Welcome back to our ongoing series on homeschooling for preschool! In this post, we’ll showcase some of the best tools and apps for exploring music with your preschooler. You don’t have to have perfect pitch to appreciate these ideas!
Welcome to the Homeschooling Preschool series! This post will talk about homeschool music ideas. Stay tuned for our other posts about math, science, social studies, foreign language, and art!
Previous posts in this series:
- Homeschool Preschool: Reading Part 1: How to get your preschooler to love reading, and Part 2: Recommendations
- Homeschool Preschool: Sensory Play
- Homeschool Preschool: Toy Recommendations
And now, onto MUSIC!
Why include music in your homeschool?
Music is one of the best ways to engage your young child in learning! Children respond to music even in the womb, and it’s a universal way to communicate throughout every culture around the world. For more on the benefits of music for your young child, check out this short article: How Playing Music Affects a Child’s Brain.
Note that we are NOT talking about artificially increasing IQ points or turning your child into a prodigy through the “Mozart effect”. There is no real scientific evidence that playing music leads to specific gains on standardized tests or any such claim. There are plenty of real benefits associated with music that we don’t have to resort to debunked fake benefits to justify spending time on enjoying and learning about music!
Here are my top reasons for including music in our homeschool:
- Music enriches our daily lives. We enjoy listening to it and dancing to it!
- Music is a great way to study our own and other cultures.
- Music brings people together as a community – singing, playing instruments, and dancing are all great ways to connect with other people.
- Music can be calming, energizing, or focusing, depending on what we select.
- Music is a great way to tell stories. There’s a reason why movies have soundtracks!
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Great music to play for your preschooler
Sick of baby lullabies and whiny high pitched recordings? Allow me to recommend some of our favorite NON-ANNOYING selections for young children. Let me know in the comments if you have other recommendations so I can add them!
#1 recommendation: Caspar Babypants
My #1 recommendation for awesome kids music is Caspar Babypants! This music is perfect if you like the Beatles but want fewer songs about holding hands and more songs about bugs and critters. Or if you really like the Beatles, they’ve made several Beatles cover albums, which is how I originally found them.
Some of our favorite Caspar Babypants, in no particular order:
Candy Cane, from the Winter Party album (GREAT antidote for annoying holiday music btw)
My Flea Has Dogs
Believe me when I say – it was hard to pick just 3. We love this group & wish they toured outside of the Pacific Northwest. We even have their app!
#2: Laurie Berkner
Laurie Berkner has been around for a while – I first learned of her when my cousin’s kids (now in college and high school) were going on long car trips and she needed songs for the car that weren’t completely annoying. One of our all time favorite Laurie Berkner originals is We Are the Dinosaurs!
We Are the Dinosaurs
#3: Sandra Boynton
If your kid has Sandra Boynton books, you may have noticed that some of them are set to music! Sandra Boynton has several albums’ worth of these song-book connections, often done by famous artists – for example, our favorite album, Philadelphia Chickens, features the Bacon Brothers and Kevin Kline. Some of the songs make more sense to the adults than to the kids – sort of like watching Sesame Street and chuckling at the references, while your kid just enjoys the zany muppets.
Here’s Davy Jones singing Your Personal Penguin, which is also a board book that you can use to sing along!
#4: Beethoven’s Wig
Would you like your kid to get interested in classical music, but it seems boring or ponderous? Then you might enjoy this set of famous classical tunes that have been updated to include funny words. This group has saved many a long car trip AND the songs really will stick in your kid’s mind!
Try this one the next time you’re stuck in traffic!
#5: Koo Koo Kanga Roo
I’m not usually a big rap fan, but I discovered these guys on gonoodle.com and I have yet to meet a group of kids who doesn’t love their stuff! (More on GoNoodle in a post coming soon!)
If you’re looking for a cooldown song, Track #4 – Chillax – is perfect!
Headache-resistant musical instruments for your preschooler
Many young children are sensitive to noise. Their hearing is better than ours! And as a musician myself, I hate anything shrill or out of tune. The instruments I’ve recommended below are actual items I allowed into my home and that my son can actually play with without anyone covering my ears.
Hand Bells – These are inexpensive and have a nice ringing sound. The tops are labeled with the notes, not that you need to emphasize that with young children, but as they get older it will become easier to link their play to note reading. The bright colors make it easy to tell them apart (and put them in order, as you make a rainbow with them to line them up). You can use stickers to write out songs, or kids can just experiment! And best of all, your child can only hold two at any given time, so you’re not going to get a confusing cacophony!
Shakers – These are great for playing along with music. We discovered these little animals when my son was enrolled in a Music Together class. They’re extremely durable – I can’t tell you how often we’ve dropped them on the floor, and they’re still in perfect condition!
Drum: We’ve had this one for years and it’s great! It has a low pleasing sound and an adjustable strap, and it’s durable.
What about electronic music making toys? To be honest, I am not a fan. Part of it is my dislike for any electronic toy for children in general. The whole point of play is for the CHILD to do the thinking and doing. Pressing a button and listening to someone or something else doing the work just isn’t the same. Also, the recorded singing on kids’ toys is often terrible!
How about music lessons?
This is going to vary by child. Although many folks in my area start piano or violin with their young children using the Suzuki method, my preschooler wasn’t ready for formal music lessons. He enjoys listening to music and making up his own words to songs. I started formal piano lessons around age 6, so we may do that if he’s ready.
Should we sign up for classes?
Although we enjoyed Mommy & Me type classes like Music Together, it isn’t necessary. Unless you’re looking for an excuse to get out of the house and meet other families (which was me when my son was an infant). Then definitely go for it!