I don’t know how full-time mamas do it. If we have just one rainy day where we have to stay inside all day I’m exhausted. (And I only have ONE kid.) Music and movement games have definitely gotten me through some of those rough days and I’m hoping by sharing this list with you it can help you through some of yours.
Tip: Don’t tell your kid what to do, join in and play along with them. Toddlers don’t really like to be told what to do (as you can kind of see from my videos), but if they see you or others having a good time then they’ll be more likely to join in.
The early months
After mijo (my son) got past the “I just want to eat and sleep” phase I was like, “hmmmm… now what do we do with you?” The winter was horrible that year so we didn’t get to walk outside much. Here’s basically how we entertained ourselves throughout those days:
You’ll hear all about tummy time, so I won’t go into details here. Luckily, mijo loved it, but I know some babies hate it.
NORTH, SOUTH, EAST, WEST!
You can do this one with baby laying on the floor or sitting in your lap. (We played this one a lot when he was a baby, but he still likes it.)
Your tummy time
A great way for you to get some exercise in. Take advantage of the time when your baby can’t wiggle away from you. Squats holding baby and chest presses are also a good workout.
You can lay baby on it and do circles, or forward/backward rolling on their tummies or their backs. When they are older they like to jump on it (of course holding your hands and up against a steady surface).I would show you a video but my cat recently popped ours. Argh.
Sheer, silk, or light weight fabrics work best for this one.
TODDLERS & PRE-SCHOOLERS
Lots of people complain about the toddler/two-year-old phase, I actually love it and it’s my favorite phase so far. They are really into moving and exploring everything. And I’m so jealous of their perfect posture and flexibility.
Babies love silly faces and when they get older they love making them with you. We do a Lion/Mouse face.
I loved when mijo hit the age where he wanted to copy all the movements he would see. This is a great way to build movement vocabulary. Even this disposable coffee cup!
Move like a dog, a snake, butterflies, birds, anything goes.
Freeze game or Red light/Green light.
All ages like this game and I think everyone knows it. You can do it with music to make it more fun.
Play with moving slowly vs. quickly, loudly vs. quietly, small vs. big.
Follow the leader
If you have more than one kid or adult playing you can do follow and mimic game. One person can do a walk or dance and everyone mimics them, everyone takes a turn leading.
Group music and dance classes are super fun. I really love Music Together classes because we have similar approaches for learning music and dance. In their classes parents have to participate, kids do what they want, and there is a no cell phone policy. I love that they have mixed age classes too. Your little ones learn from watching you and the other parents and kids, which is how we naturally learn. I was extra impressed that they cover other rhythms besides 4/4!
WHAT ABOUT YOU?
We’d love to hear about what movement games you like to play with your kids. Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page.
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