All children are musical! You can make music together as a family, even if you don’t have formal music training. Making music with your children when they are young can help them learn and grow, develop a healthy bond with you, and foster a love of music that will last a lifetime. Here are some simple ways to make music with your kids:
Repeat their noises
This technique works even with the youngest infants! When your baby coos at you, coo right back and smile. This helps your baby learn the basics of communication! Older babies and toddlers babble and say silly things – repeat them right back to them, making them into a song or chant. Play around with the emphasis, volume, speed, and rhythm. For example, if your toddler is babbling, “ba-ba-ba,” you could say, “Ba! Ba! Ba!” Wait for a reaction from your toddler, and then try it a different way. “Ba…..ba…..ba-ba-ba!” This encourages toddlers to experiment with their voices and learn more advanced communication skills, and builds a foundation for musical learning.
Define the sounds you hear and make
Making music involves listening as well as making sound. Help your kids build self-awareness and listening skills by defining the sounds they hear and make. Did your preschooler just tap a stick on the sidewalk? Say, “I heard that stick make a tapping sound! Tap, tap, tap!” Encourage her to repeat the sound. Find other things around your yard that make similar or different sounds. Tap things together with your child and chant, “Tap, tap, tap!” Maybe you could find things that splash, crash, clap, or stomp, too.
Make up silly songs
Making up silly songs can relieve tension and help your kids pay attention to a task at hand. You can make anything into a silly song! Just put on your sing-song voice and don’t worry about what it will sound like. You can sing about anything (and I mean anything…I can’t even tell you how many pee and poop songs I’ve sung with my kids). Silly singing helps kids have fun with music, encourages your kids to experiment with their own voices, and helps your day move along more smoothly.
Sing along to favorite songs
Just turn on your music and sing along! Encourage your child to sing along, or have her get involved by choosing the next song. This is a nice activity to do while you’re trying to accomplish a task your kid might not be excited about – getting dressed or cleaning up, for example. Remember, it doesn’t matter how good you sound! Singing along demonstrates your own love of music and helps your kids learn to develop their own favorite playlists.
We all know that kids have a hard time sitting still. Kids learn by moving around and experiencing the world through all of their senses. Children often begin dancing when they learn to sit up! Babies wiggle and clap to music, and toddlers and preschoolers start using more complex dance moves, even if they were never taught to do so. Encourage this by dancing with your children. They won’t care what you look like. Try doing a combination of free dancing (just put on music and dance) and structured movement. There are a lot of great structured dance songs for kids on YouTube! I’ve included a couple of my favorites below.
What would you add to the list? I’d love to hear how you make music with your kids in the comments below. 🙂