- 2 mins
Play and Music Go Hand in Hand
Play and music make the perfect duo for kids. We love a good family disco in our house! Music is incredibly powerful and freeing—-it can awaken memories, foster a sense of togetherness, inspire creative expression, stir emotions, and relieve stress. Together, play and music have even more amazing benefits for the mind and body. This article about play and music in early childhood states that “play and music are related activities and are important for the child’s development as a well-rounded adult.”
How can play and music help kids?
Play and music can be a lovely way to help your child unleash their true self. Children have many expectations put upon them, so allowing them to let go of these demands and truly enjoy the moment is a creative therapeutic tool. It can also be a way for older children to express their unique identities, letting the world know a bit about them.
Language Building and Speech
Playing through songs is a wonderful way to engage with your child and yields many language benefits. The repetitive structure of songs can help younger children start speaking, and then aids in speech development by helping them remember certain words and put them in context. Repetition also creates a sense of predictability and safety. In addition, learning songs helps with sound recognition and the ability to rhyme. Always be reassured about making your own songs up, especially if you can make them relevant to something your child really enjoys. This will make singing songs even more fun… and it will probably get a bit silly!
Memory Retention and Concentration
Music is a super workout for memory and concentration. From a standpoint of brain development, the left brain is logical and loves sequence, literal explanations, and words; the right brain is nonverbal and loves experiences, memories, and intuition. According to The Whole-Brain Child (Siegel & Bryson, 2011), “in terms of development, very young children are right brain dominant, especially during their first three years. They haven’t mastered the ability to use logic and words to express their feelings.” Making sense of the world through music and play can help the two sides of the brain work together. Certain kinds of music also increase the production of endorphins, our “happy hormones,” and decrease the stress hormone cortisol, which interferes with focus. By increasing our joy and delight in something, we can concentrate fully and maximize our potential.
In addition to increasing when we listen to music, endorphins are also released when we laugh and when we exercise. Dancing to music boosts physical health by improving spatial awareness, motor skills, circulation, balance, and coordination. When we alter our physical state through dancing and play, we can change our emotional state, resulting in fewer outbursts and better coping skills. Even more benefits occur when we sing along to the music as a group, as breathing can become synchronized and we feel a sense of connectedness.
As mentioned above, your child’s brain development can benefit from music.. According to Schellenberg (2005), music improves cognitive function. Pattern recognition can even help your child unconsciously develop their maths skills. If your child ever decides to learn a musical instrument, the spatial intelligence required for more advanced maths skills can improve. A 2016 University of Washington study reveals how music intervention enhances an infant’s neural processing of temporal structure in music and speech. It is also a great idea to introduce some songs in another language, as children may absorb new words in a second language and learn about new cultural ideas and references.
How can I engage my child in musicality and musical play?
Musical games are fun for the whole family. How about a game of musical chairs? Name That Tune is a good one for older children, who might already know the names of a number of songs. For younger children, try a noncompetitive game such as Freeze Dance, where all they need to do is freeze their dancing position when the music stops. Animal Dancing is another great one for preschool children. Pop some music on and shout out the name of an animal, and they have to act like this animal by moving around and making sounds.
Skipping Rope Games
How fast can you jump? Can you jump in rhythm to the music? Put on some of your favorite music tracks and see if your kids can jump rope in ways that match the speed and patterns of the music. It’s fun, and a really great exercise for the whole family!
Making sounds from everyday objects can help your child with creativity and inventiveness. What things around the house can your child think of to make music from? I bet it’s going to get quite noisy in your house!
Calming music for kids during play:
Music is a great background for playtime. A fun way to do this is to listen to a few Moshi Music tracks and choose one that matches your child’s play. For example, play Octo’s Oceanic Overture while they are playing with toys in the bathtub or Dance of the Moshling Fairy while they are playing with dolls or dress-up. Below are more ideas to get you started!
Moshi Tropical Tunes
Close your eyes and listen to the calming music of our tropical-themed playlist for kids (and their parents). From Ping’s Paddleboarding and Uncle Scallops’ Meadow Music to Octo’s Oceanic Overture and Luna’s Soothing Symphony, you will be spoiled for choice with these melodic sounds by the Magnificent Moshiphonic Orchestra.
My favorite track from this beautifully crafted playlist is Drake’s Windmill Concerto. The relaxing guitar sounds are a lovely way to calm your child and pique their interest in musicality. They may even feel inspired to learn the guitar.
Kids at Heart
Moshi created this special playlist for kids and adults to enjoy together. These tracks pair perfectly with quiet activities like coloring, doing a puzzle, or building with blocks.
Mindful music activities:
You can involve music in play by doing some mindfulness activities together as a family. Mindfulness for kids is about finding joy and presence in the here and now, and music is a great facilitator of this process. Play a type of music or song you think your family might like, and as they listen ask them questions such as:
- What feelings are you having as you listen to the music?
- What word sums up this music for you?
- How does your body feel as you are listening? Do you feel like moving or staying still?
Play and music are the closest of friends, and the possibilities of enjoying them together are limitless. I wish you many good times filled with music, play, joy, and laughter!
Schellenberger, E. G. (2005). Music and cognitive abilities. Current Directions in Psychological Science 14(6): 317–320. https://doi.10.1111/j.0963-7214.2005.00389.x
Siegel, D. J. & Bryson, T. P. (2011). The whole-brain child. Random House.