Friday, February 27, 2009

Physical Friday: A Cut Above

Consider your child holding a pair of scissors. What's your first thought: a necessary evil or the ultimate challenge?

Sammi loves scissors. She loves to cut. Just before she turned two she really became aware of scissors and wanted to hold them, cut with them, even walk with them (if I would have let her!) I didn't think she was old enough to have anything to do with scissors, but it seemed every time I turned around she was pulling scissors out of my "secret" hiding spots.

I decided to embrace this advancement and take control of the situation. Education was in order. We talked about when we could use scissors, why we use scissors, what to cut, what NOT to cut, that we only sit when we cut (no walking or running) and so on. I was still apprehensive about her using regular-sized scissors so I found some craft scissors around the house for her to use. They were blunt tipped and the edges weren't as sharp. Then I tore out pages of a magazine and let her have at it.

She cut, seriously, for an hour! I had to vacuum to get up the tiny bits of paper she'd managed to cut. She went through probably only 3 pages of the magazine in that hour. She was so focused on developing that skill. I've since learned that I did a few things "wrong" in helping her use scissors. So you don't make the same mistakes I made, here are some tips I found in teaching children to use scissors:
  • have your little one cut through play dough first, roll it out into a thin log (about 2 years old)
  • move from play dough to card stock or manila folders
  • THEN move to construction and lined paper
  • move to tissue paper (about 2.5 years old)
  • once your little one can cut through all of these, practice cutting along a thick line (about 3-3.5 years old)
  • next practice cutting out a thick-lined circle (about 3.5-4 years old)
  • finally practice cutting out a square with sharp corners (about 4.5-5 years old)
Check out these great resources for finding scissors and teaching your child to use scissors here and here.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Thinking Thursday: Intentional Actions

Our little ones are indeed little when they figure out how to get their point across. Renée from Cutie Booty Cakes shared an experience with her little one that got me thinking.

He wanted to pour his own milk and Renée (bless her heart) was willing to let him do this, but wanted to stay by him. He proceeds to swat her away (like a fly) and then he tells her to sit down! and then he commands her to Run!

I love the creativity and problem solving we see here. He is doing and saying everything he can to make the experience go the way he wants. I started thinking back with Sammi and looking at Elli to see what how they've communicated with me their exact intentions.

I remember once when my mom was over and sat with Sammi while I was in another room trying to get something done. Sammi didn't want my mom. She didn't want anyone but mommy. I think she was about 10 months old. So my mom tried singing Sammi's favorite song to her. We sound alike (my mom and I) so Sammi accepted her offering but only on one condition: Sammi reached her hand up and covered her eyes so she didn't have to look at Grandma! She sat like that the entire length of the song. She got what she wanted and she got it on her terms!

So when do these intentional actions emerge? Sammi was right on track. From about 8 months onward little ones become deliberate in their actions. Their play shifts from random toys and movements to play with an objective in mind. They've already started to associate outcomes with behaviors and now they are purposefully acting to make those outcomes happen.

The cognitive development here is that little ones are able to orchestrate two actions simultaneously in order to achieve a goal. That's a lot to think about t one time! Renée's little one worked on pouring milk and commanding Mommy. Sammi was listening and blocking her vision. Another example I found is of 8 month old Jacqueline. As she grabbed her toy so did her mother. While holding on firmly to her toy, she used her other hand to push her mother's hand away.

Little ones quest for independence begins young with intentional actions and only increases once they are able to add words. Run!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

My Favorite Posts so far

Since this blog is fairly new, any post I include in my list of favorites will seem recent to you. I am really enjoying this blog so it's a hard choice. But there are a few that stand out for me so far. These posts really capture for me the reasons I chose to start this particular blog. Enjoy!
  1. My New Campus is my absolute favorite. It was the first time I was able to capture my epiphany and the emotions of it in words. "I find myself in the pleasant predicament of living in the same area as my Alma mater. From time to time I run over to the campus for one reason or another. A couple of weeks ago I wanted to drop off some German and Bulgarian books (so they could find a better home) and took the girls with me." Read the full post here.
  2. A Slippery Fish has to be in this list as well. This is the first song that I learned after I started attending the library's Laptime program. It was the experience of not being able to remember the tune or all the words when I was home that led to my desire to have a video segment for Musical Mondays. See the video on the post here.
  3. Jumping. "Indoors or out, jumping is a fun activity for toddlers. Many times a day I hear my toddler's voice, 'Mommy, want to see how I can jump?' She's so enthusiastic about it every time that I can't help but join in with her energy and do a little jumping myself!" Read the full post here.
  4. Babbling is another where the purpose of this blog shines. It's not just about what kids learn, or how they develop. Rather it's seeing how the combination of physical changes, development and parent interaction all roll together to produce the little ones we love so much! Read the full post here.
  5. Board Books captures the love of reading so prevalent in our home. Sammi loves to read books with me, to me, to her dolls. She also loves to listen as I read chapter books aloud. Some of my favorite books and resources are in this post.

