5 musical ideas to try with children at home

These simple ideas will help keep children occupied while encouraging them to explore and learn about music -

Some noisy ideas to try out at home either at weekends or during school holidays.

1 - Create homemade instruments with household items

Creating instruments together can be a fun activity and the instruments can then be used to explore different aspects of music.

Try creating shakers by using pasta and rice in empty bottles.

You could also try using bottles either with filled with varying degrees of water or empty and scraping them with spoons or twigs to make sounds, or just upturned pans and colanders.

2 - Make your own simple guitar

Using tissue boxes, shoe boxes without the lids or fruit punnets you can create a string-type instrument.

Use the box for the base of the instrument and take four to six rubber bands. Wrap the rubber bands around the base, the long way, and make sure there is space between the rubber bands. Experiment with ways of making sounds with the bands.

Also try using small pieces of sandpaper wound round a finger of each hand to rub together and create sounds.

Try using household items to make instruments

3 - Think about and use the sounds of daily life

Together with your child you could explore the sounds heard on different journeys.

For example:

  • What does the journey to the park sound like – what may we hear on the way?
  • A journey around a supermarket will involve a range of different sounds.
  • A journey to school, whether by foot, by bus or in a car will also involve a range of sounds.

Listen out for sounds on journeys with your child and think about how these sounds could be recreated at home?

You could make a piece of music together that represents different types of journeys that you make.

Are there any surprises on your journey and what may this sound like?

Invite your child to draw a journey and then play this journey by using body percussion, vocals and sound makers in the home.

Think about sounds you hear every day

4 - Use drawing to think about music

Drawing to sounds and music can be a lovely listening activity, you can invite your child to ‘dance with their hands’ whilst using their crayons, pencils, felt tips, paint brushes, encouraging them to listen to the music and respond to the music through their visual art.

You can explore this with different types of music – watch your child, do the contrasting sections affect how they draw or paint?

Experiment with different types of music, does your child have a preference for pieces of music to draw/paint to?

5 - Build on the anticipation in songs

Anticipation can be a key aspect in music, for example listening to hear what is going to happen next as a piece of music builds.

Examples of building anticipation musically with children are apparent in many traditional songs and games such as peepo songs and Round and Round the Garden - the anticipation is created by slowly speaking the words "one step, two steps" accompanied with the activity ending with the tickling given by the adult.

You can explore anticipation by playing vocally with your child and use movement to accompany this, e.g., start with your hands together and gradually move them apart whilst accompanying this movement with a vocal sound, keep moving the vocals as you move your hands apart and end this game by bringing your hands back together to clap.

Once you have introduced this you can then wait for your child to clap and end the game so that they have the power to build up and release the tension, building excitement and anticipation.

All of this can be done through the use of sound and without the need to speak or use words.

Try using educational tool Play It! to explore the different elements and instruments of song

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