Children are born musicians. Babies turn their heads when they hear a parent or caregiver sing, toddlers sway to music, and preschoolers dance and twirl around the kitchen (generally when one of their parents is trying to prepare a meal). Elementary-aged children may sit with a tablet to listen to music on their headphones, while older kids may walk around with ear buds permanently inserted in their ears. And what child has not picked up a stick or a kitchen utensil and used it to tap out a beat?
As it turns out, this interest in music is good for kids. Calm music can help reduce anxiety and stress, while aiding in self-regulation.Children who sing rhyming songs learn about sounds, and children who try to figure out how to tap (or hit) the drum to make the loudest sound are using complex thinking skills.
We know that young children thrive on predictability. That’s why they ask us to read the same book or sing the same song over and over again - long after we’ve gotten tired of the book or the song. Barney the purple dinosaur was popular when my children were small and even now, I cringe a bit when I hear the all-too familiar refrain of “I love you, you love me.” If you’re feeling the same way about Baby Shark “...doo doo doo doo doo doo,” here are some ideas on how to promote music with your children.
Music is often used in the classroom to signal the start and stop of different activities - this helps children learn about and anticipate routines and expectations. The same can be true at home. Parents are trying to maintain a semblance of normalcy while children are at home, and playing a song when it’s time to wake up can help set that schedule. Younger children might enjoy hearing some of the same songs that they hear at school (greeting, hand washing, cleaning up, toothbrushing). If you don’t know the songs, ask the school if they can send them to you.
Here are some musically based activities that you can do with your children:
You don’t need any special supplies to make your own instruments; an oatmeal box makes a great drum, a plastic container filled with dried beans can stand in for a maraca, and a paper towel tube can serve as a wind instrument. Your kids will have fun and may even give you an impromptu concert!
Take out your pots and pans (or plastic ware if you want to dull the noise) and let your kids experiment with different ways to make music. Ask questions like, “What kind of noise will this paintbrush make on this pan lid?” “ Do you think the sound will be louder or softer than the sound when we bang these two metal pan lids together?” “Why do you think that?”
Support your child’s ability to recognize patterns by making up simple musical patterns and having your child repeat them.
Sit and listen to music together and share new vocabulary such as tempo, beat. Rhythm, or genre. And discover new styles like world beat music. Make up dances to match to music!
Do a musical scavenger hunt! Ask the child to find everything that can play music (phones, radios, tablets, computers, instruments, musical books).
Music can not only be a great way to engage with your children, it can be therapeutic in these tough times. We hope this gives you some new ideas of ways to bring music into your children’s daily lives.
New York Philharmonic
Teachers everywhere have yet another new challenge—supporting students and their families from home. We know that high-quality interactions, including interesting, hands-on experiences that are facilitated and supported with feedback, scaffolding, and higher-order thinking questions, best support young students' learning. So how do you help your students' caregivers offer the same high-quality interactions while at home? Well, Rachel Giannini has some super fun ideas to share! The following are ideas she shared during her session at our recent InterAct CLASS Summit.
Most kids like arts and crafts. They’re a great outlet for creativity. Ever watch a child finger-paint and see their delight as they make huge swirls and marks with their paint covered hands? Because arts and crafts are fun, they are a go-to activity for teachers, baby-sitters, and parents alike.
We are into our 5th week of school closures in my state and our governor already announced that schools will not reopen this academic year. While it’s true that most districts are sending information home and/or offering online instruction, kids still have more time on their hands than usual. What does all of this mean? It means we have a lot of bored and antsy children on our hands and social distancing means that a lot of kids are not able to spend time with people who aren’t a part of their family, which only makes matters worse.
I recently read that the sales of processed foods have soared with the rise of the coronavirus.
‘I Just Need the Comfort’: Processed Foods Make a Pandemic Comeback. Some of this may be attributed to nostalgia for simpler times - I can’t be the only person craving ice cream right now - while some is probably due to the fact that processed foods have a longer shelf life and none of us know when life will return to normal.