Five Simple Ways to Make Music With Your Kids

Filed under: Toddlers Preschoolers, Preschoolers, Big Kids, Tweens, Activities: Babies, Cabin Fever

Ah, the Christmas holidays. Sugar-high children freed from school and exclaiming their profound boredom, restless preschoolers careening the kitchen, toddlers emptying the cupboards, babies howling. Cabin Fever has the cure for these blues. It's time to make some noise. And I'm not talking about screaming into a pillow (though, under the circumstances, consider that an option, too).

I'm talking about music. Singing. Drumming. Marching. Listening. Here are five great ways to make music together.

1. Form an impromptu drum circle.
Those pots and pans littering your kitchen floor? Consider them an instant drum kit. All you need are wooden spoons and pot lids for cymbals. Try tapping or clapping a simple rhythm. Or clap along to the rhythms already being made by your children.

Note: emptied plastic containers make quieter drums.

For a quick craft idea, pour a handful of rice or dried beans into an empty container with a secure lid, and you've made a simple shaker. This could also be spun into an art project (decorate the shakers with stickers, markers, paper and tape), or, if everyone's got restless feet, head over to suggestion #2 (after the jump) and take the show on the road...2. Lead a marching band.
Each band member chooses a rhythm instrument: shaker, drum, cymbals, or, if none are handy, use hands for clapping and feet for stamping. Everyone can take a turn leading the marching band around the house. Up and down stairs, winding around tables and chairs, even outdoors if the mood and weather comply. Our favourite marching song starts: "The ants go marching two by two..."

3. Just sing. Anything.
Can't hold a tune? Your kids won't care. Don't know any children's songs? Really, I assure you, your kids won't care.

I used to sing lullabies to the children at bedtime. My repertoire was the standard fare: "Twinkle Twinkle," "Rock-a-bye Baby," "All the Pretty Horses," and any other child-friendly tune I could drag out of my memory-bank. One night, Daddy subbed in on bedtime duties. The man is not a natural warbler, as he'll happily tell you himself. And he knows nothing but Irish drinking songs. The kids went wild for the combination. I was replaced just like that, and "Daddy, sing to us!" became the new nighttime chorus.

So, try. One of the best marching songs ever has to be Queen's 'We Will Rock You.' And, yes, I know that from experience.

4. Go on a soundscape adventure.
You've drummed, you've marched, you've sung. You're ready for some peace and quiet. It's time to convince your sprouts to close theirs mouths and open their ears.

"We're playing explorers. We have to listen very carefully and figure out what every sound is. Just by listening."

Quietly move through your indoor space. Explore the basement. Stand on the porch or by an open window, or, if you're feeling energetic, put on your boots and venture down the sidewalk. Older children can carry notebooks and pencils to write or draw their discoveries. Talk about what you've heard and found.

5. Listen to the music.
Downtime or up-time, dance-time or sleepytime, or even storytime, music is for everytime.

Right now, at our house, Christmas music reigns. Sometimes we sing along. Sometimes we jump-off-the-couch along. Sometimes we just listen.

Other favourite children's albums include anything by Raffi; the Wee Sing series; Mozart's Magnificent Voyage (and other narrated musical adventures produced by Classical Kids); Jack Johnson's Curious George soundrack (very mellow); and on and on and on. We're also big fans of music that isn't intended for kids. Whatever you love, your children will enjoy too. Dixie Chicks, Sarah Harmer, Led Zeppelin, the Rheostatics, Glenn Gould ... background or foreground, music adds another dimension to your day.

And, sometimes, that's exactly what we all need.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.