We have lots to say about the importance of what we do...
Scarves are one of our favorite props to use in our Little Beats classes! They are developmentally appropriate for ALL age groups and are so versatile. The benefits of playing with scarves include:
In this video, you will see Dani dancing along to the song “Shake Your Scarves” by Johnette Dowling. Dowling’s album The Second Line – Scarf Activity Songs has plenty of songs to kick of your at-home scarf exploration but there are so many ways to play with your scarves!
Try these ideas at home:
No scarves at home? No problem! A dish towel, a light weight t-shirt or even a tissue can be used in a pinch. Get creative with your props and remember to let your child lead. They will always surprise you with their innovation!
This week, our friend Melanie took over our Instagram to talk about all things baby nutrition! Melanie Venuti is a Nutritionist, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and owner of MV Breastfeeding and Parental Support. Along with teaching New Moms support groups, and offering private practice support, she has been working with families in various aspects of infant feeding and pediatric nutrition for almost a decade. As a Mom of 2 boys, Melanie understand the challenges that come along with the early weeks of breastfeeding, pumping to return to work, picky eating in toddlerhood and planning healthy meals for the family!
You can check out the whole take over in the video above, but we wanted to share with you a few key morsels of magic Melanie shared with us!
Imagination is innate in children but being over-scheduled can impact their ability to play creatively. One of the greatest gifts of this quarantined Spring is that children get to slow down and PLAY! Imaginative play encourages problem solving skills, both creative and logical thinking, and emotional skills such as self-regulation and empathy. Tune into your child’s ability to use their imagination. Are they talking or singing out loud as they play? Are they making up their own pretend stories with toys? When faced with a challenge, how quick are they to ask for help? How can you encourage them to come up with their own solutions before you solve the challenge for them? As a caregiver, you play an important role in supporting them as they build this muscle of the mind.
In order for imaginative play to take place, children must be given the chance to to lead AND make a mess. Your job as their grown-up and playmate is to provide a safe space that they can explore freely. If you are participating (which you do not always need to be), you must also go along with their narrative. If they want to be a green cat on its way to mars, your role is to be the fellow cat astronaut in the spacecraft. Adults can help children to stretch their imagination by asking open ended questions.
Use this video to help your child activate their brain and body! The last song “Magic Freeze Dance” by Hip Hop Jen can be used as a playtime starter. After the video ask your child to recall the characters in the song. Ask them to tell you a story about their favorite one. Remember to follow up with open ended questions and to commit you your character! The more engaged you are, the further their mind can run!
Books and stuffed animals are gold for early childhood development. Everyone has them and almost all babies love them. In today's at-home Baby Playtime video, I use these props in 3 different ways to foster baby's development. Enjoy doing this video with your baby or use it for inspiration as you come up with your own ways to play at home!
1. Using a plush puppet to teach body parts
Using an elephant puppet and the song "Elephants Have Wrinkles," we tapped each of our body parts as they were called out in the song. This can be also done to a simple song you know like "Head Shoulders Knees and Toes!" Baby will enjoy interacting with the puppet while also feeling the tactile sensation of the puppet tapping them from head to toe. Puppets are also great for pretend play, distraction during tantrums, and for younger babies- eye tracking practice! Just remember for eye tracking, puppet should travel up and down as well as left to right to balance out both the horizontal and vertical eye tracking muscles.
2. Using Mini Mouse to show levels
As you learned in our recent post about Conceptual Movement Education, our classes for babies, tykes, and toddlers build foundational brain and body skills through exploring movement concepts. In this video, we explored the concept of levels using auditory stimulation (music) and visual stimulation (mini mouse) to match high sounds with high movements and low sounds with low music. There are so many ways this can be done which are displayed in this video but the idea is that the stuffed animal is captivating baby's attention and hopefully after a few repetitions, baby notices the contrasting patterns in which the stuffed animal is moving. Depending on their personality, will show they are learning by staring intensely, giggling, or trying to participate perhaps by following and reaching for the toy.
3. Using the book "Where's Maisy" to build language skills as well as object permanence
Books like "Where's Maisy" and "Where's Spot" are awesome for babies 4-12 months old as they are developing object permanence skills. Rather than things being out-of-sight-out-of mind, babies are learning that something can be hidden and found which is SO MUCH FUN. These books use simple words and illustrations making them easy to understand while also using flaps to make it an interactive to find the main character. It's an absolute blast for baby and seeing them enjoy it will be a thrill for you too!
Music is a powerful force for all of us! Not only does it help us to express ourselves and connect to others but it is also a tool that supports early childhood learning. Our Little Beats classes are guided by music and the same can be said for almost all preschool classrooms around the world. As Jessica Baudin-Griffin, Intellidance founder, says "babies are born with rhythm" so it only make sense to pair academic concepts with music and movement!
