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3 fun, music-filled activities to help your toddler flourish

Family
Toddler playing music

Music play can be a great way for your toddler to build his or her motor skills and practice self-expression.
Jennifer Lewis, a senior physical therapist at Tidelands Health Pediatric Rehabilitation Services at Azalea Lakes, says dancing and playing to music can help children improve speech, develop motor planning skills and learn how to follow directions. It’s fun, too.
“They don’t realize they’re engaged in all of those areas of development,” she says. “They just think they’re moving and dancing.”
At a time when there is more entertainment technology for young kids then ever before, Lewis says making sure your child is getting up and moving is important.
“One of the challenges these days is that kids are very technology oriented, which can lead to a lot of sedentary behavior,” she says. “Ultimately, that can increase the risk for obesity and other health concerns.”
Although public libraries and other locations may offer music play classes for infants and toddlers, you can easily introduce them at home, too. Here are some ways to get you started:

Dance time

Use the internet to stream age-appropriate music or, if you have cable television, tune to channels that play songs for little ears to hear.
Once you’ve got the music going, you and your young one can play freeze. To play, just pause the music at random and freeze in place. This sort of play gets children up and moving and teaches them how to follow directions.

Add instruments

One of the best ways to get your child interested in moving to the music is to make instruments with household items. For example, fill an empty water bottle with beads, put the top on and you’ve got a shaker for them to play with while they engage with the music.

Visual play

Tying a ribbon to a stick or straw is another way get your young one interested in playing along to the music. With the ribbon in hand, encourage your child to move it around so they can see the fun effect they’ve created.
Ultimately, music play can be tied into almost any activity, including art or singing along to nursery rhymes – anything that allows your child to exercise, to enliven his or her senses and to practice body movements.
If you’re concerned about your child’s motor skills development, you should consult with your child’s physician. He or she can advise you or refer you to a pediatric physical therapist if appropriate.

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