4 Benefits of Music for Toddlers

Kindermusik_SoundtrackForAnySeason_web-250x250-250x250Toddlers are well, busy.  They love to go, move, do, and say “No!”  They also desperately crave predictability and routine.  Parents are challenged by near polar opposite behavior – one minute all is well; the next, there’s a meltdown.  A toddler will cling to mom as if he’ll never let go, and the next moment adamantly assert the independence of a teenager.  At the same time, toddlers are becoming very social, interested in other people and moving from parallel play where they play alongside other children to cooperative play where they start to play with the other children.
If all of these changes weren’t enough, brain development is literally exploding.  In fact, the only two times in a child’s life when there is such significant brain activity is when he/she is a toddler and a teenager.  Vocabulary and communication skills are blossoming, as the toddler goes from about 10 words in his vocabulary to upwards of 300 or so words by age 3.  Motor skills are also developing at a rapid rate – suddenly the child who was barely toddling along is now running, jumping, and galloping everywhere.  Whew!  No wonder moms and dads of toddlers are extra busy – and exhausted! – during this particular season of childhood.
With so much happening inside your toddler’s busy little mind and body, Kindermusik is one activity that beautifully supports and enhances this crucial season in your child’s life.
Though we could probably name a hundred, here are four benefits of music for toddlers:
BenefitsOfKindermusik_MusicClassesForToddlers_Infographic1.  A music class like Kindermusik provides an environment that is both stimulating and nurturing for toddlers.
With so much growth and development happening, toddlers need both the challenge of new things to learn and do as well as the comfort of loving adults and activities that nurture the soul.
2.  Early experiences with music and movement give your toddler an early learning advantage.
The connection between music and academic achievement is undeniable, as highlighted in this recent article.  There’s no better time to be enrolled in music classes than the toddler years when brain growth and development is at its peak, especially with the powerful combination that music and movement gives.
3.  Music, specifically singing songs and speaking rhymes and chants, improves language development.
At a time when language development is most crucial, there’s nothing more beneficial to speech, syntax, and pre-literacy than singing simple songs and reciting chants.  It will start with a few words here and there and then eventually grow into a small repertoire of favorite songs and rhymes that your toddler can sing or say all the way through.
4.  Early childhood music classes put a song in a child’s heart to stay.
Toddlers love music, and giving them an early start with music plants the seeds that bloom into a lifelong love for and appreciation of music.  Music is one gift you can give your toddler that will have a lifetime of meaning, memories, impact, and joy.  No other activity has the potential to influence your child like music does.

For parents…

dad and child at KindermusikThe entire Kindermusik experience, from class to home (and back again!), provides a vital support network for parents of busy toddlers.  Not only does Kindermusik foster and strengthen the parent-child relationship, but Kindermusik classes are also a social outlet for parents as well, a place to share both the joys and challenges of parenting a toddler.
And since Kindermusik is all about helping make great parenting a little easier and even more musical, parents benefit tremendously from all of the helpful tips, ideas, and resources (including your Kindermusik Home Materials) that will help you navigate and enjoy the toddler years to their fullest.
Best of all, parents enjoy a unique kind of bonding and together time with your toddler that only music can give.  With Kindermusik, you’ll be able to savor and linger in those precious, fleeting moments of toddlerhood with more cuddles, hugs, dances, lullabies, giggles, and sweet memories.

Experience the benefits of Kindermusik for yourself.  Contact a local Kindermusik educator and visit a free class today!

Increase parent involvement in early childhood education with a Breakfast Club

Looking for an easy and fun way to increase parent involvement in early childhood education? Start a Breakfast Club. In a recent issue of the NAEYC publication, Teaching Young Children, Lynn A. Manfredi shares her success at inviting parents to join the class during breakfast time. In the morning, parents eat with their children, connect with other parents and the teachers, and children start the day surrounded by people who love and care for them.
“In my family child care program, we start the day with a healthy breakfast. When I asked parents if they would like to join us while we eat, Breakfast Club was born,” Manfredi explains in the article, Building a Community through Breakfast. “My relationships with families and their relationships with each other have blossomed. It is family engagement at its best!”

Breakfast Club ideas to use as part of an early childhood program

In our early childhood curriculum, we include materials for families to use together at home that connect the classroom learning with the home environment. Here are a few Kindermusik@Home ideas to try at your Breakfast Club and share with parents!

For Newborn to 1 year

Kindermusik@HomeCuddle & Bounce: First Foods from Around the World
Opinions about what solids babies should eat, in what order, and at what intervals…well, they’re endless and ongoing!
Check out some recipes for “baby’s first foods” from around the world!
Tip for Parent Involvement in early childhood education: Share this activity with parents as they eat breakfast or use the link in an email to invite parents to attend.

