Family vacations are intended to be relaxing, fun and refreshing. With the change in routine and the extra dose of togetherness, vacations also have the potential to make us stressed and tired. With this in mind, here are three words of travel advice: USE YOUR MUSIC – your Kindermusik, that is!
Packing Your Bags
Choose from among the following (or take them all!) and pack a musical duffel bag for your travels:
- Kindermusik Home Activity Books and/or Song Books For activity ideas and song and rhyme lyrics that can be used while travelling or when you arrive, these are invaluable. (Plus they’re small and easy to pack.)
- Kindermusik Literature Books There’s nothing like a favourite book at bedtime to make you feel at home.
- Kindermusik Instruments and Props A simple assortment of small items will keep eyes, ears, hands and minds occupied. Choose a couple of props and one or two instruments that the whole family can enjoy. Pack scarves, mirrors, egg shakers and rhythm sticks, for example.
- Kindermusik CDs or Kindermusik Playlists on your iPod Either of these are small on size and big on music and usefulness! Consider using the recording feature on your iPod to create an audio scrapbook of your trip.
- More CDs from the Library or iTunes Store Check out some new recordings that follow a specific theme. Relate these to your travels (e.g. Debussy’s La Mer [The Ocean] or Hawaiian music for a beach trip; Appalachian fiddle music or a Swiss yodelling recording for a mountain trip). Or choose another theme or musical style(s) to explore. This is a great time to listen to something new, as well as to enjoy the familiar.
- Crayons and paper An old favourite for preschoolers and kindergartners is colouring to music.
Once your journey is underway, here are ways you can help your children be happily and musically engaged as you cover the miles.
- Sing, of course! Sing songs that go with what you’re doing (or where you’re going); sing songs about the weather; sing rounds; sing your favourite songs from your Kindermusik songbook; sing along with a CD and/or radio; and make up your own songs by using the tune of a familiar melody and substituting your own lyrics–we call these “piggyback” songs.
- Make an video scrapbook. With your camcorder, iPhone or FLIP cam, help your child record – or star in! – a video journal of your travels.
- Remember quiet time. Allow time for quiet relaxing music as well as time for no music or radio at all. Rocking and humming can be very soothing, especially for the tired or cranky traveller.
- Colour to music. Choose a fast-slow piece or a high-low piece or any piece at all, and let your child enjoy colouring to the music. Classical music works really well for this purpose. Think of it as “conducting” on the paper.
- Play hand games. You may be limited in locomotor movement, but you can keep you arms, hands and fingers busy with fingerplays, clapping along to music and making up hand gestures to songs.
- Listen to the recordings that you brought. If age-appropriate, engage your child in conversation about the music. Is it fast or slow? High or low? Are there instruments? Voices? What do you like about it?
- Dance. Do a hand and feet dance if you’re seated. Or make your child’s favourite stuffed animal dance to the music. Can you remember some movement concepts from class to use with Beanie Bear?
- Play games while you wait. Use lap bounces to shake out the stiffness during long flight layovers. Use massage with songs and rhymes to stimulate Baby’s back after long periods in a car seat.
- Collect musical souvenirs. Consider starting a collection of music recordings or instruments for your family.
So on your next trip, take the familiar songs and rituals of Kindermusik class with you to establish new rituals for travel and create a musical home away from home. With a little forethought and minimal effort, you can use the experience and materials you already have to make the getaway transition smooth. Bon voyage!
This is the first in a series of articles that will appear on our blog over the next few weeks to help you use music to make great parenting even easier. We’ll give you insights on Bedtime Rituals in the Summer, Capture the Moment Activities, and how to Get Movin’ with Music.