|Babies||Walkers to 2||2s to 3s||3s to 4s|
Overview and benefit
This activity gives babies the opportunity to explore different instruments and experiment with all the different ways they can make sounds. As well as teaching them about sound, this activity also allows them to begin to make independent decisions and choices and benefits their fine motor control.
- Children’s song of your choice e.g. Bob the Builder or The Tweenies
- Instrument Box full of instruments – Instruments that are played in the mouth (such as recorders) and could be pushed down the throat should NOT be included for safety reasons. Mouth organs are OK to use.
Two to three weeks
How it works
Each week the children get to experiment with a variety of instruments. Keep the instruments out of reach until it is time to use them. If the children are able to get hold of them they’re very hard to retrieve!
What to do in the class
Place the box of instruments on the floor. Larger groups tip the instruments out on to the floor or blanket. You can hand the instruments out to the small babies. Once the children are able to stand, aided or not, we encourage them to choose their own instruments. Let the children experiment with the instruments. During their exploration, take the time to go around individually and praise or encourage the children in what they are doing. Help the adult to work with them and the instrument. Tapping the beat of the music on the child’s arm or leg helps them to develop a natural feel for rhythm.
This is a good time to interact with the adults, chatting to them about their child and how they are enjoying the class and progressing. Half way through instrument time you may want to ask the children to hand their instruments to another child, or to pass them on to the child next to them. This encourages sharing (and tears!)
Once the music has finished, encourage the children to put their own instrument back in the box. You must stand and hold the box so no one gets pushed or hit by the instruments. It’s quite fun to ask who is going to help you to put the lid on the box and put it safely away. The children love to help and it distracts them from any difficulties which might arise!
Adaptations for older/younger children
For very small babies ensure that there is an appropriate selection of instruments. Avoid triangle for younger babies and especially avoid using the metal sticks that come with these, substitute a wooden beater.
What to do in a nursery setting
No adaptation is necessary
After giving some free time to explore and exchange instruments, you can encourage the babies (with the adults help!) to experiment with making different types of sounds with their instruments, such as loud and soft, fast or slow. You could use Ralph, holding him in the air for loud and behind your back for quiet.