nurturing kids with music

Kids are naturally drawn to music and these activities are a perfect way to share the joy of music with your child

It's never too early to bring the joy of music into your home. Learn how you can encourage your family to appreciate music in all of its many forms.
Music is a wonderful means through which children can communicate and express themselves, which is why singing and making music is often at the center of children's play. Playing with music helps to improve kids' social behavior, increases self-esteem, and promotes communication and creativity, all of which are important for children's development. And music contributes to school readiness by fostering important cognitive, social, and motor skills.

As parents and caregivers, there are many simple and enjoyable ways to encourage musical exploration in our children. Most important, parents can make music a part of their family's everyday life.

Music Appreciation

It is easy to make music available to children wherever they are. These are a few simple ways to nurture your child's appreciation for music:
  • Sing or listen to music whenever possible--at home, in the car, while at work or play.
  • Play music and sing songs that celebrate music from different cultures and genres.
  • Encourage your child to express feelings and emotions through movement and song
  • Keep musical instruments where kids can easily access them.
  • Consider providing your child with a kid-friendly tape player or CD player.
  • Expose your child to live musical performances (free at museums, libraries, bookstores and outdoor venues).
  • Enroll your child in a preschool music class.

Play with Music

There are many ways to play with and experience music with your children that will enhance kids' love for music.

  • Singing and Chanting

    • Turn everyday conversations, phrases, and instructions into chants and songs.
    • Help your child experiment with sounds and lyrics to create silly nonsense songs.
    • Using basic syllables such as "la" or "ba," have your child copy as you sing high, low, loud, soft, fast, and slow.
  • Moving to Music

    • Dance together in various ways: free dance, follow the leader, and freeze dance.
    • Dance with props like scarves, ribbons, or balls.
    • Clap, march, or tap to the steady beat of favorite songs.
    • Teach hand movements and simple dance moves that go along with favorite rhymes and songs.
    • Encourage your child to move his or her body or move props to match changes in the music. Reach hands up when the music sounds high and down when it sounds low, tiptoe to quiet music, stomp to loud music, move fast to fast music, and move slowly to slow music.
  • Instrument Play
    • Play along to music with simple rhythm instruments like bells, maracas, drums, and rhythm sticks.
    • Use objects found around the house to make music, like wooden spoons, pots and pans, pot lids, and plastic containers.
    • Make homemade instruments by filling empty plastic containers with beans or wrapping sand paper on wooden blocks to rub together.
    • Encourage your child to use his or her body as an instrument. Sing, clap hands, pat laps, buzz lips, and whistle.
    • Play different rhythmic patterns and encourage your child to copy them on an instrument.
    • If possible, introduce children to traditional and ethnic instruments.
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    Written by Nick Jr. educational consultant Anne E. Lund, M.S.
    nick jr. video