Finding new and exciting activities to engage your children can be difficult when you are all together all the time. Music is a universal language that can engage children and adults young and old.
I’m Brooke Saywer and I’m a FHSR Associate Board member. I am also a board-certified music therapist that has worked in schools conducting music therapy sessions. I’ve put together some of my favorite music activities that can be done with the whole family – that work well for kids ages 5-7.
One way to engage in a musical activity is to make your own instruments and then play those when listening to music that your child likes. There are many ways to do this with household items that might be around your house already. My favorites are Egg maracas, Plate Tambourines, Homemade Rainsticks and Tin Can Drums.
These instruments will create the rhythm, whether you dance to the beat or sing along with the percussion. You can create instruments at home by using everyday items like soup cans, Pringles containers, or even a tabletop! All you need is some kind of a drum stick to tap along with.
I love incorporating music apps into my music classroom sessions to promote sharing and turn-taking. I use apps not just for self-expression, but also in games and challenges. Here are some ideas you can do at home:
Set a timer and make the children pass the iPad around so that everyone gets a turn before the timer goes off.
Have one child be the “leader” on the app, and everyone else in your family has to follow along by playing instruments or clapping along.
My favorite music apps:
Bebot ($2) – a singing robot that is activated from a simple touch. His default is robot noises, but click the blue button in the bottom right corner, and he can sound like a guitar, a synth, and so many other instruments.
Drum Pad Machine (Free but some sounds cost $) – a simple drum pad that allows you to create your own beats by touching colorful squares
GarageBand – This music app comes standard on any iPad and iPhone. You can play guitar, piano, drums, and other instruments in the app and record your creations to listen back to later
Sometimes the activities you do with your kids don’t have to be solely educational or skills-based. Especially during this challenging time, it’s nice to have some fun! Figure out your child’s favorite songs and play Freeze Dance, make up new dance moves as you go, or find some kid-friendly “Just Dance” videos on YouTube.
GoNoodle is also a site that has a lot of dance videos for kids. My personal favorite is “Banana Banana Meatball”. This is a fun way to keep your kids entertained and moving when they are stuck in the house. There are “Just Dance” and GoNoodle videos for kids of all ages, and can keep the whole family moving.