Babies Walkers to 2 2s to 3s 3s to 4s

Overview and benefit

From the start babies use sounds to communicate – starting with crying then moving to cooing. As they experiment and play with making other sounds, they are strengthening the muscles in their face and mouths ready to learning speech. Babies should be encouraged to make a variety of sounds and it helps them to repeat the same sounds over and over. Older children benefit from playing with sounds as they prepare to learn letter sounds and blends. This activity is designed to encourage babies to make some initial sounds. It takes out the lyrics from a well known nursery rhyme or song and you and the parents ‘sing a long’ just making one or two sounds.

Equipment required

  • Instrumental version of a common children’s song

Link to resources


  • Around two weeks

How it works

The class instructor and parents sing a familiar children’s song to their babies but instead of the normal lyrics, they replace the words with a common cooing sound such as ba ba ba or oo oo oo. It is important to use these songs with only non-verbal babies for whom normal lyrics are beyond their abilities. It is also important to explain the reasoning behind these activities to the class before you start to parents understand the value of what they are doing.

Training Video

Ooo Ahhh-1 from MAD Academy on Vimeo.

What to do in the class

Choose one of the songs which has an instrumental versions. Choose one or two sounds and explain to the parents to sing the song just using those sounds. They should use animated facial expressions and encourage their babies to look at their faces and mouths as they sing and try to encourage them to replicate the sounds. Sing through the song a couple of times and encourage parents to really try to engage their child by keeping their child close and getting them to focus on their mouths as they sing. With slightly older babies try to get them to join in the sounds. Due to the simple sounds they are more likely to be able to join in before they normally would as they don’t need fully developed speech.

Adaptation for older/younger children

This activity is only relevant for babies once children are verbal use the sound songs.

What to do in a nursery setting

This activity really relies on a one to one relationship so that the baby can follow your mouth patterns and facial expressions. Explain this to the staff take them through the activity engaging with one baby at a time.


Possible sounds to choose:

  • Aaa aaa
  • Ooo ooo
  • Baaa baa baa
  • Daa daa daa
  • Maa maa maa
  • Eee eee eee
  • Boo boo boo
  • Laa laa laa
  • Gooo gooo goo

Possible rhymes to choose:

  • Twinkle twinkle
  • I love you
  • Ring-a-ring a rose
  • I’m a little teapot

If parents feel a bit uncomfortable about singing the entire song with just sounds, ‘break the ice’ by first singing the song with the normal lyrics and then repeat with one particular sound.