Date of Graduation


Document Type

UAF Access Only - Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Degree Level



Human Development, Family Sciences and Rural Sociology


Herold, Laura

Committee Member/Reader

Timby, Donia

Committee Member/Second Reader

McNally, Shelley


This paper presents a creative research project that introduced musical instruments in an outdoor setting to infants and toddlers ages 0-3 years old. It is grounded in research suggesting that music plays a vital component in expanding development in the early childhood years, helping to promote learning across many domains. This project began with a survey distributed to 7 infant and toddler classroom educators, after which responses were analyzed for themes regarding perceived infant interests. Subsequent observations were conducted to evaluate the best fit for the implementation of an outdoor experiential music space. Based findings, a developmentally appropriate musical space was implemented on the infant and toddler playground of a campus child development study center. Key elements of the space included a design allowing for open exploration, comfortable seating for all ages, and the promotion of conversations and interactions. Finally, observations were conducted to evaluate the impact of this setting on infant and toddler interactions. Qualitative analysis suggests that the new outdoor music space promotes interactions and engagement, dramatic play episodes, and the expression of emotions, which are all critical to the development of self-esteem and social-emotional competence.


Infant and Toddler, Music, Child Developemnt, Early Education