Kids & Music Go Together

Infants and Music

From the time they were infants, children naturally sway and bob to the sounds of music. You are probably familiar with the myriad of modern-day classical music products made for babies still in the womb, based on the theory that early exposure to the classics will produce brighter, smarter, and more academically inclined children. There are even scientific explanations for the relaxing effects of music on infants and children. Thus it is clear that from a very young age, children and music go together in ways we have yet to discover and understand.

Children's Natural Expression

Music lessons for kids have numerous benefits; music has been shown to draw out normally withdrawn children, have a calming effect on aggressive and loud children, and peak the interest of seemingly disinterested and uninvolved children. Moreover, music allows children to express themselves in new and unique ways - whether singing, playing an instrument, tapping a foot, swaying a hip, or waving a hand to the beat of the music.

Music Educates and Entertains

Through music children have an opportunity to learn about sounds, sequencing, creativity, self-discipline, and to improve their attentive-listening and memory skills. Daycare musical activities call for some form of active participation from children rather than mere passive listening.

Music and Daycare: Getting Children Involved

To avail children of the benefits of music, make music an integral part of the daily daycare curriculum. The quality of singing or instrumentation is not important; children will be enriched through the simple act of getting involved. Here are some ideas:

•- Teach new songs by singing one line and having children repeat after you

•- Choose interactive songs which require children to 'answer back' or perform some sort of physical action

•- Add musical instruments to peak children's interest

•- Make your own musical instruments (there are myriads of homemade musical instrument ideas and free instructions available on the Internet)

•- Choose songs with upbeat or steady beats that are easy for kids to follow

•- Play music in the background as children engage in other activities

Fun Music Activities for Kids

Here are a few ideas to introduce music into daycare:

Movement Songs

Movement songs never grow old and are a children's favorite. Mix classics such as "I'm a Little Teapot," "If You're Happy and You Know It," and "Itsy Bitsy Spider" with more contemporary movement songs, or create your own musical movements to well-known tunes, to made-up lyrics, and to tempos and rhythms best suited for the children or activity involved.

Make Musical Instruments

Do a musical instrument making arts-and-crafts activity. Once children have completed creating the musical instrument of their choice from simple everyday materials, turn the daycare into a marching band, as the children proudly display their handmade instruments and march to the beat of their own drums and tunes.

Start and Finish the Day with Music

Make music an integral part of the daycare's routine, beginning with warm-up stretching exercises in the morning, and ending with a clean-up song or a selected song-of-the-day before pickup time.

Interpret the Music

Play a wide variety of short music selections, asking children to interpret the music by drawing, painting, tapping, or dancing to the beat and sounds they hear.

Bell Dance + Musical Freeze

Combining two classic children's musical games, kids go nuts for the following hilarious musical activity:

•- Attach a small bell to each child's shoe or foot

•- Start the music

•- Children dance free-style to the beat of the tune

•- Stop the music

•- Children must freeze on the spot, standing in whatever position they were in when the music stopped

•- The last "bell" heard dancing or moving is asked to leave the game until the next round

For more musical activity ideas for children in daycare, do a search online or visit your local library. You can even plan a group field trip to the library and have the children look up musical games and craft ideas.