Music Mix!

Preparation time
: Make a music mix by creating a cd or playlist of songs from different styles of music. Think of contrasting rhythms and beat; fast and slow; loud and soft; mellow and wild. Try to find music that is instrumental (no voices), or where the words are sung in a different language from your own. This requires a little time and effort at first, but once you create your mix it will be ready anytime you wish to play the game.

Clean-up time: None! (This is an active game, so make sure there are no breakables nearby!)

Game Duration: As long as you like, but generally between 5 and 15 minutes.

What you will need: A toddler-friendly space to dance around in. Pets are an interesting addition and may join in whether you have invited them to or not.

How to Play:

Hit 'play' and watch your toddler react.

The goal is to have your toddler listen to a variety of music, and to encourage free dancing. Our toddler has a preferred movement for each of her different tunes! One is for stamping her foot, another is for swaying back and forth. Once you see how she/he moves you can imitate the movement and name it!

Once your toddler is familiar with the verbs you have been teaching her, you can try singing an action song like the following:

"I see you (name) stomping,
stomping your foot,
I see (name) stomping stomping stomping!"

Each time you sing, replace the action with another one your toddler is engaged in (waving, swaying, dancing, rolling, spinning, rocking, etc.)


  • Don't forget to imitate your toddler while you're naming and/or singing his/her actions!
  • If you see that your toddler needs a little encouragement to get started, when the music begins, cup a hand to your ear and make a big deal about listening. React to the music yourself with movement that seems a good 'fit'. Act delighted and have fun and your little one is sure to join in!

  • Don't feel that you have to play a song all the way through! Play each selection for a brief time, switching to a different tune once you see your toddler's attention is flagging. This way you can extend the game a little longer! It is also fun just to keep the mix playing in the background and see how your toddler's energetic play is guided by the different styles of music.

Developmental note: Naming actions as well as objects is an important way to stimulate your toddler's language acquisition. Naming actions while performing the action, or better yet while your toddler is performing the action is taking advantage of toddlers' natural learning through direct experience!

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