Clapping is something that babies aged 6 months and older love to do. Encouraging young children to clap – by clapping along with them – helps them to learn imitation and develop skills in interpreting patterns of sound and rhythm.
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Hold your hands near your face and talk to your baby while clapping – this maintains a single point of focus for young babies, helping them to see your hands clapping easily. Connecting clapping to sense of achievement is a social cue that babies can pick up quickly.
About the activity
Demonstrate clapping to your baby. Combine this with laughter or a simple rhyme, such as Pat-a-Cake to help them associate clapping with positivity.
Take their hands in yours and can show them how to clap by gently and slowly mimicking the motion. Moving their hands too rapidly may scare the child. Teach them slowly, or allow them to imitate you.
As baby gets used to the motion, introduce patterns of clapping (3 slow claps, 3 fast claps, 3 slow claps). Try clapping along to different rhymes with different melodies, pacing and word syllables.
Mix clapping with other activities. While playing with toys or singing nursery rhymes, introduce clapping. Start by clapping in quick bursts at regular intervals, and see whether your child picks up on the repetition and tries to imitate your actions.