HAPPY FATHER’S DAY FROM STELLAR CATERPILLAR !
We wish to take a moment and share a couple music videos of songs written by artists to celebrate the special relationship between a father and child. First, Brazilian musician Caetano Veloso sings “How Beautiful Can a Being Be.” The entire song is comprised only of this single line of text. The story of the origin of this song varies from Caetano writing it for his newborn son or his son writing it as a gift to him when he was older. Either way it is quite sentimental and endearing. Watch the video below from fpiana77′s youtube channel.
The second video, “Danny’s Song,” is a song written by the American musician Kenny Loggins for his brother upon the birth of a son. This song was written in 1973 and a version of the song was made famous by Anne Murray. The video below is from Trueromance100′s you tube channel and contains the lyrics for you to read.
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How do babies learn to talk? Babies learn speech through imitation of the sounds and words they hear from their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, neighbors, siblings, and nannies. First they learn syllables such as “Ma” or “Ba.” Soon they learn the entire word, i.e., “Ball.” First words often include “Ball, Doll, Block, Book, Dog, Cat, ” and of course “Mama” and “DaDa.” It will be much easier for them to learn the ABCs later if they know the “ABC Song.” Although they usually do not learn their ABCs until they are toddlers, it is great to familiarize them with the rhythm of the tune from early on. It is also an easy song for a new mom to learn who does not remember or know many baby songs. If you know your ABCs you can quickly learn the tune and sing it to baby. Practice the song in the above video from Hooplakidz youtube channel.
WORDS TO THE ABC SONG
W-X-Y AND Z
Now I know my ABCs,
Next time won’t you sing with me?
LEARNING THROUGH BABY SONGS
Remember that babies are very curious about how you make those mysterious sounds that come out of your mouth. They want to know how to do it and they want to try it. They want to learn to sing and speak as you do. If you move your face close to baby’s face as you sing (about 8 inches away), she can watch your mouth move and make the shapes of the sounds and words. Sometimes baby will try and imitate you, even at a very young age. It helps if you exaggerate the words so they can watch your mouth change shapes. Try practicing this in front of a mirror. If you are a shy and soft spoken person this will feel silly, but your baby will enjoy this game. Sometimes baby will reach her hands up to your mouth and try and reach inside to find out “What is going on in there?” Allow her to touch your moving lips as you sing. She will learn a lot from this exploration. Choose a favorite song to sing often and baby will become familiar with the rhythm and sounds of the words.
TIPS FOR SINGING SONGS TO BABIES
- Exaggerate the words
- Practice Singing in Front of a Mirror
- Choose to Sing Favorite Song Frequently
- Allow Baby to Touch Your Mouth as You Sing
DEVELOPMENT OF THE PINCER GRASP
When babies reach the end of their first year milestones, one of the significant fine motor skills to learn is the pincer grasp. This is the skill of picking up something rather small or thin by using the thumb and first finger of the same hand. Often parents feed baby a bowl of cheerios to teach them this skill since baby has to pick up each tiny “O” with their thumb and first finger. One of the challenging aspects of this skill development is letting go of the object. For example, a baby needs to learn how to pick up the cheerio, put it in her mouth and then let go. Sometimes babies learn to pick up coins and drop them into a water bottle. However, coins are small and may be a choking hazard so a baby should only use coins when very closely supervised. In the photo below you can see the size of a real quarter next to the fake coins for this piggy bank. The larger coins are safer and good practice for developing finger dexterity. Soon, parents can closely supervise baby as she tries picking up real coins which will develop even more skill due to their smaller size.
PIGGY BANKS AND BABY DEVELOPMENT
One of the best baby toys to develop the fine motor skills of the pincer grasp and letting go of an object is the Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn: Learning Piggy Bank. It is also a great toy to begin teaching baby how to count and colors for toddlers. In the above video from PunkFarter’s youtube channel, the baby is learning to pick up the coin and push it in the slot. It requires a considerable amount of finger dexterity to line up the coin with the opening. When this piggy bank is switched to one of the “on” settings, the pig counts when each coin is deposited, “1……2…….3,” etc. The second of the two settings plays a song which is to the tune of “The Farmer in the Dell.” I often encourage parents to do what they have done in the above video which is to either turn the toy off/remove the battery and create the sound effects yourself. Babies love to hear these unexpected sounds and may eventually may try and make the sound themselves!
PIGGY BANKS AND SPATIAL AWARENESS
The clear door on one side of this piggy bank allows baby to see where the coins go as she drops them inside. This is an important concept of spatial orientation. Babies learn the difference between an object being “inside the piggy bank” versus “outside the piggy bank.” When we learn spatial orientation we learn where we are in space and where objects around us are in space. Babies also learn to “open the door” of the piggy bank and to “close the door.” Let’s hope they also learn how to “save” versus how to “spend!”
