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
'Till DADDY comes HOME
with BUNS in his POCK-ets
for BABY a-LONE
Clap HANDS, clap HANDS
'till DADDY comes HOME
for DADDY has MONEY
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
RIDE a cock HORSE
to BANberry CROSS,
to SEE a fine LADY
upON a white HORSE
RINGS on her FINGERS
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. :-)