It’s undeniable that music can have a powerful effect on humans. Just think of the last time you heard a song and started dancing around or singing along. It’s almost as if the effect of the music takes over without you realizing it.
But music is even more powerful than getting you to tap your feet, especially when it comes to child development.
Music helps your child develop the skills she needs for school readiness. And we’re not just talking about help with learning intellectual skills, like reading and writing (although music works a powerful magic with those skills too!). But music can also help your child develop social-emotional skills, motor skills, language skills, memory skills, and so much more.
It should come as no surprise then, that a good preschool curriculum should emphasize music in a variety of learning situations.
At UDA Creative Arts Preschool, we use music when we teach math, science, social skills, self-discipline, literacy skills, listening skills, motor skills, and more.
Recently, we installed a new interactive musical structure in our outside play area so the children can freely play, explore, work together, and use music in their pretend play.
We aren’t exaggerating when we say the children flock to the musical structure. It’s a joy to hear musical sounds mixed with laughter, cooperative language, and imaginative ideas.
To bring some of the same benefits of music to your home, try one or more of these 9 ideas.
1. Music Painting
The more senses you incorporate into an activity, the more your child learns. Incorporate sight and touch with sound with this musical activity for preschoolers.
Put on some music, give your child some paints and a paintbrush, and ask them to paint while listening to the music. Vary your selections — use classical music, jazz, pop, and more. Play fast-paced and slow pieces; loud and quiet; many instruments and solo instruments.
2. In the Manner of…
This is a fun game to let your child express themselves with music. Make a list of simple songs (Mary Had a Little Lamb, Pop! Goes the Weasel, etc.). Make a separate list of different ways your child can express the beat. Can they jump up and down? Stomp like an elephant? Tiptoe like a ladybug? Roll like a steamroller?
Call out a song from your song list, and an expression type from your other list, and have your child sing and move according to what was called out. Vary your combinations.
3. Go on a World Tour
Experience the world together through music — while teaching your child to be a better listener. Find folk songs and traditional musical styles from different countries and regions, and listen to the songs together.
Talk about what you like (“I love the strong beat!”), what you hear (“I hear a piano”), how you feel (“This song makes me feel relaxed”), what the words in the songs mean, and more.
4. Freeze Dance
This is a classic game for a reason: Everybody loves it! (It also makes a great party game if you ever run out of things to do.) Turn on some fun music, and tell your preschooler to dance. When you pause the music at random times, your child should stop and “freeze,” holding whatever position he is currently in.
5. Name That Tune
See if your child can guess a song from only a few hints. Hum the beginning, sing the start, or tap the rhythm.
6. Dance Competition
Get some exercise with your preschooler while you challenge each other to make up the funniest/happiest/saddest/highest/lowest/fastest/slowest dance moves in accordance with what song is playing. Try and match the challenge to the mood of the song. Let your preschooler suggest ideas!
7. “Meet” Instruments
Look for opportunities for your child to touch, feel, and try different instruments. Ask a friend to show your child how a guitar works, introduce your child to the high and low sounds of a piano, dust off your trumpet from middle school, get as close as possible to the orchestra pit at a performance, etc. Make instruments at home with pots and spoons, beans in jars and cups, and more.
8. Sing, Sing, Sing!
Expose your child to melodies by singing often! Even if you don’t think you have a good voice, sing along to your favorite playlist. Turn the grocery list into a song by singing it to “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” Sing your instructions to your child with any melody that pops into your head. (Bedtime routines might even go a little more smoothly if you sing your instructions to an old *NSync or Metallica song — you never know.)
9. Learn Nursery Rhymes
If you can’t remember nursery rhymes, look them up on YouTube or attend a story time at your local library. The rhythmic canter and the rhymes in these classics will help your child develop memory, confidence, pre-reading skills, and more.
Come check out our new musical structure, and see how we incorporate music into our curriculum every single day at UDA Creative Arts Preschool in Draper, Utah. Give us a call at (801) 523-5930, or contact us online for a tour.