Storytime with Karen – Music

Singing songs and making music with your child can be lots of fun! It can also help develop motor skills, build memory and introduce children to new vocabulary. There are lots of stories about musical instruments that include vocabulary to describe the different sounds instruments make. For example, STRUM-STRUM for the guitar, BOOM-BANG-BASH for a drum, TINK-TINK-TUNK for a piano, JINGLE-JANGLE for the bells and CHIKA-CHIKA-CHA-CHA for the maracas.

Use instruments or household items to make different sounds at home. Allow children to listen to the sounds each instrument makes and encourage them to create their own music. Songs and rhymes are a great source of unusual words and the larger your child’s vocabulary, the easier it will be for them to understand what they read when they learn to read by themselves.

Image: pixabay



written and illustrated by Matt Cosgrove

Alpacas with Maracas

Macca and his pal Al need to come up with an act for a talent quest. They try singing, dancing, magic tricks and a variety of musical instruments with no success. And just as they are about to give up, Al realises that they know how to shake. So with maracas in hand (or hoof) they shake like no other, as they groove and move across the stage. With its rhyming text and bright, vibrant illustrations this is a fun and engaging picture book. 

Heart and Soul

This is a heart warming story about the joyous and uplifting power of music. When old man Charlie plays his trumpet, his dog Louis sings along in harmony. But one day Charlie is taken away in an ambulance and Louis becomes a street dog. Thankfully, in time, Louis discovers a busker playing the trumpet, in the same way Charlie played his trumpet. It was the sound of the music that brings them together and they become a great double act. A wonderful, unexpected reunion makes for a happy ending.  


written by Carol Ann Martin and illustrated by Tull Suwannakit


written and illustrated by Nick Bland

The Very Noisy Bear

There’s music in the air in the Jingle Jangle Jungle. And a very cranky bear wants to join his friend’s band. But what instrument will Bear be able to play? The drums crash, guitars are tricky and the trumpet screeches. This is a fun introduction to a variety of different instruments. And Bear learns that trying something new can lead to a new passion. Your child might also be inspired to try the violin. This picture book has appealing illustrations and a funny and engaging story.


A variety of musical instruments feature in the two songs below, including the drum, trumpet, cymbals, piano, tambourine, shakers and jingle bells.

When the Band Comes Marching In

I Am the Music Man

Crafty Idea

Let’s make a paper plate shaker craft!

You will need:

  • 2 large paper plates
  • Pasta
  • Crepe paper strips
  • Stapler
  • Tape
  • Alpaca colour-in (optional)
  • Glue stick
  • Crayons
  • Scissors


  • Decorate the paper plates. I coloured in an ‘Alpacas with Maracas’ colour-in sheet.
  • Cut out and then paste the colour-in to the centre of one paper plate.
  • Tape some crepe paper streamers to the inside of the plate.
  • Place a small amount of dry pasta into the other paper plate.
  • Staple around the outside of the two plates to seal.
  • Children can use their shaker while singing or listening to music.

‘Classic Kids’ is an ABC KIDS listen and ABC Classic FM co-production.

Luke Carroll, from Play School, narrates a musical tale of the Australian landscape as Kirra Quokka travels from Rottnest Island to the Sydney Opera House. This ABC series introduces pre-schoolers to classical music. Children will see how instruments work together to create magical soundscapes. This musical series can be found on the ABC website under ‘Classic Kids’.