Leg Walkers and Foot Patters
Do you know the tune to Hot cross buns? (Hot cross buns, hot cross buns, one a penny two a penny, hot cross buns.) Well it’s the same as the tune to this traditional foot patter – but it works just as well as a rhyme.
An ideal time to play it – or use it as a distraction – is when baby is lying on a changing mat with the soles of their feet handily in your reach.
Pat the soles of baby’s feet in turn to the beat of the song.
Hob shoe hob,
Hob shoe hob,
Here a nail and there a nail,
And that’s well shod.
Leg walkers are a lovely way to play, while baby is sitting on your knee. This time, instead of facing baby inwards face to face with you, turn baby to face outwards.
Take an ankle in each hand, and cross one over the other in turn to the beat of the rhyme. On JUMP, raise baby’s feet high in the air, supporting their body on your chest, between your arms.
Leg over leg As the dog went to Dover,
When he came to a style ~JUMP he went over.
With a bigger baby you can jump them into the air in a high lift. Step along instead of crossing ankles ~ it’s a good one for encouraging a toddler to make progress on a walk.
Knee Bouncing Songs
Knee-bouncing is such a favourite – particularly when you throw in a bump down between your legs onto the floor on ‘One fell off’.
The tune is Two Little Dicky Birds again! But this time there are three little monkeys bouncing on your knee.
Play-acting and exploring expression in voice and action is an important part of socialising as we learn to become communicators and to express our individuality.
Three little monkeys bouncing on the bed,
One fell off and bumped his head.
Mummy called the doctor and the doctor said,
‘No more monkey business bouncing on the bed!’
Here’s a traditional Irish knee bouncer ~ Achinaee. Bounce a little baby or toddler on your knee. On ‘floor’, quickly slide baby/toddler between your knees to the ground, lifting them back into your lap for more bouncing. And more and more and more…..
Achinaee, when I was wee,
I used to sit on my granny’s knee,
Her apron tore, and I fell on the floor,
A teeny tiny baby can’t tell us what’s wrong. Maybe it’s painful wind, or a fractious need for a nap. We’re probably all familiar with soothing a nearly new baby on our shoulder, gently patting or stroking their back, while swaying from one foot to the other. Not surprisingly there’s an age old type of song for that familiar stage – a croon.
A croon is a very simple, repetitive melody with very few words and with a slowly swaying rhythm, perfect for soothing and comforting a baby.
What may not be quite so well-recognised is the calming effect these songs have on ourselves and on our own distress. We’re tired out, we can’t remember the last full night’s sleep we had, we’re at our wits end, and the baby’s crying.
This one-word song can bring down the tension and soothe the distress of both adult and child. As you keep repeating it, it becomes restfully hypnotic, sung on, and on, and on.