When the pandemic forced families to social distance and quarantine, the negative effects of social isolation hit young children perhaps the hardest. The need for connection is pressing and real. And that’s where Kindermusik’s outdoor music classes come in.
Many Kindermusik families love our virtual class opportunities (they’re a huge hit!) and they’re here to stay. However, some of our educators found that children responded better to a physically distanced, outdoor environment.
(from Kindermusik’s rhythmic chant, “Ev’rything Is Just Fine”) Listen below!
“Ev’rything Is Just Fine” is a Kindermusik track that gets stuck in your head. And if you have or care for young children, that’s a good thing!. “Time to go outside and play…” Exactly. We must never forget that young children NEED TO PLAY. For everything to be “just fine” for them, a key ingredient is regular, unstructured play.
Usually, family summer themes include vacation, festivals, summer camps, and more. This year is very different, with overtones of catch-up and preventing severe boredom in the midst of lingering closures. However, one thing hasn’t changed…the looming threat of “summer slide” which extends from babies to early elementary students. So, how do families combat learning loss while recovering from a pandemic?
The first seven years of childhood development are the most critical, and set so many things in motion for the future. However, development extends far beyond literacy and motor skills. Early cognitive strides include some pretty deep revelations like diversity recognition and cultural acceptance.
This year, Kindermusik partnered with Bilingual Birdies, a foreign language music and movement program, to offer classes in studios (and now virtually!) across the globe. It’s amazing to see how quickly children latch onto a second language and begin to process—even as toddlers— that the world is so much bigger than their immediate environments.
We encourage you to check out these fun-filled classes (kiddos are crazy about the puppets)! In the meantime, let’s talk about how we can jumpstart those social-emotional skills and help our little ones celebrate diversity at home.
Do you create your own playlists? Maybe one to calm you when you feel stressed, one to pep you up when you feel down, one for a special holiday, or one for busting a move when no one else is around (those are the best!).
Music has incredible benefits, not just for our grownup moods, but for childhood development—from the womb on! That’s what we explore every day in Kindermusik studios around the globe.
Parents who seek information about what is best to do for their child—parents like you!—are relieved when an idea can be described as definitively true. It’s even better when that idea involves something that is easy and fun for children and caregivers to do together.
It’s not a coincidence that some of the most brilliant minds in history were (and are!) also musicians. That list includes famous names like Leonardo da Vinci, Sir Isaac Newton, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, Bill Gates, Albert Einstein, Galileo, and Steven Spielberg. Research study after research study continues to show that music education or to be more precise – actively engaging in musical activities on a consistent basis – significantly affects the cognitive development and abilities of participants.
Consider these four big ways music affects the brain.
Improved Math Abilities
Long before research studies showed how music-making positively impacts a child’s math abilities and understanding, the great mathematician Pythagorus said, “Music is math made audible.” Now we know that children engaged in math show increased abilities in spatial awareness, pattern recognition, and numbers and measurement. As children grow and continue to participate through high school, music students even score 23 points above average on SAT tests.
Can you identify the pattern in this classic Kindermusik circle dance?
Improved Reading Abilities
We could write a whole book on the connections between music and reading. In fact, we have! (You can download our free ebooks from this page). Children who participate in music classes experience boosts in phonological awareness, auditory discrimination, auditory sequencing, and vocabulary. Plus, reading music even models for children how to read left to right and top to bottom.
When compared to their peers, musicians have better memories. In addition, musicians show improvements in auditory verbal memory and auditory memory. Dr. Nina Kraus, a prominent brain researcher at Northwestern University, has likened the effects of music on the brain to the effects of exercise on the body. Increasing the working memory capacity of the brain improves thinking ability.
Children who participate in music classes over time experience a boost in their IQ. In fact, the longer a child participates in a consistent weekly music class, the greater the effect. But you don’t have to just take our word on it, here’s an interesting article recently put out by the American Psychology Association about this very correlation between music classes and IQ.
Young children tend to view the world with an abundance of imagination. They can easily envision living life as an astronaut, walking on lava, riding on a unicorn, or sailing on a pirate ship to the land of dinosaurs (Pirates of the Caribbean meets Jurassic Park). Of course, they have never actually done those things in real life, but it doesn’t stop them from imagining or pretending that they have. Take these kids. They imagined what it would be like to be in a band:
Yes, they were a little bit right and a little bit not right, but they certainly had fun imagining what it would be like!
What about you? Have you ever imagined what happens in a music class? Well, if you think that there would be some singing, listening to music, playing instruments, and dancing, you would be partly right. (Okay, mostly right!) However, in music class, we do things that may surprise you—or to be more accurate, you may be surprised to find yourself doing them. Take a look at just a few things people have said that they are surprised to find themselves doing in a Kindermusik class.
6 Things I Can’t Believe I Did in Music Class
I sang out loud where other people could hear me and I didn’t care. Yes, we sing in the shower, in our cars, or maybe at a place of worship or at a concert with thousands of other people; however, I never expected to sing out loud in a small group setting with a smile! My children loved hearing my voice and seeing me participate in class. In fact, it helped them love it even more!
