Toddler Tinker Time: Discovering the magic of music  

Cultivating creativity and joy through music

By Priscilla Chua 

In the bustling halls of Little Seeds Preschool (TSA-AMK), our 18 – 35 month old toddlers are learning about language through songs and rhymes. This activity is part of Toddler Tinker Time – a music programme designed to combine music with physical movement to engage our toddlers’ senses. 

Teachers as facilitators are key to the success of this program as one needs to be playful with children, adaptable to the lessons and innovative while being attuned to the children’s needs.  

As one of the pioneers in the Toddler Tinker Time programme developed by Anglican Preschool Services (APS), English teacher Angela Ho brings a unique blend of music, movement, and exploration to her young learners. 

Angela says: “Through engaging in musical activities, children can learn to trust their own abilities and build their own unique sense of self. Additionally, they can explore and learn about their physical and mental capabilities as they experiment with different musical styles and genres.” 

What is Toddler Tinker Time?

Children from LSP (TSA-AMK) using pots and pans as musical instruments

Toddler Tinker Time encompasses five components: 1) Songs & Rhymes, 2) Music Games, 3) Musical Stories, 4) Music & Movement, and 5) Percussion Play. This musical exploration encourages language development, exposes our toddlers to a variety of text to rhythm, promotes social integration, and cultivates an appreciation for music.  

Music has strong rhythm and repetitive patterns, which can help children develop focus by providing a predictable structure. When children listen to or participate in rhythmic activities like clapping, tapping, or dancing, they learn to concentrate on the beat and stay engaged.  

In addition, children train their auditory discrimination skills as they pay attention to different instruments, melodies and lyrics. Participating in musical games that involve controlled movements can help children manage their impulses and emotions.  

A Day in Toddler Tinker Time 

Angela using musical instruments for children to engage with music

In a typical Toddler Tinker Time session, Angela and the children embark on musical adventures, from forming impromptu bands with makeshift instruments to swaying and stepping to various rhythms. These activities not only foster musical skills but also enhance coordination, social interaction, and emotional expression, creating a holistic learning experience for toddlers.  

Group activities such as singing in a choir, playing in an ensemble, or dancing in a group teach children to cooperate with others, take turns, and respect each other’s space, fostering social skills.  

“Children are naturally inclined toward sound and music,” Angela says. “A box becomes a drum; a toilet roll becomes a trumpet. That is the beginning of music!”  

In Toddler Tinker Time, every sound and movement contributes to learning and self-discovery, allowing children to improvise, create rhythms, and invent lyrics. These opportunities for creative expression promote autonomy and self-regulation.  

A personalised touch

Angela using other resources for children to engage with music

Reflecting on her journey with the Blossoms (Playgroup) children, Angela says: “Every child is different and what I love about my job is that I get to support each one to discover his or her own strengths and talents and nurture those traits.” This personalised touch ensures that each child’s learning experience is enriching and tailored to their individual needs. 

Angela’s eyes light up as she shares her passion for creative teaching methods. “I love finding exciting ways to deliver learning outcomes,” she says.

Her innovative approach transforms learning into a joyful adventure for toddlers, keeping them engaged and fostering a positive attitude towards learning. 

Priscilla Chua

“Working with toddlers not only brings a sense of joy, but provides me continuous opportunities for learning and personal growth. Each day brings new insights, experiences, and challenges that help me to develop valuable skills in communication, patience, empathy, and problem-solving.” 

An educator’s job is challenging yet rewarding

Being a Playgroup teacher comes with its own unique challenges as working with toddlers requires patience, empathy and a deep understanding of child development.   

Angela says: “Engaging with toddlers can be quite demanding physically; there is a lot of lifting and occasionally a bit of chasing involved.” 

“They are curious by nature and enjoy exploring their surroundings. This means that there is a constant need for supervision to keep them safe, and ensure that the learning environment is a conducive space for them to wander and wonder.”  

Yet, knowing that the work she does and the words she says have positively impacted their growth, boosted their confidence, and contributed to their overall well-being, is extremely rewarding.  

Witnessing their progress, from their tentative first steps to their first words, fills me with a deep sense of pride and joy.

Angela Ho

Angela’s motivation and inspiration also comes from the support of her colleagues and parents. 

She says: “I am inspired by my team members and leaders in APS. They give me opportunities to upgrade myself to make teaching more meaningful and help me connect deeply with each child.” 

LSP (TSA-AMK) teachers at the Staff Dedication Service 2024

The open communication with parents further enhances this connection, creating a supportive and engaging learning environment, she says.  

Angela’s journey as an early years educator and her dedication to the Toddler Tinker Time programme showcases the transformative impact of creative teaching methods.  

Educators truly play an invaluable role in shaping the future generation and creating a nurturing environment where every child matters. May our teachers continue to inspire and advocating for innovative approaches to education that prioritise the holistic development of every child. 

To find out more about our preschools, visit

Priscilla Chua is the principal of Little Seeds Preschool (TSA – Ang Mo Kio) 

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