For a preschooler, music isn’t a passive activity, it’s jumping and hopping and dancing around. While listening to a favorite song is certainly beneficial for kids age 3 to 5, you can incorporate preschool activities with musical experiences that will broaden your child's creativity and increase her learning about the arts.
Get your preschooler up on his feet – or, at least away from the TV -- and get him moving. Why should he simply listen to music when he can also come up with creative movements that go along with the music? Play different styles and tempos of music on a CD player or download the tunes onto your portable music player. Press play, wait for the music to start and then ask him, "How does this song make you feel like moving?" Instead of waiting for an answer, say to him, "Go ahead. Dance your feelings out." Turn on an up-tempo tune, and watch him hop around like a battery-powered bunny. Or, maybe he’ll jump from foot to foot or clap his hands over his head to the beat. Add a slow musical number and see how your child can slither like a snake or gently wave his arms like a rolling ocean.
Set up an easel, play a few tunes, and watch as your mini-Monet paints to the tempo. For example, play a tune like, "If You're Happy and You Know It." Hand your child a paintbrush, give her a palette of temperas, and watch as she makes splotchy blobs to the tempo. If you are looking for a less messy option -- and who isn't -- try a clay and music activity. Preschoolers can pound, roll and twirl soft modeling clay to the beats of different songs.
While having a treasure chest full of real instruments for the kids to play is any mom's dream, this isn’t always financially feasible. Instead of breaking the bank on real instruments, help your preschooler to get creative and make her own. Some homemade instruments like a drum made from a coffee can with a piece of plastic wrap tightened around the top or a juice can shaker filled with dried beans, can make real noises. Kids can create pretend flutes from cardboard tubes, a piano from a large-sized cardboard box or a guitar from a cereal box with a cardboard handle attached at the top. These instruments may not make noise, but your child can use her own inner music to bring out the sounds that she thinks they have. Take a seat on the floor or on the couch, with your mini musician. Ask him, "Show me how you can play your flute like your older sister did at her orchestra rehearsal" or "Can you play me a song on your guitar?"
Transition songs are a favorite among the early childhood education set when it comes to thinking up creative ways to get kids from place, or activity, to another. Instead of telling the kids to move along, try a musical experience that will make transitions easy. Some activities, such as cleaning up toys, are dull and boring to most kids. Entice your little one to start putting away her playthings with a cleanup song. Use the old standard ,"Clean Up, Clean, Everybody Clean Up" or make up your own words that go along with a favorite tune such as "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star," "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" or even the "Hokey Pokey." Simply substitute your own words for the originals. For example, turn "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" into "Clean up, clean up all my toys."