What’s in Your Rhymes Toolbox?

ClappingBoyHave you ever considered that you carry a toolbox as a parent? A toolbox used to be primarily for people of the trades, such as plumbers, mechanics, and electricians, but they are really for anyone who needs more than one tool to get the job done!

At the Centre for Family Literacy, we like to promote the Rhymes Toolbox to the parents in our Rhymes that Bind programs. We advise the parents that they have their own toolboxes and that using their tools can help teach their children language and communication skills.

  • The ideal tools for doing this are Voices, Fingers, and Faces
  • The Voice tool is great for singing and chanting a wide variety of songs and rhymes
  • The Finger tools are perfect for the tickling and body part songs
  • The Face tool is the most important tool of them all, as the children will be able to see the exuberant expression on their parent’s face and know that fun is coming
  • There are no plug-ins required in this toolbox

Transitioning, routines, and parent/child bonding are perfect times to take full advantage of these tools. The easiest way to transition children through one event to the next is through rhymes, songs, and finger play.

Children flourish with structure, predictability, and connection with their parents. The normal day to day routine may begin with waking up, having breakfast, getting dressed, travelling to daycare, and saying goodbye. Then transitioning home, playing, having dinner then a bath, story time, and bedtime.

The Rhyme Toolbox will help keep things calm and fun in the many other activities that come into your children’s day. A great little tickle song will help transition them whether they are getting dressed in the morning or going with you to get groceries. Here are some fun ones to try:

Pat Your Head

Pat your head
And rub your tummy,
Tickle your knees
And hug your mommy/daddy/caregiver

Here is a great song for transitioning into the car for a ride to the daycare, or anywhere for that matter. It is a body part song and is also perfect for getting into the tub and learning body parts.

Tommy Thumbs

Tommy Thumbs are up and Tommy Thumbs are down
Tommy Thumbs are dancing all around the town (dance them to the left and to the right)
Dance them on your shoulders and dance on your head
Dance them on your knees and tuck them into bed. (Fold your arms and tuck thumbs into your hands)
You can repeat this little song changing up the body parts.

Round and Round the Garden

Round and round the garden, I lost my teddy bear,
(using a gentle pointer finger use your child’s tummy, back, or hand)
1 step, 2 steps, I found him under there.
(walking fingers to under the chin or the under arms)
Round and round the garden, through the wind and rain,
1 step, 2 steps, I found him there again.
This little rhyme and finger play is great anywhere you need to redirect your little one.

Hush a Bye Baby

Hush a bye baby up in the sky
On a soft cloud it is easy to fly.
Angels keep watch over you as you sleep,
So hush a bye baby don’t make a peep.
(You can substitute your child’s name for the baby and use this for bedtime or when your child needs a cuddle)

Come and join us at various locations around Edmonton and we can help you fill your Rhyme Toolbox! Check the Centre for Family Literacy website for the Rhymes that Bind schedule!

 

 Intergenerational Rhymes that Bind

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Singing is a joyful and uplifting experience. It can make a huge difference in your day, and even more so in the days of the elderly. Singing offers many benefits, some of which are:

  • It stimulates the body to release dopamine, which helps produce positive feelings
  • For seniors, singing can increase confidence, thereby improving interaction with others in a social setting
  • There are fewer incidents of mental and physical health issues for those of all ages who sing on a regular basis

The Centre for Family Literacy offers a free Intergenerational Rhymes that Bind program for parents and their 0 – 3 year old children which is housed at a senior centre in Edmonton. We meet once a week and play, sing, and have fun together while we support the children’s oral language development, and of course the residents are encouraged to join in!

We sing nursery rhymes like “Yankee Doodle,” “Baa, Baa Black Sheep,” “Here We Go Around the Mulberry Bush.” One of the residents sings “You are My Sunshine” and it gives everyone an opportunity to join in and sing.

You Are My Sunshine

You are my sunshine
My only sunshine
You make me happy, when clouds are grey
You never know dear how much I love you
Please don’t take my sunshine away.

