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Session notes for Waiata mai — Sing to me Stages: 13 to 18 months


The SKIP baby frieze picture ‘Sing to me’ encourages parents to enjoy singing with their baby as there’s so much value for children in having songs and music shared with them. They’re attracted to the repetition, rhythm and rhyme, and they learn best when they’re interested.

Ask the whānau:

  • What sort of music do you enjoy?
  • What sort of music does your family enjoy?
  • What about your toddler?
  • Do they like singing or playing music with others?
  • Who sings with them?

Some parents might feel shy about singing, but a toddler doesn’t care and will enjoy almost anything dad or mum sings to them — whatever they sound like! Parents could try singing;

  • songs they know
  • kids’ songs
  • adult songs
  • silly songs
  • sad songs
  • songs in whatever language they like.

They can make songs up, too, and just sing about what they’re doing with their child — for example, ¯‘Now it’s time to have some lunch’¯. A toddler is a great audience.

In the SKIP Whakatipu booklet Te Pihinga 3, look at the little action song in te reo Māori (page 9) with the whānau. Whānau might know it in English, too.

  • Shall we have a go at singing this song? It’s known as the ‘Hokey pokey’, or ‘Hokey tokey’, or ‘Hokey cokey’! The actions are simple and you can make up your own version.:

‘You put your right foot in, you put your right foot out 

You put your right foot in, and you shake it all about

You do the hokey tokey, and you turn yourself around

And that’s what it’s all about!’

Help parents to encourage their toddler to copy the actions. It won’t take long before they get it.

Visit the SKIP websiteOpens in new window and listen to some of  ‘Waiata kōhungahunga’ from the Whakatipu booklets

How does this relate to the SKIP resources? 

Baby Wall Frieze - Waiata mai - Sing to me

Six things children need - Te aroha me te mahana - Love and warmth

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