Here’s a fun fact: Incorporating music into the fabric of your daily family life can bring social and educational benefits to your children in surprising ways.

  • Soft music can calm and soothe children from fussy babies to high-strung older children.
  • Hearing music and responding to it accelerates brain development, especially in language acquisition and reading and math skills.
  • Music provides healthy ways to interact with others, both adults and other children.
  • Moving to music builds motor skills and allows healthy self-expression.
  • Music interactions build memory skills.
  • Music provides a vehicle for the expression of many emotions, especially joy.

Here are some games and activities to bring more music into the culture of your family life.

  1. Play music for babies and toddlers. Encourage them to sway, bounce, clap and otherwise move to the rhythms.
  2. Make up songs as you go about your daily routines. They might relate to bath or nap times, meal times or play times. “It’s time for your bath, bath, bath.” to the tune of a favorite song.
  3. Sing familiar songs and insert silly words. “Mary had a little ____.”
  4. Play music and provide household items or simple rhythm instruments for your children to play.
  5. Learn singalong songs to sing together as a family. These work wonders on commute times in the car.
  6. Sing “movement” songs to build simple dance routines. “Wiggle, hop and then turn around.”

Have fun with music because: “In the first five years of life, a child’s brain develops more and faster than at any other time in life. The early experiences a child has–the things seen, heard and touched, stimulate the brain, forming connections. Healthy brain development establishes a child’s social competence, cognitive skills and positive emotional well-being.” Quote from clinical psychologist Seema Hingorrany.

So have some musical fun with your kids. More cowbell, please.