For 1 to 2 years

Sing & Play: Let’s Make Toast
As simple as it seems, a piece of toast offers all kinds of opportunities to help young children develop fine-motor skills. Provide toast for families to eat during Breakfast Club as well as child-safe plastic knives.
Kindermusik@HomeTip for Parent Involvement in early childhood education: With the help of a parent, let children use a plastic knife to spread some butter, margarine, or cream cheese on a piece of toast. Use a spoon to scoop some jelly! Child will develop his or her grasp and practice wrist rotation. If children are not quite ready for the spreading action, line up a row of raisins or pieces of cereal and lead children to place them on the toast, one at a time. This gets the thumb and forefinger working together (a.k.a., pincer grasp) and develops hand-eye coordination (a.k.a., visual-motor integration).

For 2 to 3 years

Kindermusik@HomeWiggle & Grow: Fruit, Fruit Where Are You?
Memory is an excellent game that can encourage the development of numerous early childhood skills that go beyond simple visual processing.
Tip for Parent Involvement in early childhood education: At breakfast, extend the benefits of this game by using the images on the cards as oral language enhancers and fun conversation starters about color and preferences (e.g., “Which is your favorite food to eat?”, “What food did we see that was red?”).

For 4 to 5 years

Move & Groove: Let’s Make Fruit Rainbows
Kindermusik@HomeHealthy fruits come in a variety of shapes and colors, which makes them perfect (and fun!) for practicing patterns. Identifying, creating, and extending patterns is a critical early math skill that is also a prerequisite to more advanced math.
Tip for Parent Involvement in early childhood education: Provide fruit for parents and children to make patterns. Parents can start a pattern and encourage children to finish it and vice versa.

Looking for more ideas on increasing parent involvement?

Learn how using music in the early childhood classroom connects with parents and supports the cognitive development in children, including early math, science, literacy, and language skills.

4 ways to use early childhood music to help children sleep

sleeping toddler finalSleep. It’s such a simple word. And, yet, for parents with young children—or early childhood educators with a classroom full of wiggling and giggling little ones at naptime—sleep can seem like a mirage that teases and tricks and lingers just out of reach. Or, it can leave us driving around willing all the lights to stay green so our little ones will stay asleep just a little bit longer.
While this lack of sleep bonds us together, it also isolates us in our individual struggles to lull our little ones to sleep. No need to call a Sleep Nanny just yet. Try these musical solutions to help solve childhood sleep woes.

4 musical ideas that puts children to sleep (literally)

  1. Listen to lullabies. Lullabies can lower the heart rate of children and help grown-ups to relax as well.
  2. Use soft, quiet music the same time each evening to signal that sleep time is near. Routines and rituals help young children make sense of their world and predict what comes next. Listening to the same music at the end of the day tells children that it is time to get ready for bed. This can mean bath time, cozy pajamas, a story, and then a final snuggle before lights out.
  3. Be consistent with musical selections. Familiar tunes work best to signal to a child that bedtime is near.
  4. Teach children their own soothing lullaby. Children learn through repetition. So, by singing a favorite song night after night, children will not only learn the song by heart, but they will learn a musical self-soothing technique. Bonus: That same tune can help calm children under stressful situations, like a skinned knee or a visit to the doctor’s office.

We know there is power in early childhood music. Whether used as part of a toddler curriculum to teach early literacy and language skills, played in the background at toddler play groups, or even used in the middle of the night to lull an infant to sleep, music puts a soundtrack to childhood. And, music and learning go hand in hand!

Looking for musical solutions to other parenting challenges? Visit a Kindermusik class to connect with other families where you can discover more about the benefits of early childhood music. Find a local Kindermusik educator today!


