This video shows children using ideas from a previous adult-led activity in their play. Even though the children are not talking, they are interacting nonverbally with each other by taking turns, making eye contact, and copying each other’s actions and movements.

In this video, we can see two children sharing attention and interacting nonverbally through music. The children match the pace of their playing with each other – both playing slowly with the same beat, and then both speeding up together.

This clip shows a child using resources other than instruments as sound makers. Can you think of any ideas of how this child’s play could be extended?

Some ideas might be…

  • A range of beaters could be offered, so that the child can explore a wider range of sounds with the objects available
  • Have the same resources set up on a table or outside to facilitate movement
  • An adult could join the child in play by mirroring/imitating their actions, or extend by adding a different pattern, rhythm or object

In order to be able to mirror children’s playing accurately, we need to notice the details of their playing. Notice the different ways this child plays – using the beaters differently and creating different rhythms by playing double taps on certain discs.

We can see in this video how the adult is following the children’s lead by imitating their actions with the instruments, matching their timing and pace, and adding relevant sounds and words that match the children’s ideas (e.g. “change!”). By doing this, she is facilitating their interaction with one another (they are taking turns and sharing spontaneously!) as well as supporting their language learning.

A game initiated by the children and valued by the adults. A simple game but communicatively, we can see children sharing attention and making eye contact with each other and the adult, as well as imitating, joining and matching each other’s actions and pace. They are connected through an action and a shared pulse or beat.

In this short film the child is exploring sounds and making choices that lead to a structured piece. See how he explores and sequences the sounds. Watch his face before he drops the last cluster. This child is mainly exploring sounds and objects independently, however he is allowing the adult to share attention and proximity with him while he plays. The adult is using sounds and actions that match the boy’s musical play to join in with him. Can you think of any other ways the adult could join the child’s world and perhaps further encourage two-way interaction?

In this extract you can see an emerging 4 way conversation. Communicatively, the child is directing the adults’ musical play using a combination of gestures (pointing for “go” and a hands up sign for “stop”) and some single words (e.g. “go”). The child then chooses to bring the sounds together at the end and a new idea emerges, faster playing and another child joins the interaction. A community of drummers in this shared communicative and musical exchange.
In this extract as well as exploring and copying each other, a new idea emerges when the teacher chooses to only play the last two notes of the child’s longer phrase. This acts as a kind of musical question, and the child responds by repeating the longer phrase. Eventually this game turns into a two note turn-taking exchange, and by the end of the game the child is waiting for the adult’s response and taking equal turns in much the same way we do in conversation.