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Music and movement for preschoolers and toddlers is fun, but is it really important to development? The importance of music is profound. It should be an integral part of running a home daycare.
Obviously it helps develop motor skills, develops a positive attitude toward physical activity, and is just plain fun, but there are deeper reasons to expose young children to music and movement opportunities.
Music and movement for preschoolers
I totally geek out when it comes to brain development in young children. I am in awe of the mold-ability of children’s brains at the age I teach in my home preschool. Sometimes I get a little sciency when it comes to this subject, but I am totally enamored with the power we hold in our hands as we teach!
Listening to music and playing music games helps children use both sides of their brain at the same time. It stimulates the frontal lobe, which develops language and motor skills. The rhythm of music reinforces language. It’s a great sensory experience too.
Since the brain goes through a major growth spurt between ages 2-6, music and movement is of utmost importance in the toddler and preschool years.
Movement causes the brain to produce endorphins, our feel-good chemicals. These chemicals increase energy levels and the ability to learn. In addition, movement increases oxygen in the blood which sends more oxygen to the brain helping in thought processes.
Music and movement activities include cross-lateral movement, or crossing the midline of the body. Think of making big scissors with your hands in front of your body or giving yourself a hug.
Movement for kids
This movement is incredibly important in brain development. When children’s arms or legs cross the midsection of the body, both sides of the brain work together which strengthens brain connections exponentially. This stimulates critical thinking, and problem-solving, as well as math and reading skills. Music and movement is full of opportunities for producing stronger brain connections.
Children of any age, as well as adults, receive benefits from music and movement activities. Singing songs and doing fingerplays and rhymes with kids are great ways to get them interested in the rhythm of the music. Exposing children to all kinds of music gives them an appreciation for a variety of rhythms and tones and increases their learning as well.
Every week we have music day where I play music on cds and let the kids dance with instruments and dancing ribbons and scarves. It’s truly the highlight of our week.
We use disco music, oldies rock songs, kid’s songs, show tunes, and soundtracks from movies to get in the mood. The kids get to choose what they want to dance to, but I will tell you that disco is king here.
I don’t know how the children I get all seem to come here loving disco, but it has NOTHING to do with me. Fingerplays are good for stimulating development as well. Letting your kids make homemade instruments or dancing props is a great way to get their interest going.
Music moves us. Think of a time when you have been down, tired, or even just plain grouchy and your favorite song comes on the radio. You are instantly transformed into a time in your life when you were having fun. You can use the power of music to lift your spirits and change your mood. Music changes people. And it can alter children’s learning and behavior more than you can imagine.
Music and movement for toddlers
There are innumerable games, songs, rhymes, finger plays and chants available online to beef up your repertoire. We usually learn one new song, rhyme, or finger play every two weeks or so. When we have our daily music time, we usually do that activity along with two others the kids choose, so we focus on really learning the new one well. However you choose to add music and movement into your day doesn’t matter, just do something to increase the kids’ exposure to it and you are on the right track.
I love most kinds of music. Loud music, quiet music, elevator music, I don’t care. I just love it all. Music can soothe my broken heart, bring me into the throne room of God to worship Him, wake me up, get my heart beating, connect me to others, calm me, put me to sleep, and many other things. There’s magic in the melodies and harmonies that are created by the artists who make songs. I think people NEED music.
I remember my grandmother holding me on her lap humming and singing to me. Also, I can remember her and my mother always hum when they cook a nourishing meal for me. I remember listening to music all day long when I was a kid because my dad loved music so much.
It soothed him and he couldn’t live without it. My neighbor blares music in his garage when he works outside. My husband and I love it! In fact, when we’re outside working and he’s not, we miss it.
God created sound and I firmly believe He loves all kinds of music. I believe He gave us music as a beautiful and lasting gift that would span the ribbons of time. There are hundreds of different sounds and types of music and people like different ones because God made us all different.
If music can change your mind and your mood, how can we use music to change our children? When we are having a grumpy day at Little Sprouts, I can crank up some rock music and my babies are instantly transformed. If I’m having a grumpy day, I can use some beats to change myself and be better for them.
Music activities for preschoolers
There are so many different types of music in different cultures. Children should be exposed to a wide variety of music. Music was involved in all parts of history. It was used in the Bible to comfort the king when he was anxious. It was used throughout history, even in writing our Declaration of Independence.
Children who study music have a higher grade point average than children who do not. Albert Einstein improved his learning by playing the violin. As music relaxes your body, you are able to concentrate more fully on what you are learning.
Listening skills are improved through music. The top academic countries in the world place great emphasis on music education. In the United States, we are cutting music programs left and right as budget shortfalls continue. What will the effects of that be?
Music affects neurological, psychological and physical functions. Processing language and expressing emotion are affected by music. Memory and motor responses are affected as well.
Music links the spiritual, physical, and emotional with the thinking parts of the brain. Music is mathematical. The beats and notes in the music have a rhythm and a time. This is what makes music help children learn. Particularly memory can be enhanced by music.
Music changes the speed of the heartbeat, changes your mood, calms and comforts, and can even reduce pain. It can also lessen the effects and symptoms of depression. Both sides of the brain are working when we are involved in music which also stimulates learning. Children SHOULD be exposed to music. It’s good for every part of them. Click here to find out more about the benefits music can give us.
The lives we touch are ours to change. We make a difference every single day. Whether you work with kids or adults, or whoever, be the best you that you can be. Do something new today that will change a life for the better.