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Supporting your child’s language development with musical fun

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Make your own musical instruments at home:

  • Bean shaker
    • You can use a recycled plastic bottle
    • Fill it with some beans or rice
    • Decorate with paint or any arts and crafts items lying around at home
    • Shake away!!

  • Tin can drum
    • You can use a recycled coffee tin or yoghurt tub
    • Cut the end off a balloon and stretch it over the top of the container
    • Place some rubber bands or tape around the edge to secure the balloon
    • Decorate the drum as you please
    • Use some chopsticks or pencils to hit your drum

Song ideas:

  • Old MacDonald had a farm
  • If you’re happy and you know it
  • Twinkle twinkle little star
  • Five little monkeys jumping on the bed
  • The wheels on the bus
  • Incy wincy spider

Activities and strategies you can use:

  • Choices – Paring the song with an item/ object: have two items or pictures that represent two different songs for example, a bus for “the wheels on the bus” and a star for “twinkle little star.” Then let your child choose / show you which song they want to sing.
  • Change the lyrics of well-known songs: Incorporate new vocabulary into a song tune. For example, if you want to help your child learn emotions you can adjust the song “if you’re happy and you know it” to “if you’re sad and you know it” and “if you’re angry and you know it” while pairing the emotion with a facial expression or action.
  • Pause to fill in the words of the song: while singing a song that your child knows or likes, use pauses to give your child an opportunity to fill in the missing word. For example when singing “old MacDonald” you can sing “old MacDonald had a *pause*” wait for a response from your child – be patient.
  • Gestures / movements while singing: use body movements and gestures while singing with your child, encouraging them to copy / imitate you.
  • Use reinforcers: Praise your child’s attempts to communicate and participate in the songs.

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