You Hear Beeping. We Hear Phonological Awareness


Young children love to listen to and imitate sounds! Parents should encourage this natural inclination as often as possible, because this vocal play is actually helping children develop early phonological awareness skills. Phonological awareness is the ability to hear and manipulate words, syllables, and sounds in oral language. It is one of the strongest predictors of later reading ability.

Children develop phonological awareness through deliberate and explicit instruction, with plenty of opportunity for repetition and practice. Instruction should be just like the game below from Kindermusik@Home: brief, focused, playful, and active to keep children engaged. For young children, it’s best to incorporate images to help make a connection between an object and its sound.

Let’s Be Vehicles: A Phonological Awareness Game for Young Children

This adorable vocal play game wants you to come along on a chugga-chugga, vreeeooooooom, putt-a-putt-putt, beeeeeep-beeeeeep, bringg-bringg ride, and be ready to make some noises along the way. Play the “Let’s Be Vehicles” game.

Let's Be Vehicles

For an added challenge, after playing this game with a young child a few times, try practicing the auditory discrimination game away from the computer. Ask: “What sound does a motor boat make?” Make the sound of the airplane and ask, “What makes this sound?”

Looking for more fun, musical learning ideas? Follow us on Pinterest.

Music Paves the Way to Literacy

Improve Listening Skills with Kindermusik

Improve Listening Skills with KindermusikListening to and identifying sounds is the earliest phonological awareness skill and one of the most important pre-literacy competencies. Without this skill, there will be no progress toward phonics, spelling, or text comprehension.

How Children Become Phonologically Aware

Children become phonologically aware in a specific developmental sequence, beginning with the larger sound units (e.g., tapping each word in a sentence), then focusing on parts of individual words (e.g., blending two words to make a compound word, such as cup-cake), and finally focusing on smaller sound units (/b/-/ig/) within words.

This developmental sequence is universal…meaning that children who are English language learners are able to transfer phonological awareness skills from their first language, even when the two languages are very different! And children who speak other alphabetic languages also progress through the same sound-awareness sequence, from larger to smaller units.

Kindermusik@Home Activity that Supports Phonological Awareness

There is such a thing as training an ear. Parents can extend the application of a listening activity like this one from Kindermusik@Home to pre-literacy by gathering a variety of sound-making materials and playing with different pitches, paces, and lengths of sound. The more experience children gain in learning to identify the subtle nuances between musical timbres and pitches, the more prepared they will be to recognize and identify the distinct sounds within words.

Kindermusik@Home activity: “Which Woodwind?” Give young children’s listening skills a workout with this fun, musical game. Kids will learn to identify a piccolo, flute, oboe, bassoon, and bagpipe.

Kindermusik@Home Listening Game


Learn more about how music supports early literacy development. 

Scooby-Dooby-Doo-Wap Your Way Through Jazz Appreciation Month

Throughout the Kindermusik experience, we deliberately introduce children to a wide variety of musical genres to give them a greater understanding of what is possible through music. This month we celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month! We wanted to make it easy for you to celebrate it, too, so the children in your life can experience the value of improvisation and emotional expression and gain an appreciation of this musical genre that traces its roots to the Southern (United States) African-American music of the early 20th century. Try this Kindermusik@Home activity to give children a taste of jazz and to support early language development.

Scat Cat Is Where It’s At

Listening to and mimicking (or echoing) language is the earliest phonological awareness skill. (Being able to hear, identify, discriminate, and mimic sounds is a precursor to matching initial and final sounds and to blending phonemes, all things that stack up to eventually enable reading.) Scat is a kind of singing found in jazz that uses nonsense syllables instead of words. Try this together:

Scat Cat Kindermusik@Home activity


4 Ways to Extend this Jazz Activity for Kids

  • Explore the senses by talking with children about their sense of hearing. Explain that we use our ears to hear, listen, and to learn about the world. By listening closely, we know how to imitate the sounds we hear.
  • Use this game as a model for teaching children how to imitate sounds and language. Find something in your home or classroom that makes an interesting sound. Have children listen to the sound. Then model for children how to mimic that sound. Practice, practice, practice!
  • Play a call-and-response game at home, in the classroom, in the car, or outside: say a phrase, sentence, or simple pattern of sounds and children to repeat it back to you. For an added challenge, see if children can repeat it back with the same pace/speed, rhythm, and with the same expression as you. For instance, can they raise their voice at the end of a sentence to denote a question?
  • Do you speak more than one language? Say some words, phrases, or sentences in another language (even if you only studied it in high school!) and have children repeat them back to you as accurately as possible.

Learn more about Kindermusik@Home activities.

Contributed by Lisa Camino Rowell a freelance writing in the Atlanta area.

Let Music Draw Out Your Emotions. (Literally!)

socialResearch continues to show that academic success relies heavily on social and emotional well-being, right from the start. Helping young children to recognize and label feelings supports healthy social-emotional growth and is a vital skill in early childhood education. Emotional awareness includes:

  • self-awareness
  • self-regulation
  • social competence
  • social awareness

The Arts can be a tool to help children recognize and express emotions. Music inspires a variety of feelings in the listener and sometimes those feelings can be expressed through yet another art form, such as art, dance, drama, or writing. Try this game at home or in the classroom to support social-emotional development.

Music Game: “See the Music”

Listen to six different pieces of music, each paired with a piece of art. Then, can you match them back up again?

Feel the Music Game

Here are some fun ways to extend the learning of this game:

  • After playing the game a few times, point to some of the paintings and ask children to verbally describe the type of music that each painting represents. (Would the music be loud/soft? Fast/slow? What kinds of instruments might make the music?)
  • Play the musical samples from this game, without the visuals. Encourage children to be inspired, and away from the screen, to draw, write, paint, dance, or enjoy any other art form while listening! How does their artistic expression change if the music changes?
  • Talk with children about how they feel when they listen to each piece of music. Can they use feeling words (not just sound words or visual words) to describe what they’re hearing?
  • Put on some brand-new music, of your choice, and create art in response to them.

Kindermusik@HomeAll Kindermusik classes include activities and resources to extend the learning outside the classroom. Learn more about the educational activities created specifically for families to do together outside of the classroom.

New Research: Teaching self-regulation increases school readiness

“To researchers’ awe, music and movement experiences help children better self-regulate behavior and enjoy a safe, creative outlet for self-expression. Studies point to a specific cluster of social-emotional skills—called self-regulation skills—as particularly important for a variety of school successes.”  (Dr. Debby Pool, Vice President at Kindermusik International)

According to a new study from Oregon State University co-authored by child development expert Megan McClelland, children with strong self-regulation skills – skills that “help children pay attention, follow directions, stay on task and persist through difficulty” – transition more successfully into Kindergarten.

At-risk children participated in an intervention program that utilized movement and music-based games to help children develop and learn self-regulation skills. These music games were designed to help children learn to stop, think, and then act, three steps that are part of the self-regulation process.

“Most children do just fine in the transition to kindergarten, but 20 to 25 percent of them experience difficulties – those difficulties have a lot to do with self-regulation,” McClelland said. “Any intervention you can develop to make that transition easier can be beneficial.”

Here’s a music and movement game from Kindermusik@Home that gives kids fun practice with those all-important self-regulation skills:

Head and Shoulders 1-2-3Want to learn more about using music in your school to reach children from underserved populations? Visit

Contributed by Kindermusik educator Theresa Case, whose award-winning Kindermusik program at Piano Central Studios is located in beautiful upstate South Carolina.




Parents’ Involvement in Screen Time Matters

mom and young girl reading ebook togetherYoung children learn best through hands-on, multi-sensory experiences with a loving and trusted caregiver. However, with technology firmly imbedded into the daily lives and routines of families today, parents and early childhood educators often struggle with knowing the ideal ways to incorporate screen time that also supports what we know about how children learn.
One thing we do know without a doubt is that parents’ involvement in screen time matters. A new report from Zero to Three, “Research-Based Guidelines for Screen Use for Children Under Three Years Old,” offers some practical suggestions for parents concerning screen time and technology. Here are a few of the tips.

3 Tips for Healthy Screen Time with Young Children

1. Parents should participate in the screen experience and make it a language-rich, interactive activity. As parents and children watch or play screen-based games together, parents can talk with their children about what they are seeing. We love how this mom beautifully incorporates a video field trip from Kindermusik@Home into on-the-floor, sensitive, child-centered play with her toddler. Notice how she encourages counting and asks questions about what they see on the screen:
2. Make connections between what children see on the screen with the real world. In the school years, children will be asked to make those connections when reading, such as text-to-self and then later text-to-text. Early childhood offers the ideal time to lay a foundation for recognizing associations between things. For example, if children learn about the different letters of the alphabet by playing a game on a tablet, parents can later point out various objects in the room or at the grocery store that start with those same letters. Or, if a character in an interactive ebook learns over the course of the story how to share a favorite toy with a friend, parents can refer back to that lesson when teaching their own children how to share with friends.
3. Create ways to extend the learning away from the screen. For example, in the video above, the parent and child can go on a walk together and notice the various dogs they encounter or visit a pet store to see the fish. While there, the mom can point out the different colors they see, encourage counting, and make connections between what they watched at home.

Find out more about Kindermusik at

Contributed by Lisa Camino Rowell, a freelance writer in the Atlanta area.


Give It a Rest. Kids Will Love these 2 Musical Math Games.

Patterns surround us and recognizing and understanding patterns is a foundational math skill. Music gives children the opportunity to experience patterns through movement, listening, and playing instruments. When children step, step, step, stop responding to the music or ta, ta, ta, rest with rhythm sticks, children are learning rhythm patterns (quarter note, quarter note, quarter note, rest), a basic musical concept. Rhythm patterns are combinations of long and short sounds and silences.
Try these two math games for kids from Kindermusik@Home that combine music and math!

