Early childhood music benefits babies, toddlers and young children
Activities and their benefits
As your child learns to recognize that the hello song signals the beginning of the group, she will experience feelings of anticipation, excitement, and happiness, preparing her for the fun that’s to come. Rituals are very important in helping children feel safe and secure.
Movement to music
Brain development is directly linked to movement. Young children benefit from being repositioned in many ways (held while parent walks, laying on tummy/back, sitting in lap and bouncing etc). Each time baby’s position is changed or children try new movements, the brain develops more connections.
Bouncing rhymes and songs
Bouncing allows babies and young children to feel the beat with their whole body. Bouncing stimulates the vestibular system helping to develop balance and control. Older children will also benefit as they work to keep their body upright while in motion, strengthening their core muscles. Make it a face-to-face bounce and your child also benefits by bonding with their caregiver. Each benefit, on its own, is valuable but integrating all of these areas through one enjoyable activity, priceless!
Children LOVE these activities because they are simply playful. And nothing is more fun than playing with mum or dad.
Intentional singing opportunities
The most common interval a child learns to sing is the minor third which is aptly name the “children’s interval”. Many of the songs feature these notes to encourage your child to discover their singing voice.
Singing to your baby is also invaluable. Did you know that your voice is your child’s most favourite sound in the whole world? So even if you are not a confident singer, don’t be shy about singing to and with your child.
Brain development is directly linked to movement. Changing the way you hold your baby as you rock—especially if his eyes are open—builds new neural pathways in his brain.
Rocking also stimulate the vestibular system, not only developing your child’s muscles, posture and balance, but also the ability of the eyes to focus. The vestibular system also helps the two sides of the brain to communicate more effectively.
Opportunities to play instruments
Children love to play instruments. There are plenty of age-appropriate instruments from which you can choose at the PLAYful Music shop. Instruments engage children’s attention and focus and highlight many musical elements. Quality instruments that are durable and provide a high-quality sound are essential.
Peekaboo games establish a visual connection (eye contact) between child and parent and support the child’s growing understanding of object permanence. In addition, the game offers sensory stimulation (hiding underneath or behind scarves), develops fine-motor skills, and demands eye-hand coordination as the child reaches for and grasps the scarf.
Playing with bubbles offers many wonderful benefits to babies and young children. The eyes must work together to focus on a bubble (convergence) and then follow it as it moves (eye teaming and eye tracking). Watching bubbles float near and far enhances a child’s understanding and awareness of depth perception and distance, and the fun she has swatting, poking, and popping the bubbles strengthens her eye-hand coordination.
The delight and exhilaration inherent in circle games comes from the music, the spirit of cooperation, and simple, repeated patterns of movement. Circle games requires rhythmic competence, challenges you to be aware of your body in relation to the larger physical space, and requires keeping a sequence of moves in your memory. In addition, it fosters a sense of community.
Massage rhymes and songs
Touching your child in a loving way helps develop emotional togetherness. But it is also very good for the mind. Children who receive plenty of loving touch show enhanced neural development. Why? Touch promotes the growth of myelin – nerve insulation. The result is that nerve impulses can travel faster along the nerves.
When you cradle your child and have close eye to eye contact, oxytocin, the “cuddle chemical” hormone is released which increases immunity, reduced pain, increases growth and emotional well-being.
These songs provide priceless moments that you will adore. As your child recognises the cuddle songs, take delight in each special moment you enjoy together.
Keeping it playful and fun
Playful, positive, interactive activities with a parent, grandparent or special person in a child’s life, help to foster a sense of security and self-worth that will help grow children into confident learners. This may be the best gift you can give your child, so be sure to find the time each day to play with your baby or young child at home.