Happy Universal Children’s Day!

Happy Universal Children's DayMake and celebrate!  In celebration of Universal Children’s Day, we’re happy to share this Kindermusik @Home activity idea for a homemade instrument that you can make and enjoy together.

Make a shaker-scraper Kindermusik

Learn more about how Kindermusik celebrates kids, families, and music every day at www.Kindermusik.com.

Kindermusik Unites Educators in Costa Rica

Costa Rica ConferenceEver wonder what happens when a group of teachers gather together for Kindermusik training? Well, we sing, laugh, play instruments, dance with scarves on our heads, and learn through (and about!) music. In fact, it looks a lot like a Kindermusik class without little kids.

This past July a group of educators gathered at Yimbore in San Antonio de Belén for the Costa Rica Conference. Thirty educators participated and gained hands-on experience learning more about various topics including:

  • The importance of music and English language learning in young children
  • How Kindermusik integrates with music and movement to teach both English and music
  • The importance of digital materials to continue the learning process throughout the week and support a parent’s role as a child’s first and best teacher.

Costa Rica Training“We would love to give more of these conferences to more schools around the country,” confesses Paula Bassi, International Director Latin America, Central America and Caribbean. “It is wonderful to create a community of Kindermusik schools in Costa Rica and around the world.”

Interested in learning how to bring Kindermusik to your school? Visit Kindermusik.com/schools to learn more.

3 Musical Activities Every Parent Can Do

“It began as a heartbeat and sprouted a rhyme…”  We are all musical beings.  It’s why babies respond to music in utero, why toddlers do that adorable little bounce-dance to music, and why preschoolers and big kids love to sing and play instruments.  But how exactly do you encourage that song in your child’s heart?  Here are three simple suggestions.

3 Ways to Put a Song in Any Child’s Heart

1. Sing to (and with!) your child.

Singing with MomYou may think your voice is only good enough for the shower, but to your child, your voice is the sweetest, best sound in the whole world.  Babies especially respond to the soothing sounds of the lullaby you sing, but you also model using your voice to express yourself when you sing to or with your older child.  Singing is also a great “together time” activity.  Before naps, in the kitchen, during bath time, in the car – all of these are perfect times to hum and sing along.

2. Keep the music playing.

toddler smilingWith music that streams on our phones, Internet radio stations that play our favorites at the click of a mouse, and even still some CD players in our cars, it’s easy to fill your child’s world with music.  But it does take some intentionality.  Not only will you be able to expose your child to a wide variety of music and begin to shape their musical preferences, but you can also use music to bring out a smile, inspire a cuddle, or chase away the grumpies with an impromptu dance around the kitchen.

3. Invest in some age-appropriate instruments. 

Bells, shakers, sticks, and drums… Keep some musical instruments handy, perhaps in a container near your child’s favorite basket of books.  You might be surprised at how much pure joy your child will derive from being able to make music on his own.  And when you need a fun little activity to do together, simply turn on your favorite Kindermusik song, grab some instruments, and enjoy your own little family jam!

favorite Kindermusik instrumentsHint: Need a source for some high-quality, safety-tested, age-appropriate instruments?  Look no further than the Kindermusik store online at shop.Kindermusik.com.

And when you need a little more musical inspiration…

A weekly Kindermusik class is one of the very best ways to enhance your child’s musical development and natural love of music.  You’ll be amazed at how a gently structured, delightful weekly music class will maximize the rich benefits of early music instruction and capitalize on that critical early window of opportunity.  In addition to providing a social outlet for you in a small class with friends you really get to know and enjoy, a weekly music class also gives you a lot of musical inspiration and ready resources for making music a part of your daily routine at home in between the weekly class.

Learn more about music classes for children at www.Kindermusik.com.

Contributed by Theresa Case whose award-winning Kindermusik® program at Piano Central Studios in beautiful upstate South Carolina is joyfully celebrating 20 years!

How to Teach Babies Language Skills Before They Can Talk

bigstockphoto_Happy_Mom_1646790Do you ever wonder what newborns would say if they could talk? Where am I? What just happened? Who turned on the lights? Whew, that was a lot of work! I’m exhausted. Why is everyone staring at me? Do I have something on my face? Mom! Dad! It’s me! Truth is—most newborns all say the same thing: WaaaaWaaaa!

Of course, children aren’t born talking. However, even at birth, a child can usually respond to a mother’s voice, an early sign of communication, Speech and early language development involves both receptive language (what a child hears and understands) and expressive language (what a child says to others through sounds and gestures). Receptive language skills show up first as babies learn to turn towards interesting sounds or respond to tones and even their own names.

New Research: Improving Babies’ Language Skills Before They Can Talk

A new study from Rutgers University indicates that babies can be taught to better recognize sounds that “might” be language. This would increase brain development in the areas responsible for language acquisition and processing.

In the study led by Emily Benasich who directs the Infancy Studies Laboratory at Rutgers University’s Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience, the team found that when 4-month-old babies learned to pay attention to increasingly complex non-language audio patterns, their brain scans at 7 months old showed they were faster and more accurate at detecting other sounds important to language than babies who had not been exposed to the sound patterns.

“Young babies are constantly scanning the environment to identify sounds that might be language,” explained Benasich in a press release. “This is one of their key jobs – as between 4 and 7 months of age they are setting up their pre-linguistic acoustic maps….If you shape something while the baby is actually building it, it allows each infant to build the best possible auditory network for his or her particular brain. This provides a stronger foundation for any language (or languages) the infant will be learning.”

Take a look inside the Laboratory:

Use Music to Support Early Language Development

In Kindermusik classes, we provide many opportunities for caregivers and babies to communicate with each other both verbally and nonverbally. For example, when we actively listen to a specific sound such as a clock sound or running water sound, integrate language and movement during a song, or use sign language, babies gain practice hearing words and making connections to their meanings—all which heightens babies’ abilities to communicate!

Find out more at Kindermusik.com.

Contributed by Lisa Camino Rowell a freelance writer living in the Atlanta area.

Singing when you’re happy (and you know it!) builds kids’ social-emotional skills

Young children (and parents of young children) instantly recognize the “Happy” song by Pharrell Williams. We feel happy and can’t help but “clap along.” We love this version:

You clapped along, too, didn’t you? It’s easy for adults to acknowledge the “feeling” of happy in the song. However, young children must learn to identify feelings such as happy, sad, angry, scared, surprised, etc. In fact, being able to recognize and label feelings contributes to social-emotional development.

Kindermusik@Home Activity to Help Young Children Identify Feelings

Learning to relate facial expressions with emotions is important just before and during the early school years. For example, when a friend is feeling angry, her face might scrunch up or her eyes might close. When a friend is feeling sad, he might cry or put his head down. If children are going to learn empathy for others, they need to first learn to identify how other people are feeling. Try this sample activity, “How Do You Feel?” from Kindermusik@Home:

Social-emotional Activity for young children_Kindermusik

Singing Together and Social-Emotional Development

Research shows that when children actively participate in group music and movement activities it supports development in all seven areas of social-emotional development, including communication, relatedness, and cooperativeness.

Learn more Kindermusik at www.kindermusik.com.

Contributed by Lisa Camino Rowell, a freelance writer in the Atlanta area.