Boogie Mites - Musical Storytime

Boogie Mites - Musical Storytime

Boogie Mites logoWhat are the benefits of storytelling for children in early years?

Storytelling helps children develop empathy
Stories help encourage creativity and imagination
Storytelling fosters a sense of belonging to the world for children
Storytelling can help children learn about themselves and others in different cultures, times, places, or situations
Sharing stories with other people can be an enjoyable pastime that unites us

Do you know children who find it challenging to sit still at storytime?

Listening at storytime is something that some children find easier than others. Childcare professionals have lots of tricks for engaging fidgety children, but do you use music to enliven storytime, increase attention span and derive additional developmental benefits? 

In our July article we covered neuroscience evidence that shows us how music practice is a whole brain activity, boosting many areas of development. A well planned group music session develops neural pathways that support cross curricular development including language, social cohesion and bonding for those taking part. 
The brain processes imagination in the same way as reality. Good stories include details and expressive words that make you not only understand where the characters are but how they feel. A good story is full of detail, metaphors and expressive characters that make our brain feel as if we ourselves are in the same situation as the character. This builds empathy and supports self-regulation skills.

Combining music with storytime can extend the attention span of young children, making the activity more engaging so that all of the benefits for social cohesion, language, empathy and emotional regulation can be maximised during the extended activity.

How does musical storytime provide a sense of belonging?

We know that group music experiences encourage bonding, from our own experiences of singing at celebration events: gigs, choirs, church, sporting events….. neuroscience explains how and why this happens. The release of dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins when we sing or are involved in group music making, making us feel happy, secure, loving and bonds us with the group.

Music and storytelling can give children a sense of worth and belonging through this bonding experienced. The life of the story characters and their journey can inspire them and spark their imagination. What’s more being emersed in a musical story experience stimulates memory so that the story is remembered.

Hearing a song and/or a story can change the way your children develop and see the world, and themselves in it. Combining the two activities provides a very powerful learning tool for the classroom.

Activity ideas
Get started with an action song to get the brain ready for a focused storytime. An action song can work as a brain gym to wake up the brain and tire the body ready for sitting and listening time. 
Plan storytime to include use of voice, body and/or junk percussion sounds and actions using props/instruments made from recycled materials. 

What you need – ‘rubbish!’: a cardboard box, plastic bag, paper, cardboard tubes, food packaging, foil… look for anything that would make an interesting sound. Parents could perhaps make this a rubbish treasure hunt, raiding the recycling bin, exploring the sounds that different rubbish can make. 

What to do – Empty all the rubbish collected onto the floor. Let the children explore it – some may mimic sounds, use it for role play, others may start folding, stacking or packing things away. See how they interact with it. Give them wooden spoons as beaters to tap the different materials.

Pick a favourite song with the children and encourage them to keep the beat with their rubbish. For example, I Hear Thunder using an upside-down shoebox and hitting it like a drum, with a drum roll for the thunder and light pitter-patter for the rain.

Now ask the children to describe the sounds they are making: loud, soft, scrunchy, scratchy, high, low etc. What animals do they sound like? Could crunchy paper be the sound of the sea or rustling leaves, mice or snakes in the grass? Once the children have explored the materials, ask them to help find ways to incorporate the junk percussion into your story.

Telling the story – Choose a story that lends itself to sounds and actions. You may use a picture book or you may know the story off by heart to tell it without reference to written words. Run through the characters and events in the story before you tell it; ‘how can we make that sound with our rubbish?’

If there is a dinosaur? Maybe stomping noises on a box. Or a butterfly? Maybe rustling paper in the air for fluttering wings. Or you could use voice sounds for a train, a boat, a car. Use cardboard tubes for pirates telescopes, marching feet for soldiers…..….

The children can then join in with the story using actions and their props as sound makers as the characters or events appear. Totally immerse them in the story so that they can let their imagination transport them there.

Follow up to storytime, later in the day or the next day, follow up the story with a group Let’s Tap A Word (LTAW) session, Ask the children to think of words from the story to include in the song. You can ask them to recap the events of the story in sequence, asking for them to pick favourite words. This will encourage them to use memory recall and support their listening, attention and syllabic awareness, key foundations for literacy.

You can download Boogie Mites LTAW song and video training by signing up here:

Boogie Mites Core Music Programmes:

Boogie Mites music programmes provide everything you need to boost your music provision in the setting and outside, for each age group, boosting movement, mood and cognitive development for all involved - staff and children. 

Boogie Mites School Ready Music Programme (3-5 years)

Boogie Mites Minis Music Programme (2-3 years)

Boogie Mites Teenies Music Programme (crawlers to 2 years)

Boogie Mites are offering a special 20% discount to Morton Michel policyholders as well as a programme launch meeting.  Apply the code BMMM20 at the checkout to receive your discount.

Contact for information about onsite training options.

The information in this article is provided by Boogie Mites and does not represent Morton Michel.