just playing in the background.

      Peter and the Wolf

      Classical music can be super imaginative. One of the most widely know compositions is Sergei Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf,” which is a symphonic fairy tale for children.

      Music and movement is a natural experience as kids act out the parts or move like the animals. This is a fun idea for a kids’ party.

      I wrote an article about friendship that talks about the different stages of play for children. As children turn 4-5 years old, they are ready for cooperative play and pretending. Acting out this story with the music playing could be really fun!

      Kids learn best at this age by moving! And that is why music and movement is so so so important to child development.

      Carnival of the Animals

      Camille Saint-Saëns’ “Carnival of Animals” is a humorous musical suite of fourteen movements.

      In the description box below the video it breaks the different animals up into chapters. There are 14 animals. You could have a little music lesson about each of these animals, complete with story books and art activities. Again, this orchestral piece lends itself well to music and movement activities as kids pretend to be different animals. Here are the chapters:

      You can even springboard off the petting zoo idea above and create a real zoo with wild animals. This again lends itself to small group music activities you can play with friends.

      The Nutcracker Suite

      The Nutcracker Suite is a two-act ballet. The music was composed by Peter Tchaikovsky. If you listen carefully you can hear the different characters in this story.

      This orchestral piece is pretty well known and you can actually find wonderful videos of ballet troupes dancing. Kids can pretend to be in the ballet and dance along!

      If you take the time to get some library books that are based on one of these works you can create your own little music lesson. Kids can visualize the story and can use stuffed animals, puppets, or costumes (like paper plate masks or face paint) to pretend play.

      World music that represents different cultures

      Music appreciation truly begins at home. In my blog post, 15 Benefits of Music on Kids’ Health, I mention,

      “Listening to the music of other cultures provides awareness and empathy for others. This will enhance the mind, body and soul. The sooner young minds are exposed to music from other cultures the more appreciative and empathetic they will be toward others. Learning music about other cultures’ customs and traditions will encourage children to be more tolerant of others’ beliefs.”

      Cherie Norquay, Music Time Kid

      It isn’t always easy to find music from other cultures. I know… I look for this all the time to include in my early childhood education classes. And due to privacy laws for children, it is difficult to create playlists for this music on youtube. So I will leave you with some links below of mp3’s you can purchase from Amazon to add to your toddler’s playlist.

      Books about different cultures

      Your local library is filled with books about different cultures. You can choose to learn about one different culture each month or each season of the year. See if you can find classic stories from that culture and authentic music with original instruments.

      You can read books and play music about different countries right at home. Your kids can have a lot of fun when you listen to music from around the world. Find some fast music you can dance to or some slow lullabies to add to your bedtime routine.

      Instruments from other cultures

      Learn about different musical instruments! When you learn music from other cultures you will hear many different kinds of sounds than what you are used to. I think these discoveries are very interesting!

      An article highlighting 10 famous instruments from around the world can be found below.

      Folk Music and Nursery Rhymes

      Many preschool music and movement activities are based on old folk tunes and nursery rhymes. These music activities are still so popular because many have movement and help develop fine motor skills.

      You will definitely find these songs in the preschool classroom and in most music education programs. They use these old songs because they are simple, have stood the test of time as great teaching tools, and the songs are in the public domain (no copyright) so they are easy to access.

      Old folk tunes and nursery rhymes do not have a single composer. Because these old songs were passed down by generations orally, they do not have a single composer associated with them. Each tune is generally identified by the title and the country of origin.

      Favorite songs for fun music activities

      Some good examples include:

      Mary had a little lamb

      Itsy Bitsy Spider

      Old MacDonald

      Music Activities for Preschoolers and Toddlers

      If you would enjoy some music activities for toddlers and want a little help or a sneak peak into what would happen at an early childhood music class, check out my online toddler music class! Beethoven, my adorable sheepdog puppet, loves to sing his favorite song about pancakes and you’ll see how he loves to play musical instrument too!

      Sign up for my newsletter to get this free class. Kids are loving all the music and movement activities and you can then take all those ideas and use them with your own playlist of songs!