PIGGY BANKS AND FINE MOTOR SKILL DEVELOPMENT
Babies love to put coins in a piggy bank. This is an advanced skill that falls into the motor skill of grasping and reaching. It actually grasping, reaching, and letting go. Baby learns to pick up a coin, reach it into the bank or coin slot, and then opens her fingers to let it go. Sometimes babies learn to put the coin into the slot but do not know yet how to let it go. When a baby reaches out to get a toy she must both reach with her arm and grasp with her hand. To place an object into a box or a coin into a slot she must take the object she is grasping (i.e., coin) and reach it into the slot and then let go of the grasp (open her fingers). The 13 month old baby in the above video from Jerry You’s youtube channel has learned this skill quite well. The baby tires at one point and asks the mother to do it for her. The mother gently tells the baby to go ahead and do it herself. The piggy bank provides babies such as the one in the video much time for baby play.
DIY PIGGY BANKS FOR BABIES
Simple piggy banks can be made at home with everyday objects. An empty water bottle is often used in large mommy and me classes. The opening fits a penny easily. Just place the coin in the narrow opening at the top and watch it fall down to the bottom. Another option is to use an empty carton from something such as milk. A lid can be made from a paper plate which is cut to size and has a large slot cut out of it. Tape this to the top of the carton and sit it on the ground while baby puts coins into the opening. When traveling, on vacation, at the museum, etc., show baby how to drop coins into a fountain or the donation box near the exit. Pay close attention so the coins do not go into her mouth!
DEVELOPMENT OF BABY’S FEET
In the development of a baby, the feet are one of the fastest growing and parts of the body. Baby will outgrow socks and shoes faster than any article of clothing. Choosing proper foot coverings for baby’s feet is crucial since the feet are actively part of motor skill development. Obviously, they are used for learning the motor skill of walking. They are also part of the motor skill of crawling since they assist in propelling the body forward. They coordinate with the hands in the motor skills of grasping and reaching as the baby demonstrates in the above video from 12stringssteel’s youtube channel This baby has discovered his feet and how interesting they are to touch. There are the short and stubby toes that wiggle and the smooth soles, very different tactile experiences. The developmental stage where baby plays with his toes and feet is an important one. Notice how toward the end of the video he takes his left hand to the right foot. This diagonal connection is a very important milestone.
BABY FEET AND BABY SOCKS
The only reason baby’s feet need to be covered during the pre-walking stages of infant development is for warmth. Baby’s feet can be kept warm with socks or a blanket, shoes are not necessary. Since the feet grow in size quite a bit during the first year, it is best not to cover baby’s feet in a way that constrains the length or width of the foot. Keep the socks fitting loosely. It is important not to stuff the feet into a pair of socks like putting sausages in a casing. Sometimes socks will shrink in the wash. In this situation the socks changed size rather than the feet but it is the same problem for baby of not enough wiggle room for the toes and uncomfortable pressure on the sides of the feet. It is important for baby to be comfortable.
Remember, barefoot is best for baby!
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Tagged locomotion, play
The most common moral taken from this popular song for babies is about getting back up again when you get knocked down or that life has cycles of events and/or emotions. By pairing the song “Coming Around Again” with “Itsy Bitsy Spider,” Carly Simon drives this point home in an endearing way. Watch her perform the two songs together in a live performance on Martha’s Vineyard, video from Carly Simon’s youtube channel. Learn the “Itsy Bitsy Spider” lyrics and hand motions (see video below) to sing to baby.
ITSY BITSY SPIDER LYRICS
The itsy bitsy spider,
Climbed up the water spout,
Down came the rain,
And washed the spider out.
Out came the sun,
And dried up all the rain,
And the itsy bitsy spider,
Climbed up the spout again.
ITSY BITSY SPIDER HAND MOTIONS
The above video from SuperSimpleSongs’ youtube channel shows the hand motions very clearly and the option of using the words “Eensey Weensey” rather than “Itsy Bitsy” to describe the spider. Babies love to watch the hand motions for this song. It is especially entertaining for them when you exaggerate some of the hand motions. For example, take your hands up high above your head for “climbed up the water spout,” tickle baby lightly as your hands draw “down came the rain,” and tilt your head with your arms from side to side for “out came the sun.” Observe how baby tilts her head to look up high and smiles as you sway side to side. Sing this song often and baby will enjoy the familiarity of the tune and the movements. Eventually, she will learn them with you.
Posted in GAMES FOR BABY