When I moved to Paris and started working with kids, I realized how much the French love to enrich their children’s education with many different activities.
From soccer to child’s yoga, their schedules are filled with fun pastimes! As a caretaker, a part of my role was to contribute to their learning experience the best way possible. And an easy and entertaining way to do this, is by introducing some musical teachings to the toddlers!
Studies have shown that music can not only improve their creativity, boost their confidence but also help them express themselves better and aid you on your guest to teach them a new language.
Don’t worry, you don’t need to learn all the difficult technical terms of it, you’ll find that children are naturally inclined to sing along, dance and play instruments with you.
Some instruments such as percussion, help children develop coordination and motor skills, since they require movement of the hands, arms, and feet. And the good news is that you can make those instruments with them! They love to make their own Jingle Bell Bracelets or Rain Sticks and it takes no more than just 2 materials for this activity. Kids from age 4 to 5 are usually drawn to those.
You can also introduce musical games, such as ‘Walking Music’, when you play a tune and ask the child to walk along on the beat of the song. This is really good for their sensory perception!
Once the toddler is familiar with music, it won’t be rare to hear the child singing while playing or drawing, or even asking you to serenade them. When music is part of the everyday routine, it can become a new way to communicate with them, these songs can help your child know what’s coming next. For example, if you always sing a particular song every day at cleaning time, the kid will immediately recognize the tune as the queue to start tidying up!
Children are active learners and music is best learnt by doing it. So don’t be afraid to turn your planned activity around if it doesn’t go as planned. It’s always important to let the kid know that their saying is valued and if they don’t feel comfortable with the given instrument or song, don’t force it. This can cause them great frustration. Some kids prefer loud and fast drum playing, others like calm and soothing kalimba. And that’s okay!
There are many factors that go into choosing the best instrument, musical activity, or song, like their personality, age and capabilities, and interests. Remember, the goal is that this is fun and supportive for the child.
Teaching new musical abilities is an awesome way to boost their confidence! So the best approach is to show them different tunes and watch their reaction to the different sounds, that will guide you in relation to which instrument, song or activity they naturally gravitate towards to and always make sure they are learning in a comfortable safe environment.
Marianna Catherinne Sayao Lobato CAP student 2020-2021