Why and How to do “Music and Movement” With Your Preschoolers
[Today’s article was written by Gena Mayo and is part of the 31 Days of Music in Our Homeschool Series.]
Here are a few examples of how to do “music and movement” with your preschoolers.
- Listen to the Great Musical Classical Works: You can find almost anything you want on YouTube, Spotify, or the library, so you don’t have to purchase any CDs if you don’t want to. It’s fun for the kids to watch the instruments playing the music on YouTube, but I also encourage you to turn on your classical station in the car occasionally as you’re driving around town. Here are a few favorites: Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, and Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3. Listening to classical music will help them lengthen their attention spans.
- Dance: Preschoolers love to dance. If they are light enough, hold them in your arms and dance with them! A great way to encourage them to use their whole bodies is to give them a scarf to dance with. (You can pick up some light material to cut into scarves at a craft store.) Model for them how to use their arms and try different movements with the scarves. A few really fun pieces of music to play are Hoedown by Aaron Copeland where the kids can gallop like horses and Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint Saens where the kids can act like lions, fish, birds, elephants, swans, and other animals. Along with practicing moving their bodies to the rhythm of the music, they are also working on gross motor skills.
- Play Simple Rhythm Instruments: You can find kits of kid-friendly percussion instruments—or you can even make some yourself! Some great instruments for preschool kids are rhythm sticks, shakers, tambourines, bells attached to a stick or band, and hand drums. Demonstrate how to keep a steady beat with the music and then play along together! I love to use these pieces which have a strong steady beat: Tchaikovsky’s March from The Nutcracker , John Philip Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever , and Scott Joplin’s The Entertainer. Learning to play with a steady beat is a basic component for playing an instrument when they grow older.
- Play Singing Games: Do you remember playing London Bridge, Ring Around the Rosy, and The Farmer and the Dell when you were little? I love using singing games to get kids to play and learn at the same time. They are learning to follow the rules to a game and will often start singing without even realizing it. Get the whole family involved!
What are your favorite ways to do “music and movement” with your preschoolers?