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Learning Through Play – Dancing and Singing

Learning Through Play – Dancing and Singing

When you encourage your child to sing and dance you are helping them to develop a host of skills while teaching them to embrace one of the most enjoyable pastimes of life. Music and dance is a joyful experience that should be encouraged from the youngest age.

 

Physical Benefits of Dance and Song

Let’s start with the obvious benefits of music and movement and that is all the physical benefits. Through movement a child builds physical control, a sense of space, improves balance, and builds strength and coordination.

 

Natural Instincts

A foetus in the womb lives with the constant beat of the mother’s heart and has been shown to feel and hear the mother’s voice before it’s born.  The voice is the first instrument a child will use when at birth and all humans are naturally drawn to singing and dancing of one form or another. Most of us will tap a foot to a tune we like or find a catchy song will stay with us all day, playing over in our heads. Children are even more likely to respond instinctively to music, especially as they are yet to experience the adult behaviour filters. Children are naturally musical and by six months old are able to respond to music with movement of their bodies or shaking toys that make sound. Songs and music teach a child pulse, pattern, rhyme and structure.

 

Improvised Instruments


You can encourage your child to listen and participate in song and dance by playing music and getting them to join in. This can be done by encouraging them to dance to music, singing nursery rhymes together, acting out with their bodies or fingers the words of the music, playing simple musical instruments like drums, tambourines and bells. Homemade musical instruments can be made with jars of rice to make a maraca, chopsticks on a plastic lunch box to make a drum and attaching small craft bells to a piece of cardboard to make a tambourine.

 

Language Skills and Communication

Studies have shown that singing is one of the quickest ways to learn another language. So it’s not surprising that singing will accelerate a child’s learning of their native language. When a child sings along to music, the experience allows them to vocalise in different ways than talking and encourages a new form of creative communication. Songs contain emotions and expressions of feelings that they may not have encountered before. Songs also tell stories and require visualisation of those stories, thus requiring the child to use their imagination. If a child is finding the expression of emotions or thoughts difficult, music and dance can immediately free the anxiety and tension this creates.

 

Bonding

When children sing together they collaborate and bond. Encouraging them to sing and dance with other children is a way to feel part of a group and interact on a creative basis.

 

As a parent, allowing your child to respond in whatever they want to music and song is important. Don’t expect them to sit still and listen quietly to music or singing. Their instincts will be to move and make noise. That’s the best outcome for learning through play with song and dance.