Sing Song Practice Time
Children of all ages love to sing, dance, and get engaged with music. Incorporating music into sessions is a great way to have fun, practice skills, boost confidence, and work on fluency. Children that are shy may come out of their shell when they sing within a group or with a trusted adult. Depending on the age of the child, you could use familiar songs and add in items that are tailored to them.
If You’re Happy and You Know It
If You’re Happy and You Know It is a classic song with a lot of possibilities. Since children will likely recognize it, you could begin by singing the traditional version with clapping hands, saying hurray, and stomping feet. Then think outside of the box a little. Have a container with other actions, sounds, or items for the kids to do randomly. These could easily be tailored around skills and goals that you are working on. If you are working on /r/ sound they could roar, rattle, and ring. Another idea would be to have a box of animals and make their sounds as you select them with younger children.
The Farmer in the Dell
Children also love to be able to use manipulative when singing fun songs to make the process more interactive. The Farmer in the Dell is a great song to talk about items on a farm, order, patterns, and act out the details. Before using this song, decide if you would prefer to make finger puppets, stick puppets (using clip art laminated on Popsicle sticks), felt sets, or other items. You will need a farmer, wife, child, cow, pig, dog, cat, mouse, and cheese. As you sing the song together, have the child find the next character and dance them around as they tell the story.
The Wheels on the Bus
Kids also like songs where they can do hand movements as they sing along. The Wheels on the Bus is a great song for this purpose. You can act out the wheels going round and round, wipers swishing, the babies crying, beeping the horn, and so on. Kids will quickly get swept away into the song and not realize they are working on their speech and language skills. In addition to this, the song has been adapted into other fun variations. One is called The Seals on the Bus (there is another book that is similar) which involves animals on a bus and practices their sounds. With this version of the song, it would also be fun to incorporate animal figures, puppets, or items to play along as you sing.
People adore sharing songs in all languages and many times they help to express more about their culture. A tie in could be to ask families to share a favorite song that they sing together within their language to embrace their multilingual families.