As we sing these and other songs familiar to the seniors from their childhood, we are happy to see that they sing along or tap their fingers. The human brain is remarkable for its ability to retain the songs of childhood years. The facilitators also mix in current songs and it becomes a wonderful mix of fun.

RTB-MultiGenThe majority of the seniors are immobile and are brought to the program room by a lovely volunteer who is also a senior at the centre. It isn’t easy for the seniors to interact with the parents and children, so the parents and children are asked to interact with the seniors. One of the ladies in the program has told our facilitator that she can’t wait for Tuesday mornings when she can sing and see the little ones!

The spring session begins on April 4, 2017. If you and your infant or toddler would like to be a part of our Intergeneration Rhymes that Bind program, please contact us at 780-421-7323 as registration is required for this program.

For more information, please visit the Centre for Family Literacy website

 

How does Rhymes that Bind Support Literacy Development?

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The early literacy skills of children do not begin with reading and writing. The skills they need prior to reading and writing are listening, speaking, and understanding. All of these skills are practiced in the Rhymes that Bind program.

Rhymes are fun, and because of their simplicity, they can be done anywhere. The benefits are many. When hearing nursery rhymes, children hear how sounds are put together—vowels and consonants making words. They hear patterns in speech, pitch, volume, voice inflection, and a general rhythm to language. The sound is different when asking a question, telling a story, giving instructions, or singing a song. Children will hear words they don’t hear every day—in rhymes with animals, submarines, grandfather clocks, and food,  such as:

  • The grandfather clock goes, tick tock tick tock tick tock (slowly sway child back and forth)
  • The kitchen clock goes tictoctictoctictoctictoc (sway child faster)
  • And mommy’s little watch goes ticcaticcaticcaticcaticca (tickle tickle tickle)

Nursery rhymes are like stories with a fun rhythm. They are short and repetitive, and often have a beginning, middle, and end. This helps build memory skills for children when they are able to recall and retell a favourite rhyme, such as:

  • Three Little Pigs
  • Three Little Bears

Nursery rhymes often include early numeracy skills, using numbers to count forward and backward, such as:

  • 5 Green and Speckled Frogs
  • Zoom, Zoom
  • 10 In The Bed

Rhymes can also introduce children to some simple literacy rules without obvious intention, such as:

Alliteration:

  • Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers
  • She Sells Sea Shells by the Sea Shore

Onomatopoeia:

  • Old MacDonald’s Farm
  • Baa Baa Black sheep

10 reasons to enjoy sharing nursery rhymes with your children:

  1. When babies hear language it increases their comprehension or understanding; as a child’s vocabulary increases, so does their comprehension. Often present in nursery rhymes are words we don’t usually use in everyday conversation with small children
  2. Children attempt to duplicate the sounds they hear while practicing language. This is how their speech is developed. Babies who are read to will often hold a book and make babbling noises that represent reading aloud
  3. Older children will begin to rhyme nonsense sounds and words as they become better at speaking. If they have been exposed to nursery rhymes early, they have already begun to understand the rhythm and flow of language
  4. Babies develop speech by strengthening their mouth and tongue muscles when replicating the sounds they hear in a nursery rhyme
  5. Listening to stories, whether told or read from books, helps children understand that all stories have a beginning, a middle, and an end. As children gain verbal skills they will begin to tell their own stories. Many nursery rhymes are repetitive in nature, and often tell a little story
  6. Children will struggle later when learning how to write a story if they do not first learn how to tell a story
  7. Many nursery rhymes help with physical development in children. While rhyming,  some activities that develop fine motor skills are clapping, counting with fingers, and making simple gestures
  8. Large motor skills can also be developed while singing a rhyme when children are hopping, rolling, walking, and using their whole body in dramatic play
  9. Many rhymes involve touching and tickling your children. By touching, tickling, and laughing together, your bonds are strengthened, which increases learning capacity in children
  10. It is FUN!

If you would like more information about the Rhymes that Bind program or the program schedule, please check the Centre for Family Literacy website: http://www.famlit.ca/programs_and_projects/programs/rhymes.shtml

The Parenting Tool that Gets Giggles out of Your Kids (and Yourself)

tickleImagine a tool for parenting that could make your day-to-day life easier? What if it didn’t cost you anything? What if you could pull it out of your back pocket any time you need to?

