The Magic of Music: Finding Calm and Connection

The Magic of Music: Finding Calm and Connection

 Music can be more than just “ear candy” for young children.

When parents actively share musical moments with their young child, they help them learn to socially connect and manage their emotions. It is more important than ever to make time to engage meaningfully with our young children daily. And music can be the perfect way to create those special moments.

My goal is to teach little songs to the caring adults in the lives of young children. Once the adults have learned and practiced these simple ditties, they can then share them with their youngsters.

These playful face-to-face musical interludes help a child to:

  • Feel seen and heard in a world that has become increasingly focused on screens instead of faces
  • Deeply attached to their musical play partner
  • Better prepared to initiate play and social connection with other adults and children
  • Present and peaceful in those shared moments


Here is a simple song for you to share with your young child called “Frog in the Meadow.” The YouTube video performance is meant to be viewed by a child’s caring adults. Then it is time to turn off the video and go sing and play with your child!

“Frog in the Meadow” is an old American folk song that was originally a children’s play party song. One child would sit or squat in the middle of a circle of children and try and catch another child, who would then be “it” and they would repeat the game.

The original lyric goes like this: “Frog in the meadow, can’t get him out, take a little stick and stir him about!” I decided to change the lyric up to avoid being unkind to frogs.

So instead, I wrote a new lyric that lets us play with opposites actions and words. The beauty of folk songs is they belong to any singer who wants to share them. You can write new lyrics and make them all your own.

We will borrow key vocabulary from American Sign Language (ASL) to sing and sign our song. Singing is tricky and takes time for your child to master. Singing involves coordination of the lips, teeth, tongue, breath . . . and all the words! Imitating your motor motions is much easier for your child and they are typically successful singing the song with their hands before they can sing the song with their voices. They love to watch and reproduce your motor motions and facial expressions. These experiences enhance the connection between the two of you.


Here's my version of Frog in the Meadow. I think your kids will love it!

FROG in the meadow, WHERE did he go?

He jumps FAST and he jumps SLOW.

He jumps FAST and he jumps SLOW.

STOP. . . GO!

FROG in the meadow, WHERE did he go?

He jumps HIGH and he jumps LOW.

He jumps HIGH and he jumps LOW.

STOP. . . GO!

FROG in the meadow, WHERE can he be?

He TICKLES you and he TICKLES me.

He TICKLES you and he TICKLES me.

Sign FROG by placing two open fingers under your chin facing down and flicking your fingers as if the frog’s legs are jumping.

Sign WHERE by shaking one pointer finger back and forth at your wrist.

Sign JUMP by placing two open fingers with fingertips touching the other extended open hand. Your two fingers will bend and “jump” up and down on your palm. Your fingers will jump fast and slow, and high and low. Adjust the speed of your singing and “jumping” for fast and slow. Move your fingers up to shoulder height for “high” and keep your jumping fingers close to your extended hand for “low.”

I follow each verse by signing and saying STOP and GO.

STOP is signed by placing the little-finger side of one closed hand abruptly onto the palm of your other hand in a single chopping motion.

To sign GO, aim both of your pointers in the direction you will go.

I playfully wait for several seconds after I say STOP before I say GO!

The last verse includes the word TICKLE.

Sign TICKLE by wiggling your open fingers in the direction of your body (“me”) and the children (“you”).

Your performance can include actual tickling if your children desire. I recommend that you “air tickle” each child first by wiggling your fingers in the air near them. Check their facial expression before touching the child to observe whether they look excited and happy about the prospect of being tickled. Better still, ask children in advance if they want a little tickle. They are welcome to say, “no thank you!”


Try these fun modifications of your “Frog” song to embed more opportunities for your child to learn.

  • I like to repeat the last half of each verse twice and allow children to fill in the last word of the song independently (fast and _____, high and _____). This is a great way to help your child express using spoken words.
  • You can add a large motor component to this song by having children jump high and low, fast and slow! Your child will be able to “show I know” by demonstrating opposite words in action.

demonstration of the song is available on YouTube. Subscribe to watch all the SING.PLAY.LOVE. movies waiting for you there.

 Download and print the free lyrics and directions page.


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