Children of all ages express themselves through music. Even young infants sway, bounce, or move their hands in response to music. Many preschoolers make up songs and, with no self-consciousness, sing to themselves as they play. Children in elementary school learn to sing together as a group and possibly learn to play a musical instrument. Older children dance to the music of their favorite bands and use music to form friendships and share feelings.
Infants and Music: Infants recognize the melody of a song long before they understand the words. Quiet, background music can be soothing for infants, especially at sleep time. Loud background music may over-stimulate an infant by raising the noise level of the room. Sing simple,short songs to infants. Try making up one or two lines about bathing, dressing, or eating to sing to them, while you do these activities. Look for more musical learning ideas for infants.
Toddlers and Music: Toddlers love to dance and move to music. The key to toddler music is repetition, which encourages language and memorization. Silly songs make toddlers laugh. Try singing a familiar song and inserting a silly word in the place of the correct word, like “Mary had a little spider” instead of lamb. Let children reproduce rhythms by clapping or tapping objects.
Preschoolers and Music: Preschoolers enjoy singing just to be singing. They aren’t self-conscious about their ability and most are eager to let their voices roar. They like songs that repeat words and melodies, use rhythms with a definite beat, and ask them to do things. Preschool children enjoy nursery rhymes and songs about familiar things like toys, animals, play activities, and people. They also like finger plays and nonsense rhymes with or without musical accompaniment.