Music and movement bring a lot of fun to a session. The power of music is wonderful in exciting, calming and engaging children. A speech therapist can effectively use action rhymes to build speech and language skills. Repetition of movements, sounds, and words within the songs gives the child ample opportunities to learn and thereafter imitate actions and (many times) speech.
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Here are 8 fun songs that bring in movement and music while developing skills to build communication.
1. What are you wearing? This is a great song to begin a session or to talk about clothes to a child. Customize the song to suit the clothes the child is wearing e.g. blue shorts, white shirt etc.
Link to the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnPwbmgg3lo
2. Hockey-pockey song. This song has fun lyrics to encourage concepts of body parts, in/out and right/ left. It consists of several sequenced movements that are repeated. Reduce the sequences for beginning learners or reduce the number of stanzas for children who may not be able to focus for too long. Focusing on one body part at a time is a wonderful way to begin the song e.g. only do right hand and left hand. Add in more body parts over sessions or sittings with the child.
Link to the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzSJBowPECY
3. If you’re happy and you know it. Like the previous song, this is a longer song with several stanzas and sequenced movements. Once again, reduce the stanzas to suit the child’s capabilities and needs. Add actions based on what the child likes e.g. If you’re happy and you know it ….’say achoo’ or ‘snap your fingers’.
Link to the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q044GsMpq6I
4. Wheels on the bus. A favorite amongst children and therapist. Add different aspects that make a child happy or the child can relate to – e.g. ‘Baby Nia’ goes ‘hahaha’ or ‘Aunty Tanya’ gives a ‘high five’
Link to the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFHBfFAmcbc
5. Old McDonald. A classic that will not go out of style. A great tool to teach sounds and syllables to a child through animals and animal sounds. Adding sounds of favourite characters/animals makes it more engaging.
Link to the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LIWbUjHZFTw
6. Baby shark song. A fast-paced, popular song that has a really catchy tune! Repetition is a huge part of this song along with names of family members. Add a family member the child enjoys meeting e.g. an aunt or uncle.
Link to the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XqZsoesa55w
7. Jack in the box. Another catchy number. This is a wonderful song to talk about body parts. It is slightly slower paced as compared to the previous song, but kids love it!
Link to the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rdDib6tp-Do
8. Five little monkeys jumping on the bed. A song to reinforce the skill of counting while having fun. Counting down from 5 to 1 is what is usually done, but based on the child’s attention span fewer numbers can be taken at first e.g. start with 2. Get the child to pretend to be the mother or doctor and repeat their action or words.
Link to the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0NHrFNZWh0
- Singing these songs live for your child allows you to slow the pace of the song or make it faster, at any point in time. You can make fun changes to the lyrics as and when required too!
- Use visual cues for different actions or to provide reminders for the actions. Puppets, face masks or pretend play toys can be added to the songs to make it easy for a child to relate to and enact.
- A lot of encouragement and appreciation for participation should be a part of the activity.
Enjoy moving to the music with your child, while building skills! Leave a comment if you liked these songs or have more ideas to share with us. We’d love to hear from you.
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