Virtual Family Place Playgroup: Music and Movement

During our virtual Family Place Playgroups, you will learn ways to spark learning and play at home with common household ingredients.

On February 24, 2021 Plano Public Library hosted the Family Place Playgroup: Music and Movement, a virtual workshop on Zoom featuring a hands-on activity, shared songs and rhymes, and questions and answers with child development experts in our community. In this blog post, you’ll find a recording of our activity, along with additional resources to help answer your questions.

Activity: Finger Painting

Exploring hands-on through finger painting helps get your little one ready to read and write by building fine motor control, experimenting with expression, and introducing new vocabulary. Painting also teaches decision making and simple science and art concepts such as spatial awareness or color-mixing, which introduces the concept of cause and effect.


Below is what you will need to participate in this activity:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Construction paper or tray for painting surface
  • Food coloring
  • Mixing bowl
  • Small containers or dishes for paint
  • Spoon
  1. Combine flour and water in a bowl. 
  2. Mix until you create a thick paste. If your paint is too runny, add more flour. If it is too thick, add more water.
  3. Add salt and stir until well mixed.
  4. Divide the mixture into smaller containers.
  5. Add food coloring and stir until the color is well blended into the paint.
Review and Extensions

Talk about the art your child created and discuss ways to continue to experiment with paint:

  • Ask your child to describe their art to you, this helps develop their vocabulary and creative expression.
  • Explore the early steps of the scientific process with color mixing! Ask your child to make a prediction about what combining two, or even three, colors will create and discuss what a hypothesis is.
  • Ask your child where else they would like to paint – think outside of the box and lay down a tarp outside to paint on!

Try adding different tools to use with the paint and discuss how they change the paintings consistency/texture – use bubble wrap, toy cars, marbles, and sponges. Was one tool better than another? If so, why?

Ask the Expert

Each playgroup session includes a featured guest from our community. For this session, we were joined by Mary Catherine and Olivia with Sound Starts Music Therapy. They shared how much can play an important part in your child’s development and why it is important to incorporate it in your schedule as often as possible.

Here are some of the questions we talked about:

Question: My child likes to sing or listen to the same few songs every day. Can this be helpful or should I be encouraging them to listen to a wider variety of music?

Answer: When your child is listening to or singing the same song daily they usually are very familiar with its vocabulary and rhythm, and this can be used to your advantage! Begin to teach different movements to go along with the song – focus on larger gross motor movements as well as smaller fine motor movements to help with their muscle development. Use their familiarity with the song to focus on the proper way to enunciate certain words, or point out important vowel sounds to help with language skills. Try switching up words to the song and morphing it into something brand new yet still familiar!

Question: How do children with sensory sensitivities benefit from music therapy?

Answer: Music can definitely be overstimulating at times and too much for children and adults alike. It is important to be aware of your child’s sensory sensitivities. You can always strip back the overwhelming multiple layers of instruments and vocals in a song by humming it instead. Start at this basic level and as your child becomes adapted to the humming, try adding in a new layer of either movement, another instrument, or some vocals. Be very aware of your child’s cues and don’t force them into feeling uncomfortable – it is always ok to step back when your child gives you that cue.

Question: I don’t have any cool musical instruments at home. Can I make my own instruments or still have fun with music without actual instruments?

Answer: You do not need an instrument to experiment and benefit from music! One of the coolest things about music is that you can create it with just your body – use your hands to clap or tap, your feet to stomp or keep the beat, your mouth to sing! Using your body as an instrument can also help develop your child’s body awareness which is an essential aspect in their development. There are also a variety of instruments you can create with common household objects – grab an empty plastic container or cup and fill it with rice to make a shaker!

Do you have other questions? Be sure to reach out to our community resource professional for more assistance. You can learn more about Sound Starts Music Therapy on their website, or contact them at (469) 443-6224.

Continue Learning

Explore some of these books from our collection:

Fun with Painting and Sculpture by Chicago World Book Request
An activity-based volume that introduces the visual arts. Features include a glossary, an additional resource list, and an index.

500 Kids Art Ideas: Inspiring Projects for Fostering Creativity and Self Expression by Gavin Andrews Request
Showcases 500 art ideas for parents, teachers and kids. Each project features an image and a list of materials.

Make Your Own Playdough, Paint, and Other Craft Materials by Patricia Caksey Request
Provides recipes and instructions for creating clay, paint, glue, playdough, bubbles, and other craft materials.

Cool Crayons, Chalks, and Paints: Crafting Creative Toys and Amazing Games by Rebecca Felix Request
This book explores all aspects of toy creation, using many types of materials. Melt, tint, and pour as you create sidewalk chalk cubes, paints made from berries, a jumbo crayon, and more!

For more information and resources, be sure to download the session handout. You can find more about our upcoming programs by visiting our programming calendar or by signing up for our newsletter.

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