The earlier you can expose your child to classical music and the magic of the symphony orchestras, the better. Music appreciation is something you want to instill early in a child’s life. (Shameless self-promotion: music appreciation is one of the skills children develop in Kindermusik classes. Find a Kindermusik class near you to learn more.)
Summer is one of the best times to take in a symphony. Many cities have outdoor venues and band shells where orchestras perform regularly. If there is a lawn area, is there any better way to take in a picnic? Kids of almost any age will love this. Let them dance and sway to the music. If you can talk quietly during the performance, introduce them to the various instruments on stage or other musical concepts. Some orchestras even have performances specifically designed for kids.
if you can’t get to a performance any time soon (or even if you can!), a number of symphony orchestras have wonderful kid-focused websites. Here are a few to check out.
The San Francisco Symphony Orchestra Kids has an energetic home-page at www.sfskids.org. You’ll find a quirky variety of musical games and activities. Compose your own music, learn about the instruments of the orchestra, and more.
Research has proven that the area of the brain that deals with cognitive thought is activated through movement. In other words, movement can literally turn on your child’s mind! For example, when you hold your baby and whirl around in one direction and then whirl in the opposite direction, this stimulates his neural pathways and actually helps them develop.
Moving with your child is a great way to spend time because it’s fun and it has a great benefit.
We’ve put together a few ideas of movements you can do at home with your child. Try these to get those brain muscles flexing.
Kindermusik’s movement ideas for…
…your baby: Put on a favorite piece of music and pick up your baby. While holding him, place one foot in front of the other and rock from front to back, balancing most of your weight on one leg at a time. Swoop, swirl, and swing your baby high and low in response to the music.
…your toddler: The world of a toddler is a very physical place, and your child will learn a new word more easily when you pair it with the action. So try doing different actions together while saying the word. For example, jump up and down and say the word “jump.”
…your preschooler: Encourage your preschooler’s creativity. Play some music and ask her to make up a different dance for the verse and the chorus. Help her distinguish between the two. She will not only be stimulating her brain through movement, but also learning musical concepts as well.
Have a movement idea of your own? Feel free to share it in the comments area below.