And the winners are...

Thanks for the comments and all the blog-love. I really enjoyed reading your blogs. Also, thanks for sharing your thoughts on your favorite brands. Melissa and Doug was mentioned several times. They are one of my personal favorites (see review of Band in a Box).
Another thanks to for generating the winning commenters. The winners of the two sets of bean bags are

Congrats! Please email me (becausebabiesgrowup @ gmail . com) with your addresses and I'll get them in the mail.

Stay tuned for more fun games using bean bags. Also, if your house is bean bag-less, try making some. They are pretty easy! Cut two 4 1/2 inch squares for each bean bag you want to make. Place 2 squares right sides together and sew around the edges leaving about 1 1/2 inches in the middle of one side. Turn squares right side out and fill with beans. I used black beans. Whip stitch the opening closed. Or sew straight across the top with your sewing machine. (It's easier and no one will ever notice!)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Musical Monday: Here is the Beehive

Click here for the Bean Bag Giveaway!

This is a fun song for babies on up. Little ones love the tickling at the end. Sammi asks for it again and again! I had a really hard time remembering the tune till I realized it was "Rock-a-bye Baby."

Here is the beehive
Where are the bees?
Hidden inside
Where nobody sees.
Watch as the bees
Come out of the hive.
Bzzz Bzzz Bzzz

Friday, February 20, 2009

Physical Friday: Amazing Facts about Babies

Click here for the Bean Bag Giveaway!

Here is a list of 7 Things You Didn't Know About Your Baby that I read in Parents magazine December 2008. This list comes from the new book Amazing Baby by Desmond Morris.
  1. During the nine months between conception and birth, a baby's weight increases 3,000 million times.
  2. Between birth and age 2, an infant will quadruple in size.
  3. At birth, a baby's brain is 1- percent of her total body weight (an adult's is 2 percent).
  4. Within 45 hours of birth, a newborn knows her own mother by smell. (And a blindfolded mom can identify her own child from a host of other babies by scent alone.)
  5. At birth, babies have the ability to swim.
  6. Human babies are the only primates to smile at their parents.
  7. A newborn has feet that are one third of their adult length. By age one, they are nearly half of their adult size.
Parents magazine is currently offering 2 FREE years with a one year subscription. You can get 3 years for $12. What a steal.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I Never Grew Up's Birthday Giveaway Party

I Never Grew Up is celebrating one year of blogging by offering over $1200 in giveaways. Check out Vanessa's favorite companies who are all contributing to the birthday party.

I hope I win #7, a baby wrap from Lovey Duds. Such cute fabrics and a great design.

Thinking Thursday: Babbling

Elli has begun babbling over the last few weeks. It's so fun to watch her get excited about her own voice. In my house we all love to talk so it's fun to see Elli developing this same trait.

Click here for the Bean Bag Giveaway!

I'd originally thought I'd just share some info about babbling today, but after reading up on this stage of language development, I have some pretty interesting stuff to tell you about.

First, I've always been fascinated by how babies can breathe, suck and swallow all at the same time and while lying down. If we try that trick we choke, so how do babies do it? Young babies are physically different from adults! They have a larger tongue and their epiglottis (which covers the air's pathway from mouth to lungs) is longer and is actually in contact with the palate completely covering the air's pathway. This helps babies not choke on or inhale their food as they lie and breathe and suck and swallow! It also means babies can't breathe through their mouths and why it's so important to keep their noses clear and unstuffy. I knew my babies preferred to breathe through their noses; I didn't realize they couldn't breathe through their mouths.

So starting about 4 months babies mouths and throats undergo some drastic changes that affect speech development. First, the oral cavity (mouth) gets bigger so the tongue doesn't take up as much space in their as it did. Also, the epiglottis begins to separate so air begins to flow through the mouth. The vocal tract also lengthens. With more room to move their tongues around and some air to move along the vocal tract, babies beging to vocalize.

