Your toddler could care less if you have a voice like Celine Dion or a voice like a dying cat. For a toddler, singing is a favorite activity to do with you no matter what else is happening. That’s why most parent and toddler classes spend a good portion of the time singing songs. Even toddler gymnastics classes or swimming classes use singing as a way to engage toddlers. Don't worry if you're a bit rusty on the children’s top 40 Billboard Chart, since most classes feature timeless hits.
There's some music that every generation should learn as toddlers. Songs such as “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” and “Old MacDonald” are known the world over, and you can’t have your child growing up without knowing these. Good music classes for parents and toddlers will have a variety of new music, but will incorporate these traditional favorites. Look for fun songs like “It’s a Small World” and “Rock-A-Bye, Baby” that appeal to toddlers especially.
Toddlers soak up information when it's put to music so it's no wonder that many parent and toddler classes have songs to teach the letters and counting. One of the first songs many toddlers learn is the ABC song, but many classes change it up or slow it down to focus on actually learning the alphabet. Counting songs like “This Old Man,” “Ten in a Bed” or “Five Little Ducks” are common crowd pleasers. Some classes may introduce songs in other languages such as “Frere Jacques,” since music is an effective way to start learning words in a foreign language.
Nursery rhymes create a full experience for toddlers since they teach pre-reading skills like rhyming, and engage the toddler with movement and rhythm. Plus, they have a solid cultural relevance even today, which is why PBS says they are good for your child’s brain. Many nursery rhymes have been set to songs such as “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” “Itsy Bitsy Spider,” “Humpty Dumpty,” “Baa, Baa Black Sheep” and “The Muffin Man.” These group activities allow toddlers to act out the songs, and they can easily adapt to any type of lesson in parent and toddler classes.
Many teachers have found the best way to get the wiggles out of toddlers is to sing action or motion songs. Little ones quickly pick up the motions to these fun songs and, be warned, can happily do these over and over again, long after you are ready to sit down and rest. Songs like “If You’re Happy and You Know It,” “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes,” “Hokey Pokey,” “The Wheels on the Bus” and “Bingo” engage the active part of your child. Other large group songs like “The Farmer in the Dell” or “The Ants Go Marching” can involve the whole classroom and make for a positive class experience.