Add a Soundtrack to Play & Learning

Happy child with headphones listening to music.Does a favorite song play over and over in your head? I totally understand and I commiserate with you. There is something about music. It is everywhere – the car, grocery store, movies, worship and celebrations.

Music is a groovy addition to your child’s day. You can use music to calm, engage and to show your love. Routine activities can become “fun” with the addition of music. Children of all ages love music! Lively music encourages a child to dance versus soothing music that settles them.

Benefits of Music

Children benefit from music. There are numerous studies to show this. Studies find that musical experiences accelerate brain development. Music helps the body and mind work together. It accentuates the sounds and meaning of words. Children dancing to music build fine and large motor skills. Music helps strengthen memory skills as words to a song are repeated.

Music also impacts our emotion and motivation. I love how silly songs make children and adults laugh. Music creates a bond between listeners. I think the most important benefit of music to a young child is the focused attention from a parent. So join your child in something musical today!

Different Music for Different Ages

With an Infant

Consider sharing a lullaby. Gently rock or sway with a young infant. For an older infant, dance while you’re holding him/her or share a rhyme with a bounce. Encourage your child to move their arms and legs in response to the music.

With a Toddler

Encourage music and movement. Experiment with rhythm sticks, tapping your feet, or even clapping to produce rhythms and take turns imitating the rhythm. Moving your fingers with the beat or for certain words in the song is a great option. Change the words to a familiar rhyme to make-up your own song.

With a Preschooler

Sing along with nursery rhymes or songs from a favorite movie or TV show. Look for music or songs (Down By the Bay) that encourage rhyming. Share complex hand movements or make up songs with your child. Experiment with a drum, xylophone, tambourine, hand bells or shaker eggs. Adding a song to hand washing helps the 20 seconds go by fast and is an excellent way for kids to learn how long to wash.

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Sherry Hess

As the Early Childhood Learning Coordinator, Sherry is focused on engaging young children and their families in play-based early learning experiences. The Learn & Play Bus and its service are at the heart of her work. Sherry has a background in early childhood education.