Pat-a-Cake is a simple chant that has delighted young children for decades. It is one of the earliest surviving English nursery rhymes, with versions starting in the late 1600’s and early 1700.
“Pat-a-Cake, Pat-a-Cake, Baker’s man, bake up cakes as fast as you can. Roll ‘em and pat ‘em, mark ‘em with a ‘B’, throw ‘em in the oven for the baby and me!”
Pat-a-Cake is a simple game, requiring just the use of two hands, but teaches some fundamental skills.
Children 6 months of age are learning to sit alone. They first sit propped forward, supporting themselves by bracing their hands on the floor or their own thighs. As they gain trunk strength and control, they are able to lift their hands and engage in play—holding a toy, banging blocks, or clapping their hands. This is an excellent time to introduce Pat-a-Cake. It encourages a baby to free their hands and develop core control--strength and stability at the trunk.
Pat-a-Cake improves eye-hand coordination as your baby learns to coordinate the engagement of both hands to make a clapping sound.
Pat-a-Cake leads to the start of memory recall. As care providers routinely sing the song and perform the motions, baby learns to associate the song with the actions. Before long, the adult will sing the opening words and baby will begin clapping their hands, as they now understand that those words mean it is time to play the clapping game! This is an early demonstration of receptive language—the ability to understand and interpret the meaning of words. It is also a major milestone of symbolic understanding that is needed for later exploration, language, and pretend play.
Pat-a-Cake develops Social-Emotional Skills and interaction between the two players. Sitting face to face and laughing together builds emotional bonds. Your baby learns to read facial expressions and engages in joint or shared attention which leads to the ability to learn language and direct the attention of another.
Blog Administrator: Trisha Roberts
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