The first stage of babbling is called expansion babbling. Babies start with vowel sounds, raspberries, squeals and growls. This usually lasts while the baby is 4-6 months old. Between seven and ten months babies move into the second stage of babbling called canonical babbling. Here is where they begin putting vowels and consonants together. They begin to say the same syllables over and over, "bababa" "dadada" and so on.

While babies' babbling sounds a lot like speech in the intonation and rhythm of the language, research shows that babies are not trying to communicate at this stage. They are making sounds for the sake of making sounds. They are exploring how they can manipulate their voice just like they practice manipulating toys or objects with their hands. Research shows that the intonation patterns of babies reflect the intonation patterns of the language(s) they hear at home. The actual consonant-vowel sounds they make, according to research, though, are not yet language specific.

Some ways we can capitalize on this stage of language development:
  • Repeat your babies sounds showing that you are paying attention and find important the things your baby says. This helps babies develop an understanding of the communicative nature of language and also to trust that you will listen.
  • Offer some new sounds for your baby to try. Babies love imitation. They will watch the way you make a sound and try to do it too. Actually, this is true for children in all stages of language development. Sammi still imitates our sounds and watch for how to make difficult sounds or words.
  • Associate a silly action with a specific sound. Everytime your baby squeals, clap your hands; everytime your baby blows a raspberry, touch her nose. This helps babies develop the concept of cause and effect and see that they can be initiators in causing an action to happen. This is a really fun game and babies love games.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Bean Bag Giveaway--CLOSED

We had so much fun with the bean bags over the Valentine's Day weekend that I decided to make some to give away. Aren't they cute! They were a super fast and fun project. If you don't win one of the sets, I encourage you to make your own* :)

While they were in production, I found Sammi playing with them. So clever! She turned them into arm floaties and was swimming with her baby doll on the blue rug.The purple necklace is the baby doll's swim suit. Her imagination just never quits!

Okay, to enter the giveaway, please do the following:
1) Follow this blog
2) Leave a comment answering this question: What is your favorite brand of toys?/Which brand do you seem to gravitate towards? Why? Please include your email address or link to your blog so I can inform you if you are the winner.

Additional entries:
1) Tweet about this giveaway! (1 extra entry)
2) Blog about this giveaway! (5 extra entries)
Please leave one additional comment linking to either your tweet or your blog post or both.

This giveaway ends Tuesday, Feb 24. Two winners will be chosen at random. The winners will be announced Wednesday, Feb 25. Good luck!

Look for more ways to use bean bags with your children in future posts. They are such a versatile resource to have on hand. Instant fun!!

*Cut two 4 1/2 inch squares for each bean bag you want to make. Place 2 squares right sides together and sew around the edges leaving about 1 1/2 inches in the middle of one side. Turn squares right side out and fill with beans. I used black beans. Whip stitch the opening closed. Or sew straight across the top with your sewing machine. (It's easier and no one will ever notice!)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Unplugged Report

I felt a little guilty turning on my computer, but Oh MAN, does it feel good to be back! I've been slowly working through the inbox: lots of Twitter emails, newsletters, sale promotions and bills; very few personal emails!

So, the burning question: Was it worth it?

First, my goals for going offline were 1) stop compulsively checking my email, 2) give more attention to my household's needs, 3) develop some much needed healthy habits.

Day 1 I wanted to check my email 9 times! Every time I walked in my room (which houses the computer) I wanted to turn on the computer. Every time the baby was asleep I wanted to get on the computer. Every time my toddler was contentedly playing on her own, I wanted to check my email. But, I harnessed all that energy and cleaned off my messy messy desk! Surprisingly, it stayed about this clean the whole two weeks, until I did taxes and now there are papers that need to be filed again!

Before I went offline I tried REALLY hard to get all my posts done and ready to publish. But, it didn't happen. So Sunday night I actually cheated and got on the computer to get Monday's post ready. I was strict with myself though and didn't check my email. So Monday was the first day I spent entirely offline. I focused on laundry. Mounds and mounds of laundry! I got all the laundry washed and folded. It usually takes about three days to get all the clean clothes folded so I was really excited. Oh, and Elli rolled over for the first time, which I caught on the video camera, and didn't get to blog about it!

