I am fortunate enough to have a husband who is a very involved father. Like most mothers, I tend to be the one who worries about meals, bed times, laundry, discipline, structure and routines. My husband is the one who is more likely to fool around with our children being silly and creating laughs. This is probably why he came up with a fantastic way of teaching our children their body parts. He unknowingly combined the two things that most children absolutely love – water and singing.
In our house, by bath time Mom’s patience has often run a bit thin. This is where Dad steps in and spends time with the children and in his own crazy way makes sure they actually get clean. When our son was about 18 months old, my husband was bathing him and suddenly made up a song about how he was washing him and the parts of the body he was washing. This was an immediate hit!
Our son demanded this song or a variation of it for months afterwards. As he got older, he started adding in body parts of his own. By the time his sister came along the “body bath time” song was a regular part of the bath routine. My daughter also loves to sing the traditional “Heads, Shoulders, Knees & Toes” song in the bath. She loves to kick and splash when it comes to the lower limbs. Big brother is much older now and has totally outgrown the song but little sister still enjoys it. I have to give Dad credit for singing the same bath time song for almost 8 years.
Making a song up about your body parts is quite easy and you can sing it to any tune you like. Either something with a rhythm that is familiar to your little one or something new and totally different. It really does not need to be anything too complicated. To give you an idea of how simple it can be, here are a few lines from our “body song”:
Front and back, Front and back.
Daddy’s washing front and back.
From the arms to the hands and the fingers, what a plan!
Feet and toes, feet and toes, they’re so ticklish no one knows!
Dad would wash each body part as he sang about it. There was lots of repetition and they would take turns singing lines of the song. In the beginning, it was just about identifying bigger body points like heads, arms, hands and feet. As the children got older, more body parts were introduced.
Another factor of learning he unknowingly incorporated was that of rhyming. It’s important for children to be able to recognise rhyming words and sounds. This is a precursor for reading. Little ones especially seem to enjoy rhyming words so it’s another can add into your own song. It also may make coming up with your own version slighting easier and there are only a certain amount of words that rhyme with some of our body parts.
Another variation is to ask your toddler to point to the parts of his or her body while he in the bath. Encourage him or her to make their feet kick, their hands splash or their toes wriggle. You can also name face parts as you clean them with a facecloth i.e. I am cleaning your ear, let me tickle your nose, lets wash your cheeks etc. You can be as silly or as funny as your wish. In fact, the sillier and funnier the better.
Encourage playing with water and singing along. Remember to have fun, enjoy the time spent with your child and don’t stress about the water overflowing or messing the bathroom. You will be surprised how much your child learns and you will have created a wonderful memory that could be passed down one day.
Happy “body bath time” singing!
Written by: Monique Loewenthal
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