Toddle About Blog

Have you discovered the amazing family music scene yet?

Guest Post by Brady Rymer (Legendary Children’s Singer-Songwriter from America)

Songs Across The Pond by David Gibb & Brady Rymer

Songs Across The Pond by David Gibb & Brady Rymer

The American family music scene is cookin’ these days, serving up a heaping helping of love, excitement and positively groovin’ vibes with styles ranging from pop to hip hop, bluegrass to singer/songwriter and multilingual to punk. The musicianship and production of this current crop of music is top notch; the songs are creative, fresh, fun, educational and engaging. The scene is flourishing and supportive of newcomers.  I love being part of something so infectious and appreciated – bringing joy and happiness to so many kids and families.

At the time my rock band From Good Homes disbanded, following a long, adventurous and fruitful run in the 1990s, I was just starting a family. Steeped in new fatherhood, Continue reading

Incorporating Music into your Little One’s Day!

Incorporating MusicIt’s no secret babies love to listen to voices – in fact, very early on they will recognise the tone, rhythm and pitch of a familiar voice.

During their first year, children will pick up all the sounds they need to know so that they can learn and develop the ability to speak in their ‘mother tongue’. When listening to music, children are grasping elements of their native language. They will practise making these sounds in preparation for producing their first recognisable words in a couple of months.

The accompanying rocking and jiggling actions are not accidental. Research has shown that when we move and sing at the same time we engage nearly all of our brain, which enables us to translate and store new information very efficiently.

Here we talk to Monkey Music, to give you some top tips on how you can incorporate music into your little one’s day. Continue reading

Review: Emerald Storm Irish Dance Sensation

Emerald StormBy Lorraine Holmes at Toddle About HQ.

My daughter and I had the pleasure of attending the Emerald Storm show at The Grove Theatre in Dunstable at the weekend and we can honestly say we had a truly amazing evening.

The show includes a mixture of different genres of dance from gentle ballet style and fiery Salsa to your high energy, toe tapping Irish Tap with a more modern day twist to it and all performed by an amazing cast of highly talented dancers and we were both engrossed right from the start.

The Story, which is told throughout the show, takes you on a journey where mortals are trying to save the mythical land from destruction and this is all told through a range of dance, music and singing.  The lead vocalist, John-Philip Bowen, has a voice that is out of this world singing solos, duets and also singing along with the dancers performing it was just stunning and we didn’t know where to look when the stage came alight with the whole cast performing all at the same time. Continue reading

Review: Snuggly Rascal Headphones, £14.99

Snuggly Rascal HeadphonesReview written by Toddle About VIP Club member, Carla Burrows.

We were really excited to find the Snuggly Rascal headphones had come through our letter box when we returned from holiday. The tester was my newly turned 4 year old Evie and she wanted to put them on straight away. The cute cuddly design was a real hit with Evie as was the soft texture of the material as with many preschoolers any thing remotely itchy is not going to be tolerated.

Whilst getting the earphones positioned right is something that will take a bit of practice for the younger user, I was very impressed by this feature as it will make them longer lasting and it is a real bonus that they can be removed so that you can wash the headband, another requirement for small children. Continue reading

Timber: The International Family Friendly Forest Festival

Timber is a not-for-profit festival with sustainability at its heart.

Timber is a not-for-profit festival with sustainability at its heart.

Timber Festival takes place in the hear of the National Forest from the  6th – 8th July 2018.

Timber is an extraordinary, family friendly festival where music, art, theatre, storytelling, science and play will weave together into an exhilarating weekend in the heart of the National Forest, one of Britain’s boldest environmental projects.

Taking place over three days from 6-8 July 2018, it will be the only international forest festival in the UK. Experience the transformative impact of forests with artists, musicians, storytellers, theatrical performers and scientists from across the world. Explore what woodlands can mean to us and how we can re-imagine our relationship with our environment. Play and create in an arboreal wonderland, where the tonic of wildness rules supreme.

Created by the National Forest Company and Wild Rumpus, award-winning producers of the Just So Festival, the experiences that Timber will offer, alongside early-bird tickets and boutique camping, have been announced ahead of a full programme release in early 2018.

Family friendly programme highlights include: Continue reading

Music & Lyrics

Salt Box MusicHow music and singing is intrinsically linked to language development

By Michelle Keating, founder of Salt Box Music Company.

We don’t really need an expert to tell us that babies respond to music. Whether it’s the soothing effect of a lullaby sung to our soon to be sleeping child or the fun of a rhythmic rocking nursery rhyme as we enjoy to row, row, row, our boats together. Our babies clearly love to hear our voices for both comfort and security, and the shared natural experience of creating eye contact when singing creates a reciprocal communication.

Building on such communication is essential for learning and many child development experts believe that music is a key vehicle to early language development. Sally Goddard Blythe, a consultant in neuro-developmental education and director of the Institute for Neuro-Physiological Psychology believes Continue reading

Music for All The Family… Some of the best music out there for children and grown ups alike

Guest Post by David Gibb

Teddy at the Disco by David Gibb

Teddy at the Disco by David Gibb

It’s quite likely that at some point you will have found yourself despairing at the music available for children and families. However, before you hurl your CD of ‘children’s favourites’ out of the car window, you might be interested to know that there’s a quiet revolution taking place in the world of family music. 

Particularly in the USA, but also in the UK, there is a burgeoning scene of songwriters and musicians turning their talents to making brilliant and engaging music for children. As someone lucky enough to be part of this trend, I’ve spent the last five years or so discovering what’s out there for families hungry for music that everyone can enjoy together. Here are a few of my favourites to get you started! Continue reading

Review: Climb That Tree – The new album from the family music genius David Gibb

The new album, Climb That Tree, from David Gibb

The new album, Climb That Tree, from David Gibb

Imagine going on a long car journey with your children in the back. Imagine that on that car journey you had to listen to children’s music. All. The. Way.

You’ve probably had this experience already.

I certainly have. Maaaany times. And it definitely wasn’t much fun for the grown ups in the car – especially when we were playing the same children’s songs on repeat over and over again.

We tried introducing the children to more grown up songs and things did get a bit better. But there was a lot of music that we wanted to listen to that they just didn’t enjoy. Cue arguments in the car.

What we really needed was some music that we could all enjoy – something that appealed to the young and the old(er) – and something we could all sing along with together to make those long car journeys feel shorter.

Honestly, I didn’t know if that was possible. But then, a couple of years ago, Continue reading

How Music Affects the Growing Minds of Our Children

By Natalie Young, Owner of Gymboree Warwick, Childcare Practitioner, Chiltern trained Nanny and mother of one.

Child dancing to music

Music send us into a world of movement, making us instantly want to dance – no matter how old we are!

Throughout my life I have met many children, babies and toddlers, each very unique but each with something very special in common: the ability to be completely captivated by the sound of music.

Generally, this is carried through into adulthood. Physically, music sends us into a world of movement, making us instantly want to dance. Mentally, it has the power to draw out memories and emotions from forgotten moments in our life, whether they be 20 years ago or yesterday. This is the same for a child.

When carrying my firstborn, I excitedly approached 16 weeks gestation, which is the point where research has proven that babies can listen and respond to sounds heard from outside the womb. I began playing classical music and singing to my bump, when indeed I would feel her flutter away in her peaceful pod, safe inside my womb. This music created some our very first moments of connection, marking the beginning of a lifelong mother and daughter bond. I am sure many parents out there have shared this exact same experience.

My earliest memories with Isabella as a newborn are of singing to her. She suffered from severe acid reflux and there were many hours where my partner and I held her – rigid in pain – in our arms. Singing seemed to soothe her as well as us. Continue reading