Preschool-age children are normally open to musical play and enjoy activities that center around rhythm, harmony and melody. Parents can encourage their natural interest by providing musical opportunities for their children.
Musical and Rhythmic Activities for Young Children
There are many activities that can be done to music accompaniment or a CD of music playing in the background. Take a portable CD player into the garden for outside activities or use an iPod with speakers. Here are some simple ideas that parents can use to engage their children’s interest:
• Dancing among fallen leaves and tossing them in the air appeals to preschoolers. Encourage them to listen to the rustling sounds as they crunch leaves underfoot
• Blow bubbles and play floaty-type music as children run around and try to catch them. Vary the volume and tempo and watch to see if they change the way they are running
• Skipping to music is an old favorite with children. If the child is too young to skip on his own, tie a rope or length of elastic between two chairs and help him hop backwards and forwards over it
• Give children hand puppets and suggest they make them dance and move to music playing in the background
• Ribbons tied around wrists or dowel rods with strips of foil or crepe paper tied to the ends make dance and movement fun
• Play a variety of music and call out animal names for children to imitate. Let them tiptoe like mice, stomp like elephants, beat their chests like gorillas and fly like birds
• Ask children to act out things such as thunder, lightning, popcorn popping or a building crashing down
• Supply simple instruments such as toy whistles, drums, harmonicas and tambourines and allow the child to experiment
• A favorite activity is calling out instructions such as crawl, rock, gallop, skip and roll over. Children thoroughly enjoy this type of play
• Nursery rhymes on CD or DVD can be fun, especially if they have actions that can be played out to the words
• Clapping exercises can help with counting and rhythm. Perform a simple sequence of about four claps and ask the child to copy you. As they grasp the concept, add a couple of extra claps or make the rhythm more complicated
Children find movement fun and musical enjoyment comes naturally. Parents can nurture these natural interests by spending time with their children and engaging them in some of the activities suggested above. This should result in pleasurable moments for both parent and child.
Reference: Music, Learning and your Child by Julie Wylie, Canterbury University Press, 1996