      Music Class for Toddlers

      sign up to get your free music class with Miss Cherie and Beethoven, the adorable, pancake lovin’ sheepdog! Have some Music Time fun right in your living room!

      music class for toddlers

      What music activities have you tried?

      Comment below! There are so many fun activities for toddlers that I could write a hundred articles about music activities and still not cover the whole topic. But I hope that this article has provided you will some new nuggets that will help you teach children more about music.

      Leave me a comment about your favorite activities!

      15 Benefits of Music on Kids’ Health

      benefits of music on kids health

      Music has been a part of human life for centuries. It is what we listen to while we work, relax and exercise. But did you know that the right type of music can also be good for kids? Ironically you don’t need a fancy music education degree, or have any formal music training. The power of music can make a huge impact on the health of your kids! In this blog post, we are going to explore 15 benefits of music on kids’ health.

      15 Benefits of Music for Kids Health:

      Creative Thinking

      The first benefit of music is that it encourages creative thinking. Music is a creative form of self-expression. Parents who incorporate music into children’s lives give kids a creative outlet to express themselves emotionally and creatively. You can listen to music or encourage some musical instruction. The kind of music instruction can vary. Whether parents provide music classes, singing lessons, instrumental music training, or just sing and play with young children at home, music makes self-expression more accessible. For parents who need a little guidance on ideas how to sing and play with a young child, check out my free toddler music class here!

      healthy kids
      benefits of music on kids health

      Relieving Stress and Anxiety

      The benefits also include relieving stress and anxiety. This is dependent upon the type of music you listen to. I have found that listening to soothing music calms the mind. Listening to relaxing music before bedtime, playing or singing your child’s favorite songs helps their brain focus on happy and calm thoughts. Music also has physical health benefits… reducing heart rates during stressful moments. Music has been proven time and time again to be beneficial in these situations.

      Music therapists often have patients listen to music. But, music therapy is not just listening to music. Music therapists use music to encourage people to have a better mood and outlook on life. Music therapy can be done by listening, creating or singing. It might also include dancing to the music.

      Brain Development

      Music is also beneficial in a child’s brain development. A study published shows that music instruction improves verbal memory. In addition, research shows that music will also increase the ability to memorize information, and speeds up problem-solving skills by as much as 20%.  Early music learning can really improve later academic performance. Music education doesn’t just have to be taking classes from various music programs, but parents intentionally bringing music to life in the home by singing and playing music instruments will affect their child. Young children listening to music can enjoy their favorite music in their everyday life and it helps them in so many ways!

      Language Development

      Music enhances language development in children and benefits the brain. This is most apparent in the young child. For instance, it is beneficial to speak with children about music during play time in order to promote cognitive development on a variety of levels. Music can be used in games such as identifying letters, shapes, colors or numbers by using musical references. For example, one can sing the alphabet song as a way to help their child recognize or identify letters. This is a great way for parents and caregivers to combine language and music through play time.

      Improved Brain Plasticity and Spatial Intelligence

      Music improves brain plasticity and spatial intelligence. That is key to their learning abilities!   Music helps children learn because of the way it stimulates brain development. It also activates parts of the brain that are related to memory, language and abstract thought as well as social behaviors such as empathy and emotional response.

      Spatial intelligence involves the ability to think about objects in relation to one another and understand spatial relationships. It is also important for understanding math concepts such as geometry and algebra. One study found that music instruction at a young age can improve performance on tests of spatial intelligence later in life. The subjects who had received music lessons scored higher than those who had not.

      Increased Concentration

      Listening to classical or relaxing music increases concentration and eliminates other distractions in children. Increased concentration will ultimately result in greater academic achievement.

      Calming Effect

      Children who have been diagnosed with autism benefit from listening to classical music because it calms their nervous system and helps regulate emotions while improving cognitive function. Music therapy often incorporates classical music into treatment because listening to music is so effective.

      ADHD Response

      Music benefits children with ADHD and other mental disabilities by helping them with paying attention, regulating moods, and providing music therapy for various conditions. Affecting the development of neurotransmitters, music can help regulate a child’s mood by igniting dopamine production, which regulates pleasure and excitement. This is a noteworthy factor in language learning because it increases attentiveness.