10 Reasons Why Toddlers Thrive in Early Childhood Music Classes

Since Kindermusik International is the world’s leader in early music and movement learning, we could probably probably give you 10,000 reasons why toddlers thrive in our early childhood music classes with Kindermusik educators all around the world using our toddler music curriculum.
But we’ll keep this short, sweet, and to the point and just share 10 of our favorite reasons why early childhood music, and specifically Kindermusik classes, are so important for young children.
Music - happy familiesReason #1: Parents are engaged and involved with their toddler for the entire class and toddlers blossom with this kind of focused attention and quality time together.
Reason #2: Toddlers benefit from the social facet of the class, watching their peers, making friends, and practicing sharing.
Reason #3: Creativity and imagination are ignited through Kindermusik’s rich, multi-sensory learning environment.  Music and learning go hand-in-hand.  Watch this video for more!
Reason #4: In a Kindermusik program, most children will have the opportunity to have the same caring, nurturing Kindermusik teacher for several years, providing a security and familiarity that enriches the learning process.
Reason #5: The Kindermusik curricula deliberately expose toddlers to a wide variety of musical genres and styles, expanding their musical taste and appreciation.
Reason #6: Toddlers absolutely thrive on happy rituals and predictable routines, both of which are an intrinsic part of each and every Kindermusik class.
Reason #7: At a time when vocabularies are exploding, Kindermusik classes inspire toddlers to practice silly sounds and learn new words through songs, chants, and vocal play.
Reason #8: Toddlers love to go, and Kindermusik classes give children a safe place to actively explore all of the different ways little bodies can move.
Reason #9: Kindermusik classrooms are a place of discovery and delight, and nothing is more satisfying to a toddler than to be able to do and explore all by himself – with mom or dad close by, of course!
Reason #10: The Kindermusik curricula are carefully designed to give these active learners exactly what they need when they need it, inspiring a love of music and an appetite for learning that will last a lifetime.
cute girl making a funny faceCome see for yourself how your toddler will thrive in a Kindermusik class!  Try a free Preview Class today.  We promise… Kindermusik is one of the best things you can do for your child.  We’d love to show you why.

Shared by Theresa Case who owns an award-winning Kindermusik program at Piano Central Studios in Greenville, SC.

4 Simple Ideas for Indoor Musical Fun

When the weather keeps you indoors or you just need something to relieve a certain little someone’s boredom, here are a few fun and easy suggestions for keeping your child occupied and making a few memories along the way too!  These are just a few simple, tried-and-true things to do with kids – at home and out and about.
Suggestion 1:  Try a Kindermusik class!
Of course we couldn’t resist a small plug here!  But we happen to think that Kindermusik classes are one of the very best things you can do with – and for! – your child newborn to 7 years.  Not only do you get to enjoy a weekly class together, but you also receive Home Materials (now available digitally!) that help you enjoy and extend your Kindermusik experience at home throughout the week.  With Kindermusik @Home, you can take your Kindermusik with you wherever you go!
Sign up for a free Preview Class here.
If you’re already enrolled in Kindermusik and need a little extra inspiration, take some time to explore the myriad of downloadable activities and music at play.Kindermusik.com – a great music app for kids AND their parents!
Suggestion 2:  Sing a song and play along.
For example, remember the song “Hickory, Dickory, Dock” from your childhood?  With a simple song like “Hickory, Dickory” as your inspiration, you can explore the sounds that different materials make when struck together.  Try familiar materials such as wooden blocks, pots and pans, and cardboard tubes.  Which sounds most closely mimic the ticking of a clock?  Kids of all ages will also enjoy accompanying themselves with simple rhythm instruments while they sing.
Suggestion 3:  Create some cool art.
Here’s a three-ingredient recipe for Pretty Puffy Snow.  You will need 1 cup flour, 1 cup salt, and 1 cup water.  Mix all ingredients and place the mixture in a squeeze bottle (try recycling an empty honey bottle or mustard container).  Draw a wintery scene on a piece of stiff paper, then squeeze on your puffy “snow” for some really cool 3-D highlights.
By the way, art projects are always more enriching and more inspired when you’re playing a little music in the background… or when you choose this for one of your family activities!
Suggestion 4:  Try these learning games for kids. (And get a sneak peek at one of the fabulous ideas available exclusively through Kindermusik @Home!)

Here’s a free music learning game that’s perfect for toddlers, but fun for all ages too:  Finding Family

This adorable “get up and move” activity from Kindermusik provides opportunities for toddlers to be active, to engage in looking-and-finding, to follow directional cues (e.g. ‘under’, ‘behind’, ‘up’), and to identify (and open conversation-opportunities about) family members.

Shared by Theresa Case, whose Kindermusik program at Piano Central Studios in Greenville, SC, is proudly among the top 1% of Kindermusik programs worldwide.

Emotional connections matter in English language learning

(Source: Sheknows.com)

We get happy tears quite often in the classroom. It’s true. Witnessing firsthand how music can foster emotional connections between a loving caregiver and a child gets us going. Every. Single. Time.

Whether leading a Kindermusik class in activities for toddlers, supporting preschoolers’ early literacy development, or teaching English as a second language, emotional connections matter—and make a difference in early child development.

Toddler’s thrive on “real” conversations

New research shows that responsive interactions and emotional connections are imperative to a toddler’s ability to learn language, including English as a second language. In the study published in the journal of Child Development, 36 two-year-olds learned new words in one of three ways:

  1. Face-to-face conversations with a real person
  2. Video chat, such as FaceTime or Skype, with a real person
  3. Watching a pre-recorded video of an adult teaching another child

With more than 35 years’ in early child development, we were not surprised to see that the pre-recorded video was not the most effective language learning activity for toddlers. Toddlers learned best with live social interactions, whether face-to-face or via video chat. Emotional connections matter!

