Including music in your program and helping to cultivate a love of music in the children you teach can have lifelong benefits. Preschool music and movement plays an important role in child development. Children who play or sing music regularly perform better in reading and math when they begin elementary school. Music along with movement increases both fine and gross motor skills and helps develop hand-eye coordination. In addition, those actively involved in music also tend to have high self-esteem and are better at playing with others. Music also helps relieve stress and encourages creativity.
The article, Music Matters (http://www.aep-arts.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Music-Matters-Final.pdf) explains some of the above listed benefits in detail.
Since March is Music in our School Month, we wanted to share some fun musical ideas to boost your preschooler’s learning power!
Music is Science: Make your own xylophone. Fill an assortment of glasses or jugs with varying levels of water. Line them up in order from least to most full. Give your child a wooden spoon and have them experiment with the different sounds. For a pretty variation, add food coloring to the water and make a rainbow.
Music is Mathematical: Create your own band! Give each child a musical instrument to shake, rattle and roll with. Some instrument ideas are bells, shakers, rhythm sticks, tambourines, triangles, etc. You can also get creative with what you have on hand, such as turning a plastic bowl and wooden spoon in to a drum, or filling a Tupperware container with rice to shake. This will help a child practice rhythm, counting and patterns.
Music is a Language: Sing! Sing songs with rhymes. Sing songs with sign language motions. Sing songs with repetition. Sing songs in a foreign language. Simply stated, singings daily helps a preschooler practice, and develop their language skills.
Music is Physical Education: Play Freeze Dance to get your class moving and practice listening skills. You can also encourage creative movement by using props while dancing, such as ribbons, scarves, shakers, hula hoops, etc.
Music is Art: Draw what you hear. Play different types of music (slow, fast, country, rock, classical, salsa, etc.) Have the children draw what they hear. This encourages creativity as well as fine motor skills. You can also vary this activity and ask the children to act out the emotion the music makes them feel (happy, sad, excited, scared, etc.) Classical music works great for this activity!