6 Musical Activities for Kids (that Spark Developmental Learning)

Exposing children to music is beneficial in many ways, beyond just having fun or learning an instrument. Musical learning covers a variety of skill sets, from critical thinking to hand-eye coordination. Additionally, it encourages creativity, unique personal expression, and collaborative teamwork!

The best part about music is that it’s enjoyable at any age. You can bring together toddlers and preteens and still have an experience to remember. Here are 6 musical games to get you started!


1. Homemade Instruments

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.Why not mix music and crafts for double the fun? Creating homemade instruments is a creative (and inexpensive) way to teach kids about rhythm and melody. Starting simple with younger kids will help avoid the frustration that can happen when they attempt to learn a more difficult instrument before developing the dexterity that it requires.

Try these simple homemade instruments:

  • Drums: Stretch a deflated balloon over a metal can and secure with a rubber band

  • Simple Shaker: Fill a plastic Easter egg with dry rice

  • Tambourine: Glue small jingle bells onto a paper plate

  • Rain Stick: Pour dry rice into a wrapping paper (or paper towel) tube and seal the ends

  • Pan Flute: Tape 6 straws together and cut the tips off (at an angle) at various lengths


2. Write an Original Song

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Get the creative expression flowing with a little “songwriting workshop.” Set the kids up with a pencil and paper and help get them started with some simple guitar chords.

If you’re not musically-inclined yourself, don’t worry! YouTube is your one-stop-shop for simple guitar and piano chords, or karaoke tracks.

Start with the basic song structure: Intro - Verse - Chorus - Verse - Chorus - Bridge - Outro. Be sure to give them the creative freedom to create the song on their own, while jumping in to help here and there with rhyming words or structure.


3. Dance to the Mood

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Who needs an excuse for a good old-fashioned dance party?

Create a playlist of songs that spark different emotions and ask the kids to make up a dance that reflects the way the song makes them feel. This is particularly fun with instrumental music (classical favorites, like Beethoven’s 5th or Vivaldi’s Four Seasons).

For young (especially non-verbal) children, this is a great activity for learning to express emotion.


4. Karaoke Party

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Karaoke is arguably one of the best activities to encourage bravery, self-esteem and creative expression. They can be silly or serious… and with YouTube, song choices are virtually endless!

This musical activity is a particularly good choice for kids that might need a little extra push to break out of their shell. Encourage them to invite some friends over for a karaoke party, and once they see the other kids (and you) singing their hearts out, they might feel confident enough to join in.

For kids that are a little bit older, consider hosting an “American Idol” competition. You can have judges that give feedback (stick to the positive stuff), and crown a winner with a fun trophy!


5. Repeat After Me

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While the “repeat after me” activity is fun enough to be considered a game, it’s actually a real practice used in musical instrument lessons.

This can be done on any instrument, or with no instrument at all — simply by singing or tapping rhythmically. Play (or sing) a very short melody and have them play it back to you. Start as easy as possible and work your way up to longer and more tricky melodies.

This practice improves their musical “ear,” while refining rhythm, intonation, and overall listening skills.


6. Attend Live Music

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This one is a no-brainer. The more music that kids are exposed to at a young age, the more likely they are to adopt it, practice it, and experience the developmental benefits that music has to offer.

Check out what musical events are available in your community, especially ones that are designed for kids and give them hands-on experience with real instruments.

Going out for a bite to eat on the weekend? Try to find a spot that has a live band — it will keep the kids entertained for hours, and you’ll get a little free time for yourself as well!


 
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