Music is a wonderful way of teaching your two-year-old good listening skills. A child who listens well will pick up new words and ideas much more quickly. Listening is fundamental to learning. Music is also a wonderful way to get your child dancing, jumping, clapping and marching, as well as practising those new social skills they're rapidly developing.

Singing and talking

Your two-year-old is learning new words every day. Between two and three years your child's speech develops from knowing a couple of hundred words to being able to hold a proper conversation. Listening to songs, and singing along, are fun ways to build vocabulary and support your child's incredible progress. You can help your child learn lyrics by repeating each line. Your child can start with a single word, and build up from there. At this stage your child can understand much more than they can say of course. They'll enjoy hearing longer 'story' songs such as 'Ugly Duckling' or 'Jake the Peg' as well as simpler sing-along favourites like Twinkle Twinkle.

Dance for development

Your child develops so fast between two and three. They'll learn to hold a pencil, eat skilfully with a spoon or fork, stand on tiptoe, kick a ball and jump with both feet. (Not to mention leaving nappies behind!) Music is a rewarding incentive for your child to use their body, and learn to control it skilfully. Walking in a circle for Ring-a-ring-a-roses, rocking to Row Row Row your Boat, or freeform dancing to your favourite dance tracks are all a wonderful boost for coordination. And a great option when it's too wet for a runaround in the park.

Sharing music

As your child heads towards three, they move from happily playing alone or next to another child, to really enjoying making friends. Playing with simple instruments such as banging a drum, clanging cymbals or banging a xylophone is a fun way for children to interact. And letting rip on an instrumentis great for diffusing frustrations that can lead to tantrums. Different instruments are a good way to introduce sharing and taking turns: concepts your child struggles with now - but will get the hang of as they head beyond their next birthday ...

This play idea is great for...

  Thinking skills
Making music helps your child to listen and think creatively. Studies have shown that playing music early in life helps your child learn later on at school, especially in maths.
Making music helps your child to feel free and express themselves. This is especially useful for tantrum-prone two-year-olds, whose language skills haven't yet caught up with all their opinions. Using simple instruments, your child can try out their own ideas and enjoy making new sounds.
  Physical development
Dancing, clapping and marching help your child to enjoy moving and develop a sense of rhythm. As they grow, strumming a guitar, blowing a recorder or plinking a keyboard will help with fine motor skills.