Use these 5 easy music activities today at home or in therapy sessions!
Many parents I encounter think they can’t sing. This is simply untrue. Children want to hear your voice. Even from the time they are in the womb children begin to recognize and prefer their mom’s voice. If you are a teacher or therapist not sure about singing, sing anyway! Singing is fun and if you sing, they will sing too! We want to teach our kids that self-expression is OK and nothing to be self-conscious about. We must set an example for them.
If you are in the small percentage whose client or child has perfect pitch and aural sensitivity and requests that you not sing as a result, (I do see this from time to time with children who have autism spectrum disorders), then tip #2 is for you.
Use recorded music! There is an infinite amount of children’s music out there. Follow the child’s lead. In music therapy we often teach that an effective way to connect to any client, young or old, is to use their preferred music. If your child is always singing Let it Go from Frozen (every child is these days!!), introduce him or her to popular songs from older Disney movies. Before you spent a ton on downloading music, make sure to check out YouTube for educational and fun songs. Make your own playlist for daily listening!
Don’t just listen to that recorded music. Encourage your child to move and set an example by dancing with them! You can pretend to be the characters in the song. You can act out the actions. You can just boogie down! Tap your toes and swing to the beat! Some songs are written with actions which will give the child an opportunity to practice listening and following directions in a positive environment.
Do you need instruments to create instrumental music? Yes AND No. There are plenty of ways to use common household items as instruments. My son certainly loves to bang on pots and pans in the kitchen using utensils! You can fill old medicine containers with bean or beads to use as shakers. If you prefer to have real instruments check out these maracas and drums from West music. There is a range of options for instruments to fit every family’s budget.
So how do you use the instruments? Simply play! For a little more structure, turn on a recording or sing as you play. Take turns. Give each other cues to start and stop (freeze game). There is no right or wrong. Only you connecting with the child in a meaningful way.
Have you ever noticed how many children’s books rhyme? Do you know the ABC song or Twinkle little star? Then you are ready to sing those rhyming books with your child. During story time sing the words to a tune that you know rather than just reading out loud. This makes for a more enriching sensory experience. Your child will likely begin to learn and anticipate the words more quickly than she may otherwise. Some books are even designed to be sung and come WITH a CD that you can use! One of my clients’ favorites is Dinosaur Pet by Neil Sedaka.
Guide to the Best Singable Books
Get our FREE Singable Books ebook - 25 stories that can easily be used with music.