4 Fun Musical Activities For Toddlers (1 – 2 years)

Musical Activities for Toddlers: Try these during bath time!

If you’ve heard that music can accelerate learning for young children, you’re probably interested in learning more about musical activities for toddlers. There are many ✨amazing✨ things your toddler is doing at this age: walking without assistance and running with fewer falls; beginning to potty train; improving fine motor movements like using large buttons/zippers and opening doors; naming pictures in books and making negative statements like ‘no more juice’; becoming empathetic toward other peers and being a good helper. Our friends at Unicef have outlined developmental milestones by type for this age group (social; language; brain; communication; physical; nutrition).

Music boosts all areas of child development including intellectual, social-emotional, motor, language, and overall literacy! To help develop these areas, we’re sharing 4 musical activities for toddlers you can do at bath time!

1. Play impromptu musical games

Select musical games that ask your toddler to match colors, animals, expressions, etc. These musical activities for toddlers will help strengthen their memory skills!

2. Use musical finger play songs to exercise fine motor skills

Fine motor skills involve the use of the small muscles that control the hand, fingers, and thumb. These skills are important because it will allow your toddler to grasp toys, button their shirt, zip a backpack and feed themselves! These musical activities for toddlers will help them build these skills.

Itsy Bitsy Spider, Five Little Monkeys, Five Little Pumpkins, Open, Shut Them, Wheels on the Bus, Pat-a-cake, Five Green and Speckled Frogs, The Finger Family (Daddy Finger)

With the Itsy Bitsy Spider, toddlers have to mimic its movements while singing the song, which helps improve their manual dexterity.

The itsy bitsy spider crawled up the water spout.
Down came the rain, and washed the spider out.
Out came the sun, and dried up all the rain,
and the itsy bitsy spider went up the spout again

Five Little Monkeys has an associated finger play, each verse being represented by an action. First the number of the monkeys left jumping on the bed is shown, followed by a hand falling and tapping one’s head (signifying a bump in the head). This is followed by a hand gesture mimicking a telephone call (calling the doctor) and wagging the finger during the last part (No more monkeys jumping on the bed).

Five little monkeys jumping on the bed,
One fell down and bumped his head,
Mama called the doctor and the doctor said,
No more monkeys jumping on the bed!

Five Little Pumpkins is a children’s Halloween and counting song. Use your arm to represent the gate, and put your hand behind your arm so it’s ‘sitting’ on the gate.

Five little pumpkins
Sitting on a gate
The first one said,
“Oh, my, it’s getting late!”
The second one said,
“There are witches in the air!”
The third one said,
“But we don’t care!”
The fourth one said,
“Let’s run and run and run!”
The fifth one said,

“I’m ready for some fun!”
OOOOOOOH, went the wind
And OUT went the light (clap on “out”)
And the five little pumpkins
Rolled out of sight.

Open, Shut Them allows your toddler to open/close their hands and allows them to get tickled, as their fingers move from their lap to their chin!

Open shut them, open shut them.
Give a little clap, clap, clap.
Open shut them, open shut them.
Put them in your lap, lap, lap.
Creep them, crawl them
Creep them, crawl them
Right up to your chin, chin, chin
Open wide your little mouth
But do not let them in.

Open, shut them, open shut them
Give a little clap clap clap
Open, shut them, open shut them
Put them in your lap lap lap
Creep them, crawl them, creep them, crawl them
Right up to your nose, nose nose
Creep them, crawl them, creep them, crawl them
Right down to your toes, toes, toes!

With The Wheels on the Bus, toddler uses their hands to mimic the parts of the bus.

The wheels on the bus go round and round
Round and round, round and round
The wheels on the bus go round and round
All through the town

The wipers on the bus go “Swish, swish, swish,
Swish, swish, swish, swish, swish, swish”
The wipers on the bus go “Swish, swish, swish”
All through the town

The horn on the bus go “Beep, beep, beep
Beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep”
The horn on the bus go “Beep, beep, beep”
All through the town

Pat-a-cake is played between two partners, and one partner’s hand is used as the cake. While the second verse is sung, one partner rocks the other who pretends to sleep. After the other person wakes up, the partners pat their hands together and serve the cake.

Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker’s man.
Bake me a cake as fast as you can;
Pat it and prick it and mark it with B,
Put it in the oven for baby and me.

With Five Green and Speckled Frogs, each verse of the song is repeated: one by one all little frogs jump in the pool until none remains.

Five green and speckled frogs
Sat on a speckled log
Eating some most delicious bugs
Yum Yum

One jumped into the pool
Where it was nice and cool
Then there were four green speckled frogs
Glug Glug

With The Finger Family, one finger is assigned for a family member. While singing the verses, each finger is touched successively. 

Daddy finger, daddy finger
where are you?
Here I am
here I am
How do you do?

Mommy finger, mommy finger
where are you?
Here I am, here I am
How do you do?

3. Repeat your toddler’s speech with rhyming and chanting

Yes, freestyle rapping counts as one of the musical activities for toddlers! Extra bonus points if you use a bottle of body wash as your ‘microphone’.

4. Provide opportunities to play make believe

Once your toddler is out of the bath and dried off, use hand puppets and sing songs like I Have an Animal Friend.

🎶I have an animal friend, who’s ready to come and play; who’s my animal friend?; look! it’s a cow🎶 (and then proceed to moo). Repeat with the remaining puppets.

Pretend play (or make believe) help support social and emotional development. It’s incredible to see how much of a positive impact musical activities for toddlers can truly have in early childhood!

This content was provided by the Music Therapy Department of Florida Hospital

Musical Activities for Younger Siblings

Now that you are well-versed on musical activities for toddlers, check out musical activities for infants 8-12 months; 4-8 months; 1-4 months

Musical Activities for Toddlers: Start a Band!

Now that you are up to speed on the musical activities for toddlers, take it to the next level by adding some unique musical instruments for toddlers to your collection!

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