Now, I admit, I'm a procrastinator. I still needed one more day to get the second week's posts completely finished and ready to go up. So Tuesday I spent about three hours on the computer. I was so focused on working quickly. Brent had the girls all morning and I was amazed at how much I accomplished. As a treat, I checked my email! The experience reminded me of this quote:

"In my 20s I was worried about what everyone said about me. In my 30s I learned not to care. In my 40s I realized no one was talking about me to begin with."

I had a bunch of Twitter emails, but nothing personal. Either everyone was giving me space since I was offline OR no one cared! In that moment I realized some things about myself: I work harder than I realized at connecting and communicating with people and I was compulsively checking my email for no good reason! While cheating is BAD, in this case it made the rest of my time offline a lot easier. Every time I wanted to get online or check my email I reminded myself that I wasn't missing anything.

I started to evaluate the nature of my need to be online. One need is to be connected, to my family and friends, to online friends, to the community of moms whose blogs I love to read and which so inspire me. Another need is to escape my physical surroundings in the virtual world of the Internet. Another need is to blog and provide a resource for moms to play and sing with their children. The last need I discovered is to take care of bills and finances. I learned that the hard way when I called Brent at work so he could pay the car payment and the visa bill! Again with the procrastinating! I totally forgot to prepare for that.

Back to my goals. I have managed to get the housework under control. I've developed a pretty good pattern for getting things done each day. I also started exercising. I'm doing yoga with Bob from The Biggest Loser. I'm still working on making this a regular part of my day. But so far the results have been fantastic! I'm not so ache-y and my pants even fit a little better. Another healthy habit I wanted to develop is for my mental and spiritual health. I have renewed my commitment to read and study the scriptures daily and I already have more patience with myself and the little ones. I also feel a lot more peace about the busy and strenuous demands on my time and energy and the demands on Brent and how that affects our precious time together as a family.

So was it worth it? YES! I am ready (halfway through February) to start, or rather continue, 2009 in a positive, healthy way.

I'm moving forward and finding balance between my online world and my offline life. I find joy in both places. Each fills a need and is an integral part of making me whole and complete. I will stop escaping from my life by staring mindlessly at an unchanging inbox and I will start focusing on the essentials. What will you do in 2009?

Also, check back tomorrow for a giveaway of a cute little something I made with all that time I had from not being lost in front of the computer!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Musical Monday: Once There Was a Snowman

We have had the lion's share of snow this winter! We've had lots of fun playing in the snow, making snow angels and a large snowman. When I don't want to go outside or when there's no snow or just to celebrate the snow, we sing Once There Was a Snowman.

Once There Was a Snowman
Once there was a snowman snowman snowman
Once there was a snowman tall tall tall

In the sun he melted melted melted
In the sun he melted small small small

Friday, February 13, 2009

Physical Friday: Bean Bag Toss Valentine Special

Sammi loves to throw things! I think it came from another episode of the Sesame Street Podcast: Basketball. She shows me how to throw the ball just like in the video. It's so fun.

In keeping with the Valentine's Day theme, since it IS tomorrow, I thought I'd introduce you to a classic game of bean bag toss, Valentine-style. I made these bags (they actually have rice, not beans) out of this cute, soft, pink fabric I found in my stash. Then I found this fun, already-decorated, very pink box and voila, instant Valentine fun!
There are so many variations for throwing the bags into the box. You can see how far your little one can throw. Move the box (or your child) a little each time the bag goes in the box. You can see how high they can throw it and have it land in the box. Try tossing it underhand or overhand. Try standing right next to the box, hold the bag to your nose and drop it in. The box is just a target, something that motivates the action. The bag doesn't really need to land in the box every time. Help your child experiment with throwing the bean bag.

It takes a lot of fine motor skills to open your fingers to let go, especially when your arm is already moving. Children need to practice letting go just like they need to practice picking things up. Both help develop muscle control in the fingers which is essential for using utensils or writing.

Find as much pink or red as you can today to turn everyday play into Valentine's Day play! If you are not finding a lot of already-pink things, cut out some pink hearts and decorate a box or bucket so it becomes a special Valentine's Day toy.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Thinking Thursday: Nesting Hearts Valentine Special

Nesting hearts are a great way to talk about size with your little one. You can use different size cookie cutters or cut out the different sized hearts and talk about which ones are big which ones are small. You can even compare and ask you child to find the bigger heart or the smaller heart.

