One of my favorite things to do every morning is visit the two-year old classroom at the early childhood education center where I work. They greet me with big smiles and out-stretched arms. At the beginning of the year I realized quickly that to bond with these little ones I needed to find something to do with them each day that would be our “thing.” It would be our special time to do something that we all love to do together. A time that they would look forward to each day. That “thing” ended up being singing, but it didn't come easily at first.
The benefits of singing with preschoolers are undeniable, and the memories made through sharing childhood songs are sweet. But I had to come up with a creative solution to overcome some communication barriers in order to make this time truly memorable and impactful for these littles...
The first day I sang with them I had a hard time coming up with many toddler songs. It’s been a long time since I sang with my now 12-year-old! I came up with a few old-time favorites but quickly ran out of ideas. Most of the kids in the class are too young to tell me what they want to sing or their favorite song. Often, they would try so hard to tell me what they wanted to sing but I couldn’t understand.
After a week of doing this, I knew I needed to dig into some toddler song research and early communication tips. After all, I knew this would be our special “thing” for the rest of the year, and I wanted them to be able to communicate with me and learn from this special time.
I went home that first weekend after school started and found my son’s nursery rhyme books and wrote down all my favorites songs. I also made a list of some of my favorite Sunday School songs. I ended up with a good solid list of songs that I could use. Many of the songs I had long forgotten, but when I heard them again it brought back so many good memories. I want to help create special memories for these kids too.
Once I had a good list of songs, I decided I needed a way for the kids to tell me which of them they wanted to sing. I wanted them to begin to communicate with their words and visually recognize the songs with a picture. I was browsing the internet when I found a beautiful set of song cards already made and ready to print. Thanks to Crystal at The Cozy Red Cottage for creating the perfect songs cards for toddlers with beautiful pictures!
I printed a copy of the cards for each child, laminated them, and put them on a small ring. These simple little rings of cards have made such a difference in our special time together. The kids have started recognizing the pictures and relating them to the song. They have started using more words to tell me what’s on the card and have learned the names of songs and can say most of them clearly. I love seeing them flip through the cards for a particular song they want and watching their eyes light up when they realize I understand what they’re saying!
The song ring has become so popular I made copies of them to give to the parents of this class so they could use them at home. I have received several notes of thanks from parents telling me how much they appreciate being able to communicate better with their child, and how fun it is to see the joy their child has in singing these songs.
The wonderful thing about these song rings is that it doesn’t have to stop there...there are so many possibilities! You could make a variety of cards to put on these rings ranging from chores for older kids to a series of cards for kids to follow for bedtime or morning routines. You could also print cards with a picture on the front and the word on the back to help your preschooler begin to learn words in a fun way. These are a great tool to help your child learn language skills and help them to be able to better communicate with you.