As a Speech-Language Pathologist, I feel music, singing songs and finger plays are a very important part of communication as these activities improve auditory processing and comprehension skills while teaching language, prosody, turn taking and so much more! So I thought I'd share with you my Top 10 favorite songs and explain why I love them. Remember...let your child set the pace (go as fast or slow as he/she needs). (Note: this list is in no particular order)
1. Old McDonald: Who doesn't love this song? It teaches children about animal identification, animal sounds, it's repetitive AND we can practice long vowels (E, I, O)...a great repetitive activity for children with Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS).
2. Apples and Bananas: EVERY Speech-Language Pathologist LOVES this song! It's repetitive and is so so so great to teach long vowel sounds, which is great for articulation deficits and children with CAS. Plus, it's so fun to make up silly words!!!
3. Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes: A great song for introducing some body parts. I like to sing it using all the words with younger children, but as they get older, I like to sing it all the way through with words than start to add "humming" for various body parts and have them fill in the body part name as we touch that body part. Listen for word recall and use of a similar pitch. Your child doesn't have to be on key, but if the song's pitch is going up, so should your child's. This is an indicator that he/she is hearing the pitch change and able to imitate after you.
4. If You're Happy and You Know It: I love this song because you can sing all the verses and talk about what it looks like to be happy, sad, tired, mad. Great for teaching what emotions look like.
5. 5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed (or any of the counting songs): Fun song about those silly monkeys that never seem to learn that they can get hurt by jumping on the bed. Great for counting and early math concepts; repetitive which is wonderful for recall and teaching vocabulary.
6. The Wheels on the Bus: who doesn't love wheels on the bus? It so great for acting out verbs and describing parts of a whole (a.k.a. parts of the bus); its repetitive and keeps children engaged from the beginning to end.
7. Hokey Pokey: Great song for teaching body parts and introducing the very hard concept of "left vs. right". Plus, its so much fun to "turn your self around" and really..."that's what its all about"!
8. Goin' on a Bear Hunt: I love this song because it lends itself to teaching children to follow directions, making sounds for objects, and attaching sounds to body movements. It's a wonderful song for sequencing (forward and backward) the parts of the song.
9. There's a Spider on the Floor: this song is great for teaching location, following directions, body parts, and of course rhyming. Its so much for kids to put a spider ring on their fingers and act out this song. This song is one of my favorites to do just before Halloween!
10. There's a Whole in My Bucket: I like to use this song to teach problem solving skills. I sing the "Henry" part and I ask my students what can I do to solve each problem in the song. Once we come up with a solution (which may not be the exact words of the song but if its a logical solution I accept it) we sing it together. I also like this song for teaching humor.
There's my list! What songs do you love to use for early language learning? Please share!
Happy talking, singing, and learning!