Another week and another chance for us to get our kids into music. This time I have included a drum. I find that out of all the instruments kids love, drums are at the top. This drum is great because I think it will take kids a few attempts to really get the rhythm of it. When things present a little challenge to kids they like it more once they have overcome it. It comes from being proud and feeling accomplished.
So this week I have included another video below of music being played, this band got a lot of attention in the 90's after featuring in a big film? comment below or on social media if you know what film they were in. I love this video and the song they are playing, it shows a big range of instruments being played, they do it very well and creatively.
Why Explore Music with Children?
There are so many reasons to get children into music, either just exploring it for fun, the history of it, geography or actually learning an instrument. I thought I would take the time to actually prepare some notes on why I like sharing and exploring music with my daughter.
I like to think that “If Mathematics is the language of the Cosmos, then music is the language of humanity”
At this point in time we are the only creatures in the universe that actually create music through handmade instruments played in synchronisation.
People are naturally attracted to music. In fact, music brings people together regardless of age and where they are from. Children, too, start early and actually begin to respond to sound when they are in their mother’s womb. Music plays a big role in a child’s early life and development. We use lullabies to rock our babies to sleep, dance to rhythmic tunes with them, and even use songs to teach basic concepts such as the alphabet.
1. Music helps develop language, literacy and communications skills.
Music stimulates the various senses and helps children in learning and improving language skills. Music also develops listening, reading and writing skills, improving fluency of speech, and communication. Through singing songs, kids can learn new words in a fun way and of course learn how to pronounce them. A 2016 study at the University of Southern California’s Brain and Creativity Institute found that musical experiences in childhood can actually accelerate brain development, particularly in the areas of language acquisition and reading skills. According to the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation (NAMM Foundation), learning to play an instrument can improve mathematical learning and even increase SAT scores.
2. Music enhances physical development.
Through playing easy instruments such as drums and other percussion instruments, kids learn crucial coordination skills. Hand-eye coordination is improved when they continually practice beating the drum and bringing cymbals together.
Exploring musical instruments also improves gross motor skills when partnered with moving about, like marching in a pretend band. On the other hand, simply dancing to different rhythms also allows kids to develop whole body coordination.
3. Music helps develop cognitive skills.
Singing along to favourite songs and listening to different genre’s of music stimulate different patterns of brain development. Children’s memory power, concentration, spatial intelligence, and thinking skills improve through exposure and active participation in musical experiences. For example, when kids are asked to jump backwards, they learn where their bodies are in relation to space, which is an important developmental skill.
4. Music enhances individual development.
Through music-making, kids develop social-emotional skills, such as better self-control, higher self-esteem and confidence. By simply playing music in groups and working in teams, kids learn to give and take, wait for their turn, and encourage those who are struggling to keep up with the group. All of these experiences help in school readiness.
5. Music encourages early brain development.
Three great games to help children explore a whole world of music. Make learning about different instruments fun with our I Spy Game. Find and listen to music from around the world, learn geography and about genre’s of music with the A3 sized world map included.
The early years of childhood is a period of rapid development. Researchers believe that the earlier a child is exposed to music, the more effectively his brain responds to stimulation. In addition, music aptitude can and should be influenced in the younger years. Music training (through playing and listening to music) before the age of seven has significant effect on parts of the brain related to planning and motor skills.
These are the five points I could easily argue in favour of exploring music with children but academic achievement isn’t the only benefit of music education and exposure. Music ignites all areas of child development and skills for school readiness, including intellectual, social-emotional, motor, language, and overall literacy. It helps the body and the mind work together. Exposing children to music during early development helps them learn the sounds and meanings of words. Dancing to music helps children build motor skills while allowing them to practice self-expression. For children and adults, music helps strengthen memory skills.
Put simply there are no downsides to introducing music to your child as early as possible
Last we I gave you the invisible dancer game, this week we have two more great dance party options. The final instalment of our Music series will see us giving loads of great ideas for a Music Festival themed kids birthday party, so make sure you check out the whole series of blog posts so that you can put all the games and ideas shared into one awesome Music festival to remember.