A well loved rhyme leads to laughter, giggles, tickles, and smiles. It can help diffuse a toddler heading towards a tantrum, and can help pass the time  while waiting in long line ups (at grocery stores, doctor’s offices, etc.). Even diapering and bathing routines can be  fun when we sing or chant a little, and they also incorporate learning opportunities.

Rhymes benefit both children and adults. For children, hearing mom or dad’s voice while playing, cuddling, and tickling creates bonding and a safe learning environment. Feeling loved is important for learning language and learning to understand concepts.

For adults, the benefit is that many stressful situations can be diffused with songs. Sing a song that helps your children wait for the meal you’re preparing, a song that helps get those teeth brushed, or a song that helps get them buckled into a car seat. Doing rhymes and songs with your children also allows you to be a kid again, even if only for moments at a time.

Tickling not only strengthens your bonds with your children, it is said to have the positive effects of increased trust and strengthened relationships. It is a way to share laughter, even before young children are old enough to understand humour. When they get older, children want to make you laugh. Most 3 year olds I know love to tickle their parents back when they sing tickle songs, and the adults laugh and get to share a moment of happiness with their children.

I’ve read that the average child laughs around 300 times a day, compared to the average teenager who may only laugh 160 times a day and the average adult who only laughs 25 times a day. Maybe because children are so honest with their emotions, they can laugh so easily and so easily crack a smile. And those smiles are infectious, so spending time laughing and smiling with children might increase the daily amounts of laughter you get in return!

While not every moment in parenthood is picture perfect, you can be certain that the more you share of yourselves and your time with your children, the more long lasting memories you will have.

Set some time aside for a few tickle songs this season; share the joy of hearing your children laugh with other family members. Here are some to try:

Gingerbread Man

Mix it and stir it and pat it in a pan (circle baby’s tummy with fingers)
I’m going to make me a Gingerbread Man
With a nose so neat, and a smile so sweet (tap nose and mouth gently)
And some gingerbread shoes for his gingerbread feet (tickle feet)

Tickle Monster

What will you do when the tickle monster comes? (hold hands palm up like a question)
Are you going to hide (hide eyes like in peek a boo)
Or are you going to run (pretend to run with arms in motion)
What will you do when the tickle monster comes? (same as first line)
You better decide right……now! (take your time to come closer and try to tickle child)

Walking Through The Garden

(This rhyme you are circling babies tummy or back round and round and then walking fingers up to their neck or under arms and tickle tickle tickle when you find the teddy bear)

Walking through the garden,
Lost my teddy bear
One step, two step
Found him under there

Walking through the garden
Through the wind and rain
One step, two step
Found him there again

Treasure Hunt

Going on a treasure hunt (crawl fingers up baby’s back)
X marks the spot (draw big X with your finger)
Boulder here (draw little circle on one side with finger)
Boulder there (draw another circle on the other side with finger)
Dot dot dot (connect the boulders with a light touch dot dot dot)

Crabs crawling up your spine (crawl fingers lightly up towards baby’s neck)
Water rolling down (roll fingers lightly down towards baby’s bum)
Tight Squeeze (give a little hug)
Cool Breeze (gently blow in their hair)
Now you’ve go the shivereeze (lightly tickle everywhere)

 

Rhymes that Bind is an oral literacy program where we share rhymes, finger play, lullabies, and even moving-around-the-room songs with parents and caregivers and their young children. Through rhymes and songs, the adults discover tools to play with, distract, and even enjoy teachable moments with their children. To join us for some very interactive fun, check our website for a Rhymes that Bind program near you!

 

A Tickle Rhyme is More than Just a Tickle Rhyme

Mother and toddler sitting on the sofa at home

Our Rhymes that Bind program has a variety of songs and rhymes, but for some us the tickle rhyme section is our favourite.

Spending time face-to–face with your child will connect you to them on their own level emotionally and physically. This will help to build strong attachment between you and your child.