In this video from our Little Beats From Home collection "Spring Yoga With Dani", you will see how the song "The Ants Go Marching" helps children to learn how to count. Pairing this song with the action of marching will help to further engage little learners so that counting can become automatic. This song is also great because it Is very repetitive. Repetition is important for children because it helps them to master different concepts. There are many other songs that can be used to support early math and literacy skills including:
If you'd like to learn more about the benefits of music for your baby, toddler, or preschooler, check out our blog about Learning Through Music in Early Childhood!
In our dance classes for babies, tykes, and toddlers, we are purposeful about what and how we teach our little ones. We know young, rapidly-developing brains learn best when presented with extreme opposites which is why we've chosen a conceptual approach to movement learning. In all levels of the Intellidance class (there's a level for the 0-1 age group, 1-2 age group, and 2-4 age group), we explore concepts including speed, size, levels, and body parts and we do this through using movement activities, music instrument play, and sensory props. This play-based approach allows children to learn through all learning styles, kinesthetic, auditory, and visual in a way that is natural and most engaging to them.
The above video from our "Little Beats From Home" collection explores SPEED! We love exploring speed at Little Beats as there are SO many awesome activities when it comes to contrasting fast and slow with creative movement and music. We also love speed because the practice of controlling our movements based on what we hear helps us develop rhythm, self-regulation, and prediction and anticipation skills. Rhythm is vital to everything we do as humans be it speaking language, walking, breathing. Self-regulation is a vital emotional skill that enables us to process our strong feelings and control our behavior in appropriate ways. Prediction and anticipation starts in infancy and continues through life! From babyhood, children are nothing short of little scientists and thrive on opportunities to make guesses and test outcomes. Using movement and their bodies is the first way they begin! This sets the stage for a childhood of problem solving, logical thinking, and a lifetime of discovery.
So, while what we do in Little Beats class is certainly fun and entertaining, know that it is SO much more than that for your child. As a caregiver, you want your child to thrive. To reach their potential in all developmental areas. And so do we! Knowing how critical the first 3 years of life is for their brain and body, you can rest assured that our classes are the best first stop for your growing baby or toddler. Enjoy this video class about speed from home with your child and we hope to see you in class soon!
Teamwork is a skill that your young child's teachers and coaches are introducing in a group setting, but how do we hone in on that skill at home? Dancing together is just one way to reinforce this concept at home!
Here are some ideas:
In early childhood (0-4), a child's brain complete's 90% of its development for life. That's a lot of stuff to figure out (aka neural pathways to be built) in a super short period of time. Especially in the first 2 years, a baby's body and brain develop in tandem. Physical milestones support cognitive milestones and vise versa. There is a very intentional reason for every milestone a child hits (to learn more, check out "Your Self Motivated Baby" by Beverly Stokes). Nature has planned out every nitty gritty detail of the precise developmental journey from babyhood to becoming an upright, functional, high-level-thinking member of society though each in their own unique way.
People often underestimate how much babies are learning and doing at any given time as a learning baby can often be slow moving, quiet, or even asleep! But I assure you, if your baby's brain was a real-live show, it would be a blaring concert with a symphony of sounds, special-effect lighting, choreography, and pyrotechnics. This is why we call upon YOU- parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, babysitters, teachers, the whole village- to give your baby the support and environment they need to explore and grow.
Moving every day and in every way, brings awareness to the brain and sensory system in ways babies are not able to stimulate independently. As they experience more sensations, they are more interested in exploring, the more they explore, the more they learn, the more they grow! (For more on this, check out "A Moving Child is A Learning Child")
SO, the tip of the day is to get your baby moving in lots of different ways with our without music. This video will get you started, enjoy this and many other Little Beats babies classes from home on our Youtube Channel, Little beats from Home.
There's a secret to reaping the benefits from baby sign without overwhelming yourself. ONLY LEARN the useful ones! Just a few key signs go a long way in empowering your baby to communicate, mitigating frustration/ tantrums, and boosting your child's language learning. The foundation for language and communication starts in infancy and there is so much for your baby's brain to figure out before they start verbal speaking. We also know language skills feed into critical future abilities including empathy, creativity, and memory. As their favorite caregiver and teacher, YOU CAN HELP THEM ROCK THIS!
Playtime is an optimal time for learning when your child is happy, interactive, and eager to communicate. This is the perfect opportunity to sign with baby. Note, you need to teach them the signs by signing yourself for weeks or even months before they develop the skills to sign back at you. It's best to sign to your baby starting at 5 or 6 months and if you do so consistently and often, you can expect to see them signing by 8-10 months old or sooner!
In this short video, Emily will teach you signs that come in handy at play time:
Best of luck and contact Emily if you ever have questions! email@example.com