Much has been written about the importance of music for babies and children’s development and apart from that, they all seem to love music. My baby is no different; she responds instantly to singing or music and has done for many months.
There are certain songs that seem to calm her and allow her to drift off to sleep. Her current favorite seems to be The Seekers, Morningtown ride that my mother-in-law sang to my husband as a baby and now we all sing it to her. Within seconds she smiles and relaxes with the familiar tune and words. Sometimes she will even start to drift off to sleep.
Whenever there is music playing (no matter whether it is nursery rhymes or any type of music playing on the radio) she will either be clapping along, kicking one or both legs, bouncing her whole body or if she is in a crawling position, rocking backwards and forwards.
Since September, when she was around 4 months old, I have been taking her to our local library’s rhyme time session when ever I can and we also went to a weekly music class until just before Christmas. Through the music class, I learnt the importance of babies and children learning to tap a steady beat and also that under supervision they can play with real instruments. I’ve also learnt a few different music activities that we still do at home along with building upon them myself.
As well as a plastic shaker and toy drum which are aimed at her age range, I have bought her a wooded shaker and a set of bells. Both these toys are supposed to be for children over three, so she only plays with them under my supervision. These are just the start and I plan to add to her collection of instruments. I think I’d like to add a xylophone or similar for her first birthday. I’ve also made her a couple of noisy sensory bottles. These are simply small water bottles that I have put dried beans in one and quinoa in the other (but you could use anything that makes a noise, rice would be another nice option). I used quinoa and dried beans as we had them in the kitchen and they made very different sounds to each other.One wet and windy day when we were staying home since we are both recovering from chesty coughs and colds. I decided to get all our instruments out, as well as a few household items and our homemade sensory bottles. I included a wooden spoon and metal colander, a plastic box.
I sat Poppet down with this collection of noisy items and let her explore them. I showed her how she could use some of them to make noise and talked to her about what she was doing/hearing. She is very good at shaking things such as her bells and shakers so she didn’t need much help. I sat back and watched her explore the different noises she could make with these items and talked her through some of the differences between them.
Once she had explored all the items and seemed to be resorting to only chewing them I decided to add in some of the activities we do at music classes/rhyme time. I sang ‘play your music really loud’ and then ‘play your music really soft’ whilst using the bells or shakers loudly or quietly. I also found a selection of nice nursery rhyme videos on you tube (Super simple songs, our favorites so far are row row row your boat and old McDonald) that we watched whilst playing our instruments along with them and/or singing along. Where possible I encouraged her to shake an instrument or helped her to hold an instrument and tap out a steady beat to the music.
We have been repeating this activity and she always loves it. Edspire is currently featuring a series on musical play if you want further ideas and I have started a pinterest board of musical play ideas which I will be adding to. I’d love to hear if any of you have any more ideas or resources (e.g. websites/you tube channels) to share with me, please leave me a comment.