When you hear an uplifting song, does your foot tap to the beat? Now try giving your young child a shaker or a couple of pan lids and watch her shake, rattle and roll.
Music is fun and entertaining for people of all ages. And for young children, it can be even more beneficial, acting as a calming mechanism, a memory device and a creative channel. When we provide musical experiences to early learners, we help them build important social, emotional and cognitive brain connections, which helps them hit developmental milestones as they grow.
That is why it is so important to expose your child to music at an early age. The benefits of music for young children last for life.
As students listen and sing words set to music and chant syllables in rhythm, they develop an ear for patterns in the music, which translates to recognizing the rhythm and pattern of sounds in words, phrases and sentences. They also hone their active listening skills, learning when to speed up, slow down, start and stop. And through music, children become more aware of mathematical and art patterns without realizing it.
Making music at home
Here are some easy ways you can enjoy music with your child and help nurture his or her musical development.
- Car singalongs: Sing the first line of a familiar song, like “The Wheels on the Bus.” Have your child sing the next line. Continue taking turns, perhaps even getting other family members involved. This activity not only builds verbal memory but also develops listening skills and concentration. Or, while singing a well-known song, replace the original words with new ones. Together, you can invent a gesture for each word and enjoy the giggles that follow.
- Kitchen karaoke: Pull out some old pots and pans for your child to play along while you’re cooking in the kitchen. Sing a song and encourage her to keep the beat. Or put on an old-fashioned family jam session! Grab some instruments or household items that make interesting sounds, such as pans and lids as cymbals, oatmeal boxes as drums, or paper-and-comb kazoos. Cue up some music and dance and play!
- Song freeze: This game teaches your child careful listening. Play one of your child’s favorite songs and dance together. Stop the song at random. When the music stops, everyone must freeze. When the music starts, everyone can get back to grooving.
Music helps foster communication skills, vocabulary development, comprehension, creative self-expression and confidence in young children in a playful way. When you infuse music into your child’s daily routine, I promise you’ll be thrilled with the impact — now and, more importantly, in the future.
For more on why music is important for young children, check out these resources: