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Musical Kids

by Kathryn Funk

Exposing children and babies to music and instruments matters greatly. Whether it is used to soothe your baby to sleep or excite them and get them feeling upbeat, music can serve as a useful tool that children love! After all, who doesn’t? It’s magical to babies through childhood, and unlike pretend play imagination, this magic can be one which they never lose as they grow.

PlanToys Drum Set

When we think of giving children an instrument to play our minds likely jump to private lessons, violins or pianos, band class in middle school playing the flute or trumpet, picking up the guitar or drums in high school and college. How should the interest originally begin though? Through exposure! As early as possible. It doesn’t have to come in the form of lessons, just handing them things they can find their beat to.

Begin with bells and shakers. As soon as baby can grip, they can use these, plus it helps them learn to grip! Start with these around 5-6 months, it’s a fun sensory toy for them to hear and see. By 8-10 months they’ll be shaking it themselves. Then bring out more things. Hand drums, tambourines, xylophone, triangles — these will all occupy them in those early toddler stages. As they’re figuring them out, keep your expectations reasonable and be sure they will thrive just having these items within reach when they’re ready to explore without pressure. Later get them instruments they can blow and strum on, a harmonica, wooden flute, recorder, banjolee/banjo. Take time to sit and play with them to demonstrate how to use them, but also give them space to explore on their own (our advice with almost all things). We have a perfect music set made by Childhome which includes all the starter instruments. It’s very high quality and can be kept for years to come as your child forms their own at home band. Plan Toys also carries a variety of adorable instruments including an amazing wooden drum set, and a smaller musical set.

Other great methods to encourage a musical ear is of course singing to them, with lyrics or just rhythms, “la da de da.” If you play an instrument this will be a major stimulator for them. Especially by letting them partake in the activity with you. Help their tiny fingers pick the guitar string every now and again or learn how to press the weight of their fingers on the piano keys. If you can do it, they can do it too! However, if you don’t play instruments, no worries, but try to expose your kids to live music often. Stop and listen to the man playing the saxophone on the sidewalk, give the street guitarist your loose change, or go to live shows. It’s vital to show them how much the world cherishes music. The right melody can change someone’s entire day, and how special to raise your children to be melody makers!
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