WHY IS MUSIC IMPORTANT FOR YOUR CHILD’S DEVELOPING BRAIN?
- Music helps your child’s brain grow as they learn how to recognize new sounds.
- Making music is a creative act.
- Playing music involves multiple senses.
- Playing music helps with both gross and fine motor skills.
- Music can be used in therapeutic ways.
- Playing music encourages independence.
3 SCIENCE-BASED ARTICLES THAT EXPLAIN THE BENEFITS OF MUSIC IN YOUR CHILD’S LIFE
- “This is how music can change your brain.”
- “Musical training optimizes brain function”.
- “Music improves baby brain responses to music and speech.”
HOW TO EXPOSE YOUR CHILD TO MUSIC
Music is a vibration that is felt. So the best way for children to learn, is to expose them to music in various ways. Here are some simple things you can do right now to help your child experience music:
- Expose them to different musical genres (not just Pop). Every day, pick a different one and note which one(s) they are drawn to. There are enough music genres, styles and sub-genres out there for you to experience different ones every day for over a year (if not more). You can download your FREE, printable Music Genres and Styles Monthly Checklist. I designed it with major genres and styles in mind to make sure your child experiences an array of sounds throughout the month!
- Make up songs together. Make up silly ones to laugh together. Make up songs for transitioning from one activity to another or to help with tasks that your child has difficulties with. We make up songs for brushing teeth and packing away toys, for example.
- Play calming music when your child is distressed or overtired. Just search for “relaxation music” on YouTube and you’ll find lots of options. Listening to such music will sooth your child and help regulate emotions and moods. Babies respond well to lullabies for this reason. If you can’t remember any from your childhood, you can check out nursery rhyme books from a library. I also made a list of our favorites below.
- Dance to music – a great way to learn about beats and rhythm.
- Play music. Babies can just start with pots and pans, or whatever household objects you have on hand. As kids get older, introduce them to real instruments so that they can see how music is actually made. This way they can also learn about cause and effect and have multi-sensory experiences to help them understand and feel music better.
- If you have a museum nearby which features instruments or interactive musical play, then it could be a fun way to engage your child as well.
- Alternately, you can go to a music shop to try out real instruments.
NURSERY RHYME BOOKS
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- Wee Sing Bible Songs (Wee Sing) CD and Book Edition – Classical style illustrations with music notes that you can actually play. You can purchase it with or without a CD. It’s one of the more long-lasting books I’ve found because it can be used from birth until your child starts playing a musical instrument.
- 101 Nursery Rhymes & Sing-Along Songs for Kids – Another book with classical rhymes and illustrations, but without notes.
- My Wonderful Nursery Rhyme Collection – This book has modern illustrations and each one is done by a different illustrator.
STRING INSTRUMENTS FOR CHILDREN
- Janod Ukulele – $31.92
- Hape Kid’s Wooden Toy Ukulele – $26.01
- Moulin Roty Wooden 6 String Guitar – $50.99
- PlanToys Banjolele – $39.99
- Hape Happy Wooden Harp – $34.98
WOODEN & Eco-Friendly MUSICAL TOYS FOR KIDS
- Plan Toy Solid Wood Drum – $22.50
- Janod Confetti Harmonica – $19.89
- Moulin Roty Harmonica – $15.95
- Hape Happy Wooden Grand Piano – $100.64 (I should add here that we have always had a real keyboard available for Adèle to try from the time she was on her tummy. It was placed on the floor so she could crawl to it as she got older).
- Plan Toy Oval Xylophone – $25.49
- Melissa & Doug Caterpillar Xylophone With Wooden Mallets – $11.99
- I’M Toys Melody Mix Musical Set – $130.66
- Hape Mighty Mini Band – $27.57
- EverEarth Flip Over Triangle Musical Set – $36.25
Adèle has taken a keen interest in my parent’s Soviet record collection. The beautiful thing about record players is that your child can see how music is made. For this reason, they are an excellent object for STEM education. Here is how to to pick one for your child:
- Price – You probably wouldn’t want to give something very expensive as a “toy.”
- Sound quality – It’s important that the record play produces good sounds so that your child’s ears can get used to quality music.
- Ease of Use – Look for record plays that are easy to use and don’t have too many add-ons.
- Durability – Record players are fragile, so in the hands of a child they become even more so. Pick one that will last through all the mistakes your child will make when turning it on/off.
- Portability – How heavy/light it is and is it portable?
- ION Audio Vinyl Motion Deluxe $31.09 – As you can see in the photos, this is the one we have. It has a handle and Adèle can easily carry it. The battery is rechargeable (USB) and lasts a long time. Sometimes we connect it to external speakers, but even the built-in ones produce a good quality sound.
- Crosley CR8005D-BK Cruiser Deluxe $54 – This one is also a suit-case style, portable record player. It comes with a bluetooth, though, for wireless sound streaming.
- ION Audio Max LP $75.28 – Made of natural wood, This ION record player can convert your records to digital music. It does not have a handle and the cover is fragile, so I recommend this for older kids.
If you don’t want to invest in a record player but have a CD player accessible for your child, then Putumayo World Music: Vocal CDs are a good choice for a similar learning experience. Another option is a music box. Here are a few to consider:
CHILDREN’S PICTURE BOOKS ABOUT MUSIC
- Boom Bah! by Phil Cummings and Nina Rycroft is one of Adèle’s favourites. It uses onomatopoeic text in rhyme, so it’s easy to remember and sing along to. It also encourages kids to make their own musical instruments using household items such as pats and pots.
- Toot! Toot!: Guess the Instrument! (What’s That Noise?) by Child’s Play and Cocoretto has flaps so that toddlers can guess instruments and practice their memory skills.
- Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin by Lloyd Moss and Marjorie Priceman is a Caldecott Honor book! Using rhyme, it introduces young readers to orchestra instruments and can also be used as an atypical counting book! We also appreciate the fact that the dynamic illustrations depict musicians of different races and genders. A must for a kid’s library and a great book to gift to others.
- Muddy: The Story of Blues Legend Muddy Waters by Michael Mahin and Evan Turk – A multi-award winning book will inspire creative, rebellious spirits to listen to their inner voice. The refrain of this book is that Muddy “was never good at doing what he was told,” but through struggle and determination he created something unique. The illustrations are made on a black background and “glow” at night. Another excellent book for a child’s library collection.
- I Love Music: My First Sound Book by Marion Billet – This book has built-in buttons that make sounds of different instruments on every page.
The following books are published in French, but even if you don’t speak the language, they are worth having. Each one tells the story of famous classical composers and comes with buttons on each page which play their most famous melodies. Some even have songs (in French), so your children can get exposed to another languages – a definite plus for growing brains!
- Mon petit Beethoven by Severine Cordier
- Mon petit Chopin by Severine Cordier
- Mon petit Mozart by Severine Cordier
- Mon petit Bach by Severine Cordier
- Mon petit Vivaldi by Severine Cordier
- Mes premiers airs de Jazz by Aurelie Guillerey – This one is similar to the above-mentioned books, but all about Jazz!
- T’choupi joue de la musique (French Edition) by Thierry Courtin – T’choupi is a character that small kids are very drawn to. In this book T’choupi plays different musical instruments as your child presses the buttons to hear the sounds.
What are your kids’ favourite musical books and instruments? Are there any I should add to this list?