      Physical Health

      Listening to music benefits kids’ health because it encourages physical activity that improves strength, cardiovascular fitness, flexibility and coordination. Studies have shown that kids who move to music are healthier, happier and more confident than those who don’t.

      Learning a Musical Instrument

      Hand eye coordination, reading skills, math skills and social interaction are a few of the multitude of benefits in learning to play a musical instrumen. Learning a musical instrument requires focus, coordination and practice. It teaches responsibility as well as how to be organized and on time for lessons. Through the process of learning to play an instrument your child will build hand-eye coordination, improve their spelling skills through reading music notes and become better problem solvers. It will also help your child develop patience and perseverance, which are useful skills in life that will help them obtain many things they want. The sense of accomplishment when a child masters a new song is palpable and very rewarding for them as well as the parents or caregivers who see their hard work pay off with progress.

      Music Education Effects on Social Skills

      Additionally, arts education and music lessons allow older children to participate in group music making. Learning to play an instrument or sing with friends in various music programs provides social skills. Kids involved in band, orchestra or a singing group expand their social circle. They make new friends through their music teacher, practice sessions and performances. A result of being in choir or band with other children, they develop stronger bonds with people around them. Because of this, they have reduced depression from isolation.

      Musical training often involves working with a teacher and that connection with an instructor in a music program can yield lifelong relationships. Learning to play music helps build self-esteem for your child which is great for developing healthy social skills and coping mechanisms.

      Developing Discipline

      Music training also increases discipline. It takes discipline to practice a musical instrument every day. Weekly music lessons provide the framework for instruction, but progress is only realized with consistent practice.

      Creates Empathy for Others

      Music learning supports learning about different cultures. Listening to the music of other cultures provides awareness and empathy for others. This will enhance the mind, body and soul. The sooner young minds are exposed to music from other cultures the more appreciative and empathetic they will be toward others. Children who listen to and learn about other cultures’ customs and traditions will be more tolerant of others’ beliefs. 

      benefits of music playing violin
      benefits of music playing the piano

      Elevates Self-Esteem

      Musical training that involves taking music lessons, receives all the benefits of music! And musically trained children also develop higher self-esteem and confidence through performing or singing in front of an audience. Performance exposure can bring greater confidence because it gives children the chance to act out their emotions while interacting with many different people. The performance stage gives a child a sense of comfort – which is then translated to other areas of life.

      Provides Bonding Experience

      Enjoying listening to music together provides a bonding experience for parents and children that is important throughout life. Whether you are playing music, singing, are just listening to music, music brings joy to life and gives families a way to express love.

      Bonus Benefit for Parents!

      Music also contributes to reduced stress for the adults in children’s lives. Teachers or parents who play calming music while working with children are more patient and kind.

      Conclusion 

      As you can see, music improves the lives of children AND adults in so many ways. On the surface, it may not seem like music can actually result in good health for kids, but I have seen first hand there are many, many benefits of music for kids’ health. So I hope that you will take the time to play some favorite tunes, and whether or not you have any formal training, make music in your own family.

      For parents of babies and toddlers who need a little help I have written a blog post that tells why I created an online music class for toddlers. You may find it helpful, and I encourage you to sign up for my free music class. You’ll get lots of great ideas on how you can work with your child at home with your favorite songs!

      For parents of preschoolers, check out the materials (here’s one) I am creating to help you prepare your child for piano lessons. There are lots of games and activities you can play at home that will help your child succeed when they are ready for formal piano lessons.

      Playtime for Toddlers

      How Can I Make Playtime Better for My Toddler?

      Music is an important part of playtime for toddlers. It stimulates their imagination and creativity, builds vocabulary in a natural way, and has been shown to improve brain power.

      The saying goes, music makes everything in the world better. Toddlers are no exception to this rule. Playtime is important for them to learn and develop their basic motor skills, speech, and language. Music during playtime helps your toddler develop these skills; it also builds their imagination and creativity when they use props (household items or toys), or ability to pretend when they take their cues from the music.

