5 Tips for Playing Music at Home with Your Child

Photo Credit:  pbs.org

Photo Credit: pbs.org

Whether we realize it or not, music is integrated into so many aspects of our children's day. Music is usually on in the car, all TV shows have a musical introduction, and music is often used as a learning tool for education TV shows, games, and at preschool. And it's no surprise that most young children LOVE music and moving their bodies (not to mention how adorable it can be!). But besides simply putting on some music for you child or buying her that drum that you may not really want in your house anyway, here are some ways you can enjoy music together at home that you may not have thought of before!

1. Make instruments.

Shakers are really easy to make with either a can with a lid, or even two paper plates. Put rice or beans in between the two plates, staple them all around, and voilà! you have a homemade musical instrument. You can also pick up a couple sticks outside and drum on things like trashcan lids. The good thing about this is that you can make a rule that the sticks stay outside. BuggyandBuddy.com has some more great ideas right here for instruments you can make at home.

2. Listen to music from other countries.

I know I said these were more ideas that just putting on music, but most of the time we don't think to put on music from other cultures. You could even go so far as to have themed nights with food from the other cultures as well, but a good place to start is with music. Depending on your child, you could talk about the kinds of instruments you hear, how fast or slow the music is, what the language sounds like, and how it is the same or different than the music you usually listen to.

3. Sing silly, predictable songs.

Songs are SO MUCH FUN when they are silly and if they rhyme, that's a bonus! Some kids might not be able to make up verses of their own, but they still understand that you are being silly. The predictive pattern of the song makes it easier for kiddos to catch on and sing along, too. A great one is "Apples and Bananas" or Raffi's "Down by the Bay". 

4. Use movements to sing songs.

Teachers call these "finger plays", and they are songs like the "Itsy Bitsy Spider" and "5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed". They are so much fun and incorporating movements will get your little one more engaged and paying more attention to the words. And just a hint: It's completely okay to make up the motions! There's no one way to do these!

5. Make up repeating patterns.

Even though creating patterns is a math skill for preschool/Kindergarten, music is a great way to expose your child to them. This is a super easy activity to do at home, or anywhere really. Start simple, with just an alternating pattern like clap your hands and pat your lap. As your child gets the hang of it, you can add more. The song "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes" is a good one to practice this, too.

And, who knows? Maybe your little one will have such a love for music and dancing that he or she will be the next Ellen sensation! :) 

When Ellen saw his video on the internet she was blown away! Choreography by Tricia Miranda. Video via The Ellen Show.


h/t NAEYC.org