Family Fun Time
Make Some Music
by Jan Pierce
Exposure to music of all kinds is one of the best gifts you can give to your children.
Finding activities your whole family enjoys can be challenging. But you can’t go wrong with music. Listening to and making music are some of the most enjoyable parts of life. And the endless variety in music ensures you can find something for everyone in the clan.
The benefits of enjoying music are many. In infancy and even in utero babies are calmed by music. Young children can focus attention and complete a task while listening to a song. They can wind down with a quiet song.
Even playing rhythms on pots and pans can hone fine motor skills and eye-hand coordination. Listening and moving to music improves muscle coordination, balance and provides exercise.
Children who learn to play an instrument score higher in math and learn patience and perseverance. They build confidence as they build skills.
And…music is just plain fun.
Here are some ways your family can enjoy music together:
Do simple sing-alongs. Younger children have their favorite tunes from Twinkle, Twinkle to Wheels on the Bus. Older kids like funny songs or rounds or songs from their favorite movies. Build up a repertoire of family favorites.
Provide many listening experiences from a wide variety of musical genres. Try folk songs, classical pieces, songs from musicals, rap, pop, blues, country, gospel, even opera. Kids will surprise you with their interest in many kinds of musical sounds.
After listening together talk about it. What did you like? How does it make you feel?
Play music games such as name that tune or finish the song. Do action songs or add dance to your music fun.
Buy a karaoke machine and enjoy family karaoke performances.
Purchase some simple rhythm instruments such as maracas, tambourines, finger cymbals, jingle bells, and drums so everyone from young to old can play along to catchy rhythms. Melissa and Doug’s Band in a Box is a good choice.
Sing in the car as you travel. It helps to pass the time and provides a measure of togetherness as nothing else can do.
Make music together.
Playing an instrument requires time and practice, but the rewards are great. Ukulele, guitars, or recorders are easy ways to begin learning to play music. A family that plays together…well, you know.
Be a family that loves music.
Convey your enjoyment of music by playing background music from time to time. Talk about your favorite songs and genres of music and say why you like them. Move to music often and sing along. Be a catalyst for passing on your love of music to your children.
Exposure to music of all kinds is one of the best gifts you can give to your children. And it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. If you’ve neglected this rich resource for your home, now is the time to start. Then…enjoy.