Toddlers are just beginning to classify objects, meaning they can separate one type object from another but only based on one difference between the two categories (dinosaur toys versus car toys). Their understanding of size and color, though, are still quite limited. It's fun to talk about color and size with little ones, but they may not be ready to permanently know that information. Toddler minds are bursting with so much new information everyday that it takes a very long time to sort out all that information and make sense of it. That's the job of toddlerhood! For that reason, it's good to plant the seeds of what they need to know (everything!) and wait for those seeds to take root and grow. While we're waiting, we keep playing the same games again and again.

Back to the hearts! These fun hearts can also be turned into Valentine's Day decorations. Layer the hearts from biggest to smallest and glue them together. You can further decorate them with ribbon, glitter, cardboard cutouts, anything you have on hand. To give some depth I used foam squares. Then I attached string and/or ribbon to hang them up with. You could also use yarn. I hung them between the kitchen and living room where the ceiling drops down.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Musical Monday Tuesday: Valentine Special

Tony Chestnut (Toe Knee Chest Nut) is a cute song that helps you say I love you to your little one!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Musical Monday: Goin' On A Bear Hunt

This is the perfect song to encourage pretend play. In Going on a Bear Hunt children envision the path you lay out for them. They pretend to swish through a field of grass, swim through a river, climb a tree or mountain, and enter a cave where they find a BEAR!

In the initial stages of pretend play children benefit from incorporating as much reality into their play as possible. Sammi loved to change diapers. Initially she insisted on using actual diapers and wipe on her babies. We went through a lot of diapers and wipes. One afternoon I counted 15 rolled diapers on the floor that she had used on her baby! Slowly she transitioned into using pretend wipes and finally pretend diapers.

The same principle applies here with Going on a Bear Hunt. You lead the adventure and model the actions that accompany each part of the song. Your child then sees a slice of the reality and is able to envision the pretend adventure of hunting for bears.

Going on a Bear Hunt
We're going on a bear hunt
We're gonna catch a big one
But we're not scared!
Oh no, a large field of grass.
We can't go over it
We can't go under it
We'll have to go through it
Swish swish swish

We're going on a bear hunt
We're gonna catch a big one
But we're not scared!
Oh no, a river.
We can't go under it
We can't go around it
We'll have to swim through it
Swim swim swim

We're going on a bear hunt
We're gonna catch a big one
But we're not scared!
Oh no, a tree (or mountain)
We can't go around it
We can't go through it
We'll have to climb up it
Climb climb climb
Down down down

We're going on a bear hunt
We're gonna catch a big one
But we're not scared!
Oh no, a cave.
We can't go over it
We can't go under it
We'll have to go in it
Tiptoe tiptoe

I see a shiny nose and two eyes
It's a bear!
Run out of the cave
Run run run
Climb up the tree (mountain)
Climb down the tree (mountain)
Run run run
Swim through the river
Run run run
Run through the grass
Run run run
Open the door
Shut the door
Run upstairs and
Jump in bed
We're safe!

We received this adorable board book for Christmas that tells the story of a family going on a bear hunt and making it safely home. I love the illustrations and the additional verses.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Physical Friday: Binoculars

Today we continue this week's short series on pretend play.
This project is fun and addresses physical development on two different levels! First, the fine motor skills needed to decorate the binoculars and second the ability to look through the binoculars to the world beyond. These binoculars are perfect for toddlers because the size just perfectly matches the distance between their eyes.

Making Binoculars
Materials Needed:

  • toilet paper rolls or paper towel rolls cut down
  • decorative paper
  • decorative details (pom poms, glitter, feathers, foam shapes, buttons, brads, stickers, anything you already have on hand)
  • glue
  • fat paintbrush
  • glue dots


  1. Cut the decorative paper into rectangles measuring about 4.5" by 6" (some rolls were shorter)
  2. Pour glue onto a plate and add a small amount of water; mix together using a fat paintbrush
  3. Paint glue onto backside of decorative paper; affix to roll
  4. Attach two rolls together using glue dots or another type of instant adhesive
  5. Cut strip of decorative paper about 2" by 11" (measure around both rolls to make sure strip is long enough)
  6. Wrap strip around both rolls and secure ends with glue or tape
  7. Decorate binoculars with pom poms, glitter, feathers, foam shapes, buttons, brads, stickers, or anything you already have on hand
Once binoculars are dry (or at least mostly dry) go out and explore the world! Look through your binoculars and describe what you see. Ask your child to do the same. You can pretend you are in the jungle and describe the trees and animals you might see there. Or you can be at the zoo or in the ocean. Let the binoculars transport you to a different place or even a new world!

