The 9 Best Kindermusik Activities to Do at Home

Music activities at home with young children

From class to home and back again!  The value and impact of a music class increases exponentially when the music, concepts, and activities enjoyed in class are also incorporated into everyday family life.  It’s easier than you might think to make the connection between class and home even stronger.

The 8 Best Kindermusik Activities to Do at Home

#1 – Sing Hello and Goodbye (Good Night).
Sing the Hello song each morning when your child wakes up.  Change the word “goodbye” to “good night” and the goodbye song becomes part of a sweet, soothing bedtime ritual.

#2 – Dance together.
After a diaper change, on a rainy day when you’re stuck inside, or while you’re waiting on supper to cook, turn on your Kindermusik songs and dance together.  You can also do a slow, cuddly waltz together just before nap time or bedtime as a way to connect and relax before putting your child to sleep.

#3 – Try an indoor hammock.
Save out one big towel from the clean laundry you’re folding and before putting it away, rock your child in a towel hammock (two adults required) as you play some gentle music or sing a loving lullaby.  For more about hammocking, click here.

#4 – Take your child on a hayride.
That same towel you hammocked with easily transforms into a swervy-curvy, silly-willy kind of indoor hayride.  Simply have your child sit or lay on the towel, then pick up the end closest to his/her head.  Then pull them down the hall and around the room.  Add some music for a little extra fun and movement inspiration.

#5 – Sing in the car together.
If you want your child to love being in the car or running errands, turn car time into singing time.  Your child can teach you songs he/she learned in music class, or you can both enjoy a sing-a-long with your music download or CD from class.

#6 – Do the “Johnny & Katie” fingerplay.
This one is fun!  Starting with the pinky, say “Johnny, Johnny…” while tapping each finger.  Say whoops as you slide down from the pointer to the thumb, tap the thumb (saying “Johnny”), then head back to the pinky saying “Johnny” every time you tap a finger.  Next say “Katie” on each finger.  The fingerplay can go on from there with Daddy, sister, brother, Grandma, Grandpa, aunt, cousin, and more!

#7 – Start a family band.
Pots, pans, bowls, wooden utensils, cups, and spoons can all be the instruments for an impromptu band.  Accompany yourselves as you sing, or do a play-along with the recordings your favorite Kindermusik songs from class.

#8 – Read together.
The Kindermusik library stories your child hears in class during Story Time are available when you login to your @Home Materials.  You’ll enjoy the common shared experience, having something new to read, and knowing that you’re doing a world of good for your child’s literacy,

#9 – Rock together.
Nothing says “I love you” quite like being cuddled and sung to, and those lullaby-laced memories will put an emotional bond around your child’s heart that they will remember forever.  We highly recommend a lullaby and some rocking before bedtime every night!  (And if it’s hard for your child to get going in the morning, singing and rocking together can ease that transition too.)

These are 8 simple ideas with big emotional impact – ideas that also connect class to home and make the learning that much more powerful too.

friends around the world - cartoon illustrationKindermusik teachers all around the world love helping families make the class-to-home connections every week.  But did you know that Kindermusik also offers a curriculum for schools that intentionally includes parent materials to easily connect the classroom to the living room? Find out more.

– Shared by Theresa Case whose award-winning Kindermusik program is located at Piano Central Studios in Greenville, SC.

4 Lesser Known Childhood Milestones Worth Celebrating

Developmental milestones exist for good reason and can be a great help, but “pushing” for development will only cause stress for everyone. Here are some “milestones” that are just as important, but parents may not have thought to celebrate.

Milestone: Your child pretends to have a snack with their teddy bear.

What it means: Exhibiting pretend behaviors may seem like no big deal, but are actually early signs that your child has acquired symbolic reasoning (e.g., putting an empty spoon to your mouth is not eating, but represents eating.)

Milestone: Your child deliberately turns a bowl of cereal upside down.

What it means: Your child is developing wrist control, which is necessary for just about everything we do with our hands.

Milestone: Your child’s new favorite toy? A pop-up toy.

What it means: Your child has figured out, When I push that button, something will pop up! In other words, cause-and-effect, or I can make something happen.

Milestone: You say, Don’t touch! And your child doesn’t touch!

What it means: Your child is learning self-control! At long last, they understand that they are in charge of their own wants and actions, and can exercise (some) control over their impulses.

Milestone: Your child is obsessed with pushing, pulling, and throwing.

What it means: Your child is discovering the properties of weight, size, force, and mass. They are investigating questions of science, including which things do what and how.

Village baby with new logoLooking for more child development information? Every Kindermusik class comes complete with materials and information—just like this—that gives parents insight into their child’s development. Find a class near you!

