Most children love music. Singing and dancing are great ways to connect with children and help with their development.

Toddlers are likely to respond enthusiastically to music. It shouldn’t be too hard to engage the child in song or dance. It’s more likely that adults will feel self-conscious or think they can’t sing and avoid this activity. Other adults will feel right at home making up songs, dancing around and generally having fun with music.

The baby frieze picture ‘Waiata mai’ can be a good talking point to get a conversation going about music.

Ask the whānau:

  • It looks as though mum is hip-dancing with this child. What do you think of that?
  • What sort of music do you and your whānau like?
  • What do you get from music?
  • What sort of music do you and pēpi enjoy together?
  • Have you tried the rhymes and songs in our resource?

Benefits of music

Talk to the whānau about some of the benefits of music listed below. Choose some to talk about and find out what they think of these ideas.

  • Music and singing is fun, helps a child to stay focused and improves their listening skills.
  • What have you noticed about how your tamaiti responds to music?
  • Music encourages balance, movement and coordination, which is great for perfecting motor skills.
  • What sort of ‘dancing’ does your tamaiti do?
  • Repetition of lyrics is great for encouraging language development. We need to repeat words in order to learn.
  • Sharing dance, song, and swaying with your tamaiti helps with bonding and music can involve expressing feelings.
  • Have you tried any of these things?
  • Can you think of happy and sad songs?
  • Rhythm and music helps children memorise patterns, which helps with maths and reading later on. Clapping games, stamping and clicking are all good counting and rhythm activities.
  • Music brings people in touch with their culture and can be a social activity for families, communities and churches.
  • Are you part of a group involved in music?
  • Are there ways your whānau connects through music?
  • Music combines many aspects of development at one time – language, movement, listening, voice and communication.
  • Music encourages creativity.
  • Have you thought about all these things going on?
  • Have you had a go at making up songs?
  • Music lends itself to using musical instruments, natural resources and voices. We can all be musicians!

Find out what music and movement opportunities are in the community, such as kapa haka or Zumba, that this whānau could join in with, and suggest that they participate.

Try an activity

Action songs

A song with actions and words is a rich, multi-sensory learning and brain-building experience for baby. They're are a fun way for children to learn through repetition.

Helpful resources for whānau