With cancellations occurring across the country, there are still ways your youngest music students can stay musical while school is out. You could also send this out at the beginning of the year for parents or caregivers to refer to during snow days. I teach ages 2 – Kindergarten, so I like to keep things engaging, yet simple. Below are some suggestions you can send home to parents in a note or email. They are also great ways for parents to bond musically with their children.
You can also find the examples below compiled into a parent letter that you can send or email home for free here!
I Can Sing A Solo
Have your child sing a song from music class to you. The more chances they have to learn a song and sing it by themselves, the more independent they will be as musicians. Younger children will need more time, simpler songs, and repetition but will look forward to singing songs they’ve heard before.
Sing Me A Song
Sing one of your favorite songs from childhood to your child. It would be wonderful if a grandparent could do the same! Sing the new song to them several times before they try it on their own. Singing (or chanting nursery rhymes), while bouncing, rocking, or tapping your child will also help them develop their sense of a steady beat. Fingerplays and songs with hand motions like “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” or “This Little Piggy Went to Market” are also great. If you are working with babies, echo their sounds back to them. Babies love higher pitched voices, especially mom’s.
Find a book to sing to your child, such as “The Itsy Bitsy Spider,” or “There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly.” Find a book in your home with various characters and change the pitch and tone of your voice to represent the different characters. If there are repeated phrases, pause and have your child speak or sing them. Be patient as they may take a little longer to respond than an adult. Find opportunities to read loud or soft, slow or fast, low or high, etc. Children love hearing the same book told over and over.
Listen And Draw
Have students listen to music that conjures up specific images that correlate with the music (program music) such as “Flight of the Bumblebee” and draw what they hear. You can also use soundtracks to movies such as Star Wars or The Incredibles. Try to vary the genres as well.
Moving To Music
Have students move silently around the room to a few movements from Camille Saint-Saens’s “Carnival of the Animals” as if they were the animals portrayed in that movement.
Make An Instrument
Make percussive instruments from things found in the house or outside that you can hit, shake, or scrape. For example, you could make a shaker by putting rice in an empty spice container. Play the instruments to your child’s favorite playlist. If you make several instruments, play some behind your child’s back to see if they can guess which instrument you played.
Draw, or have your child draw some squiggly lines and trace them with their fingers while having their voices go up and down along the lines. You can use a neutral syllable like “oo” or “wee.” You can also bend pipe cleaners into squiggly shapes to sing. This is a basic form of graphic notation that leads to a smoother transition into reading music.
I Made It Up
Have your child tell you about what they did today, what they ate, who they saw, etc. but in a singing voice where they improvise the tune. Sing back to them! You are their favorite musician. 🙂
Hope these ideas help!