Music is such a joyful part of the holiday season! This year, during the two week winter break, mix up some of your favorite holiday songs with these fun ideas from our Music Therapists! Danielle and Cara have shared some wonderful ideas on how to enhance the musical experience in the home setting. Keep on reading for some fun ways to enjoy music as a family, while simultaneously strengthening their growth and development. Thank you, Danielle and Cara, for sharing so many GREAT tips!
1. Cause and effect play and learning through music is an important skill for our littlest learners. A great way to learn is through movement with instruments. Creating instruments at home is easy! Sensory/ankle bells are fun to dance with and stringing bells onto the pipe cleaner is also a great bilateral and fine motor task.
2. Sometimes it’s fun to get messy! You can use any favorite music to do drum or shaker painting and build a sense of rhythm with your child. Use popsicle sticks as drum sticks and “drum along” while you paint. You can also incorporate ‘zip and zoom’ for added fine motor and language play. Or fill a peanut butter jar with paper and marbles and a bit of paint and shake along or roll it back and forth to the music to make a painted creation. This is a great way to work on turn taking. Experiment with fast and slow songs.
3. Anything can be a drum! Let your child experiment with pots and pans and plastic bins and see what sounds you can make. You can spread these around the room to encourage work on crawling or walking from place to place. Or put metal pots and lids in the bathtub to see how the sound changes when it gets filled with water. Wooden spoons make great drumsticks!
4. Dance, Dance, Dance! Toddlers are learning all the ways their bodies can move, wiggle and jump. Adding a visual component like scarves or ribbons can help increase body awareness. Imitating or copying your movements increases focus and attention demands. Musical preferences are still emerging and different styles of music encourage different types of body movements. So bounce and jump to some hip hop or reggae music. Then float and move slowly to classical tunes. Exposure to various styles is good for a child’s brain development!
5. Sing as a way to connect! Sing to your child, this may mean singing about what you’re doing. When you sing incorporate eye contact or touch to build connection. Sing WITH your child! Pause during familiar childhood songs like Old McDonald or Wheels on the bus and
encourage use of their language to fill in the sounds or imitate you.
6. Transition songs! Making up a little tune during a daily routine can be extremely helpful to get kids motivated. Making up these little songs helps to motivate, organize, and cue a certain action you'd like your child to do!
Here's an example:
(tune of Farmer in the Dell)
It's time to brush your hair
It's time to brush your hair
Hi Ho the Derry Oh
It's time to brush your hair!
7. Encourage Movement! Turn on some music and have a family dance party! You can have each child or parent take turns being the leader, and everyone has to do what he/she is doing. This is great for family bonding and encouraging any movements your child needs to work on in a non-therapeutic type environment.
8. Use music as a reward at home! Does your child like a certain song? Try telling them "First you need to _______, and then we will listen to _________".
Music is a fun, motivating, and rewarding experience the whole family can be involved in! Get creative and silly. Your child will love it!
Thank you so much, Danielle and Cara, for these insightful ideas on how to incorporate music into our homes. We can't wait to try these out! For more information about the Music Therapy Program at the Rise School, click here!