      Research has shown that all children, including toddlers, have a natural drive to explore their surroundings and interact with others – this is called intrinsic motivation. Through play, toddlers develop imagination and creativity in addition to physical skills such as balance, coordination and problem solving.

      Ways to Use Music During Playtime for Toddlers

      There are many ways to include music in your toddler’s playtime. Music can be a central theme, where you sing songs and use props with your child. It can also be a background to other types of play such as blocks, legos, cars and trucks; however this method is best for older toddlers who have an understanding of the correlation between music and character. Here are some ideas to include music in your toddler’s playtime that is fun and stimulating!

      1) Sing fun songs

      Songs with actions and simple words are a good place to start. The most important part of singing is participation. Singing without any action isn’t as much fun for young children who can’t talk yet.  

      “Head, shoulders, knees, toes” or “If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands” or “Patty cake, Patty cake” can be good places to start.

      This may be one of the easiest ways to include music in toddler play; however it is also one of the most effective. Songs are a great way for children to learn rhythm and rhyme, which is an important part of language development. Older children also develop language skills and benefit from singing childhood songs.

      2)   Incorporate music toys into playtime

      playtime for toddlers

      There are many toys your child can use to make music. Think about the types of sound effects that each toy makes and incorporate those sounds into songs.  Providing a sensory bin during toddler play will provide opportunities for little ones to explore new textures and sounds.

      For example you may place a few toys, a small kitchen pan, plastic dishes, wooden spoons or other household objects that are safe for young children in a basket for babies and toddlers to explore. This unstructured playtime allows children to explore and not necessarily use the toy or object “correctly”.

      Explore the world with them! Encourage your toddler to play and nurture their interest in the world around them. This will help develop their curiosity, and engage them in learning how and why things fit together. It will also help them develop problem-solving skills.

      Parents can help with pretend play. For example, if you sing “The wheels on the bus go round and round” while pushing a car or truck toy as the child pushes along with you, you help your toddler’s development in correlating the text of the song to the activity. This demonstrates pretend play for your child which they will later copy.

      3)  Play percussion instruments with your toddler

      Another great way to incorporate music is to play instruments with your child. Parents playing an instrument during playtime helps kids copy what their parents are doing. They can then develop physical skills such as keeping a steady beat or learning short or long rhythms. Learning to feel a steady beat is so so important and I talk more about it in this blog post.

      One way I love to play percussion instruments with children is to play an instrument along with my favorite song. I am not a huge fan of tons of screen time for young children, but I do think having access to great quality music important. Having several playlists on a device ready at a moment’s notice is ideal for parents. You have the music you need the moment you need it. Children older than toddlers may have a device especially for educational content and music playlists. I have several playlists for toddler playtime and other activities than just playtime. You can check them out here:

      15 Songs That Get Your Toddler Moving

      Rainy Day Music and Movement Songs

      10 Songs That Get My Kids Cleaning

      4) Turn on some nursery rhymes

      playtime with toddlers song

      Parents can start with music they are familiar with such as “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” “This Little Piggy Went to Market,” or “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.”

      Toddlers love repetition! So singing songs that are familiar over and over are great for them. They will get familiar with the tune and want to sing along even if they don’t know all the words.

      One tip is to have one favorite recording of each nursery rhyme. If you have these songs in a playlist, you can turn these on as you watch your child play. I love watching their facial expressions as they learn to sing these rhymes and I can tell right away which ones are their favorite.

      5) Play an instrument together

      Stringed instruments such as a ukulele can be fun because toddlers enjoy using their hands to “strum”. The rhythm of this instrument can also be fun to dance along to.

      Every child who has come to one of my early childhood music classes is interested in getting their hands on a ukulele. I use one to accompany myself as we sing together, but I also have several toy ukuleles. They do not sound as good as a real soprano ukulele, but kids love playing them. This play helps them desire to play a real musical instrument when they get older.

      Parents often ask me about getting a ukulele for their child (and also one that they can learn to play) and I usually recommend this one for preschoolers.

