12 Rhythm activities to do with your baby

Dear Tunester,

We’re in the thick of it. It feels like everyone we know has COVID, if the kids aren’t home they’ll be sent home within the hour, and we’re one Antigen away from a thin line on the T.

You know what we need? TO BANG IT OUT!!


This week our focus is RHYTHM.


Rhythm is extremely beneficial for your baby and you. Here are just some of the benefits:

  1. Stress relief
  2. Soothing
  3. Bonding


You intuitively knew that rhythm was good for soothing. It’s why you’ve been bouncing so much sometimes you even bounce when you’re not holding your baby.


You also might intuitively understand how drumming and rhythm can relieve stress. It’s not only a physical act that releases energy, it also demands that we use our body in a controlled way and organizes our system to focus on the moment.  


But did you know that it’s about connecting? Synchronous movement has been shown to increase the social responsiveness of babies. There’s an interesting study – 


Babies were held and bounced to a rhythm while looking at another adult. That adult bounced in the rhythm with some babies and out of rhythm with others.

The researchers found that the babies who’s rhythms were matched were more inclined to help the adults in tasks later on. Meaning, they had felt a connection that then translated to their behavior.


So now that we have three great reasons to do rhythm this week let’s get to it.


Rhythm activities to do at home 


Before I go and divide these into age groups, there is one rhythm activity that I recommend at every age, all the time, especially during the Witching Hour. You know what it is?


THE DANCE PARTY. I can’t stress enough how beneficial this is to all of you. So this week, ramp up the tunes and get dancing. I’ve got a Family Dance Party Playlist here.


Rhythm Activities for 0-8 Months

  1. Soothe to the Beat
    Be sure to bounce in the rhythm of the song you are singing or playing. It will increase your stamina and will be more effective. 
  2. Pat to the Beat
    Pat their bottom to the rhythm of the song you are singing. My babies loved this. You’re basically using their tushy as a drum. It’s soothing for them and fun for us.
  3. Move to the Beat
    Those who have taken my classes know that my favorite types of hand gesture songs for this age are those that involve touch and have your baby moving their body to the rhythm of the song. For instance, my song Bikeride includes moving your baby’s legs and arms to the rhythm. Your baby loves to be in sync to the rhythm and with YOU.
  4. Drum by the Ears
    Try this when your baby is feeling a bit fussy. As they lie on their back drum on both sides of their head. This gives them a sense of stereo rhythm which is soothing and will draw their attention. Make it interesting – add in some syncopation. You can use my song Galloping Horse for this one.


Rhythm Activities for 9-15 months

  1. Shake to the Beat
    Grab some shakers and shake a simple beat. Be sure to count – 1, 2, 3, 4. This not only teaches them counting but also teaches them a rhythm pattern. If you want to get fancy you can add a beat in between – 1, and, 2, and, 3, and, 4.
  2. Baby Patty Cake
    Clap twice and then hold out your hands for your baby to touch them. Repeat the sequence until your baby understands the pattern. You can sing something simple like – “I Love You” while you do it.
  3. Tap to the Beat
    Use anything around you – the floor, the table, your thighs. Do a consistent beat on your thighs and then move to the table with that beat, then move to the floor and then to the chair. Just keep moving around and changing sounds. You’ll see that your baby is fascinated.
  4. Call and Response 
    Make a simple sequence – drumming twice or three times on something, and wait for your baby to repeat your sequence. Do it again until your baby gets the game. Then let them lead you!


Rhythm Activities for 15-24

  1. The Homemade Drum Kit
    There are so many things in your home that can make a great sound when drummed on with sticks. For instance, cardboard boxes, pillows, Grab some sticks – a good idea is a wooden kitchen spoon. Put on some music 
  2. Jump to Count
    Jump on 1, then jump on 1,2 , then 1, 2, 3, etc until you reach 10. Then rest 🙂
  3. Call and Response
    Make a simple sequence drumming on drums or the table. It can be slightly syncopated. See if your baby can repeat it. Then let your baby lead you!
  4. Syllables for Rhythm
    Say the words Apple and clap to each syllable. A-Pple A-Pple. Now sing Watermelon in double time. Wa-Ter-Me-Lon. Keep going back and forth between the two (I’ll be demonstrating this on Instagram this week.)

That’s it for today dear Tunie. I hope you get some rhythm going in your home tonight. We all need to feel less stressed, more soothed, and more connected. Rhythm is a surefire way to get there.


For more musical activities to do with your kids to get through quarantine click here.


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