Engaging with toddlers on video calls can be quite challenging for grandparents, or any adult really.   More resources have become available for teachers, and for engaging with older children virtually, but there is very little out there to help us create true emotional connections with our youngest family members through a screen.

The NIH posted an article with some good guidance on 11-12-20:  Planning Your Holidays During the COVID-19 Pandemic

One of our Kindermusik families recently requested, “A video on IG that teaches grandparents a song/activity they can do with kids over zoom.  Maybe holiday themed.  We’re doing a lot of zoom calls and it’s hard for grandparents to know how to engage with a toddler or hold their attention through a screen.”  (Thank you Dave & Truc for your request!)

Let’s BEGIN this conversation… including some playful activity ideas. Music is a delightful way to make real emotional connections, in person, or LIVE on screen.

It has been interesting seeing what resources are available, and have given it a LOT of thought, and have created a new video on how to SET up virtual video calls for success with TODDLERS, including a few basic hello and goodbye routines and rituals ideas.  

For additional activity ideas, I am including a few more of my videos based on the themes of Autumn and Family Love.  They were meant to inspire you to enjoy this kind of musical play with your child in person, AND they can easily be adapted to enjoy with a child during a video call.

MOST of these videos I created are meant to be viewed by adults in the family, not for the children, to provide guidance & ideas that will hopefully initiate your own delightful connecting conversations.  You may be tempted to create a video for your child to see at their convenience, and that is okay too.  They will like seeing it, but they will come to realize that when they engage, there is no real-time response from you, and they may be LESS likely to interact with you when you are LIVE.   It is the consistent joyful LIVE interactions (even if through video) between you and your child that build these emotional bonds.  It may refer to Grandparents, but this can be applied to any adult who wants to connect virtually with a young child.

Engaging Toddlers on Video Calls with an Autumn Theme

On theme for this FALL, children can be mesmerized by watching the falling leaves on the screen.  In our virtual Kindermusik classes this week, the children watched as Ms Debbie continued to drop leaves down the screen during our Moment of CALM.  THIS video CAN be watch by children, and, at the end, includes giggling children enjoying the falling leaves in our studio a few years ago.   You can find this song, Autumn Leaves, on your Kindermusik APP  (using the SEARCH bar in the Library section), as well as an instrumental called “Leaves in the Wind” perfect for listening to in the background as you play.  

The second video captures the joy of exploring so many ways to play with a pile of leaves… real or fabric.  I prefer the fabric leaves found at many hobby & craft stores, as well as less expensive ones without plastic stems from Dollar General.  Be sure to wash them in a lingerie bag in your washer, or a sink full of soapy water first.

I am attempting to post these and other shorter ones (like the ones included below) on social media.  To catch these, and any newer ones upon posting, please:

  • LIKE me on my Music Connections Facebook Page
  • FOLLOW me on Instagram @musiconnxme 
  • Subscribe to my Music Connections YouTube channel if you’d like to be the first to see any new content, and check out what I’ve already shared, especially the Little Song, Big Learning Series.  I’m not trying to monetize this or anything… just sharing some ideas so young children and their loving partners are able to connect with each other through music…. as always.   (I would actually love to get 100 subscribers so I can get a custom URL.)

Then you can Share them with grandparents or other family members to give them some ideas for musical play while on a virtual call.

AND, we can extend this conversation about what is working and not working for your family.  Honestly, every child is different.  As we share our ideas, we can discover ways to truly connect with the hearts and minds of our young children, even if separated.

Peek-a-Boo is Perfect for Engaging with Toddlers on a Virtual Call

 You are likely already enjoying this activity with your little one, and it probably works for a little while.  When you add some music, and creative ways to Peek-a-boo, it might be even more engaging and encourage them to explore a wider variety of play.  Children LOVE showing you their creative ideas for play (they feel so SEEN and valued), and then learning some NEW ones from you.

This ORIGINAL rhyme by Debbie Mondale, Peekaboo, You Make Me Laugh – to inspire different ways for adults to engage with their little ones.  You can just use the first few words repeatedly for the younger children.

“Peekaboo, I SEE you… You make me laugh, oh yes, you do.”   

After establishing your joyful play with this one line, children around 18 months to 2 years old can enjoy following the directions for additional lines of this rhyme.  Remember children take much longer to process the next steps, so you may repeat one phrase, do the action, and wait for them to copy you… praising them specifically when they do. 

Up, up, up, on top of my head. 

Peeking out like the covers on top of my bed.

Down to my nose, peeking over the top.

Then down to my toes… ’till it goes…. POP !

I LOVE You!  Emotional Connections with Toddlers on Virtual Calls  

This upbeat song is sure to create joy for you and your child as you dance around with scarves… and STOP just long enough to SING “I Love You.” with the song, then continue dancing.   

ADD a homemade kazoo (both Grandparent & CHILD)  for some additional joyful musical play along with this classic song… that includes the words “I LOVE You”.  You can find this song on your Kindermusik APP  (using the SEARCH bar in the Library section).

Let’s share some ideas below in the comments with what YOU are doing to make these virtual video calls with your little ones to create the connections that we most want, and NEED during our time apart.

Of course, participating in Kindermusik regularly can provide an ongoing supply of songs and ideas for you and your child to connect in so many ways.  Grandparents are welcome to join their enrolled child in one of our VIRTUAL Kindermusik classes to enjoy our musical play together and get new ideas.   OR register for one of our VIRTUAL Kindermusik Playdates and participate together… while apart.

Music for Celebrating Seasons

  • One Saturday each month
  • Register for one or more

9:30 –  Babies up to 20 months

10:30 – Mixed ages: 1 – 5 years

This could be your first Kindermusik experience to enjoy together, or…      This could become an anticipated monthly family ritual.