      Remember when I mentioned that kids explore instruments and often do not “play them” as they are intended to play? Well, playing an instrument together is a wonderful way for you demonstrate the correct way to play a instrument. Kids will eventually copy your modelling.

      There are plenty of other musical instruments you can use to play together. Bongos, drums, bells, maracas, etc. would fit this category too.  Having a variety of musical instruments available during toddler playtime is beneficial.

      6) Play a simple instrument yourself

      Play a simple instrument yourself while the child watches. A kazoo or maracas are simple instruments that toddlers can learn to play. They will be excited and proud of themselves for “making music”. It’s a good chance to work on taking turns since the child will want to make music too!

      If you don’t feel you are musical and feel you are not qualified to play an instrument, just start simple. Sing a song. Shake a maraca as you sing, or ring some bells. Even playing peekaboo with a receiving blanket as you sing a simple song is fun for kids and sets the example for young children.

      For more ideas on how you can work with kids ages 0-5 years old, watch my free toddler music class. It will demonstrate how you can interact with your child and use your favorite music in playtime for toddlers!

      7) Use music as a setting for unstructured play

      playtime for toddlers music

      Music doesn’t have to be the focus of playtime as long as it is playing in the background. It can help create a peaceful and lively atmosphere for toddlers which makes them feel more relaxed.  

      During free play, music that isn’t too loud or distracting will allow children to use their imaginations.  You can even use music during outdoor play.

      By incorporating music into the background of physical activities such as playing with building blocks or toy cars, children learn to be able to create a story line for themselves!

      Do I Need a Lot of Musical Toys?

      A simple set of musical toys is enough to get started when you want to focus on improving your playtime for toddlers.

      If the toy makes a noise or plays music, it’s likely to be fun for your toddler. Set these items in the play area and see what types of games they want to make up!

      Music playtime for toddlers can also include stuffed animals for kids to bounce in their lap. This fun activity will help them learn to feel a steady beat, and also inspire their imagination. In today’s world, there is so much stimulation so it is wonderful when toddlers learn that they can they can enjoy music with their favorite stuffed friend without creating loud noises.

      If you are worried about having too many toys or creating an overwhelming environment, try removing the majority of toys and keeping only a few out at a time. This will make it easier to clean up at the end of playtime instead of being overwhelmed by excess things.

      Incorporating music during playtime is an easy way to improve your relationship with your toddler. It’s good for them too! It will create a positive, joyful environment that everyone can enjoy.

      How much playtime does my toddler need?

      Use your toddler’s interests and abilities to design playtime. As your toddler grows, she may need less structured play time. By encouraging her interests and abilities, you can adapt playtime for best results. You will see below ways that you can incorporate playtime and toddler activities into your everyday life.

      fun playtime for toddlers

      Talk to your child

      Ask about their activities during the day, such as eating a favourite food or playing with friends. Listen carefully so that you can respond to their interests. Use your child’s interests as a springboard for the types of music and songs you select. Even babies, kids age one, and two year olds show preference to the things they like. In fact you can even begin to share music with your child before birth, and then modify your music selections later to their preference.

      Change the way you think about playtime

      Use the knowledge of your child to plan activities that will capture their enthusiasm, encourage language skills, and provide creative as well as physical activity. For example, if they’re interested in vehicles, imagining a car wash or a traffic jam. This pretend play involving cars and trucks provides a story line for for them to act out.

      If your child is interested in playing house, then encourage play by having them set up a picnic at the same time as you are making a lunch. Or let them play with a sponge, water, and soap bubbles in the kitchen sink when you are cleaning.

      Finding music that captures their imagination will help support them in unstructured toddler play.

      Plan variety

      A wide range of experiences promotes development and creativity in addition to encouraging language skills and social interaction. Use your knowledge of what interests your child to build on what they already know while encouraging new activities.   To encourage these skills, focus on providing your child with rich experiences.

      Make playtime active

      Include activities from your child’s daily routine, such as feeding the dog or setting the table for a meal. These will help develop better communication and social skills with you and others. During playtime, encourage physical activity by encouraging outdoor and creative activities. Explore how to use everyday objects to move around and have fun.

