"Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature can not do without." ~Confucius

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Bouncing Baby Boys (and Girls)

For the two of you out there who don't know, babies love to be bounced (although, preferably not on a full tummy...). Bouncing babies and toddlers is not only fun for  bouncee and bouncer, but did you know that it develops their inner musical aptitude as well?

Think about a baby bounce that most of us are familiar with... Humpty Dumpty, for example.
Now think about all the great things about bounces:

1. They rhyme - teaching patterns of sound and speech
2. They're often a descriptive story or scenario - developing their imagination
3. They have "high spots" of anticipation - teaching expectancy and outcome like "Humpty Dumpty had a great... FALL!"
4. They are sing-songy, or a full-fledged song - teaching melody and rhythm.
5. Baby's body is (appropriately) bounced to the beat of the song - teaching innate rhythm through shared body motion.

You didn't know they were so beneficial, did you? (or maybe you did....)

In a world where you can buy an electronic toy with any number of sounds and songs and languages, I bet that your baby still would choose YOU over any plastic toy.
We could give our little ones Baby Einstein videos all day, and their musical ability would not develop in any way that would be comparable to the extreme value of the physical, vocal and happy experience of bouncing.

Baby bounces are gems that are passed down from a grandparent to parent and so on. They are memorable, wonderful rhymes used for one purpose - joy. Joy in the child's face. Joy in the giver's face. There is nothing like the pure delight of a child enjoying such direct attention from their loving family.

I don't remember the first musical toy I had, but I have great memories of my dad bouncing me on his knees to "humpty dumpty sat on a wall..." and then dropping me down (gently! Thanks dad...) to "he had a great...... FALL!" and all the giggles that followed... as well as repeated appeals to "do it again, Daddy!!"

So, I will list many bounces on this site because they are priceless little activities that our children need from us.

I'll start with a little bouncing "how-to"

Here are three ways to bounce your baby or toddler:

1. Lay baby on his/her back on your lap. This is best for newborns/infants who don't have much core strength yet:

2. Hold baby up on your knees:

    3. Hold baby standing on the floor:

This is the one my 8-month-old currently likes because he's all about standing and jumping now-a-days.

Or, bounce them while standing up and holding them.... or lying on the floor with them on your knees... there are lots and lots of options!

Next, choose a bounce! I've listed some of our favorites below. They can be chanted or sung, but you should be sure to bounce your baby to the beat. I've put the strong beat in caps so you have an idea how to chant each one.

Ride Charlie Ride

RIDE Charlie RIDE,
RIDE that horsey RIDE  
Then finish with a louder "Yeeeeeeee-Ha!" where you bounce baby high, or wiggle him around.

Also... feel free to insert your own child's name for "Charlie"

Clap Hands 

Clap HANDS, clap HANDS
'Till DADDY comes HOME
with BUNS in his POCK-ets

Clap HANDS, clap HANDS
'till DADDY comes HOME
and MAMMY has NONE.

(This one can be good to do with baby in your lap so you can "clap" his or her hands.

Ride a Cock Horse 

to BANberry CROSS,
to SEE a fine LADY
upON a white HORSE
and BELLS on her TOES
SHE shall have MUSIC
where-EVER she GOES!

I like to wiggle baby on "where...eeeehhhver" with a neighing sound like the horse.... I'll let you imagine. :-)

So, there are three to start with!
I'd love to hear what you do too!

And... next time you plop baby down and reach for their electronic-toy, consider trying a bounce or two instead. You won't regret it. :-)


  1. There is a plethora of research supporting the idea that babies and toddlers show a marked preference for live musical interactions with their primary caregivers over any other type of music experience! In addition to the musical benefits, these types of activities also further cement the parent/child bond, making it even more beneficial (and fun!) to engage with your child musically as often as possible. Thanks for encouraging parents in this way!

  2. Our favorite to this day is ( and I've heard different versions of this too)
    "Trot, trot to Boston,
    Trot, trot to Lynn,
    Be careful when you get there,
    you don't fall INNNNNN!
    ( with baby boucning on your lap, and then sliding down your straightened legs on the last word)

  3. Oooh - Nice one! I was planning on having a whole post on the "horsey" ones because they're so great! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Cute post! This is Matt's current favorite:

    Mother and Father and Uncle John
    went to town one by one
    Mother fell off (WEEEE! "Drop" baby/toddler to one side)
    Father fell off (WEEEE! "Drop" baby/toddler to the other side)
    But Uncle John went on and on and ON AND ON AND ON (bouncing gets more insane as you go) :)

  5. love this one too! I'm really needing these for my 8th old! Thank you Thank you! I'm 'pinning" your blog again!

  6. Thanks, Cheryl! It's great to have you visit our humble little blog. :-)

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