Okay so you’ve read about all the wonderful benefits of musical play and how great it is for your child (and you!). But.. what’s next? Here are some fun and simple ideas on how can you incorporate musical play into your daily home life.
There is literally not a time in your day that singing cannot be incorporated.. okay, well maybe not at the grocery store check-out but you get my point. Simply think of a popular song and alter the lyrics to match the activity you are doing. When my little brothers and sisters were toilet training I remember my mother singing:
“Twinkle, twinkle little bum,
How I wonder what you’ve done,
Is it poo, or is it wee,
Why don’t we just wait and see…”
Other ways to incorporate singing include using prompts from around you. For example, your child points out a bus and so you start singing ‘the wheels on the bus..” This type of association is great for children as it shows them a physical example (in this case the bus), and the following song then builds upon their knowledge on the subject (in this case by talking about the door, window wipers etc).
2. Rhythm/Beat Making
Do you remember sitting at the dining room table as a kid, banging your spoons on the table and singing “Why are we waiting?” This is such a great example of rhythm learning in the home environment, other ways to include rhythm include hand clapping games, and nursery rhymes with beats such as “pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake”. You could also put on some music and work with your child using instruments (or pots and spoons) to pat out the beat in time with the music.
3. Reading/Bookish Play
There are so many books available that are sung rather than read. And these are definitely the books that my girls enjoy the most! Examples include the Wonky Donkey, 10 in the Bed, Old MacDonald etc. Bookish play is another great way to explore music in your home. We recently used the book “Grug and his musical Instruments” for some bookish play - this means using the book as the basis for play. So we set out our instruments and tried to match them to the ones Grug uses in the book, and try to make all the sounds described in the book with our instruments.
This daily task is a great time to indulge in a little musical play. There is a number of tooth brushing specific songs to encourage little ones to brush their teeth which could be sung. The alternative is to pick a song that takes the amount of time you wish your child to brush their teeth, to sing. So they have to keep brushing the whole time you are singing.
The idea of singing during specific tasks/jobs also works well at other daily times such as nappy changes, bath time, or getting into the car etc. Simple
5. Invitations to Play
I think a simple invitation is often underestimated, and the way in which our resources are displayed to our children make a huge difference. For example, the girls received some lovely blocks for Christmas and I put them in a lowlife basket on a shelf which is open and available to them. Yet, come late January, I realised these had not been touched.. so I moved them to the playmat and they were played with for 3 solid days. Then I packed them away and they haven’t been touched again! Consider how you are storing your musical instruments, and keep them somewhere that will maximise your child’s attention and therefore your opportunities to engage in musical play with them! An invitation to play could be as simple as setting the musical instruments up on a picnic blanket under a shady tree in the backyard on a sunny day!
This is by no means an extensive list of all the wonderful ways to use musical play in your home, but hopefully it's enough to get you started spreading the musical joy with the little people in your life!
Written by Amethyst Meade - Mother of two and play Schooler at Treasure Hunt Mumma.