      Vary the space

      Playing in different rooms of the house builds a toddler’s spatial awareness. It also helps children understand that objects still exist even when they are out of sight. This is the same for toddlers playing in various indoor and outdoor locations.

      Changing rooms (such as outside), bedrooms and kitchens is like providing language activities via real life stimuli. Find out what interests your toddler most about different places, such as water in the bathtub, books in the corner of the living room, a laundry basket from the laundry room, or the sandbox outside. Their favorite places are wonderful environments to add music to inspire higher level creative play. By the way, kids often enjoy playing with their outdoor toys inside too!

      Use materials you have on hand

      Encourage your toddler to play with everyday objects such as pots, pans, food containers, or big empty boxes. Have you ever noticed that kids will play with a box all day and leave all the best toys untouched. Playing with everyday objects can increase physical activity as well as language ability. I would recommend placing several household items and some stuffed animals in the sensory bin (mentioned earlier) that you create for your child.

      Involve your child in household tasks

      Accompany simple activities like setting the table for dinner with language and songs about the meal, encouraging imitation. For example, if you sing a song like “Apples and Bananas” then you can be silly and change the lyrics to the foods you are serving. This makes the chore of setting the table super fun!

      When parents present chores as “play” and incorporate music to heighten the experience, kids develop a natural love for helpful behavior. I think this is a long-term “win-win.”

      Playtime for Toddlers

      How can I make playtime better for my toddler? This is an important time to teach your child valuable skills through play. If you provide them with the right toys and allow them to let their imagination run wild, you can create a stimulating world of learning that all children deserve!

      I hope you find a few helpful tips in this article. Let me know in a comment what ideas have helped you or inspire you to make some simple changes in your parenting!

      And if you’d like to be guided through a music class for toddlers that I have created go ahead and click the link below! Watching my music class will help you with ideas on how you can have fun and incorporate music into your toddler’s playtime.

      10 Songs That Get My Kids Cleaning

      Why Play Music While You are Cleaning?

      songs that get my kids cleaning

      Today I want to share 10 songs that get my kids cleaning with me! Why play music while you are cleaning? Kids love music! And who doesn’t love a little bit of peace and quiet? Using music to clean up is one of my favorite strategies for getting the house in order without fighting with the kids. I simply ask that they help me pick up as we go along, so by the end we’re all done!

      These songs are available on Amazon, so I’ve included some links to them to make things easier for you. But I also included Youtube links so you can build a free playlist from Youtube.

      10 songs that get my kids cleaning with me

      Besides this list of songs that get my kids cleaning, I also have another blog post that encourage movement. And a blog post that has songs perfect for getting the wiggles out on a rainy day! These songs would also work as cleaning songs!


      List of 10 Cleaning Songs That Energize Parents and Kids!

      This isn’t just your normal songs featuring kids singing for kids. These are songs even parents can groove to – some oldies, bluegrass, caribbean, italian, and more! I love creating some diversity for parents and kids that allows them to explore songs from other cultures! I hope these songs energize you! They will definitely make time to clean more fun. Now let’s clean up everybody!

      1)       “ABC” by Jackson 5 * (Amazon) (Youtube)

      ABC as easy as 1-2-3! Michael Jackson is such an energizer and kids will love to repeat ABC and 1-2-3 with this song! I guess it is kind of an oldie these days but an iconic Michael Jackson song. This is a lively and fun clean up song!

      2)            “The Lion Sleeps Tonight by The Tokens (Amazon) (YouTube)

      How many remakes of this song have been recorded over the years? Kids today will recognize this song from The Lion King, but it is so fun to actually get to hear the original! Once I start listening to this song I’m humming it all day long. It’s definitely one of my favorite clean up songs.

      3)            “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin (Amazon) (Youtube)

      A song to whistle along to. Kind of like Snow White’s philosophy on cleaning… whistle while you work! The philosophy of don’t worry, be happy can be applied to so many of life’s situations. So lets just whistle a little tidy up song!

