For all you baby lovers out there, here’s another post focusing on therapeutic activities you can do with your infant and toddler! Today we’re talking about the rattle. I have yet to meet a baby who doesn’t like rattles.
They’re mesmerized by the toy and often smile or giggle at the sounds. Even better, when you’re the one shaking the rattle they’re socializing. But just shaking the rattle isn’t the only activity you can engage in with your baby.
If you want to keep it simple, remember that babies are working on tracking, so move your rattle back and forth, encouraging your baby to move his head side to side in order to follow the rattle. Also try different rhythms and speeds with the rattle, and if your baby is older, encourage him to mimic your speeds and rhythms.
Now, if you’re like me, you sing to your baby. (Remember, even a newborn can hear your voice and his or her brain is developing the language pathways). Often times I like to sing to babies about what I’m doing. That way not only am I introducing them to language, I’m introducing them to how language is used to explain things.
When it comes to adding words when I play with rattles, I go one of two ways. I either make up a simple little song that usually involves repeating baby’s name and telling baby what I’m doing with the rattle, or I use a song from one of my favorite singers as a small child: Raffi.
If you don’t know who Raffi is and you work with 0-6 year olds, you need to look him up. He has some super awesome fun songs for that age range and I have to admit, whenever I hear him I always get happy. Anyways, the song I wanted to share with you today is called “Shake Your Sillies Out”. For those of you who don’t know it, here’s Raffi himself singing it in concert (which by the way, is the concert I grew up watching on VHS, so I will admit I’m a bit bias):
Okay, you’ve got the song now, right? So begin shaking the rattle to the beat of the song. If you want to get a little more adventurous and your baby is able to handle a bit of movement, try doing the motions for the different verses:
Clap your baby’s hands as you sing the 2nd verse. Lightly bounce your baby on your knee as you sing the 3rd verse. Yawn (just like Raffi!!!) during the 3rd verse. Either stretch your arms or lightly stretch your baby’s arms or legs during the 4th verse. Then shake the rattle again for the 5th verse.
As an added bonus, you can use this song as your baby gets older to help them get their wiggles out (just like Raffi does in the concert video!). Got a group of wiggly preschoolers? This song is great to help them settle down! Try it out and let me know how it goes!!!
Shake, Sing, and Move Activity Notes