FROM SIMONE – In my mother tongue Portuguese there’s a saying that goes: “Quem canta seus males espanta”, which means “The one who sings scares all evil away”. The language of music is international but music associated with language is such a powerful statement. I don’t even know if enough research has been done into singing because there are some magical facts associated with it, for example how some autistic children can actually sing but not speak, how people who suffer from stuttering do not stutter when they sing or how accents almost disappear when you sing. Perhaps uttering words into a melodic rhythm can promote brain integration, perhaps it causes the body to produce helpful hormones, no one knows for certain, but the fact everybody knows is that it is a joy to sing and our children seem to love it so why not break into song in your playroom today, better than in the shower, I promise!
Here are some crazy joyful ideas we’ve had using songs as a motivation:
- We love nursery rhymes but we also use whatever song comes to our head, even if your child doesn’t know the song you will enjoy it and your child will pick up on your excitement, some notorious ones were “Another one bites the duck” sang to the tune of “Another one bites the dust” from Queen, when my son was biting a rubber duck, “I’m a dinosaur and I’m OK, I sleep all night and I slide all day” throwing a dinosaur toy down the slide to the tune of “I’m a Lamberjack” from the Monty Python, “I wanna rub your hand” rubbing my son’s hands with exfoliating gloves to the tune of “I wanna hold your hand” from The Beatles.
- Use songs like “If you happy and you know it” doing crazy slapstick actions, other good ones are ” I’m the leader”, “Here we go Luby Lou” and “Do as I’m doing”
- Go on google images and search for images that remind you of songs, or search for the song titles and you will get great images. Print them in card size (using a simple photo print wizard), laminate them and stick some Velcro on the back. Put a Velcro band on the wall and stick the cards on it. Get your child to tap on them, take them out to give them to you, or point to the ones they want you to sing for them like if you were their jukebox. This activity also helps with picture symbol recognition, which is a requisite to language.
- Stick colourful stickers of animals or whatever your child’s motivation is on your face, ask your child to look at you in order for you to take a sticker out and sing about it, you can them put the stickers you’ve sang about already on your child’s face if they enjoy that or on the table, on a book, etc
- The Photo Rap – We made a photo album with pictures of the volunteers, family members, favourite toys, places etc and we ask my son to turn the pages and choose a picture he wants us to rap about and invent some funny rapping at the spear of the moment making some big movements with our arms imitating rappers. For example: This pic is of Mama, she is a gem, looks after Thiago with no complain, and here is Daddy he loves to laugh when he takes Thiago down to bath, etc
So go on don’t wait for it to rain, you could always come to England, no seriously, come rain or shine Siiiiiiinnng!