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Moving and singing together is good for baby’s brain development and it's fun. Try using actions as you sing.

Moving and singing together is a rich (multi-sensory) brain-building experience for toddlers, and it’s fun. It involves movement, tune, rhythm, language, listening to others, having fun and exercising – all at the same time.

In the Whakatipu booklet Te Pihinga 3 (page 9), it says:

  • ‘Pēpi is more interested in other people and what they’re up to. She’ll enjoy watching and trying to copy, for example, actions in waiata-a-ringa, poi, and haka …
  • Pēpi loves to hear the same familiar songs over and over and she doesn’t care if you sing in tune or not!’

Ask whānau:

  • Is there an action song that you and your child enjoy?
  • Would it be okay if we sang that together?
  • Would you like to learn another song that uses their ‘big’ muscles [gross motor skills]?

If they say yes, you could say:

  • ‘It’s here on page 9 in te reo Māori. You might know it in English too – it’s the ‘Hokey Tokey’ song. We can sing it in either or both languages. The English version goes [sing]:

You put your left hand in

You put your left hand out

You put your left hand in and you shake it all about

You do the Hokey Tokey [hands on hips and wiggle side to side]

And you turn yourself around

That’s what it’s all about [clap in time]

  • This song could probably be sung in any language, or the words could be made up as you go.
  • Shall we stand up, make a circle together, and have a go at singing and doing the actions?

Tell them they can make up more verses with their child – in the Te Pihinga 3 booklet there’s ‘ringa’ (hand), ‘waewae’ (foot), ‘māhunga’ (head) and ‘tinana’ (whole body).

Another good activity for moving to a beat is the All Blacks’ haka, ‘Ka mate’. The words are on page 21.

How does this relate to the Tākai resources?

Baby wall frieze – Waiata mai – Sing to me

Six things children need – Te kōrero me te whakarongo – Talking and listening

Helpful resources for whānau