Musical Punctuation

Turning punctuation learning into a fun activity!

I spoke to my mum about this blog- she owns several nurseries in the North West of England, and said that her children are too young for this. I don’t think so. I think it’s never too early to introduce your children to them. To anything, in fact. I once read that if your child can say “tyrannosaurus Rex” then they can say any long word.

It will set them up better for when they do need to know what they are for. Especially if they have older siblings, they will just get more chance to consolidate it.

Bells are a shaking instrument

Children in Early Years and Key Stage one should learn the difference between shaking, banging and scraping sounds. When thinking about a punctuation mark, you can talk about which type of sound lends itself to those kinds of sounds.

If you have musical instruments in your house then great, but you can either just use things around the house such as two spoons to clink together, an upside down mixing jug as a drum etc or even body percussion which you’ll read about in Maths and Musical instruments near the end of this blog.

Make your own instruments

Or you can make your own. Putting rice into a Pringle Packet makes a great shaker… here are some more ideas.

Use punctuation prompts

With your child, choose what sound goes with which punctuation. When I was a Class Teacher, the children would always use a drum for the full stops.

G3 is learning the sound ‘q’ at nursery at the moment!

Make your own punctuation prompts by drawing a big one out on paper.

Pick up a book. Choose a book with speech in it as the more punctuation, the better. It will have speech marks but also more likely to have exclamation marks and question marks.

For a capital letter, have a summer cap in front so they put it on and take it off at the beginning of every sentence and for Proper Nouns.

When you start to do this activity, the adult can read the words and say what the punctuation is. So the child just has to look for the capital letters and full stops.

Next, introduce the comma.

Question marks are always useful for them to recognise. (I usually like a maraca for that)

Then exclamation marks.

Speech marks…(you can either play them at the beginning and end of the speech or the whole time the character is speaking)

I love ellipsis… (with my children we say “dot dot dot ellipsis”- by doing this, it gets engrained into their heads) the dots can be down by a xylophone.

Maths with musical instruments

Shapes, space and measures also involves learning patterns. Patterns don’t just have to be drawn.

Make your own patterns with instruments. You could even use the punctuation to tell you which instrument to play next, such as:

If the full stop is a drum and the question mark is a shaker, the pattern would be .?.?.?.?.?. So they play drum, shake, drum, shake etc

You can make it with as many sounds as you like. You don’t even have to use physical instruments- your body is an instrument so they could bang their feet, clap their hands, whistle, click fingers (those last two take some practising)

Peter and the wolf

When I was a class teacher in Manchester, We invited the Philharmonic Orchestra to the school to perform this play. The children even got to play the instruments.

For our older learners, Peter and the Wolf is playing at the Royal Albert Hall on the 30th of June. The way they use instruments to portray the characters is amazing.

They recommend children to be 7 upwards.

More to books…

Essentially, you can pick up any book for these activities. You can even make your own sentences/paragraphs up together.

Poppy and the orchestra, the brass band and Mozart are brilliant books to learn about instruments.

They are sound books, so your children can hear the different instruments that they might not usually get access to. (P.s you can use these buttons as part of your punctuation patterns or punctuation sentences)

Poppy and the Orchestra by Magele Le Huche (photo credit:

Poppy and the Brass Band by Magali Le Huche (photo credit:
Poppy and Mozart by Magali Le Huche (photo credit:
My first Xylophone book by Usborne

If you’d like your little one to feature in this blog, send a pic of them with their favourite instruments

Love Kat x

Published by moretobooks

Award- winning author of the book: “There’s more to books than reading- how to help your child bring stories to life” With a Masters in Education, I have taught as a School teacher across Northern England and have worked as a Nanny/Governess in London and across the world. I support parents and nannies to bring learning into the home in an exciting and purposeful way. Also a speaker at events such as NannyPalooza and the International Nanny Day 2017 and featured in the Nanny Magazine (USA) and Childcare Magazine (UK)

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