Any Raffi fans here? If you were born in the 1970s, 1980s, or 1990s, you may be familiar with the singer-song writer Raffi. He is well known for writing and singing many popular children’s songs. If you’re not familiar with Raffi, don’t worry. I too was unfamiliar with his music despite being born during one of those decades and still managed to have a very fine childhood. (Now I just ponder, what if?)
Baby Beluga: A Book & Song to Improve Your Toddler’s Language
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Luckily though, a former client of my mine introduced me to Raffi so now I have the opportunity to pass on his classics to my daughter and current clients.
For the past several weeks, I’ve had one of Raffi’s songs stuck in my head. It’s a happy song about a baby whale (aka a beluga) who travels the wide blue ocean with his mother.
Here is Raffi singing Baby Beluga:
I can’t help but smile when I hear Baby Beluga on repeat (in my head) or hear my daughter singing it.
So, why all this talk about Raffi and my earworm?
If you have a toddler and want to build his or her speech and language skills, I highly suggest incorporating music into his or her daily routines.
Music helps with language acquisition because it teaches children about language structure as well as beat and rhythm.
According to Sally Goddard Blythe, author of The Genius of Natural Childhood: Secrets of Thriving Children, “Neuro-imaging has shown that music involves more than just centralized hotspots in the brain, occupying large swathes on both sides.” Therefore, music uses and develops more sides of the brain. During the first few years of life it’s very important to develop as much of your child’s brain as possible.
If you’re looking for some new music, try introducing your child to the sweet song Baby Beluga!
I particularly like this song for toddlers because
- it contains many instances of the early developing bilabial sound “b”
- has repetition and rhythm
- is relatively slow but still playful
- is easy to decipher the spoken words.
After you have introduced the song to your child and have discovered him or her humming or singing the tune, then read Baby Beluga (Raffi Songs to Read), a cute and simple book, to bring the song to life!
Language Development Tips:
For toddlers just beginning to make sounds and talk – focus on having your child attempt the repeated refrain:
“Baby beluga, oh baby beluga”
Start by singing the first part of the refrain together (“Baby beluga oh baby ) and then pause ________ and have your child say the second part (“…beluga”). Or, strategically pause to have your child say “oh”.
Take turns describing what you and your child see on each page. Use the carrier phrase, “I see a _______” or “This is a ______”. This will provide opportunities to expand on your child’s short phrases to complete longer, fuller sentences.
I hope your child enjoys Raffi’s playful song and adorable book, as much as my own!
Enjoy your summer and remember to wear sunscreen.
For more summer reading suggestions, please see:
Your child may also enjoy these books:
as well as these:
As always, I hope this has been helpful.
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Hill, A. (2011, May 8). Singing to children may help development of language skills. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com