Connecting through music is an important part of the human experience. From the first moments that our ears develop in the womb, we are exposed to sounds. Heartbeats, breathing, and the sound of our mothers voice.
Music has been scientifically proven to benefit us in many ways, studying music develops a multitude of skills as well as actually “working out” our brains, making our synapses fire faster, and helping us to make faster connections. Humans use sound, music, and dance to communicate, and they are vital to developing our emotional abilities. Music is used in therapy, in expression, in connection. And you don’t have to be able to play and instrument or be able to sing to enjoy music, an to share it with others!
As a parent, we find ourselves responsible for encouraging development and facilitating experiences where our children can discover music. Starting early is fantastic but you can include musical activities from any age. Better late than never, just remember it’s all about positive reinforcement. If you are excited about music, your child will naturally develop a love for it too!
Musical Activities to do with Kids
Singingmay not be the easiest for everyone, and not everyone sings well. But singing is proven to be a huge health benefit, and singalongs soften any off-key voice! Take off the pressure! Make a fun and easy kids music playlist and choose a time of day to have a sing-a-long. Bath time is great, or perhaps if you travel by car, you can have a go-to car playlist. Another great way to include music in your day, is a nap time play list. Focus on softer, quieter music, you may even find that certain songs start putting your kids to sleep no matter where they are and can be a huge help in soothing kids if they are not feeling well, or are out of their comfort zone (in a holiday hotel, or needing a nap after a strenuous day)
Play musical games, or set up musical games for them to play with friends. Musical games are perfect for developing rhythm and listening skills. They are also great for getting moving and using up all that boundless energy that kids have. Make up your own games or add music to existing ones.
Have a dance party! This is a great way to expose your kids to different musical genres! You may be surprised by what kind of music they like! Try to include a range or make different playlists for different dance parties. Then for 20 mins or so, pick the smaller kids up and dance with them on your hips, or hold hands or just dance around the house or garden together!
Make Instruments or play on toy instruments. Bang pots and pans, plastic bowls or cups. Make shakers from rice and beans, try create a water xylophone. Play with sound and music. Facilitate an environment where the kids can create their own songs. If they are into videos, you can always incorporate the idea of making a music video. This activity can include other materials, drawing and painting, writing music, thinking about how the music video will look, and filming the whole thing. If the kids are older, it can be a fun idea to add in editing the video. Your kids will be making Tiktok or youtube videos before long anyway!
Take small babies and toddlers to a music sensory group. They will be exposed to different sounds and musical experiences. Repetition, like clapping is great for memory and helps with language development. You can then repeat these games and activities at home and incorporate music into your life. Make up songs for doing chores like tidying up or brushing teeth. It turns these otherwise boring activities into a fun game and can involve other learning like counting or movement!
Watch musical movies. Kids love tv, there’s no doubt! So pick out some movies with great songs that you can sing together, or series about music and bands. If they are older perhaps make movie playlists, have a family movie night, and watch a movie about their favourite band or singer, or even a movie with a great soundtrack! Disney has a whole host of musical movies for all ages.
Get out there! Experience music outside of the home! Take your kids out to the theatre to see a musical, expose them to music festivals or concerts from a young age. You can always buy sound softening headphones for the littlest kids, or choose more family oriented concerts. Not only will they be seeing how great music is in the context of the wider world, but going to a weekend concert is a great event for the whole family.