From birth, a shaker or rattler will be one of the first toys your baby will learn to handle and play with. This will start them on their journey developing fine motor skills and cause and effect understanding. Sound makers such as these are so simple but are a staple of every child’s toy box. If you don’t have one of our shakers, click here to find out how to make your own at home >
We all have a rhythm inside us. Rhythm and pitch will play an important part in the life of your vision impaired child. For children, creating and keeping their own beat with or without music somehow organises their own internal rhythms. Their head starts to bob, their body to bounce, feet help to keep time, and their breathing falls into sync. They will get immediate satisfaction from the sound that they have managed to create.
Egg shakers, despite their humble simplicity, have great learning potential in a variety of areas:
- Improve a child’s ability to focus
- Better physical and mental coordination
- Improved attention span
- Developing listening and cooperation
- Increased creative and positive energy
Rolling and independent movement
If you want to encourage your child to start moving independently, this is a perfect item. The egg shaker can be rolled away and could motivate them to move towards the sound.
Rolling and catch
Similarly rolling the egg shaker towards your child could help to develop their reflexes when it comes catching and anticipating the arrival, which helps to develop their listening skills. You can start this gently when in tummy time. When your child is old enough to sit up, you can sit with your feet touching together and roll the shaker gently back and forward to each other.
Rhythm and beat patterns
These can be as simple or as complex as you need for this game. Use words such as ‘shake’, ‘still’, ‘go wild’, ‘soft’ and ‘loud’ to prompt the creation of certain beat patterns. This will be a great way to help to develop communication skills and language.
Play and repeat
Create a simple rhythm and see if your child can copy it. Give them time to try and show your delight when they do it. You can make it slightly more complicated each time. Let them make the rhythm for you to follow, so they can enjoy the creativity! This game doesn’t have to be played with shakers, it’s a great activity to practice speech and sounds to encourage language. Turn taking is also an important lesson to learn for conversational skills.
Feel the dots
The egg shaker has raised dots as a tactile element – take the time to feel the bumps and count them together.
For slightly older children you can incorporate a shaker into classic games such as ‘What’s the time Mr Wolf’ or ‘hide and seek’ for an added auditory element.
Ready, steady, go
Build up anticipation by saying the words “ready, steady…” with varying lengths of pauses. When you say “go” your child can shake their shaker like crazy! These sorts of games will help your child develop their listening skills which are even more important for a child with little or no vision. Really test those skills by not always saying the word “go!”, if you say “duck” for example they have to stay quiet and not shake!
The egg shaker is a great tool for introducing counting to your child, simply shake the right number of times to bring meaning to the word. Combine it with counting rhymes such as ‘Five Little Monkeys.’ You’ll find more song suggestions here >
Musical statues can be made even more fun and accessible by turning it into a shaker game. When the music stops, quickly stop shaking, it’s as simple and fun as that.
Egg shakers and songs
There are so many nursery rhymes that work well with the egg shaker. Your child will need little or no instruction as they let the music guide them to compose their own masterpieces! Whether they shake throughout the song to the beat or just on certain phrases or words is entirely up to them. Try this egg shaking song below for some more directional instructions for when using the egg shaker – it’s a perfect fit! Listen to the song on YouTube >
You’ll find lots more song suggestions here >
Sensory story time
The egg shaker is simple but has a sensitive sound range. You can shake it very gently or more vigorously, for this reason it makes a great sound effect toy to help bring stories to life.
Read out story suggestions for inspiration >
Sound matching games
If you have instruments in pairs, you can use the shakers as part of a sound matching game. The following video shows how to make your own egg shaker matching game: Create your own egg shaker matching game >