Summer is the perfect time of year to engage your little learners, at home and at school, with infant and toddler activities that encourage them to explore, move, and learn. Movement is essential to life and a crucial part of the development children experience within their first few years of life. Encouraging your child to move and learn with various activities is a wonderful way to develop across the board, from physical skills to social emotional development.
Move to Learn is an excellent resource for parents and teachers searching for engaging music and movement activities for infants and toddlers. Here are some fun activities you can try this summer in your home or classroom!
Sounds in Our Neighborhood
People of all ages may benefit from learning to appreciate sounds around them. It is never too early to start paying attention.
Preparation: You will need a recording device, such as a small tape recorder or cellphone, for this activity.
What to Do:
- Take the children on a walk outside. As you walk, ask the children to listen for the sounds around them. Talk about what they hear.
- Record the environmental sounds, such as traffic, construction, dogs barking, birds, insects, and footsteps, as you walk. Ask the children, “Who hears a loud sound? Let’s record it.” “Who hears a quiet sound? Let’s record it.”
- Return to the classroom. Play the recorded sounds for the children.
- As you listen together, ask the children if they can remember what made each sound.
Dancing with Your Ribbon
Using ribbons and music makes this activity a beautiful experience for the eyes and ears. When possible, make a video of it to share with the children.
Preparation: You will need colored ribbons in blue, green, yellow, and red. Cut the ribbon into lengths of approximately two feet.
What to Do:
1. Give each child a colored ribbon.
2. Play music and encourage the children to dance with their ribbons:
- Ask, “Who has a blue ribbon? How can you dance to the music while waving your ribbon?”
- Ask, “Who ha a yellow ribbon? If you have a yellow ribbon, please join the children who are dancing with their blue ribbons.”
3. Ask the children with yellow and blue ribbons to freeze. Ask, “Who has a green ribbon? Only those who have a green ribbon please dance to the music while waving your ribbons.”
4. Continue the activity, naming different colors and asking different groups of children to dance with their ribbons and others to freeze. Say, “I’ll keep saying different colors, and when I say your color you dance to the music with your ribbon. When I tell you to stop, just freeze where you are.”
We Can Paint to the Music
Auditory processing and gross- and fine- motor skills are all part of this artistic experience.
Preparation: You will need several large sheets of paper, tempera paints, paper cups, masking or painter’s tape, and paintbrushes. Cover an outside wall with huge sheets of paper. Put tempera paints in a variety of colors in cups for the children. Note: if you decide to do this activity indoors, you will need a drop cloth.
What to Do:
- Provide the children with tempera paints and paintbrushes. Encourage them to paint on the paper as big as they can.
- As they explore the paints, play various types of music, such as classical, hip-hop, techno, lullabies, and marches.
- From time to time, change the type of music you are playing. Encourage the children to paint in different ways to different music. For example, play a slow lullaby and encourage the children to paint to the gentle tempo. Then, change to a bouncy salsa beat and encourage the children to paint in the way the music makes them feel.