There is an increasing body of knowledge about infant mental health that states that a huge part of attachment and positive infant development occurs in face-to–face interactions with parents and significant caregivers.

An infant learns how to adapt to stressors by watching their parent or caregiver’s facial expressions. They learn how to move from a negative to a positive emotional state through many stimuli that pass back and forth from caregiver to infant in face-to-face interactions.

A child learns the positive and fun emotional tones from tickle songs. Tickle songs let you and your child have a fun time together with both of you enjoying each other’s laughter.

A favourite at our Rhymes that Bind programs is the following timeless rhyme:

Round and Round the Garden

Round and Round the Garden (use a gentle tickle motion with your fingers on your child’s palm or tummy in a circle)
Like a teddy bear
One step, two step (walk fingers up the arm or tummy)
And I tickle you under there! (tickle the underarm)

Round and round the garden (use a gentle tickle motion with your fingers on your child’s palm or tummy in a circle)
Through the snow and wind (blow gently on their neck)
One step, two step (walk fingers up the arm or tummy)
I’ll tickle you there again! (tickle the underarm)

When repeated enough times your child will anticipate the tickle as soon as you say, “one step, two steps!

This is one of the many wonderful rhymes that you and your child can learn at our Rhymes that Bind program. Check for a program near you on the Centre for Family Literacy website! Happy tickling!

So What is Rhymes that Bind?

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So what is Rhymes that Bind? It is a fun program for families that promotes language development—the foundation for literacy—through rhymes, songs, and stories.

The program runs once a week for ten weeks. We play, have fun, and sing with our infants and toddlers, helping our them to develop strong language skills. A snack is given half way through the hour-long program, and the program is free!

To maximize your Rhymes that Bind experience, be prepared to :

  • Be adventurous and willing to try a boisterous experience with your child or children, interacting and engaging with them through our repertoire of tickle, bouncy, action songs and lullabies.
  • Practice your social skills by connecting with other moms, dads, or caregivers who can commiserate with you about the challenges and wonders of parenting. New friendships are made here.
  • Sit in a yoga pose or other comfortable position on a blanket of your choice on the floor. Being at eye level with your child gives you a whole new perspective on how they engage with you.
  • Learn a new songs that your child will have you sing over and over again until you are completely and utterly ready to give up singing for life!
  • Anticipate that a toddler, besides your own, may come and plop themselves into your lap. This can happen soon after they have become comfortable. Seeing and hearing you develop a relationship with their parent makes you a safe and secure place to be.
  • Bring along your “parenting toolbox” of ideas. Add to it new tools for connecting and transitioning, and fun routines through songs and play. Build confidence in your parenting as you share your tips/tools with others.
  • Connect with your community and discover what else might be happening in and around your neighborhood. Seeing other families you recognize in the community builds friendships. Why not plan a play date at the park?
  • Discover a program near you; the program is delivered in many communities across Edmonton. Most families can attend with a short drive, bus ride, or even a walk. Pick a day of the week and a location that works for your schedule.
  • Have an outing—get out of the house.
  • Have FUN! Plain and simple. Come out and see for yourself!

Rhymes that Bind fall schedule begins Monday, October 3, 2016. All of our programs are drop-in except for our multi-generational program (held at Touchmark at Wedgewood,  1833 Lessard Road). This program requires preregistration.

For more information or to register, please call 780 421-7324 ext. 235, email info@famlit.ca, or check the Centre for Family Literacy website: www.famlit.ca

 

Splash Time Rhymes that Bind

Rhymes in pool

♥  Children learn about rhyme, rhythm and playing with language

♥  Language skills help children become readers

Here are a few fun songs to do with your children while blowing bubbles, while at the pool, beach, or water park, or while driving to an event!

Little Bubbles (this is a great little counting song to help practice numbers)

One little, two little, three little bubbles,
four little, five little, six little bubbles,
seven little, eight little, nine little bubbles.
Ten little bubbles go,
POP, POP, POP!

Splish Splash Water (to the tune of Frere Jacques)

Splish splash water,
Splish splash water,
On your toes, on your toes,
On your fingers, on your fingers,
On your nose, on your nose.

