Do you want to make your home a more MUSICAL place, even if you're not musical yourself?
You’re about to discover easy musical activities you can implement today that will:
- give your kids a rich musical foundation
- give you ways to connect and bond
A rich musical education includes exposure to the following categories:
THE 4 MUSIC CATEGORIES
- Instrument Playing
Let’s look at a few ways you can EASILY incorporate each category into your family’s routine.
Did you know that when we sing, we feel HAPPY? It's because when we sing, endorphin hormones are released, and those are the lil' guys responsible for feelings of pleasure!
- Reduced Anxiety + Stress
Best of all, singing is free and accessible to everyone. It comes naturally to babies and children. It’s a fun activity you can do anytime, anywhere! Whether you sing along to a song on YouTube, sing with instruments, or sing without instruments, it’s all valuable. By singing with your kids, you are creating memories, connecting, and giving them a stress relieving tool they can use for the rest of their lives.
“But I don’t like my singing voice!”
You don't have to be a "good singer" to enjoy singing. And children don't know or care if your voice is "good" or not. I highly encourage you to sing, no matter what your voice sounds like, because you are setting an example for your children. If they see you avoiding singing and catch on that it's because you think you're not good enough, they are likely to experience that feeling as well. So sing! It's good for you!
Tip: Spoken Songs
If you really struggle with singing, try these "spoken songs" in this YouTube playlist. They’re just as fun and valuable!
Pick a time of the day
To make singing together part of your daily routine, pick a time of the day you will sing together. It could be a morning song like “Good Morning My Love” by Vered. It could be a song before dinner like “We Give Thanks” by Lindsay Müller. It could be a bedtime song like “You Are Amazing” by Lindsay Müller.
The more you sing with your kids, the more confident they’ll feel to sing on their own and with others.
2) INSTRUMENT PLAYING
Step one: have a variety of instruments at home. Don't worry if you don't know how to play them. Just make them available and see what they enjoy most. Let them explore and learn the instruments independently. If they show a true interest and want guidance later on, you can seek out private or group lessons. To save money on private lessons, see which instrument THEY are interested in. There's no point in signing up your child for ukulele lessons when they are more interested in piano - but they won’t know unless they try them first.
TIP: Kids not interested in the instruments? Pretend that you are! Just pick up an instrument and start fooling around with it. Chances are, your little ones will wonder what you're doing and want to take over. In the photo below, my friend Teresa just picked up the guitar and acted like she was playing it, even though she didn't know how to. It didn't stop little Sebastian from wanting to join in!
Here are some affordable instruments to start with. If I could pick only 2 instruments, they would be:
- a keyboard, piano or melodica
- a percussion instrument like a cajon, djembe, or shakers)
The more instruments you have at home, the better!
Listening is the easiest way we can set our children up for musical success. Thanks to YouTube and streaming, we have access to almost every song created! We can listen to a variety of genres from all over the world. Simply listening to music can give kids a cultural and educational experience.
Listen to different genres
When you listen to music at home, do you listen to the same songs or styles over and over? While there’s no harm in that, I recommend listening to different genres (styles) of music to show your kids what's out there! Don’t know where to start? Check out this Spotify Playlist of over 30 kid-friendly songs from different musical genres. Click here to listen to the Musical Genres for Kids Spotify Playlist! Your kids will hear genres like Classical, Rock, Jazz, Swing, Pop, Soul, R&B, Gospel, African, Funk, Bluegrass, Country, Reggae, Electro Swing, Rap, Folk, Disco, and more!
Bonus: Pay attention to which style your kids like best, and look up more songs in that style.
Why is this important?
- Kids are less likely to think of a certain genre as "weird" if they've heard it from a young age
- Kids get to hear different instruments and may be inspired to try them
- Kids form individual likes and dislikes, helping to build their sense of identity
Listen to music from around the world
Listening to music from around the world gives kids a cultural experience. It may bring up questions and conversations about different instruments, ways of singing, and the countries themselves. Here is a playlist of Songs for Kids from Around the World you can check out!
Tip: Listen to the lyrics
Pay attention to the lyrics of the songs you're listening to. Lyrics influence us, for better or for worse, especially when we listen to them many times. Unfortunately, the music we hear on the radio these days can have negative messages. If you need a playlist of positive, kid friendly songs, check out this Positive Songs for Kids Spotify Playlist.
Bonus: Individual Playlists
Make a playlist on Spotify, YouTube, or another streaming platform for each of your children. When your child likes a song, add it to the playlist. I made playlists for Shasta and Sebastian when they were really little (3 and 5) and they still enjoy listening to them. They add and take away songs as they grow up. It's a fun and simple way to encourage individual interests.
Another free and accessible activity that will help you and your kids to connect and have fun together.
Why is dancing important?
Dancing helps kids understand RHYTHM. Just put on "We Will Rock You" and do the "stomp stomp clap" beat together. BOOM! Rhythm lesson completed in 3 minutes. Having a strong sense of rhythm is ESSENTIAL if you want to pursue singing, dancing or instrument playing. So by dancing together, you are setting them up for musical success, if that is the path they choose!
Besides getting your kids UP and MOVING, it also helps them develop emotionally, socially and cognitively. (Washington Parent) Dancing improves flexibility, coordination, balance, strength and posture.
You don't have to be a "good dancer" to dance! If you can move, you can dance. Kids are the best people to dance with because they won't judge you. They also come up with some pretty hilarious moves.
The best way to get my kids dancing is to put on some upbeat music and TURN IT UP! I try not to ask if anyone wants to do it - I just press play and see if they're into it. Need some kid friendly upbeat dance songs? Try my Dance Party for Kids Spotify Playlist.
You can take it a step further and play “Freeze Dance”. Let one child(or adult) be in charge of stopping the music every so often. When the music stops, everyone FREEZES and becomes as still as a statue! The first one to move is "out" (or you can just keep dancing). This game works well in a classroom or large group of kids.
Want more tips?!
I have so many other tips and activities that can't fit in this blog post, but you can get all 57 of them, PLUS resources like playlists and activity sheets, in my "57 Fun and Easy Ways to Make Music With Kids" ebook.
It's $15 USD, and it comes with the "You Are Amazing" album (digital mp3s).