I have a very musical family. As I write this post, I can hear my three-year-old son singing “Old MacDonald” at the top of his lungs while his dad, who plays several instruments, plays along with the guitar. My preschooler loves music. He is constantly playing his toy instruments and performing for his baby brother (yes- bringing music into your home can be noisy!). He even begged for a violin for his most recent birthday (thank goodness for reasonable finds on Craigslist). Between all the singing and instrument playing, music always seems to be happening at our house.
I wish I could say that I share this talent. Sadly, I do not. However! That does not mean that I don’t have a deep appreciation for music and all the wonderful things that it does for our kids.
Bringing music into your home will benefit EVERYONE.
Music is educational! Since it’s directly related to the development of math and pattern recognition, it is wonderful for building number skills and memory.
Music does not require screen time. And when kids create music, there is no wrong answer to what they are making: music can be anything that they want it to be.
Music gets you moving! Whether it’s working on the fine motor skills of plucking or strumming, or the gross motor skills of dancing and jumping, it’s a good way to move your body!
Music lifts your spirits! During a challenging time (like social distancing with our families for weeks on end, for example), we have to do whatever we can to lift our spirits.
Knowing all of this, music is something that I always try to encourage with kids. Here are my recommendations for fun and easy ways you can bring music into your home.
1. Free Online Lessons
With so many free lessons currently being offered online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, now is the time to encourage your kids to learn how to play an instrument. Fender is offering free guitar lessons, Skoove is offering free piano lessons, the London Symphony Orchestra (search ‘lessons’ on their YouTube channel) offers video lessons for just about every instrument. Looking for more options? This website has lots of great options for kids and lots of our Seacoast businesses are offering online classes for kids!
Reminder! Even if you don’t have any instruments at your house, using toys can be a good replacement for learning; my very musical husband once performed live using a child’s xylophone. And don’t forget that your voice is an instrument that everyone has.
2. Musical Crafts
What could be better than projects that combine both music and art? Attach two decorated paper plates together and fill them with beans for a homemade tambourine. Leftover Easter eggs stuffed with dry rice can become egg shakers – just don’t forget to tape them closed. Cut an opening in an empty cereal box and attach rubber bands over the hole to make a guitar. Need more ideas? This website has tons.
3. Write Your Own Song
As an English teacher, I can’t resist tossing this idea into the mix: have your child write lyrics to their own song. If they don’t want to come up with an original tune, have them change the lyrics to one of their favorites.
4. Form a Band and Put on a Concert
Ever dreamed about having your own band? Turn your COVID-19 quarantine time into family jam session time – or simply sing along to your favorite songs. Need an audience that lives outside of your four walls? FaceTime, Skype, or Zoom the grandparents! I’m sure they would love to see the show.
5. Musical Matching Game
A friend of mine who teaches preschool music told me about this game and I thought it was brilliant. Cut paper into squares and draw a set of pictures that represent children’s songs. For example, a smiley face could represent “If You’re Happy and You Know It”. For the artistically challenged parent like myself, you can print pictures instead. Lay the squares face down and have your kids take turns trying to make a match, similar to the Memory game. When a match is made, have them guess and sing the song. I can’t wait to try this game with my preschooler.
6. Online Music Performances
There are so many different options to listen to amazing online musical performances, especially right now. For example, your family can view performances by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic – both for free. And if you are looking for virtual live concerts in literally every musical genre, this website gives updates daily.
7. Have a “Song Suppa”
My preschooler may like music, but one thing he definitely does not like is trying new foods. While there are many ways to help with picky eating, one way that seems to work at our house is by having a “song suppa”. Each time a new food is tried, my preschooler is allowed to select a song to listen to from a premade playlist (he’s also allowed to touch the usually forbidden iPhone during his selection process, which is an extra incentive).
Don’t have a picky eater at your house? Let your kiddo design a “song suppa” playlist for the meal. A “song suppa” is a super easy way to incorporate music into your normal routine.
Warning – dance parties may or may not happen as a result of a “song suppa”.
8. Musical Apps and Websites
Using a musical app is one of the easiest ways to bring music into your home. Depending on the age of your child and the instrument they are interested in, there should be a wide range of options to pick from. Garage Band is a huge hit at my house, and I also recommend Minimoog Model D Synthesizer and PBS Kids Music Games. All of these apps allow you to play with music and are fun treats for your kiddos.