Help your child improve social skills with these musical games!

Using Music at home promotes 1) Bonding, 2) Connection, and 3) Builds relationships between parent and child (and even siblings!).

All of our games and suggestions here are specially designed to help you as a parent bond with your child while helping them work on needed skills at the same time.

The following “Helps” are geared toward social skills including turn taking and sharing, impulse control, and bonding. Try them out and find new and engaging ways to connect with your child!

 

And if you’re looking for more resources and ideas, check out these articles as well:

Turn Taking & Sharing

Sharing Instruments

  1. Get out ONE instrument from your Harmony Bag (ideally one that two people can play at the same time such as a drum)
  2. Warm up by playing and exploring the sounds of each of your instrument together. Show your child how to play if necessary.
  3. Sing a preferred song while you both play the instrument together.

Trading Instruments

  1. Get out two instruments from your Harmony Instrument Bag
  2. Warm up by playing and exploring the sounds of each of your instruments together. Show your child how to play if necessary.
  3. Choose a song to sing with your child
    • Old MacDonald
      • Trade instruments with your child each time you sing “ee-i-ee-i-oh”
    • Twinkle Twinkle
      • Trade instruments with your child each time you sing the word “star”

Turn Taking

  1. Get out your Harmony Instrument Bag
  2. Warm up by playing and exploring the sounds of the instrument together
  3. Sing the following to the tune of “The Farmer in the Dell”

“It’s your turn to play, it’s your turn to play, hi ho the Dario it’s your turn to play”

4. Point to yourself and sing while you take the instrument from your child and play, singing:

“It’s my turn to play, it’s my turn to play, hi ho the Dario it’s my turn to play”

5. Go back and forth like this to practice turn taking for a few minutes. You can then play with the instruments until it’s time to put them away.

Impulse Control

Start and Stop with Instruments

  1. Get out your Harmony Instrument Bag
  2. Warm up by playing and exploring the sounds of the instrument together
  3. Sing “Play to the Music” and encourage your child to stop at the end
View More: http://sugarrushphotovideo.pass.us/harmony-music-theray

Freeze Dance

  1. Get a recording of one of your child’s favorite songs (can be from YouTube if you hide the screen)
  2. Play the song recording and dance together
  3. Pause it at different times and make silly poses while you “freeze”
  4. Play the music and dance again
View More: http://sugarrushphotovideo.pass.us/harmony-music-theray

Boundaries Song

  1. Play the recording or sing this song with your child to teach them about boundaries.

Once there was a rabbit who always rushed in
He only thought of himself
He messed things up, he knocked things down
Never thought about anyone else

Then along came a turtle felt like hiding her head. 
She turned to the rabbit and politely said….

“Stop and think, Look and see.
What is going around me.
Stop and think, Look and see.
What’s going on around me.”

–Cassie Bringhurst, SCMT, MT-BC

Bonding

View More: http://sugarrushphotovideo.pass.us/harmony-music-theray

Instrument Play with Recorded Music

  1. Get out your Harmony Instrument Bag
  2. Play and explore the sounds of the instrument together
  3. Turn on a recording of a favorite song and play to the beat with your instruments (but don’t worry if you’re right on beat—just play along as best you can)
    • You can use a Pandora station (I like Raffi Family Radio)
    • OR create your own list on Spotify!
  4. Sing goodbye to the instrument when it’s time to put it away (if your child needs a transition cue)
early childhood

Instrument Play with Singing

  1. Get out your Harmony Instrument Bag (or sit at a piano or other instrument you have at home)
  2. Play and explore the sounds of the instrument together
  3. Sing one or two of your child’s preferred songs while you play the instrument together. If siblings are involved sing their preferred songs too.
    • Song suggestions
      • Twinkle Twinkle
      • The Wheels on the Bus
      • The Itsy Bitsy Spider
      • Happy & You Know It
      • Farmer in the Dell
      • Old MacDonald
      • You Are My Sunshine
      • Are You Sleeping
      • BINGO
      • Yankee Doodle
      • On Top of Spaghetti
  1. Sing goodbye to the instrument when it’s time to put it away (if your child needs a transition cue)
end of life care

Free Dance

  1. Get a recording of one of your child’s favorite songs (can be from YouTube if you hide the screen, or even play a favorite Pandora Stations—Raffi Pandora is great!)
  2. Play the song recording and dance together. Let loose and have fun!
    • Here are ideas for fun bonding dance moves
      • Hold hands and spin
      • Pick up your child and sway back and forth or spin
      • Copy whatever your child does (and encourage them to copy you too)
      • Dance with your noses touching (if they’ll let you, prepare for giggles!)
    • Song ideas
        • “Try Everything” by Shakira
        • “Friends are Family” from Lego Batman
        • “I Really Love to Dance” from Laurie Berkner
        • “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars
        • Disney songs
        • “Limbo Rock”
        • “Happy” from Despicable Me
        • Any other fun songs from the radio or your favorite movies!

Scarves Song

This song is a great way to interact with your child and promote bonding!

  1. Get out scarves, bandannas, or whatever you have on hand to play with
  2. Follow the song in the video as you encourage your child to play with their scarf and explore!

Positive Interactions

Music with Special Needs Children

Eye Contact

This song teaches kids to make eye contact with people when greeting them. It’s very simple, and is one that you can either sing along with the recording, or sing with your child when you are approaching social situations.

When I see a friend I look ‘em in the eye,

Look ‘em in the eye and say hello

When I see a friend I look ‘em in the eye,

Look ‘em in the eye and say hello

Hello, hello, hello, hello

I look in your eyes when I say hello

early intervention

Let’s Shake Hands to Say Hello

This song is intended to help kids learn how to greet others in social situations. It has a fun beat and is fun to shake hands right along with the music.

Practice shaking hands and saying hello along with the music with your child. Have fun with it!

*Note* This is a great song especially for kids who are nonverbal and need other alternatives to greet others besides verbal communication.

Let’s shake hands and say hello

That’s what we do with friends

Hello, hello, hello we say

And gently shake their hand

Hello, hello, hello, hello

Hello, hello, hello to all my friends

View More: http://sugarrushphotovideo.pass.us/harmony-music-theray

Saying Thank You

This song teaches the concept of saying thank you, and is designed with the words “thank you” happening at the end of a phrase, which increases the likelihood that the child will say the words if you leave off that portion.

Enjoy this song by singing it with your child along with the recording, and practice saying or signing “thank you”.  Then sing it on your own with your own words if desired, and leave off the “thank you” portion and encourage your child to say or sign it to fill in the blank.

Enjoy!

When someone does something nice I tell them Thank You (2x)             

Thank you thank you thank you thank you  

When someone does something nice I tell them thank you

When Mommy gives me food to eat, I tell her thank you…

When someone shares a toy with me…

When teacher helps me tie my shoe…

When someone does something nice…

View More: http://sugarrushphotovideo.pass.us/harmony-music-theray

Trying New Things (It’s Okay if it’s Hard)

This song is short and sweet, and all about understanding that we don’t need to master things right away, and the important thing is that we keep trying. If you have a child who is easily frustrated if they can’t accomplish something “right” the first time (or even second or third time!), practice singing this song with them to remind them to be resilient.

Honestly, this is a good reminder for parents as well :)

It’s okay if it’s hard, just keep trying

It’s okay not to win, as long at you play

It’s okay if it’s hard, just keep trying

You’ll get a little better each day

Hungry for More?

If your child responds well to music, please let us know! We would love to help you get more ideas on how to help your child grow and succeed.

We even offer a free 30 minute in-person consultation where you can learn more and discover how music therapy can help your unique child.

Request a Consultation