Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Ideas for Teaching Music to Toddlers in Nursery

I teach music to children every Sunday.  It's my way of helping at our LDS church.  I am the Primary music chorister for all children in our congregation (or ward as we call them) ages 3-11 years old.  Then I also teach music to the tiny kids in nursery, ages 18 months to 3 years old, every Sunday as well.  Sometimes teaching the tiny kids is my favorite part of church!  They are so cute and full of love for music.  They give me high-fives and are happy to sing.  Today I'm sharing some teaching helps that I use to teach these toddlers in nursery music each week.  So whether you teach music at preschool, homeschool, or just for fun I hope these music ideas will help you.  

Ideas for teaching music to toddlers and preschoolers

I carry a big Ziploc bag with me in my church bag.  It's full of all my nursery music goodies.

I always teach them a song about the season we are in.  I try to find an item they can all hold as we sing.  They are usually soft with lots of wear and tear.  I find stuff at Dollar Tree or use felt.  Some ideas include:

Snowflakes (Falling Snow, CS 248) for winter songs
Leaves (It's Autumntime, CS 246) for autumn songs
Hearts (Jesus Said Love Everyone, 61) for Valentine's Day

Of course a HAPPY FACE and SAD FACE stick to show them as we sing Smiles (CS 267).  I always have them practice their smiles and frowns before we sing.

A little laminated family for any songs about Moms, Dads, or families.  My kids love We Are a Happy Family (CS 198).  I hold these as we sing and let each character "peek" out.  They love it.

For quieter, reverent songs I try to have something to show them while we sing.  I tell them it's really special and I'll let each person touch it as I go around the room.  In this case I use a temple figure as we sing I Love To See The Temple (CS 95).

A big favorite for my nursery toddlers is Rain is Falling All Around (CS 155).  I go around the room and lightly mist their hands with "rain."  The rain is just a tiny spritzer re-used with water in it.  If there is time and it's not crazy I'll pull out an umbrella too.  If they are feeling brave, I'll mist the water over their heads.  This is a favorite!

Everyone gets a felt star to hold as we sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and I'm Am Like a Star (CS 163).  The felt never crinkles and it super easy to cut out (cheap too!).

I also use these little bells I made from pipe cleaners.  Add a few mini bells to a pipe cleaner.  Form into a circle and twist the ends together.  We use these when we march to Follow the Prophet (CS 110) and Scripture Power.  

I also made a cheap set of instruments from stuff I found at the Dollar Store.  I'll bring this sometimes to switch things up.  We have a large nursery, so I needed a lot of instruments for cheap.  SEE HOW I MADE THESE MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS.

You may also like these posts on teaching music to young children:

*All songs I mentioned above are from the Children's Songbook,

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  1. These are such great ideas!!! I'm going to be the chorister this year and I was happy to find that you had ideas on your blog for nursery :)

    1. Oh how fun! I've only been doing this for a little over a year now and it's been super fun. But I am always looking for new ideas too.

  2. Love your happy face, sad face clip art. Is this your own or do you know whose this is? I would love a real face for this song. You have some great ideas here. Thanks for sharing this.

    1. So I actually got those faces from the primary lesson book--from the pictures that come with them. I can't remember which one but most likely the old nursery manual or the Sunbeam manual


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