With very young children (less than 18 months) it's difficult for them to see through the binoculars. They get hung up on looking at the binoculars. Practice by putting your eye at one end and holding it up to their eye and talk about seeing the other eye. Gradually move away from the end and help your child to see your face. Once they "get" it, the binoculars are a new way to look at the world!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Thinking Thursday: Dress Up

Sammi is in the throes of pretend play. She loves to imagine we are riding her tricycle to California, or that we are going grocery shopping, or, her all-time favorite, that she is changing baby diapers (for hours on end!)

Today is kicking off a short series on pretend play. I'm positive we will have more weeks focused entirely on pretend play, so this is just the beginning.

Pretend play takes a lot of imagination. We can encourage that imagination by offering some physical items to spark our children's creativity. We have a dress-up box. It started out as a few items randomly scattered throughout Sammi's toys. One day I decided to formalize the dress-up box. As I wandered around gathering items I was surprised by how much we actually had. I was so excited to put it all in one place and introduce Sammi to it. She was about 18 months when I first played dress-up with her. She loved the hats but wasn't really interested in the rest. Every week or so I'd pull it out and introduce her to something new. It took a while, but one day I opened the lid and she went to town! She didn't wait for me to pull anything out. She dove right in and brought items to me to put on her.

Here are some suggestions for a Dress Up Box:
Something interesting I learned about pretend play is that there are two styles of pretend play: patterners and dramatists. Patterners pay more attention to the properties of objects, shape and form. Dramatists are more focused on storytelling, imagination and social interactions. When given the exact set of objects and told to group like objects together, patterners will put people together, animals together and blocks together. Dramatists, on the other hand, will group ones together that make a story.

Both styles are pretend play and a natural part of the way children discover the world around them. Sammi is definitely a dramatist! She is a storyteller extraordinaire. It is so fun to see her sit all her babies down and read them a book and have them sing songs with her. What style of pretend play do you have at your house?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tuesday Review: Band in a Box

This is, by far, my favorite set of musical instruments for young children. We were given this band in a box as a gift. I have loved every minute of owning this set!

Melissa & Doug produce top-notch quality products. The Band in a Box is made of wood and painted in bright colors. There are 6 different instruments each the perfect size and shape for toddler hands to hold and manipulate. The set includes a tambourine, a clacker, a triangle, mini-cymbals, maracas, and tone blocks.

Sammi loves the clacker, the cymbals and the maracas. She wants to love the triangle, but has a hard time getting a good ring out of it. Probably the least used instrument is the tone block. It's not as intuitive or loud as the others. We turn on some upbeat, catchy music, choose an instrument and march around the room. It's a great way to burn some energy and learn about rhythm.

I had been looking for quite some time for a set of instruments. I am so pleased with our Melissa & Doug Band in a Box.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Musical Monday: Find A Drum

Hopefully you've found Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb over the weekend and already enjoyed reading it with your drums from Friday. Today we'll talk about some other ways to use drums to encourage your child's rhythmic development. 

I noticed the other day that my little Elli had discovered her belly's potential for use as a drum. She has moved from randomly flailing her arms to more purposeful swinging which usually lands her hands on her belly with a loud, echo-y thump. She wiggles with excitement and swings her arms again.

From that stage children learn they can bang on something other than their bodies and create different sounds. If you don't have formal drums, many household items work great: plastic or metal bowls turned upside down, boxes, or empty food canisters (oatmeal or coffee). Children can use their hands or other instruments such as wooden spoons or plastic utensils.

Letting your child explore the different sounds made by different combinations of drum and drum sticks allows them to learn more about cause and effect as well as the properties of different materials. 

Now for the drumming! A strong beat is the basis for most songs. The ability to identify the beat and then keep it could be considered the basis of rhythmic development! Turn on some energetic music and start drumming to the beat. Invite your child to join you (though I'm sure they won't need much invitation.) Try to follow the volume of the song. Beat louder during loud parts and quieter during quiet parts. Switch up the style of song for a variety of beats.

To get you started, our favorite song to drum to is Mahna Mahna by Cake on For the Kids Cake - For the Kids - Mahna Mahna

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