As soon as they are able to sit independently infants will start to move their arms up and down rhythmically. They soon discover that they can use this favorite action to make a very satisfactory noise by banging their hands on different surfaces such a tins, boxes and tables.
They also learn that banging a hard toy on a hard surface makes an even better noise.
Why drumming and banging are important
These rapid rhythmical up and down arm movements are important for developing arm strength and control. They also help to improve the infant's balance and trunk muscle strength (sometime called core muscle strength) as they work to keep the trunk steady while moving the arms.
Drumming and banging promote also simultaneous processing of three types of sensory input - sound, vision and Proprioception (information from the sensory receptors in the joint and muscles).
They learn the association between how fast they move their arms and the loudness of the sound they produce.
Video clip: Toes banging and drumming a tin
In this clip you see Toes and Pam sharing a drumming session.
Notice in particular notice:
- That Toesies drums with one hand and then two hands together.
- How in the begriming of the clip I take drumming turns with Toesies.
- How Toesies watches my actions and tries to copy them by going faster.
- How Toesies shifts his visual attention between what he is doing, my face when I an talking and my hands when I am drumming.
- That Toes still has some difficulty holding the block steady in his hand and banging it.
Promoting hand drumming and banging
Let your infant sit on the floor facing a tin or box. Alternatively him/her sit in a feeding chair with a tray.
Start the game by banging your hands or a block on the hard surface a few time. Then stop and wait for a response.
Take turn in drumming with your hands. Vary your rhythm and speed - and keep the sequence quite short.
Imitate your infant's actions.
If your infant does not copy you
Repeat your actions a few times. If he does not respond, move on to another game.
Infants watch and learn and will often join game at a later stage.