Want to increase your preschooler's learning power? It's as simple as turning on the radio or tapping your toes. When a young child listens to music, plays a musical instrument or even dances, lots of things start happening. The brain starts forming connections that pave the way for learning opportunities such as vocabulary building and math comprehension. Not only that, but music can be fun. So one day when your little one is looking for something to do, try some of these preschool music activities that will get you both moving.
1. Freeze Dance
It's as simple as it sounds. Blast some of your preschooler's favorite tunes (or heck, even some of your own) and dance to your heart's content. Then, when she least expects it, yell "freeze!" and stop the music. See what funny position you both wind up in. How long can you hold them?
2. Strike Up the Band
Gather up all the music-making instruments you can find. Don't have a piano or a drum at the ready? No worries, homemade is always more fun anyway. Pull out pots, pans, bowls, empty milk cartons -- whatever you have on hand -- and let your little one go to town on them with a wooden or plastic spoon. Fill closed containers like sealable bowls with buttons or pebbles and give them a shake.
3. Draw What You Hear
Cue up different types of music on your CD or MP3 player -- pop, kids, classical, country, etc. Give your child some paper and different colored markers or crayons. Start the music and ask him to draw what he is hearing. If he's having trouble, demonstrate. For example, with slower music, you might draw long, loping lines in a dark color. With a faster tune, shorter, sharper angles using a brighter shade. There's no wrong answer here, just what you feel. An alternative would be to play the music outside and hand your little one some chalk to draw on the pavement.
4. Name That Tune
Clap or tap out your child's favorite nursery rhyme or song. See if she can figure out what it is. Once she's mastered that game, make it a little more challenging and see if she can do it in less time or less beats.
5. Make-Your-Own Xylophone
Fill an assortment of glasses or jugs (or both) with varying levels of water. Line them up in order from least to most full. Give your child a mallet (a wooden spoon works well) and have them experiment with the different sounds. For a pretty variation, add food coloring to the water and make a rainbow.
6. Music Mania!
Bring out a variety of songs with a variety of tempos. Ask your preschooler to dance accordingly, encouraging him to speed up if the music is fast and take it easy when the beat slows down. Join in the fun, setting an example on how your child should follow, for instance slowly sliding on your belly during a ballad or doing jumping jacks while a dance song plays. See who can come up with the most interesting move.
7. Singing in the Shower
At bath time, encourage your little one to experiment with the acoustics in the bathroom. What happens when you open or close the shower curtain or door? Can she sing louder than the running water?
8. Just Dance (With Props)
It doesn't get any easier than this. Clear a large space and crank up the music. Bring out an assortment of fun toys -- hula hoops, bean bags, rubber balls, scarves -- and start dancing!