This is a classic and most kids will know how this works already. You can either use a long piece of Dowling wood bought from a local D.I.Y shop, maybe paint it to make it look more attractive or you can purchase a Limbo set like one of the sets I have found online. You then just hold the limbo stick still.
You can use any music that you like, the kids form a line in front of the limbo stick, one at a time they pass under the limbo stick without touching it or knowing it off. If they are able to pass through it they re-join the line and get ready to go again. If someone touches it they are out and can become judges.
Every time you get round to the starting player you lower the limbo stick, now its up to you how much to lower it, adjusting by one notch a time can make the game go on a little long so make it tougher by sliding down two or three notches a time.
I love this game, you need a bowl and lots of words written on small pieces of paper. This can either be prepared by you in advance or the kids can write some words down. The kids will take it in turns to pull out a piece of paper, read it aloud and then they need to come up with a dance move to match the word. So something like the word Sprinkler, someone would now need to dance like a sprinkler, maybe by throwing their hands in the air and moving round like a sprinkler. Everyone will need to copy it and the person chosen now gets to pick the next person to come up.
Some ideas to get you started:-
Easy ideas are things like Fortnight, Breakdance, Tap
Try these too:-
Decorate A Guitar
A great activity for kids to get on with whilst people are arriving for a party or just great for fun. We ahem a free guitar template you can click on below to download. Use that to cut out Guitars from a thick card stock. The kids can now decorate with paints/pens or with a selection of crafty bits to glue on.
This oriental hand drum is probably the toughest of all the instruments I have given instructions for, you need the more things to make one of these but it's also one of the most fun. So take your time make sure you have everything you need below:
What you need to make a hand drum:
A pringles canister, or similar round container.
A wooden dowel
Decorative tape (such as washi or glitter tape.)
Decorative duct tape, preferably narrow.
Two balloons. This might be hit-and-miss depending on your container size so I highly recommend you have a few sizes to experiment with. If you want to create this in bulk or with a group, test one and then make more according to the size that worked.
Ribbon or string
Large wooden Beads (make sure the ribbon is a good size to go through the beads and then tie a secure knot)
Hot Glue Gun
The big challenge in this craft was fitting the balloon over the ring. I could have used a larger balloon, but I wanted it to be pulled taut. One side worked in the end and the other didn’t. I ended up using a bit of duct tape to hold it in place and it went on easily. Let's go -
1. Cut your can about an inch to an inch and a half from the top. It doesn't need to be perfect
2. Cover the ugly with tape. If your tape is too wide, snip it at intervals and fold into the ring.
3. Trim your dowel to size. I did this by breaking it – classy!
4. Make a hole halfway into your ring. You’ll could use a strong hole punch for this. But I used a craft knife by making an x with your craft knife in that spot, the size of the dowel head.
5. Stick your dowel in. Important: secure it in place with glue and allow it to dry! I used a hot glue gun.
6. Cut off the neck of your balloon.
7. This is the tricky part… pull your balloon over the opening on one side of your ring. It needs to be pulled completely flat – no bunching in the middle, no gaps around the edges, or it won’t hold. Tip: if you’re having trouble, secure a small spot in place with duct tape and pull the rest around. You probably won’t be able to get the tape off afterward, so do this in a spot you’ll be covering.
8. Secure it in place with a strip of pretty tape. I used decorative duck tape and cut it in half width-wise.
9. Poke a hole in each side using your knife. Poke a piece of ribbon or string through (you might need help form a “poker” such as a pin.) Secure it with a knot on the inside and the outside.
10. Add your bead(s,) knot them to secure, and trim, making sure that the ribbon reaches easily to the middle of the drum/balloon.
11. Repeat on the other side.
12. Seal the open side of your ring with another balloon, the same way you did with the first.