I pretended to be a peep squirrel (whatever that is!), a slithering snake, a hopping rabbit, and all sorts of other animals. Again, all of this happened in front of other people and I did not care. For one, they were pretending to be those animals, too. More importantly, my children reminded me just how fun it can be to give in to my imagination.
I purposefully wore my super fuzzy cozy socks with multicolored toes to show the other parents. Then told the other parents where to buy them. In music class, we take off our shoes so it’s all about the socks…or the pedicure during those warmer months. So not only, did the other parents and I exchange parenting tips specific to the age of our children we also shared where to find the cutest socks—or where to get the best pedicure in town.
I broke out in a sweat hoisting my child up in the air, swinging her in a blanket hammock, and bouncing my little one up and down in an imaginary little red wagon. It was a workout for me. The best part: Those “sweaty moments” tended to be full of giggles from my child.
I learned new languages…sort of. Technically, I learned to sing different songs in other languages: Spanish, French, English, and more!
I finally found a place to put to good use all those dance moves I collected in my younger years including the Sprinkler, the Cabbage Patch, the Electric Slide, and even the Macarena. And, while I never had moves like Jagger, my children loved dancing with me and trying out those moves, too.
Share your own “unbelievable” story on our Kindermusik Facebook Page by completing this phrase: I can’t believe I Did [BLANK] in Kindermusik class.
Contributed by Lisa Camino Rowell, a freelance writer in the Atlanta area. Her children, now 9 and 7, still request a ride on the little red wagon—and it is STILL a workout.
We’ve all sung the wrong lyrics to a song. Pre-Internet days, we probably even engaged in some spirited dialogue with friends about the words to certain songs when the artist did not include the lyrics! (Hold me closer, Tony Danza, anyone?)
Somehow, though, when children mis-sing a song, our love for them grows and we run to get the camera to capture the cuteness! Take this sweet little nugget. He is singing a beautiful rendition of “Fifty Nifty United States,” including Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, and the newest state of the union: Massachusettsippigan.
Mis-sung lyrics is one of the reasons we include lyrics in Kindermusik classes so we can read the words to an unfamiliar song. However, while Kindermusik certainly supports early literacy development, most Kindermusik students are not fluent readers so they can create some of their own interesting lyrics.
Here are 5 “mis-sung” lyrics heard in a Kindermusik classroom.
Floating Down the River:
Misheard lyric: “Two in the middle and ketchup juicy.”
Actual lyric: “Two in the middle and you can’t jump, Josie.”
Misheard lyric: “My mom buys pizza”
Actual lyric: “Mama Paquita”
Home on the Range
Misheard lyric: “Hold, hold on the reins.”
Actual lyric: “Home, home on the range.”
Misheard lyric: “Bring back, bring back, oh bring back my body to me, to meEEee….”
Misheard lyric: “Bring back, bring back, oh bring back my bunny to me!”
Actual lyric: Bring back, bring back, oh bring back my Bonnie to me!
Does your child sing the cutest thing, too? Upload a video of your little one’s funny moments singing the incorrect lyrics on YouTube, Facebook, or Instagram. Tag with #KidsSing
“We are LOVING it.The kids are doing great. We have done it three days a week and they are not tired of it at all. I may just be imagining things, but some of my quiet kids are talking more. They are engaged and busy and doing exactly what I am asking them to do. We started lessons 3 and 4 today and I was shocked at what they remembered from last week! They were saying the poem and remembered all of the hand gestures. It has been so exciting to watch.” Jan B. – Preschool Intervention Program Teacher, SC
“Students who are physically impaired are jamming to the music and using vocabulary that they haven’t used before. Some children who have Autism Spectrum Disorders and have been totally nonverbal are not only using phrases, but complete sentences as well.” ~ Sheryl Koscso, Director of ECE Curriculum Instruction, FL
“I’m excited to report the language learning gains [from using Kindermusik curricula] were above the 70% significance level.” ~Penny Collins, Director of Special Education, Osceola County, Florida
“I have a wide range of needs in my classroom from significant visual impairment to developmental delay. The ABC Music & Me program accommodates all my students and has engaging activities that are easy to adapt for students with special needs. I would recommend the ABC Music & Me program to any Pre-K teacher.” ~Rebekah K., Pre-K Teacher, NC
“Good morning! I just wanted to tell you about something wonderful that happened in my last ABC Music & Me lesson. I have a student who has lower cognitive functioning and limited speech. He does not follow directions or imitate movements during music, etc. He LOVES listening to music and instruments but will either stick the instrument in his mouth or throw it to the floor. He refuses to play it, even with hand-over-hand assistance. We have been working with him since August and have seen little progress in his participation skills. Last week when we were doing our ABC lesson, he played two different instruments appropriately AND independently during the whole song segment! And he was imitating some of the movements that were going on during other segments as well! My aide and I almost cried! What a breakthrough for him!” ~ Kimberly L., Early Childhood Teacher