Looking for that perfect gift this holiday season for the little music maker in your family? It’s a good idea to have a variety of musical instruments available to choose from at home because when your child expresses her preference for an instrument, sound or texture, she is making an aesthetic choice. Aesthetic experiences can enhance social sensitivity, promote language development, and improve the quality of a young child’s own creativity.
All the engaging play-alongs and other instrument play in Kindermusik give your child the opportunity to develop sensitivity and discernment for musical cues. Cultivating their listening and playing skills in this way helps them with all kinds of communication skills and may prepare them to follow a conductor someday in an orchestra or band.
Once a week in a music class is not enough though. Children literally “play” with music and when it can happen spontaneously on a daily basis, using all those great recordings you have at your fingertips in the audio player of your digital home materials, the benefits of instrument play really shine through. Having an assortment of instruments at home can keep the learning and fun happening between your Kindermusik classes.
This one is listed first because of course, what would the holidays be without bells? There are so many different kinds of bells out there, but how do you choose? When buying for little ones it is very important to use age-appropriateness as your guide.
For babies and younger toddlers, who are still mouthing things as a means of exploration, make sure the bells you buy are enclosed and cannot come out with any amount of drooling, tonguing, teething or pulling. Pictured at right, are examples of some of the bells we have in our store that are appropriate for babies.
Below are some examples of suitable bells for older children, ages 3 and up. What’s more fun than playing along to music with bells? Not much! Putting an instrument in each hand gives your child instant, multi-sensory feedback about the location of their arms and hands and also provides them with a delectable incentive to use their body to interact with an object. Learning about their body’s orientation in space and how to interact with an instrument or prop are the building blocks of spatial awareness. As they get older, bells can be used for ensemble play and also sound effects for stories and songs!
A child’s primary interest is in making things happen. So when your little one plays and interacts with an instrument such as a shaker, this helps make the first of many learning connections about cause & effect, or “what happens when I do this?” We have a wide variety of visually and aurally stimulating shakers in our store for children of all ages and abilities.
Every child loves to bang on a drum. Fact is, most adults do, too! That’s because playing a Steady Beat is so cognitively, physically and emotionally satisfying. Steady beat is important for future musical experiences and any everyday life activity that requires a rhythmic, repeated motion, like walking with a steady gait, cutting with scissors, pedaling a bicycle and even dribbling a basketball down the court. Did you know that when you play the steady beat, you access the frontal lobes of your brain waking up the centres responsible for reasoning, logic and altruism? It’s no wonder the ability to keep a steady beat is a strong indicator of school success.
For babies, scarf play provides an excellent opportunity for eye-tracking to strengthen depth perception and eye-hand coordination. For older children, scarves encourage multi-sensory learning. Gliding a scarf through the room to music, for example, engages the senses of touch, hearing, and sight. Moreover, children can visualize musical (eg. staccato/legato) or spatial concepts (eg. high/low) and physically apply what they are hearing when they move their scarf.
You might wonder why we have included balls in a list of essential musical instruments for home, but because Kindermusik is about so much more than music, we just have to include balls! Playing with a ball improves your child’s hand-eye coordination and usually leads to laughter. Laughter boosts both our immune system and our potential to learn. Tapping the ball to music on different parts of your baby’s body helps her with body awareness.
At right, you’ll see examples of appropriate balls for babies and toddlers.
Once they turn three and are no longer putting things in their mouths, you can introduce a ball like the one below. A Gertie Ball will help with important skills, such as gripping, rolling, tossing and of course, catching, because it has a slightly “sticky” surface and can be inflated to different levels of hardness to help children be successful in learning those ball skills. Add some music and a partner, and you have the makings of a whole lot of fun, creative play and an opportunity for keeping the steady beat to the music by bouncing, rolling or tapping along!
Please note: we do not recommend the Gertie Ball for use with children under age 3, as the plug that keeps the air in the ball can be easily removed and pose a choking hazard. Even with older children, adult supervision is recommended.