Music Ideas and Tips for Home

If you’re an overwhelmed, guilty parent, whose singing voice concerns the neighbors and whose repertoire consists of Baby Shark and the ABCs … (can anyone relate?) … this post is for you. 

Here’s a quick list of at-home music hacks for normal parents. (Yes, you are normal. It’s ok.)

  1. You do NOT have to be musical to share music! Your child does not care if you sing like a star or sing like a fish, they just like to hear your voice. “Musicing” with your child is bonding with your child.
  2. You do NOT have to only listen to kids music! Your child will most likely enjoy kid’s music, but they can enjoy your music too. Here’s some kid friendly music for parents and children:
    • Movie soundtracks
    • Music Together soundtracks
    • Rockabye Baby! CD’s: Lullaby renditions of bands you love
      • (Beatles, Pharell Williams, Metallica, Eminem, and more!)
    • Jewel’s Fisher Price CD’s
    • Laurie Berkner Band
    • Jim Gill Kids Collections
    • Wee Sing! 
      • (Nursery Rhymes and Lullabies, Bible Songs, Halloween Songs, Campfire Songs, Silly Songs, Christmas Songs, etc.)
    • Classical Music
      • Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker Suite
      • Vivaldi’s Four Seasons
      • Johann Pachelbel’s Canon in D
      • Camille Saint-Saens’s Carnival of the Animals
      • Disney’s Little Einsteins Soundtracks
  3. Pair movement with your songs as much as possible! Stomp your feet. Clap your hands. Pat your lap. Use sign language for words in the song if you know a few; if not, create movements that pair with the words. There are many songs that naturally call for movement such as:
    • Pat-a-Cake, Pat-a-Cake
    • Wheels on the Bus
    • Itsy Bitsy Spider
    • Ring Around the Rosy
    • Ants Go Marching
    • Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes
  4. Anything that you do with your child normally, can be turned into a song or rhyme! Use songs like Twinkle Twinkle, Mary Had a Little Lamb, Wheels on the Bus, Jingle Bells, Hi-Ho (Snow White and the Seven Dwarves) as a foundation to your new silly song about brushing teeth or taking a bath.
  5. Less is more! Kids will catch on to short songs with fewer words. Repetition is also key! This is why Wheels on the Bus is always a favorite.
  6. Emphasize the important words when singing. Such as “Twinkle, twinkle little STARRR!” Children will start to sing the last word or the most emphasized word first. The other words will come with time. You can also sing “Twinkle, twinkle little…” and give the child a moment to come up with and create the correct word in the blank.
  7. Music babble or word approximations are never wrong! When a child takes a chance to try lyrics/sounds/rhythms, etc. out loud, they are taking a chance. If a child feels wrong, they may withdraw and not sing again for a while. Never tell a child they are wrong if they are trying. It is best to repeat the sound they made and then sing it correctly. This reinforces their attempt but still educates them with what is accurate. 
  8. Slow and steady with the songs will help with language and communication. Don’t rush the song. This will allow the child to hear and pick up on the lyrics. Although, kids enjoy starting slow and gradually increasing speed until you can’t sing any faster…
  9. Use props and household items for instruments and play! Get creative to let your child explore.
    • Create a drum set – giving your child pots, pans, tupperware, wooden spoons, etc. is a good start. Turn on the radio and let them play along.
    • Movement props – scarves, fabric scraps, ribbons, hula hoops, balls, stuffed animals (TY Beanie Babies are perfect)
    • Create instruments – make shakers from empty cans, containers, pop bottles, etc. Use a variety of items to fill them to create different sounds (popcorn kernels, pennies, dry beans, etc.)
  10. Be silly and have fun! There is no right or wrong way to use music with your little one, unless you are not doing it at all. Listen to music together, sing songs together, create song lyrics together, play homemade instruments together, and be active together.

Happy musicing!