“The study highlights the importance of responsive interactions for language learning,” explained co-author Kathy Hirsh-Pasek in a press release. “Interactions allow adults and toddlers to respond to each other in a back-and-forth fashion—such as live instruction and the video chats. These types of interactions seem to be central for learning words.”

“The research has important implications for language learning,” Hirsh-Pasek continued. “Children are less likely to learn from videos than from live, back-and-forth responsive interactions with caring adults.”

English language learning that supports emotional connections

ABC English & Me - Teaching English to Children through MusicIn the early childhood development classroom, educators can create connections between teacher and students, parent and child, child and child, and the entire group as a whole. ABC English & Me, our English Language Learners curriculum, uses music to create those emotional connections and foster a healthy learning environment. From the

first song at the start of each class, children quickly become engaged in actively learning English.

Plus, we provide materials for families to use together at home. These monthly interactive materials support the classroom learning, while giving parents the tools they need to continue the English language learning at home, through face-to-face interactions together.

Learn more about bringing ABC English & Me and the power of music to your school!

 

Introducing two new Kindermusik classes: a baby music class and a toddler music class

Have you meet the newest members of the Kindermusik family? We are talking about our two newest Kindermusik classes: Cuddle & Bounce and Sing & Play. Babies and toddlers grow and learn at an amazing

pace. Seemingly one minute your child needs to be swaddled up snuggly and the next minute your little one wobbles (or runs!) around the room. In our Kindermusik baby music classes and toddler music classes, we use music and movement to nurture and guide all the learning that takes place during these years.

New baby music class: Cuddle & Bounce

Cuddle & Bounce logoBabies grow by leaps and bounds their first year—or more accurately by grasps and scoots. In our new baby music class, Cuddle & Bounce, we nurture a baby’s development through music and movement activities that also support a parent’s role as a child’s first and best teacher. Monthly lessons might focus on language and vocal development, brain development, fine- and gross-motor skills, social-emotional development, and musical development. Enrollment includes access to Kindermusik@Home, where parents and caregivers can download the music from class, gain developmental insights behind the activities, find practical tips to support your baby’s development, and more.

New toddler music class: Sing & Play

Sing & Play logoYour child will love playing, moving, and singing in this high-energy toddler music class. Sing & Play includes activities for toddlers with a special emphasis on movement and vocal development—two major areas of growth for toddlers. Monthly lessons include instrument play, dance, exploration time, musical concepts, together time, and expert advice offering insight behind these activities for toddlers. Plus, enrollment includes access to Kindermusik@Home, where parents and caregivers can download the music from class, read a monthly eBook during storytime at home, go on virtual field trips, discover new ideas for activities for toddlers, and more!

Cuddle & Bounce / Sing & PlayCome experience for yourself our two new Kindermusik classes! Classes also available for older children and families. Contact a local educator and try a free class!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kindermusik "plays" in Italy at Il Chiostro dei Bambini

Il Chiostro dei Bambini logoIl Chiostro dei Bambini was a three-day event that took place at The Diocesan Museum in the San’Eustorgio district, one of the most antique and monumental complexes of Milan, Italy. An exhibition dedicated to children and their families

was set up in the larger square courtyard of this museum built from joined units of the basilica and Dominican convent.

On invitation, over 40 stands of the best Kindergartens, language schools, programs, dance, art and sport associations were present along with Kindermusik! This event gave parents and their children the possibility to take part in numerous, games, workshops, performances and other extra-curricular activities, including activities for toddlers and other children.

Il Chiostro dei Bambini childrenA preview of baby and toddler music classes and more!

Along with meeting many like-minded people, who dedicate their lives to improve children’s education, the best part of the event for us was that many children were able to enjoy the magic of Kindermusik in this unique setting with mom and dad. During baby music classes or our other Kindermusik classes, it is always heartwarming to see the surprise on a mother’s face when her 7 month old baby interacts with an egg shaker or when a five year old responds to all the directions given in another language even though it is their first time meeting you. (Kindermusik in Italy is music, movement…and English!)

It was also an occasion for experienced and new educators from different parts of Italy to gather. Meghan Shanaphy, from Milan, was our star performer as she led two groups of over 30 children and their parents in an ABC English & Me Trip to the Farm!

As we were packing up the stand at the end of the three days, the Kindermusik purple balloons took off into the sky and we renewed our wish: “May the magic of Kindermusik reach all the children of this world.”

To experience the magic of Kindermusik with your child, find an educator near you and see why families all around the world love our baby and toddler music classes as well as our classes for older children, too.