Behind-the-scenes at Songs & Smiles

Songs & Smiles is a weekly singing and social group for babies and toddlers, their parents/carers and care home residents.

Our current pilot has been taking place in the residents’ lounge at Ross Wyld Care Home in Walthamstow, east London, since July 2017.

We sing songs, make new friends and, most importantly, have lots of fun.


Everyone is given a name badge on arrival to help us get to know each other. At the beginning of each session, children and their grown-ups hand shakers and tambourines out to the residents.

We then sing nursery rhymes and old favourites along to instrumental backing tracks, with added sensory surprises like balloons and bubbles.

The songs have been selected to appeal to both young and old; the residents remember the melodies and lyrics from their own childhoods, or from when they were looking after little ones themselves. We always finish with the Hokey Cokey, a real favourite that gets the energetic amongst us up and dancing (whilst those less able to stand have great fun watching).

After singing, we have Meet & Mingle time – lots of toys, refreshments and time to chat. As parents and children become regular attendees, intergenerational friendships begin to flourish. It’s lovely for residents to watch the little ones grow over time, for parents to widen their social circle and for children to have older people in their lives on a regular basis.

Songs & Smiles is on Fridays, 11am at Ross Wyld Care Home, London E17 4PZ. More information on our Facebook page.

Louise Goulden