Kindermusik@Home Pattern GameHomemade Ti-Ti Ta 

This activity for kids introduces the concept of visual and auditory patterns created simultaneously (e.g. the sounds of with the visual representation of).
Patterns are incredibly important, both to music and math. Children first notice and recognize patterns, then develop the ability to complete partial patterns, duplicate patterns, and eventually to extend and create patterns. The patterns also go from simple (ABAB) to more complex (AAB, ABB, AABB, AAABB, AABC, and so on).
The Ti-Ti Ta pattern includes another layer of complexity: duration. Rather than a simple red-red-green pattern in which all components are equal, a Ti-Ti Ta pattern contains the concept of short-short-long within it. When the pieces are rearranged, the “notes” are rearranged as well. Ta, ta, ti-ti, ta is more complex than green, green, red, red, green because the concept of a pair of eighth notes (each of which is half as long as a “ta,” or quarter note) is embedded in the ti-ti.

Pattern GameQuarter Notes and Quarter Rests

This game for kids introduces them to the sound of the quarter note and the “no-sound” of a quarter rest. Children test their ears on how well they recognize them when they’re assembled in patterns.

Find out more about the connections between music and math in Kindermusik at

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.

Quick Access to…Add an icon to your iPhone! icon

Here’s a great tip for Kindermusik parents and educators. You can add the icon to your iPhone for easy access to Kindermusik@Home. iconIn less than a minute, you can be 1 tap away from accessing wonderful educational activities, including music, eBooks, games, crafts, video field trips, parenting resources and more within Kindermusik@Home.
Don’t have a account yet?
Find a class near you and contact your local Kindermusik educator.

Step 1

Open browser (Safari). Login to and tap the “Share” icon.
Create iPhone Shortcut for

Step 2

Tap “Add to Home Screen.”
Add iPhone icon for

Step 3

Type the description for the icon (MyKinder…) and tap the “Add” button.
Shortcut Description for icon

Step 4

Icon is now added to your home screen for
(Note: if your home screen is full, swipe finger to the left to get to next screen.) shortcut icon
You can add a shortcut to the full-site, and/or the mobile site (see the Kindermusik icon with a house).
Many smartphones and tablets have this functionality. The iPhone example can be a guide for other devices. Look for the “Share” feature when visiting a website to save the icon to your home screen as a shortcut.
And…enjoy Kindermusik@Home…anytime, anywhere!

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Kindermusik joins the Fred Rogers Center’s neighborhood!

It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood,
A beautiful day for a neighbor.
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?…

How many of us as children sang this song with the beloved Mr. Rogers? And, of course, we always answered, “Yes!” to being his neighbor. After all, who wouldn’t want to go over for a visit with Mr. Rogers—and maybe even a quick to trip to see King Friday and Queen Sara!

Will you be my neighbor?

Kindermusik also said “Yes!” when asked to partner with the Fred Rogers Center and be featured on their website, Ele, which stands for Early Learning Environment.  Partnering with the brand that drafted today’s standards, along with NAEYC, for children and technology in early childhood is a great way to showcase our quality curricula & materials!
This position statement on using technology and interactive media as early education tools is a great resource for Kindermusik families who are concerned about screen time. In fact, Kindermusik drafted our official screen time position, using the guidelines crafted by NAEYC and the Fred Rogers Center.

Kindermusik’s Official Position on Screen Time
Kindermusik International knows and respects that each family gets to decide what’s best for them when it comes to the issue of screen time or the use of technology and young children.  In creating our new digital tools and parenting resources, Kindermusik has read about and researched this topic thoroughly.  We have aligned our stance with that of the highly respected NAEYC and the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning, recognizing that children can benefit from a responsible and age-appropriate use of technology in combination with hands-on experiences and in partnership with an actively involved caregiver.  We are proud to bring these high-quality educational materials to your family in hopes we can truly embody the very best of both worlds- a responsible introduction to technology AND lots of hands-on, movement-rich, in-your-lap, down-on-the-floor learning.

Spread the News Through Your Neighborhood

Ele is like a library and a playroom where parents and early childhood educators can find online and mobile educational activities for young children. Ele focuses on using technology in age-appropriate ways to improve the language and early literacy skills of young children. A perfect partnership for Kindermusik!
Access to the resources is free and there is no cost to join the Ele community. Parents and educators will get great content, they’re able to make playlists and add favorites, and can join in discussions about early childhood education and digital learning.
Kindermusik plans to add four Kindermusik@Home units to Ele.
Right now, two are available:
Fred Rogers Center Ele!

On Ele, all of the activities are searchable for use at home or in the classroom, by age, media type, and even activity type (listening and talking, reading, writing, playing, arts, and science and math.)

Engage in more Kindermusik activities and support your children’s early language and literacy development on the Fred Roger’s Center website, Ele!
Visit Kindermusik in the “neighborhood” today!