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Bring music into your baby's life

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Music and baby development

Babies love music, and music is good for their development. If you can't carry a tune, don't fret. There are lots of ways to bring music into your baby's life and enjoy the melodies together.

Music and the older baby

As your baby grows, you will delight in seeing how she begins to rock, wiggle, bob and dance to the music she hears. All babies have an instinctive sense of rhythm and a love of music, so music should be a part of your everyday life. Here are some ways in which you can nurture your older baby's relationship with music.

Play games with your baby

Play simple games that involve both music and movement: Pat-a-Cake (clap your baby's hands), This Little Piggy (wiggle her little toes) or Ride a Horse to Banbury Cross (jiggle her on your lap). Or hide a music box in the room and go "hunting" for the sound of the music. When she is a bit older, play Ring-Around-the-Rosie or London Bridge.

Dance and sing with your baby

Have a daily dance session in the living room where both of you wiggle to the beat of some lively music. (This is a great way to fit in your own daily exercise program.) Create your own lyrics to a favorite song with your baby's name in it ("You are my Thomas, my little Thomas, you make me happy when skies are gray" to the tune of "You Are My Sunshine"). Soon your baby will be singing right along with you.

Let your baby play musical instruments

You can make them yourself: a shaker made from a small plastic bottle with beans or popcorn kernels in it (make sure the lid is glued and tightened securely to prevent a choking hazard); a drum made out of an empty coffee can; a pie pan and a spoon to tap out the rhythm to a song. And of course, you can also buy xylophones, tambourines, harmonicas and other instruments for your baby — but be warned: Babies can make a LOT of noise with these instruments. (Which is why aunts and uncles delight in buying these for their siblings' children!)

Play musical games

Find a "music and movement" playgroup for your baby, in which both you and your baby can learn about music and have fun with other babies and parents. Some cities also have musical concerts for the very young. Get "read and sing" books for your baby. The Raffi Songs to Read books (Five Little Ducks, Baby Beluga and many others) are excellent. Any song book with animals will also be a hit, as babies love to point, sing, dance and moo to the tune of songs like "Old MacDonald Had a Farm."

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