Aim of the game:
Inspire your child’s attention and help them to learn new words, listening and communication skills through songs and nursery rhymes. The aim is to put pictures or props into a bag (aka song sack) and take them out one at a time with your child singing the corresponding song together.
Action songs and nursery rhymes are a great way of teaching children of all ages language, listening, shared attention and social skills. Nursery rhymes are repetitive and repetition helps children to learn words. Using actions or gestures alongside spoken words can add a multi sensory layer helping to strengthen word learning. Rhyming is also an early literacy skill, so this activity ticks all the boxes for us at Supporting Talking!
What you will need:
A bag or old pillow case – this will be your song sack (the creative among you may wish to decorate the bag as well!)
Props – objects or toys which represent the songs you want to sing with your child (e.g. a boat for ‘row-your-boat’, a star for ‘twinkle, twinkle’, a duck for ‘3 little ducks’ etc)
Your singing voice – some parents are worried about their singing voice. Don’t worry about what you sound like, to your child your voice is the best thing they’ve ever heard!
How to play:
- Turn off any distractions such as the TV, radio, put your mobile phone on silent etc
- Sit opposite your child so you are face to face, this way your child can watch you, you can see their reaction and share the enjoyment as you sing together
- Present the bag to your child and let them take a prop out to choose the song. If you like, you can sing a ‘what’s in the bag?’ song as an introduction [see below for an examples the songs we use]
What’s in the bag? song
- Use natural pauses in the song to allow your child the opportunity to join in e.g. “twinkle, twinkle little…. [pause to give your child the chance to say…star]”
- Smile, laugh and have fun!
Watch The Singing Hands ladies using Makaton signs with nursery rhymes here
Watch rhymes for children on YouTube here
Watch Mr Tumble’s using Makaton with nursery rhymes on YouTube here
How to extend:
- With familiar nursery rhymes, change up the words or make up your own versions (e.g. “twinkle, twinkle chocolate bar..” etc)
- Add in a silly word or phrase to a song to see if your child notices or reacts (e.g. “head, shoulders, cheese on toast!”)
- Build up anticipation and waiting skills by extended the natural pauses within the song or rhyme
- Encourage your child to request and ask for more by pausing at the end and waiting to see if they indicate/say they want to sing again or choose another song. You can cue them in by asking “more?” or “more song sack?”
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