Film Footage of Spontaneous Play Within A Musical Play Group

Wednesday 4th May 2016
Julie Wylie

A song, a story, a chant or rhyme can generate creative musical play within a group music setting. Today as I sang the storybook ” Ten in the Bed”, children started creating their own rolling actions.¬† They weren’t interested in rolling their arms and hands. Some did forward rolls, some rolled over and over on the floor, some practised balancing with their leg in the air, some were happy to sit back and observe.

Although they were busy rolling, they were still listening intently and came forward to look at the book and observe the change in the song towards the end: the slower pace, the change of words and emotional expression when there was only “one in the bed” “I’m lonely” etc.

Because the children’s play hadn’t finished by the end of the story, it was important to give them¬† further opportunity for spatial exploration and to acknowledge their achievements. This enhanced their sense of belonging, exploration, contribution and enjoyment as they participated in rolling on the floor, balancing and doing forward rolls together. A song is a perfect way to structure such an activity as the children can keep playing within the predictable form of the song. They feel the beginning, middle and end. Notice how well they are listening, responding and organising their bodies in space in relation to each other.

Such physical musical play helps children to develop skills in listening, anticipation, sequencing, gross motor, creativity, imitation and social skills. The parents and caregivers take collective pride in the children’s achievements. This kind of free spontaneous play activates powerful brain/body connections and it’s fun.