Let’s get Musical!
Music brings a wide range of emotions to everyone, young and old and is considered to be a universal language, connecting people all over the world. Children need a variety of activities to stimulate cognitive brainwork, which can be achieved through activities with music.
Simple exercises in finding the beat of a song helps children build motor coordination, develop coordination, and increase sensory development. These can be accomplished by marching along to the beat or clapping hands. Extending these activities can occur by asking children to move to every other beat or strike a different pose on each beat. These activities require children to move in a synchronized manner which helps them increase motor skills. Encourage kids to be creative and silly as they get their bodies moving to the beat.
Exercises in musical rhythm helps contribute to the development of language processing, attention skills, memory for temporal patterns, and social connections. These types of tasks can be introduced by the parent performing a rhythm by clapping, stomping, or using simple percussion instruments, while the children listen. Then the children repeat the rhythm verbatim. The parent can gradually increase the difficulty in the complexity of the rhythm or movements required to perform the rhythm, as well as the length of the pattern. Once kids are comfortable with this exercise, they can take turns making up a rhythm and the parent follows along. Examples of a spoken phrase rhythm are, “I like van-illa cake” or “coco butter, nutty butter.” There are several nursery rhymes that help children develop rhythm, like Hickory Dickory Dock. Your children can sing along with more nursery rhymes with Kids Academy.
Hopefully your children will enjoy the development of musical ear and sense of rhythms. A more advanced rhythm activity is dancing along to music with tempo changes. Ask kids to move along to the beat of music that speeds up or slows down. During joint singing games, the leader might introduce tempo changes that kids need to listen for and then adapt their own singing to stay in time. Children can also take turns leading the singing task and changing tempos. Fading the beat in and out is another advanced rhythm activity. Children start with a clapping or drumming a steady beat, then the leader fades the music out by lowering the volume and the children must keep the steady beat going without the music. Within a few seconds, the leader increases the music back in and the kids check how well they have done at maintaining the beat without the music. Depending on the tempo and skill level of kids, the results can be surprising. Sometimes kids will be surprised on how far off they are from the original beat.
Familiar melodies provide a sense of security and comfort. Singing songs is a fun way to instill routines and transitions. In school, teachers may use “The Clean-up Song” to indicate one activity is ending and another will begin shortly. Or at home, singing a child’s favorite song could facilitate a bedtime routine, where the child knows it’s time to brush their teeth and cozy up in bed. Both are examples of how songs can encourage children to participate in routines in a fun and familiar manner.
Activities with music should feel good to all and be fun!