4. Physically Interact with Music
Experiment with clapping, stomping, “flailing”, and more. Different body parts make different sounds and develops motor skills and internal rhythm; kids, even babies, will then learn to interact with music on their own (9).
I had a very fussy baby and one of the only things we could do to make her happy was to “dance her”. This would include making her dance and also dancing with her. The steady movement decreased stress for her (10).
All ages benefit from the calming effect of music; in fact, the mental state can greatly be influenced by movement because of therapeutic effects of movement to rhythmic patterns (11). Even children that are so small that they cannot stand or dance, can still physically interact with it. My six month old instantly starts beating her hands up and down when I start singing because I would pat the ground as I sang with her in previous months.
5. Find Music in Nature
Go outside, listen for patterns, noises, and sounds. Listen to the birds and if the communicate with one another and if they continue to make the same sounds over and over again.
Make those noises by whistling, humming, or singing what you hear. Even if your child cannot do this, you can and they will hear you mimicking. This gets you out of the house and playing outside, which is also vital.
Use sticks as mallets on different mediums to drum on such as bricks, tree trunks, and the pavement. Listen for dogs barking and with older kids, discuss the relationship of if one dog barks or howls, why the others might as well and similarly why we join in singing together.
6. Make and use simple instruments
Homemade musical instruments show a child that music is all around them and not just while sitting at a piano or holding an instrument.
The whole world then becomes a musical medium.
For many young minds, it has even been concluded that they operate at a higher level of thinking, and have a greater sense of concentration and engagement while music is playing (12) (13). Therefore, while a teacher may get upset with a child drumming with their pencils, it may actually be stimulating their cognitive function and helping their attention span.
Limiting what is and is not a musical instrument could also stifle creativity and mental processes (14).
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Singing has been shown to be a key development in social skills.
It requires harmonization and an agreement in working with one another to achieve the desired outcome. It is much louder and more fluid than speaking, making it a more contagious and interactive experience (15).
Learning through song in a group setting through encoded content is also crucial for development; children are able to relate to one another because they all know “ABC”, “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”, and “London Bridges” (16).
Kara is an author and advocate for positive, grace-filled parenting. She is homeschooler to her 4 children living in Boston, MA and believes in creative educational approaches to help kids dive deeper into a rich learning experience. She has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development and is passionate about connecting with and helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!