      4)    “A Whistle in the Desert” by Raffi Wartanian (Amazon) (Youtube)

      This is an upbeat guitar instrumental song with percussion. There is a dance-like quality to this song with a mixed meter feel. This is an interesting addition in this list of songs for kids and you can make a game of the different sections of this song!

      5)   “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” (Amazon) (I really like this version on YouTube)

      Bluegrass finger-picking banjo is fast, fast, fast! This will help get any clean up done with lightening speed! You can hear different instruments play besides the banjo so that is fun. Because it is a video song you can even see the instruments! Use the birds singing at the beginning as you “get ready” and then “GO!” when the music starts! Everyone will know it’s time to clean when this song plays.

      6)            “Dueling Banjos” (Amazon) (I love this version on YouTube)

      This is actually a duel between guitar and banjo. It of course speeds up and really takes off. Great for getting some serious cleaning done. If you listen to this cleaning song carefully you will hear the guitar lead the melody and the banjo echo! It’s lie they are having a conversation!

      7)            “Coconut Shuffle” (Amazon) (Youtube)

      Caribbean Steel Drum Band really lightens the mood! Caribbean music always makes me smile! Enjoy a little pineapple or orange juice when the job is done! Great “theme” song for kids!

      8)            “Una Giraffa di Stoffa” (Amazon) (Youtube)

      This Italian song is about a stuffed giraffe. Enjoy this dance-like song as you hear beautiful Italian lyrics. I love listening to the rolled r’s that English doesn’t have. Challenge each other to roll some r’s when the job is done! This challenge may end up with fits of laughter.

      9)           “Celebration” (Kool and the Gang) (Amazon) (Kids version on Youtube)

      This is a well-known song most adults know! But the YouTube video features kids from around the world. It’s fun to watch this video and see the kids play instruments and sing and then use it in your cleaning playlist! Fun song for kids and I especially love the video!

      10)            “Best Day of My Life” by Kidz Bop Kids (Amazon) (Youtube)

      What a great positive affirmation! I love positive energy when it comes to cleaning time. Your kids will be “ooh”-ing along with this one! What out. They may not want to stop cleaning.

      BONUS: “Happy” Kidz Bop Kids version (Amazon) (Youtube)

      This amazing and uplifting clapping song is sure to change the mood!

      Which Cleaning Songs are Your Favorite?

      You won’t find better music for cleaning up, and best of all you can create a playlist off YouTube for free! Or you can get some songs from Amazon and build out your playlist on your phone or device for a few bucks which has really helped me out!

      I hope you enjoy my songs for picking up toys, and best of all I hope they help make your cleaning go a little more smoothly! Be sure to share this page with anyone else who has kids and may need a few ideas for super fun music. Let me know which of these songs is your kids’ favorite.

      Leave me a comment below!

      *Affiliate links may be included so if you make a purchase, I may receive credit as an Amazon affiliate at no additional cost to you.

      Get your FREE Music Mini-Class

      Your toddler or preschooler will love this Music Mini-Class.  Join me and Beethoven, an adorable pancake loving sheepdog as we sing, dance and play together!

      online toddlers music class

      How to Encourage Children to Feel a Steady Beat

      What is a steady beat?

      A steady beat is a steady rhythm. A steady rhythm is the same pattern repeated every beat of music. We can feel it in our bodies when we hear songs playing. Children can feel steady beats through everyday activities and here are some ways parents can encourage children to feel a steady beat.

      You can check out my blog post about short and long rhythms here.

      Where can you find a steady beat?

      Clocks ticking, steady heartbeat, steady footsteps, steady slaps on a hand drum, steady tapping of fingers on a table all provide a steady beat.

      Let’s talk about a heart beat. It might be steady if you are resting, but will speed up when you are running or in a state of panic. A heartbeat is steady because it has the same pattern every time it beats.

      This steady beat is in our bodies whenever we move. Children will often play with toys or bang things to make their own steady beat. It is important for children to learn about steady beats because it helps them become more aware of rhythm and music. It also helps develop motor coordination skills, which is an important developmental milestone for young children.

      Children enjoy rattle toys, especially the ones that make noise when you shake them. They will often spend time shaking and banging these around on the floor to create their own steady beats. Another way children can feel steady beats is through pat-a-cake games or clapping along with music they hear playing in the car or at home.

