Around the 6-month mark, babies usually reach a milestone. From birth up until 6 months, baby not only discovered that he has hands and feet attached to his body, he learned how to move them. He has learned how to roll over and sit up, and now he will soon crawl, then he will stand and cruise, and finally, he will walk. Take advantage of gross motor skills that include clapping in baby’s daily routine.
Most babies’ introduction to clapping is to learn to keep the beat to “Pat-A-Cake.” Snuggling your baby safe in your arms while reciting the classic words helps little ones identify clapping with safety, security and fun. Add a twist to the song after changing baby’s diaper. Play "Pat-A-Cake while clapping baby’s feet before picking him up. Try facing your baby, clapping his hands together and then drop your hands, so that he can clap on his own. Demonstrate clapping techniques like banging pots and pans together or clap two wooden spoons simultaneously.
Even though “Pat-A-Cake” is a great introductory clapping verse, many nursery rhymes provide ample clapping practice. Teach infants the difference between hot and cold using “Peas Porridge Hot.” Clap hands once when you say “Hot” and twice when you say “Cold.” You can easily practice this in daily life; clap the appropriate number whenever you say “Hot” or “Cold” in your daily routines. Begin early lessons in counting clapping to “Miss Mary Mack.” Clap the number of times a word is repeated. Identify the names of fingers through the song, “Where is Thumbkin?” Clap every time each finger is found in the song. So that when you ask, "Where is Thumbkin?" and then Thumbkin finally appears to say, "Here I am!" then clap when Thumbkin and the other fingers announce that they are found.
When baby learns to sit up, he may instinctively move to the beat of a song, bouncing and waving his arms excitedly. As he develops more control over his movements, awkward swaying can turn into preliminary dancing. Notice which songs animate his movements, and include clapping in his choreography. Teach the appropriate number of times to clap and stomp in the song, “If You’re Happy and You Know It.” Songs do not necessarily need to be hits; make up words to familiar tunes, incorporating clapping at different points in the song. Attach bell bracelets to baby’s ankles, and clap them together. Add a dramatic flair, and make funny faces or change your vocal tone every time you hear a clap.
Use Your Imagination
Whether consciously setting aside time to play a clapping game or making one up during the course of the day, parents can easily incorporate clapping into daily life using a little imagination. Since adults clap when their favorite team wins, after a beautiful dance performance or to celebrate an achievement, you should clap throughout a baby’s day to rejoice over his accomplishments. Teach him to clap when he is happy, after building the tower of Pisa with building blocks or after helping put toys in the toy box. Take advantage of baby’s splashing during his bath, by clapping under water, between washcloths or using bathtub toys.
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