Singing, finger plays, and dancing help brain development

Singing and playing clapping games with young children is a fun way to build their vocabulary and support their brain development. Did you know that singing and clapping games also get them ready to write? When we play Pat-A-Cake we have to remember what we’re doing next and have to plan for the changes.

Babies and Toddlers

Playing Pat-A-Cake or songs like Open-Shut Them with your baby or toddler teaches them sequencing and strengthens their memories. It also teaches them to move their arms and legs from left to right, to cross the midline.

For babies, you can sing to them and touch their hands to yours, or hold their hands to support them in clapping.

Toddlers can start to learn finger plays on their own or with help. You can slow it down or speed it up. 

See 23 Favorite Lullabies to Soothe Baby to Sleep

Preschoolers (and their grownups)

Playing and dancing to well-known songs is great. Movement songs, such as Miss Mary Mack, or Head and Shoulders*, are a great way to get kids singing and moving their bodies. If you really want to challenge your preschooler you can switch up the movement that goes with Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes so you work your way up from your feet. When the words don’t match the movements anymore we’re taking ourselves off of auto-pilot and really giving our brains a great workout!

Check out some kids’ music CDs and books from the library and get clapping!

Songs for Wiggleworms

Folk Playground

*This one even tripped up Mr. Rogers!

-Daniela, Children's Librarian, Kirk-Bear Canyon Library

Read, Write, Talk, Sing, Play!

Singing is incredibly engaging for children and has countless early literacy benefits, which include building vocabulary, slowing down language, developing memory skills, and so much more!

Read more about early literacy and how you can make a difference in your child's life.