Sound and music play: why it’s good for babies
Making sounds and music with babies is a lot of fun, and it’s also great for baby learning and development.
When babies listen to and make sounds, they learn about their environment – for example, what birds, cars and voices sound like. Or they learn that tapping on the floor makes a different sound from tapping on a saucepan. Or that blowing a kiss makes a different sound from blowing a raspberry.
They’re also learning that they can make things happen – for example, when they shake a rattle, they make noises.
Making sounds and listening to music can be a great way for babies to express and explore emotions.
And music is also great for bonding with your baby. For example, when you sing to your baby or hold them close while you dance to music, it helps to build a loving relationship.
What you need for sound and music play with babies
You can make sounds and music anywhere, anytime with your baby, just by singing and talking.
Some of these ideas might also be fun for sound and music play with babies:
- toys that make sounds, like rattles, drums and things that squeak when you squeeze them
- household objects that make noise when you bang them together, like pots, pans, wooden spoons and plastic cups or bowls – just make sure they’re safe to suck or chew
- things that crackle and scrunch, like cellophane and clean paper (avoid newspaper or paper with inks and dyes)
- a safely knotted net bag stuffed with cellophane or other crackly, crunchy things
- music you can sing, clap or dance to.
Our Baby Karaoke has animated videos with the words and tunes of popular children’s songs and nursery rhymes. You and your child can sing along to children’s favourites like ‘Baa baa black sheep’, ‘Rock-a-bye baby’ and ‘Old MacDonald’.
How to do sound and music play with babies
- Use your bodies to make noise. Clap your hands, stomp your feet and click your tongue.
- Sing songs to your baby. They can be soft and slow like a lullaby, or fast, loud and fun when you’re both feeling playful. Look at your baby while you sing so your baby can see your mouth make the words.
- Hold your baby and dance to music. You can also hold your baby’s hands and move them in time to the music.
- Blow raspberries at your baby.
- Make animal sounds and faces at your baby.
Adapting sound and music play for older babies and toddlers
You can adapt these ideas for older babies who can hold objects. For example, help your older baby make sounds by showing them how to bang pots or shake rattles. Let your baby choose which things to play with. Join in by copying the noises your baby makes, or try singing a silly song to go along with the noises.
Toddlers might enjoy instruments that are a bit harder to play, like xylophones or whistles. They might also like singing along to simple songs with you.