Sharing music and singing together are great ways to connect, educate, and have fun with the children in your life. HCPL librarians have some tips for ways you and your little ones can get creative and learn together through music.
Music and singing support a child’s language development and create fun, quality bonding experiences. The Basics, a research-based set of principles for nurturing a child’s growth during the early years, encourages caregivers to “Talk, Sing, & Point” with infants & toddlers. Sing as often as you can together!
Repeated words and rhyming sounds are especially helpful for infants and toddlers. When they hear words being sung, they get better at recognizing the smaller sounds that make up words and making word predictions. Nursery rhymes and early childhood ‘standards’ such as “Wheels on the Bus” or “Old MacDonald’s Farm,” are great because they are repetitive and easy to remember.
While singing songs over and over is very important for young children, who rely and thrive on consistency, changing things up can give us important opportunities to connect more deeply with our children. Rewriting a well-known children’s song is a great way to have new music to sing together. You can rewrite the words completely or simply add new movements or content to a classic.
Here is a video example of a simple rewrite of the “Wheels on the Bus.”
Here are some tips to get you started rewriting children’s songs for you and your child:
- Start with a song or rhyme you and your child already enjoy and sing. If you all have fun singing “Head, Shoulders, Knees, & Toes,” try re-working this for new concepts and ideas.
- Keep things simple. Songs can be educational, but music should be really fun and easy to pick up. Try not to get too wordy or too complicated conceptually.
- Keep things moving. If you are working on a song that includes movement, let your child come up with some of the moves themselves. Connecting an idea to movement is a fantastic learning experience.
- Play together. Incorporate your child’s ideas by letting them be a part of the writing process. The Basics encourages caregivers to ask simple questions to get your toddler/young child thinking. Help by providing structure for these questions and always give plenty of time for them to form their answers. The song will be more memorable and fun if you personalize it together.
- Have fun and let your creativity shine. It’s nice to have an educational goal in mind sometimes, but having fun is just as important for childhood development.
Here are some additional resources about the benefits of music for children:
The Benefits of Music Education from PBS.org
7 Music Games for Practicing Self-Regulation from PBS.org
"Music Improves Baby Brain Responses to Music and Speech" from the University of Washington