      Can parents encourage children to feel a steady beat?

      Of course! Parents can encourage children to feel a steady beat in their body by doing any of these activities together. While doing them with a child, listen for the steady pulse within and then join in to create an even stronger steady beat.

      Sing!

      Singing is the easiest way parents can encourage children to feel a steady beat. You can sing at home, sing in the car, sing songs with movements and clapping. There are many ways and times parents can use singing to help kids feel a steady beat.

      For example, parents can use steady beats when changing their baby’s diaper. In order to clean a baby properly, you must swaddle them and then remove the cloth wiping down the area of the body. You will hear steady steady steady… as you do this with your child. While changing a diaper, parents should try singing a song like the ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ and see if they can get their child to sing along. Singing steady steady steady while changing a diaper is the steady beat that children will want to copy!

      This is one of many instances where parents can sing. Some other times parents can sing with children are when children wake up, get dressed, brush teeth or hair, wash hands, clean up, drive in he car, put on pajamas, etc.

      Read!

      Reading books with steady beats can be a great way for parents to encourage children to develop an awareness of steady beats in music. There are many children’s storybooks that focus on the steady beat by using words such as tick-tock, slap-slap or splash-splash. One book in particular that has great rhythm is Pajama Time by Sandra Boynton, which uses a steady BEAT when reading it aloud. Here is a link for a youtube reading where you can hear the reading… steady steady steady steady steady steady.

      I created this video for parents to help them learn how to encourage children to feel a steady beat.


      Play an Instrument!

      Many fun songs have a steady beat too! Here are some that you can sing and play an instrument along to:

      Old MacDonald had a Band (Raffi’s take on the traditional song)

      Twinkle twinkle little star (Lisa Loeb & Elizabeth Mitchell’s version which I love!)

      Row Row Row (Raffi – this version is perfect for babies and toddlers!)

      I’m A Little Teapot This video demonstrates whole body movements with each repetition getting faster. Kids are sure to love going faster! and faster!

      Baby Shark (This version by Super Simple Songs is MY FAVORITE and the favorite of every kiddo in my early childhood music classes!)

      What toys can parents use to encourage children to feel a steady beat?

      There are many instruments on the market such as  tambourines, maracas, shakers and rhythm instruments. Here are some instrument sets I recommend! Steady beats can be heard when shaking them or playing with them a certain way. Other creative ideas include having children build towers. You can build with steady beats until they feel tired…then the tower comes tumbling down! In this case, it’s not the objects themselves but how we interact with them that provide steady beats.

      It’s not the objects themselves
      but how we interact with them
      that provide steady beats.

      When you encourage children to feel steady beats by doing activities together you are helping to develop early literacy skills! This type of play helps prepare pre-readers and beginning readers with building vocabulary (kids who can express what they mean with words), listening ability, attention (to listen), and following directions, all which are essential for early learning and literacy development.

      Conclusion:

      Beats are steady rhythms that have a steady beat. They can be felt by moving our bodies in steady rhythmic motions or rhythmically tapping objects together. There are many toys on the market that make steady beat sounds and movements if you want them for your home or classroom. You can find steady beats in song lyrics and books too! The most important thing is to play with your child and sing steady beat songs together—and just feel a steady beat whenever possible! You’ll both enjoy the fun time spent exploring life with steady beats!

      What everyday items do you use to help teach your child about steady beats? Please leave me a comment below so I can hear from you!

      Note: This blog post may contain affiliate links which means if you click through the link I may make a small commission which helps support this blog, at no extra cost to you.

      If you’re looking for a new way to bond with your child, then I have the perfect class just for you! You will learn how to make music together and show them that they can do anything. Meet Beethoven, an adorable pancake loving sheep dog who loves to sing, dance, and play musical instruments. You will also see exactly how I work with stuffed animals to help toddlers feel a steady beat! This class are free of charge so don’t miss out on this opportunity today!

      Sign up for my newsletter and get this FREE music class to enjoy with your children!

      Scroll to Top