Since the mid 1800s, music has been used as a tool to help children with memorization and other learning functions such as understanding math and science and spatial intelligence in newborns. The Houston Chronicle reports the finding of a January 1998 study, which makes the correlation that secondary students who participated in band or orchestra reported the lowest lifetime and current use of all substances (alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs). Music is also known to have many therapeutic aspects and is said to help in the fulfillment of physical, psychological, communicative and social needs of children as well as adults. The future of music therapy is quite promising because the level of effectiveness gained in the therapeutic use of music is outstanding thus far.
With that said, it is important to incorporate music into play time – and it certainly makes for a pretty awesome time. At my house, our favorite musical activity is a good old dance party! Plug in your iPod, find music online or play a CD and rock out! This gets the kids using their minds and bodies, getting their groove on and maybe even breaking a sweat. Feel free to break out instruments, pots and pans, costumes or whatever else catches your eye. The crazier the better – keeping the kids active while enriching their lives with music, can’t beat it!
Another household favorite for us is freeze dance. You know the rules—dance until the music stops and then…FREEZE! The key to this game is to make the pose you freeze in as awkward and funny as possible…the kids will laugh their butts off, guaranteed!
Also, check out your local library or recreation halls – there’s plenty of musical group activities for the young ones there. Our local library offers free music classes for kids like “Toddler Tango” and “Rock and Roll Baby.” It is a great opportunity for the kids to play and interact with other children their age, dance their diapers off and enjoy some great music. (P.S. My kids are usually ready for a nap after these classes…you’re welcome.)
Now here’s the kicker: You will love these activities too and you don’t always have to play “row row row your boat” either. My boys and I have had many a Dave Matthews Band dance party and they have loved them just as much as any kids bop. Relax and dance like only your babies are watching—because they are and surely they won’t judge your rhythmic challenges or two left feet. Happy Groovin'!