Montessori Music and Activities
Music is considered to be the activity that connects the senses and engages the body more than any other. Many calls it a global language. Everyone is said to possess inborn abilities to isolate different kinds of music. However, the preference for music varies according to culture and natural inclinations.
The notion that every toddler possesses the musical ability and can interpret musical knowledge, as well as manifest their emotions through music, is an important aspect of the Montessori method. In Montessori learning, music is considered an equally integral aspect in the education curriculum as any other. The incorporation of music in the curriculum helps in supplementing other forms of learning, like reading. That is why parents and educators are advised to consider teaching music, as well as combining music with other activities.
Exercises that involve music and movement can also give toddlers a chance to develop and manifest their exceptional dexterity.
The connection between music and movement
Music has a strong connection to movement. We all know what it’s like to move to the tunes of our favorite songs whenever they come up! This is why the movement is considered a fundamental part of musical education. For every music activity, there should be a movement activity that accompanies it. The activities should correlate and connect well so the child can understand the lesson better. Movement brings some energy into music activities, and toddlers often find this very enjoyable.
Rhythm stick activities
Music activities that involve rhythm sticks are essential in strengthening a child’s grip, which in turn prepares the toddler for writing activities. The rhythm sticks can be used together with a variety of songs. The correlation is very calming and exciting to young toddlers.
For the first stages of teaching a child how to use the rhythm sticks, you are advised to use the three-phase lesson arrangement. As a parent, you should show the toddlers how to hold the sticks, how to put them in a rest position, and how to use the sticks to make different tunes.
Phase 1: In this phase, you introduce the material to the toddlers. Identify the materials by their name, for example, rhythm sticks. Make sure that the toddlers can say the name with ease.
Phase 2: The stage after introducing the material is teaching your child how to use it. Once the toddler can distinguish the material from others, you proceed by showing them how to play the rhythm sticks. You can also show the toddlers the rest position.
Phase 3: You have introduced the material to your child and taught them how to use it. The next stage is letting your kids play the rhythm sticks freely. At this stage, you can now begin to introduce different songs and patterns in play. Challenge the toddlers to listen to different songs and copy the beats.
Rhythm sticks are the most versatile set of musical instruments for your toddlers. The set can be used in many ways to teach music. Try The following activities using the rhythm sticks!
Tapping the rhythm sticks together
This activity is very easy but it can be challenging when tapping to the beats of a specific song. The goal is to create unique sound patterns. Younger toddlers can start learning how to tap their sticks to the tune of rhythm sticks waltz. The song requires toddlers to tap three times in a reaped sequence. You can add more fun by asking the toddlers to count as they tap.
Hammer and nail tapping
For this music activity, toddlers are required to tap the rhythm stick with one held vertically on the floor like a nail and using the other stick to hit the top, like a hammer. The toolbox song is the most suitable song for this activity, as it requires toddlers to think carefully to reproduce the patterns in the song.
End to end tapping
This activity involves tapping on the end of each rhythm stick simultaneously. The intensity of each tap can be varied to produce different sets of sounds and cues.
Tap and scrap across each other
One of the most advanced methods of using the rhythm sticks is tapping then scraping them across each other. The sequence can be used to produce fine cues. For a more enjoyable experience, use the clatter, clatter, clackity clack song for this activity. The song is good for creating replica sound, enhancing responsiveness, and paying attention to lyrical cues.
The rhythm sticks can be used as drumsticks by tapping them on the floor. You can apply this method to any song.
The echo games
The echo game helps in refining listening skills, retention skills, and synergy. The game requires the parent or teacher to make a rhythm and letting the toddlers copy them using their rhythm sticks.
Playing the miniature music box
This music box is a set that produces fine sounds according to the speed of the rotations made on the knob. The miniature music box is made with a transparent material to help toddlers see through the instrument. To play the miniature music box, the toddler should rotate the crank using the knob on the side of the box. Ask the toddler to release the knob after several rotations and listen to the music produced. The miniature music box can be used along with other activities such as walking on the line.
Wrist and ankle jingle bells
This set of musical instruments is perfect for young toddlers. Give your toddler wrist bracelets and anklets fitted with tiny bells. Every time they move the bells make a sound. For older toddlers, you can show them how to make different sound patterns by clapping and stamping their feet rhythmically.
Movement is also important in enhancing the growth of the toddler, as well as the development of balance. The control of the entire body depends on the toddler’s movements and their connection with the environment. It is, therefore, important to make movement part of your toddler’s daily activities. The most exciting part is that with or without the outlined activities, your toddler will still move voluntarily or involuntarily.
Doing the alphabet yoga
For this activity, you need to be creative enough to form a list of simple yoga poses using the 26 letters of the alphabet. Unroll a mat on the floor and invite you, toddlers, for yoga exercises. Challenge them to pick a random letter and guide them to do the activity that the letter depicts. For instance;
A – Airplane (stretch out your arms and mimic the movement of the airplane). B – Banana jump (do the banana jump).
There are several ways to use the foxtail softie to develop movement activities of your toddler. A great way to do this is the volleyball game. Have your toddlers partner up and take sides on either side of a net. Every toddler takes a turn in throwing the foxtail softie over the top of the net to the toddlers on the other side. If they catch the foxtail, they get a point. If they fail to catch it, the other team gets a point.
A ball over the net
The ball over the net activity is similar to the foxtail softie. The only difference is defined according to the rules you set. For instance, you can play an elimination game where a toddler is eliminated if they fail to catch the ball. Alternatively, you can introduce a tennis ball that the toddler is expected to softly hit against a wall and catch the rebound. Two children can play this game, with one throwing the ball at the wall and the other one waiting for the rebound. Progress to a more difficult level by introducing rackets.
The scavenger hunt is a versatile game that is used as a supplement to other activities. A great adaptation of the scavenger hunt is the “find and label.” Here, you challenge your toddlers to find an item inside or outside the house and put a label with its name on it. At a more advanced level, you can write labels and hide them beneath certain objects. Then ask the toddlers to find the note by describing the object without naming it.
For this game, you are required to provide a basket and some balls. Have the kids line up and ask them to toss the balls into basket. You can introduce a challenge mode by asking the kids to stand on one leg before tossing.
Play with balloons
For this activity, blow up some balloons for your kids. You should keep some spare ones in case the first set gets popped. Many balloon games enhance gross motor skills. For a start, you can ask the kids to balance the balloon on their heads as they walk a short distance. As they make progress, ask them to toss the balloons in the air as they walk on a line.