Whether it’s infants and toddlers or school-age, children love movement and music. Studies show that music affects the physical, emotional, and intellectual development of infants, toddlers, and children, and strengthens cognitive and sensory development.
Here are some other ways music and movement benefit children.
Helps develop gross motor skills
Gross motor skills are physical skills using large muscle groups. Children use gross motor skills when they sit, run, stand, jump, walk, balance, and climb. Building these skills helps your child move around and perform everyday activities.
Dancing is a great way for a child to improve balance and coordination. You can either let your child’s imagination help them to create a dance routine of their own, or sing movement-focused songs like “I’m a Little Teapot.”
Helps develop small motor skills
Fine motor skills, also called small motor skills, are used in small muscles of the hands, such as tying shoelaces, holding a pencil, or doing up a button. A recent study showed that children who underwent musical education saw a marked improvement in fine motor skills. This makes sense, as many musical instruments involve small, precise movements of the fingers and hands.
To help your child use music to develop their fine motor skills, try fingerplay songs such as “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and “Pat-a-Cake.”
Teaches children to process and express their emotions
From their earliest days, children are soothed by gentle and relaxing music. Listening to music can help your young child feel energized and uplifted, but it can also help them cope with stressful situations. According to neuroscience educator Dee Joy Coulter, “There is no vehicle more joyful and playful for providing [resiliency] training than early childhood music.”
Just like we can feel different emotions when listening to different types of songs, music can help young children understand which feelings are expressed in different sorts of music. Also, playing music can be a valuable emotional outlet for a child, where they can work through what they’re feeling in a safe environment.
Helps in language development
Studies show that music develops the area of the brain associated with language processing. This can be why children’s songs that are also educational, such as the alphabet song, help young children retain what they learn. Language learning involves understanding patterns of sounds and words – a similar process to music.
Increases spatial intelligence
Music can help children develop spatial intelligence, helping them visualize the various steps and elements involved in solving a problem. This skill helps with such things as math, art, engineering, and learning how to use a computer.
Music is highly creative, and children exposed to music and song can strengthen their own creative thinking. Additionally, it can teach children how to be creative in problem solving and critical thinking.
Enables learning in other areas
Music is engaging and compelling, and children have positive associations with it. Bringing music and its positive associations into other topics such as math or science can increase a child’s information retention and attitude about what they’re learning. Additionally, studies have shown that musicians have better selective focus and can recall tasks easier than non-musicians.
At My Place, we love using music to help our students learn. Our classroom environments feature a lot of “good vibes”, upbeat music, dancing and fun!