Happy Hammock Day!

baby boy in hammock blanketToday is a special day… it’s Happy Hammock Day!  A time to celebrate the feel-good joy of hammocking. No hammock, you say? We have a simple solution. A solution if you’re under the age of 5, that is. Two adults holding a beach towel or thick blanket makes for the perfect kid-sized hammock.

But why exactly would you choose to celebrate Happy Hammock Day today or any day? That’s because there are all kinds of benefits to hammocking, which is actually just a type of rocking.

There are many reasons why it’s good to rock, and by rocking, to stimulate the vestibular system. We talk a lot about the vestibular system’s function in controlling balance and coordination. But the vestibular system also coordinates information in the ear, eyes, muscles, hands, feet, and skin. It also helps adjust heart rate, blood pressure, and immune responses… just to name a few! And when the vestibular system is activated, it helps the brain make new learning connections.  Who knew rocking – and the vestibular system – could accomplish all that??!!

Happy Hammock Day to all, and to all some good rocking!

We’d love to see how your family celebrates Hammock Day! Post a photo on social media with the tag: #KindermusikHammockDay

baby boy in a hammock

It’s 6 o’clock. Cue the meltdown.

Talk to any parent of a young child, and they’ll tell you. Young children often save their biggest meltdown moments for the early evening time (around dinner). Reasons: They are tired. They’ve spent most of the day trying their best to “behave” at daycare, preschool, or at home. So, by the time the clock strikes 6pm, they are exhausted (although, of course, they would NEVER admit it!)

music helps toddler meltdowns

We have a solution to offer… Use music to head off, smooth over, or maybe even eliminate, those late day meltdowns. 

Here are a few ways you can use music to ease the evening angst and transition more smoothly into the nighttime routine.

  • Keep them busy (and near you!) while you’re busy. Pots, pans, and wooden spoons can turn into musical exploration and play time. Some lively, happy music can invite lots of musical play and keep a smile on everyone’s faces.
  • While the pasta is boiling, dance around the kitchen with your child. When your child is tired and cranky, what they often crave most is a little extra attention from you. Hold them tight or make intentional eye contact as you dance together.
  • Listen to relaxing music routinely every evening. Consider setting up a playlist of you and your child’s favorite music for calming and unwinding.
  • Use music as a timer. For example, “It will be time to eat after four more songs.”
  • Use the timer on your smart phone to cue your child. Pick a specific song that is only played when your timer goes off. Your child will become accustomed to knowing that when the timer goes off, it’s time to transition to something else such as dinner, bath, reading time, snuggles, or lights out.
  • Make a special habit out of singing (or listening to) a lullaby or two after tucking your child into bed.  The quiet, loving ritual will calm them – and you – and also have them quietly settling down before you know it.

And when a meltdown does happen, take a deep breath and stay calm.  Focus on what you want your child TO DO (take deep breaths, go to a quiet place to “get themselves together”) instead of focusing on what you DON’T want them to do (cry, scream, kick, hit).  And afterwards, take a little time to cuddle up together, rock quietly, and hum a little lullaby.

What’s your favorite Parenting Tip to control the evening chaos at home? Share on our Facebook page.

Two Simple Ideas for Supporting Children’s Vocabulary Development

Up, down, in, out, under… Those relational prepositions mean something very specific to us as adults.  But when toddlers hear a phrase like, “Put the block under the cup,” they’ll probably put the block in the cup, because it’s the obvious thing to do. Toddlers understand that they are supposed to do something with the block and the cup, but just what all those relationships are, and what they’re called, can take years to master. Typically, toddlers tune in to the words they know, like “block” and “cup”—and then make a good guess about what you’ve got in mind with the rest.

Language development, like all other developmental domains, is a process which can be nurtured in surprisingly simple, everyday interactions and activities.  Here are two ideas that will help support children’s vocabulary development:

#1 – Label and move.

There is a powerful connection between movement and learning that has an impact on language development too.  That’s because a child’s developing brain makes a connection based on what they experience.  The more you label the movements, the more your child will understand and be able to make the connection between the word and the movement or object.  Here’s a great example of moving and labeling:

Kindermusik bird song - using movment and labeling to improve vocabulary development
#2 – Practice and play.

Learning should be fun!  And here at Kindermusik, we like to make it hands-on, interactive, and engaging, particularly with our @Home Materials.  Here’s a playful way to help your child with their vocabulary development:

Way Up High - Toddler TalkLooking for more parenting ideas on how to support your child’s development? Visit a Kindermusik class.  Your first one is on us.