Splish, splash, water,
Splish, splash water,
On your hair, on your hair,
On your face, on your face,
Everywhere! Everywhere!

Old MacDonald had a Pool (an old favourite with a little twist: substitute amphibians, mammals, or other animals that go into the water, like a dog)

Old MacDonald had a pool,
E I E I O,
And in that pool he had a duck,
E I E I O,
With a quack, quack here,
And a quack, quack there,
Here a quack, there a quack,
Everywhere a quack, quack,
Old MacDonald had a pool,
E I E I O.

She Fell into the Bathtub (this is a fun bouncy song for sitting in the baby pool with your baby or toddler on your lap)

She/He fell into the bathtub,
She/He fell into the sink,
(Lean child from one side, then to the other)
She/He fell into the raspberry jam,
(Let them fall between your knees)
And then came out pink.
(Lift up your baby or toddler)

We put her in the backyard,
And left her in the rain,
(Make the rain by snapping with your fingers)
By half past suppertime,
(Rock side to side)
It washed him/her clean again!
(Wide open arms for a big hug)

Our Rhymes that Bind programs will begin again at various locations around Edmonton on Monday, October 3, 2016. Our complete fall RTB program schedule will be posted on the Centre for Family Literacy website by late August. We look forward to seeing everyone with their infants or toddlers at one of our free drop-in programs.

(One program location requires registration because it is an Intergenerational program located in a senior’s facility: Touchmark at Wedgewood, 18333 Lessard Road, Edmonton on Tuesday mornings, 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.)

To register for the Intergenerational program, or for more information about Rhymes that Bind, call the Centre for Family Literacy at 780.421.7323.

Have a wonderful summer including lots of fun activities with your children!

 

Socialization and Toddlers

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Many parents cringe at the thought of getting their toddlers to socialize. After all, one of their favourite words is “ No!”

If toddlers are in a social situation where they are unfamiliar with the people, they have a definite social space surrounding themselves and their parent or caregiver; they are in fact glued to their parent’s hip or leg! Don’t think for a minute that you are going to be allowed in! Saying hello to the little one may result in a look that makes you take a step back.

Children begin showing interest in their peers around the age of two years. Younger toddlers tend to engage mostly in parallel play, where they play next to each other without much interaction. Even if they want to interact with another child, at this age children lack the social skills to do so.

Try to create opportunities to help your children learn to interact with their peers and acknowledge adults. This is a skill that children have to learn with a lot of prompting and practice.

The absolute best way to teach this skill to your toddler is to model it yourself. Use a free community outing like Rhymes that Bind as an opportunity to show your toddler how to interact with others; you can greet someone you don’t even know! Parent and child classes give your toddler an opportunity to socialize with same age peers and others from 0-3 years, as well as to become comfortable with new adults.

Rhymes is a perfect place for this as we are very welcoming, and there are ten weeks in every session. Children flourish with routine and knowledge that this is a safe and fun place to be with their parent or caregiver. Once you have come to Rhymes a couple of times, you and your children will recognize the facilitators and some of the other families.

You can make a little game of socializing. Tell your toddler that the two of you are going to greet, say, ten people today, then briefly talk about each person you have greeted and count them.

At Rhymes that Bind, the songs are interactive, and after several weeks your toddler will be comfortable enough to get up and move around with the other children. You will soon notice your toddler coming into a Rhymes program like it is their program. You will see your little one recognize the facilitators—or another little person—greet them, and sit down, leaving you on your own!

See you at Rhymes that Bind!

For more about Rhymes that Bind or to find a program near you in Edmonton, check the Centre for Family Literacy website.

 

Singing with Your Toddler

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Here are some special tips for singing with your toddler.

  • Any time is a good time to sing with your toddler!
  • Routines provide opportunities for your child to hear the lyrics over and over again as the task is repeated during the day. Examples of daily routines include diaper changing /going potty, getting dressed, getting in the carseat, cleaning up the toys, or putting on their shoes.
  • A lively song such as “Ring Around the Rosie” might be more appropriate for an active part of the day than at bedtime.
  • Singing during routines can make a less desirable task more enjoyable for a child who is resistant to the activity.

