On this site, I share parenting strategies and activity ideas that support creativity, confidence and connection. These ideas also support children in their physical, social, emotional and cognitive development.
Learn more about the types of activities I share with you below, or click here to read more about me.
- Music & Movement
- Art Activities
- Dramatic Play
- Sensory Activities
- Kid-Friendly Recipes
- More Fun
Music & Movement
Children respond to music from an early age. Infants calm when they hear a familiar lullaby. Toddlers jump up and dance at the drop of a hat. Pre-verbal children can sing before they can form words, using nonsensical sounds with a melody or rhythm.
As children grow, they continue to benefit from music and movement activities. Their natural tendencies to sing and dance offer valuable learning opportunities.
During music and movement activities children:
- Develop physical coordination.
- Become aware of how their bodies move through space.
- Practice listening skills.
- Learn to express their feelings.
- Bond with family and community.
- Discover new vocabulary words.
- Feel the rhythm of the music.
These skills benefit children in their academic studies as well as their daily lives. Rhythm is essential to language learning. Good listening skills are helpful in the classroom. A healthy body and mind are essential for a happy and productive life.
Whether or not you have past musical experience, you can share music with your young child at home. Get started by visiting my music and movement category.
“If you can walk, you can dance. If you can talk, you can sing!” ~zimbabwe proverb
The act of creating art holds many possibilities for children. The creative process can be fun and relaxing. It can also take experimentation and perseverance to get things just right.
Sometimes children feel a great sense of accomplishment and pride in their creations. Sometimes, it’s more about the process itself.
Physical, cognitive and social skills are all addressed during art activities. While creating art, children:
- Learn the properties of materials, cause and effect and problem solving.
- Practice sharing, cooperation and planning.
- Explore their feelings.
- Develop muscles and hand-eye coordination.
Painting, drawing, sculpting and collaging are just a few art activities that young children enjoy.
On this site, I focus primarily on art projects that are open ended and allow a lot of room for creativity. I also love to include natural materials and repurposed items. Doing so gives kids the opportunity to learn about nature and conservation.
Dramatic play is a term used to describe children’s make-believe play. It can also be referred to as imaginary play or pretend play. Rocking a baby doll to sleep, making a pretend phone call and putting out an imaginary fire are all examples of dramatic play.
Toddlers begin to experiment with dramatic play based on their real life experiences. As children grow, dramatic play gets more complicated and imaginative. Groups of preschool children will play out complex stories using whatever props are available. A shoe box can be a baby crib, a stick can be a sword.
In addition to being great fun, dramatic play supports children’s healthy development. Through dramatic play children:
- Practice conflict resolution. What happens next? Who gets to be the hero and who needs rescuing? Who gets to wear the sparkly crown? Children must work together to successfully play out their scenarios.
- Process emotions. Children try to understand the world around them through play. They may play out a visit to the doctor or a scary movie they’ve seen in an attempt to understand and communicate their fears.
- Develop motor skills. When children zip up a costume they are developing small muscles. Galloping like a horse develops large muscles. Placing objects in a cooking pot requires coordination.
- Learn the concept of symbolism. A stick can represent a birthday candle. A letter can represent a sound. A word can represent an idea. Using symbols in play prepares children for reading.
Parents and teachers can encourage dramatic play by scheduling free play sessions of at least 45 minutes and making sure children have access to supporting materials.
“Young children gather information through their whole bodies: their feet, their cheeks, their arms, their hands, their mouths.” (Davis & Keyser)
Babies want to put everything in their mouths. Toddlers can’t help but touch. We are born with the drive to learn by tasting, touching, seeing, smelling and hearing. As adults, our senses continue to be an important part of everything we do.
Through sensory exploration, children discover valuable facts about the world around them. Adults can create opportunities for kids to explore their senses freely through sensory activities.
A sensory activity can be as simple as stopping to smell the flowers and discussing their colors, scents and textures. Or, it can be as complex as mixing up a batch of Oobleck or adding new materials to the playdough table.
Parents and teachers can add to children’s learning by describing the experience as it occurs. Offering words to describe what children are feeling, tasting or seeing, asking questions, and participating with children deepens the experience.
Keep in mind, there is no end product here. Sensory activities are all about the experience.
Inviting children into the kitchen is a simple and effective way to build learning into the daily routine. While cooking, kids learn important self-care skills and glean useful information about nutrition.
Cooking allows kids to put into practice math skills, witness scientific principles and express creativity. As an added bonus, children are often more willing to try new foods when they are involved in the preparation.
The kid-friendly recipes you’ll find on SingDancePlayLearn.com are nutritious, tasty and easy to make. See Cooking with Kids: 8 Tips for Fun and Success! for ideas on how to include your kids in the household cooking routine.
The way we choose to parent has a huge impact on our children, our families and our communities. With so much at stake it’s unfortunate that effective parenting skills rarely come naturally! Thankfully, parenting is a skill, like any other, that we can grow and refine as time goes by.
On this site I offer my perspective on positive parenting tools and ideas based on my studies in Early Childhood Education and my experience as a day care provider and mom.
I occasionally have ideas to share with you that don’t fit into any of the categories above. That’s what “More Fun” is all about. My all time most popular post, Make Your Own Ladybug Habitat, is in this category, along with some other fun ideas!
- A Handful of Fun: Why Sensory Play is Important for Preschoolers from Not Just Cute
- Becoming the Parent You Want to Be (affiliate link) by Laura Davis and Janis Keyser
- The Creative Curriculum for Family Child Care (affiliate link) by Diane Trister Dodge & Laura J. Colker
- Magic Capes, Amazing Powers: Transforming Superhero Play in the Classroom (affiliate link) by Eric Hoffman
- Music and Movement – Instrumental in Language Development from Early Childhood News
- The Need for Pretend Play in Child Development by Scott Barry Kaufmann
- How Does Your Parenting Style Affect Your Kids by Ronald E Riggio, PhD
I live in Santa Cruz, CA with my wonderful husband, son and two kitties. I love playing my ukulele, singing, dancing, spending time in nature and sharing my passions with the children in my life.
I became an aunt for the first time in 2003 and started my Family Child Care Home in 2005 with my nephew. My daycare kids started calling me “Auntie” like he did and the name stuck. Even my grown-up friends call me “Auntie” when they really want to get my attention.
In March of 2014 I added “Mommy” to my titles. Now I enjoy doing creative activities with my baby boy as I have with my daycare kids for so many years.
I am a Cabrillo College and UC Santa Cruz graduate (Bachelor of Arts in Music with extra coursework in Early Childhood Education), have experience as a music and dance instructor for children and 9 years of experience as a daycare provider at my Family Child Care Home for children ages 3-months & up.
Thanks for visiting!