Music’s effect on learning has long been recognized, with research reinforcing the relationship between music and cognitive development. Outside of the developmental benefits, music can help bring joy, excitement, and inspiration into a child’s life.
If you want to help foster your child’s love for music at a young age, there are some simple yet powerful activities you can do with him or her at home. Here are four of our favorite music activities that will make your kids fall in love with music, learn important lessons, and reap the developmental benefits of music.
Create New Lyrics to Old Favorites
Children who learn songs often change words to meet their own needs and let their imaginations run free. Encourage your child to compose new verses from old favorites. They can get silly with it, or you can use songs to help them remember chores or to-dos. For example, washing hands can be made fun by changing the lyrics to the song “You’re Happy and You Know It” to “if you’re dirty and you know it, wash your hands”. Seasonal favorites like “Jingle Bells” can be transformed into “Playing games, playing games, games are so much fun.”
Help your child incorporate spelling, counting, or directions into his or her new musical masterpieces to make the music educational, as well as fun. Let them perform their new hit for the family, complete with a microphone and a fabulous stage outfit.
Draw, Dance, and Write to the Song
Many composers have written scores of music that tell a story with sound. Introduce kids to a variety of compositions – classical, jazz, contemporary, ethnic, and choral. Consider music like Fantasia, Flight of the Bumblebee, or The Nutcracker Suite. As you listen to music, help your kids to translate what they hear into an accompanying dance, a picture, or a story inspired by the music.
Activities that translate music into other forms of art can allow your children experience the tunes at a deeper level than just a collection of sounds.
Form a Rhythm Circle
Have the kids form a circle and follow the rhythm patterns that you make by clapping. You can have them walk, run, or skip according to a hand-clapped pattern. For example, long, even claps represent a walk; fast, even claps mean run; and combinations of short and long claps mean to skip. In this game, children will become aware of tempo, rhythm, and tone as they develop their listening skills and levels of concentration.
Build Instruments and Make a Band
Rhythm instruments appeal to kids who love to produce sounds. While store-bought instruments can be exciting at first, making instruments offers kids fun, creative, hands-on experiences and encourages pride of ownership. Raid the recycle bin to find suitable materials for these projects.
- Gather containers to hold beads, dried beans, and even rice to make shakers. Children can compare sounds according to the contents of each shaker.
- Wooden blocks covered with sandpaper encourage kids to tap or slide the blocks to make unique sounds.
- Cymbals can be made with aluminum pie pans that are crashed together.
- Coffee can drums can be used to beat a rhythm.
Once you have your instruments assembled, gather your little band together and let them loose to create their first instrumental song - earplugs may be necessary!
Music and STEM/STEAM Education
Your child’s musical exploration doesn’t have to be limited to the home and these recommended activities. At Stratford Schools, we put a spotlight on music education. Students learn about famous composers and explore music fundamentals using rhythm, beats, and movement. Each semester culminates in musical performances performed for other students and parents. Learn more about how Stratford Schools can help foster your child’s love for music by scheduling a tour today.