Getting Started

  • Your child does not care whether you can carry a tune or not—being able to connect with you is exciting for them and creates a special bond between the two of you.
  • Sing about what is familiar or interests your child—whether it is a made-up song or a well-known song such as “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.”
  • Follow your child’s lead and sing something that encourages your child to join in with you!
  • Keep it simple! Your child loves repetition and they will learn from it. Repeat the lyrics and keep the words to a minimum. You might get tired of the song but your child won’t!
  • Keep it fun! If your child sees that you are having a blast making up songs, they will begin to come up with their own songs as their vocabulary increases.

Piggyback Songs

Piggyback songs are songs that use an existing melody with new lyrics. Make sure the words you use are ones that your child understands.

Here is a piggyback song to the tune of “Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush.”

This is the way Jacob washes his hands
Washes his hands, washes his hands
This is the way Jacob washes his hands
Now they are nice and clean!

  • Putting your child’s name in a song makes it personal and fun. This song is made especially for your child. It begins to give them a love for language.
  • It teaches them their name; other family members can be added too, and eventually you can begin to add a last name.
  • This tune has the ability to carry into any routine of the day for you and your child. It can help distract, calm, and comfort your toddler—a useful technique for defusing the occasional frustrations of parenting.

Following is a link to a video clip of a parent encouraging a toddler to sing:

Singing with your toddler

Have FUN!

Check our website for more information about Rhymes that Bind and find a program near you in Edmonton.

hashtag: #RTB_Edm

 

Children Love Your Stories

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Oral skills include both speaking and listening, and are at the root of literacy. Listening to the rhythm of the language spoken around them will help your children discover the rules of that language. When your children experiment with their voices, they will try to mimic how you speak to them. The words they understand best and use first are the ones that represent what is most important to them, such as names or titles of family members or pets, or their favourite foods and toys. As their understanding of the language expands, so does their vocabulary.

Some simple ways you can expose your children to language are to:

  • Narrate what you are doing around them as if you are telling a story—while you are diapering, bathing or feeding for instance
  • Make up stories or retell stories
  • Tell them what you were like as a child or what they were like as newborns
  • Tell them over and over again about the many things related to what they love most—their families and themselves

Babies and toddlers will pay close attention to a rhyme or story they hear repeatedly to pick out words they are familiar with. When you repeat your story several times, toddlers understand the beginning, middle and end, anticipating what happens next. You can expand your stories as your children gain more experience.

It is important for children to have a good understanding of the mechanics of their language before they can move to the next step—reading and writing! Singing rhymes to your children increases their phonemic awareness, among other things. Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate individual sounds—phonemes—in spoken words. Before children learn to read print, they need to become aware of how the sounds in words work.

Young children, who have been exposed to a rich vocabulary and ways to use it, can become the storytellers. It is a great exercise for a preschooler to be able to retell what happened yesterday, what they saw at the zoo, or what a grandparent gave them on their birthday. They have to remember in what order the things happened without a picture book to help with the story. They may get the details mixed up, but encourage them to tell their story the way they recall it. They are learning how to remember the beginning, middle and end. They are trying to put the correct words in place of images in their minds. Prompt them if needed.

One of the best experiences I have had as a parent is sitting around a table, living room, or campfire with my children, friends and extended family, retelling stories of our past. My older children have heard these stories so many times, they are eager to share them with  the youngest family members. “Tell the one about you and Uncle when you were…” the little ones might say! There are so many stories for them to pick from! Our family shares stories of our elders who are now gone, and our children can retell some of them as if they were there themselves.

So another important thing that happens with oral storytelling, especially when it is about your family, is the bonding that brings you together. Every family has a story! Don’t forget to teach yours to your children, especially since many of our families are spread around the world.

Sing with your child, talk with your child, read with your child, play with your child, everyday!

Check our website for more information about Rhymes that Bind in Edmonton and find a program near you.

hashtag: #RTB_Edm