Musical Play Ideas for Home

Friday 18th September 2015
– Julie Wylie 

Children are natural explorers and delight in opportunities for relationship based musical play. Musical play builds healthy brain­ body connections, helps your child develop self confidence, curiosity, and underpins all learning. Enjoyable musical play develops a strong sense of togetherness and connection as you explore, listen, sing and play together. Music can be found everywhere in our lives. We don’t have to be particularly musical to play with our children. Here are some ideas for musical play at home:

  • Steady beat is basic to our love for the beat within music and helps us to move, sing, say and play in time with each other.
  • Sing and act out nursery rhymes. These contain lots of repetition, steady beat and a predictable musical form that helps your child to listen, anticipate, move and play in time. Use much playful animation and expression as you play together. This helps develop good listening, attention,anticipation and communication skills. Copy your child’s vocal sounds and movements.
  • Touch and movement help your child to develop a memory of rhythmic patterns. Play patting, clapping, bouncing, rocking, games. Sing and play games like “Row Row, Row your Boat” together.
  • Dance with your child in your arms. Rock your child gently from side to side in time to a gentle lullaby. This is calming for you and your child.
  • Explore sounds together both inside and outside. Tap, rub, shake, hit kitchen utensils such as pot lids, using a wooden spoon, rough/smooth surfaces, wooden sounds, metal sounds. Play listening games inside/outside. Go to the gardens, take time to relax, enjoy, explore and play outside.
  • Follow your child in whatever they choose to play. Sing about what your child is doing. You are giving meaning and structure to your child’s actions. Your song has a clear beginning, middle and end. This helps your child to sense this structure and helps with the sequence of other tasks such as washing hands, getting dressed, getting into the car.
  • Make time each day to sing and say, move and play together and remember there is no right or wrong way to engage in musical play.