Boogie Mites

Transform Rubbish Into Music Magic For Little Elves and Fairies!

The year is whizzing past, as usual, which means it’s nearly time for Chatterbox Challenge 2016!

Once again Boogie Mites are delighted to play our part in boosting children’s communication through active music making, and we have put together some fun and easy-to-follow music resources that I hope you will enjoy using (and yes these do include free song mp3s and videos!).

So why are I CAN and Boogie Mites so crazy about music?

Well, as you know, the latest neuroscience is showing us that active music making – music making that involves seeing, hearing, touching, moving – engages all of our senses, providing one of the richest learning environments that there is and boosting communication skills across the board. Scientists have found that music making:

  • boosts the verbal IQ of developmentally healthy children in early years
  • improves semantics (understanding of language) as well as syntax (structure, grammar)
  • develops phonological awareness: a key pre reading skill
  • hones listening and speaking skills

Putting The Science Into Practise

Of course, children won’t get the ‘music magic’ unless they have the opportunity to access active music making in our homes and settings. Luckily you don’t have to be Beyonce or Pavarotti to maximise the power of music for developing language and communication. Everyone can lead effective early years music making activities!

Join the fun and register for your FREE Chatterbox Challenge Activity Pack at Like previous years we are providing some great additional Chatterbox Challenge activities to help bring your Chatterbox Challenge week to life and engage with your child(ren), you can access them here!*

Boogie Mites website:



* If you click on the link below you can join our membership site and get access to the CBC 2016 resources. Please note, by joining you have NOT subscribed to receive marketing emails

Here is an idea that you can you try today to get you in the Chatterbox Challenge mood…it’s cheap, fun, boosts brain development and can be used with the free Boogie Mites song resources that you can access here.

Rubbish Sack Songs

What You Will Need

  1. A cardboard box or bag – a re-useable shopping bag is perfect
  2. Some ‘rubbish’….different kinds of paper, cardboard tubes, clean food packaging (eg plastic tubs of all sizes, black plastic trays that fruit is sometimes sold in), cardboard boxes (eg cereal boxes, laundry soap boxes). Basically you are looking for stuff that makes an interesting sound.
  • If you are a childminder or nanny at home you can do this bit with your child(ren) as a sort of ‘rubbish’ treasure hunt, exploring the sounds that different things make as you go.

(Supports Communication and Language)

  • If you are a practitioner working in a setting you can ask parents to bring things in.

(Supports parent-setting relationship and home learning environment)

What To Do

  1. Empty all the rubbish out of the bag/box and on to the floor.
  • If you are in a setting with lots of children, make a circle and put the rubbish in the middle
  1. Let the children explore the rubbish – you may find some children make sounds, others use the rubbish for role play, others start folding and packing things away.
  2. Now pick a favourite song and suggest ways that the children can use the rubbish to keep the tempo of the song – for example patting a box like a drum, clapping with scrunched up paper in their hands to make a different sound, beating margarine tubs on the floor. Sing the song with the children keeping the beat with their rubbish.

(Supports Communication and Language, Expressive Arts and Design, Maths, Personal, Emotional and Social Development, Physical Development coordination and fine motor skills).

  1. Now you can ask the children to describe the sound they are making…is it loud, soft, scrunchy, sharp etc. What does it sound like? E.g. what animal do the margarine tubs sound like? Could scrunchy paper be the sound of waves or leaves in the trees?

(Supports Communication and Language)

  1. Use this conversation to trigger another song: for example Horsey Horsey Don’t You Stop with the margarine tubs keeping the beat of the horses hooves.

(Supports Communication and Language)

Other Ideas For Your Rubbish Sack

  • Enliven Your Storytelling

Use the rubbish sack at story time to really engage with children’s imaginations and to get them thinking about, talking about and reproducing the sounds they hear and imagine.

Open the book and look at the first picture. Before you start to tell the story, ask the children ‘What’s going on in the picture?’, ‘Now what do you think that sounds like?’, ‘How can we make that sound with our rubbish sack?’, ‘Is there a picture of a dinosaur?’, ‘Maybe we need to making stomping noises on a box.’, ‘Is there a picture of a butterfly?’, ‘Maybe we can rustle paper in the air for the sound of the wings.’

  • Boost your singing activities

Download the Choo Choo Choo Choo song that you can access here as part of your Chatterbox Challenge 2016 activities. Ask the children how they can use the rubbish as well as their voices to mimic the sounds of transport. For example scrunchy paper might make a good “choo choo choo” sound. And children can shout sounds like “whizz, zoom, whoosh” through the cardboard tubes to imitate a rocket going into space.

(Supports Communication and Language, Personal, Emotional and Social Development)

  • Have a Boogie

Use some pre-recorded music and just dance around using the rubbish to keep the beat. With less confident children, just holding a box to bang can provide the confidence to get up and join in.

You could use this idea as part of the ‘Corners’ game suggested in the CBC 2016 activities here.*

(Supports Personal, Emotional and Social Development, Physical Development)

I hope you like this rubbish sack idea. I look forward to seeing photos of your elves and fairies as they make music magic for I CAN’s Chatterbox Challenge 2016.

* If you click on the link below you can join our membership site and get access to the CBC 2016 resources. Please note, by joining you have NOT subscribed to receive marketing emails

Harriet Thomas

About the Author

Harriet Thomas is author of the upcoming book ‘Get The Music Magic’ and Creative Director of Boogie Mites UK.