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Supporting Thinking in Infants and Toddlers Through Active Music and Play Experiences

While most adults know that movement supports physical development, it is less well-known that it also supports cognitive development. Infants quickly learn that banging, squeezing, or shaking a toy can produce interesting results. One way to support young children's early learning is to provide materials they can move to make things happen. Adults can also support infants' movement by playing and singing music with different rhythms and tempos, and by dancing with babies to different types of music. This helps babies learn that their body can move in different ways in response to what is going on around them.

 

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  • Supporting Thinking and Learning in Infants and Toddlers through Active Music and Play Experiences

    (This video has captions. You can turn them on by clicking the CC icon at the bottom of the video.)
    Download a printable transcript

    Narrator: We all know that movement is important for physical development, but did you know it also supports children’s cognitive development? One of the most important things children learn in their first two years of life is that actions cause consequences.

    Teacher: Do you hear that sound? (baby gurgling) Can you make those bells ring?

    Narrator: Babies quickly learn that banging, squeezing, or shaking a toy can produce interesting results. One way to support young children’s early learning is to provide materials they can act upon to make things happen.

    Narrator: Teachers and parents can show babies how a toy can make an interesting sound. They can also help babies understand the effects of their actions by describing them out loud.

    Teacher: You made those bells ring! You’re turning it. Uh-oh! Where’d it go? Where’d it go?

    Narrator: As babies develop, they begin to think about how they’re moving. One way that adults can help build this mind-body connection is through music.

    Teacher: (singing) Hush a bye, don’t you cry…

    Narrator: Even very young babies adapt their movements based on the kind of music they hear. Babies will usually move with quicker movements when the music becomes faster.

    Narrator: Teachers and parents can help babies learn through movement by playing and singing music with different rhythms and tempos, and by dancing with babies to different types of music. This helps babies learn that their body can move in different ways in response to what is going on around them.

    Teacher: (Sings)

  • Lullabies, Leaping, and Learning: Supporting Thinking in Infants and Toddlers Through Active Music and Play Experiences
  • This video is part of a series of five videos created as part of the Center's effort to study the effects of physical and outdoor play. The work was funded in part by Head Start Body Start.
  • Producer: Julia DeLapp
    Videographer and Video Editor: Ken Measimer
    Student Production Assistant: Kristin Chemerka
    Content Experts: Dr. Jeffrey Trawick-Smith, Dr. Darren Robert, Dr. Ann Gruenberg
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