Benefits of musical play for young children

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If you’re a parent or caregiver of a young child, you may already know how much they love to sing, dance and make noise. But did you know that musical play can actually benefit your child’s development in so many ways?

From enhancing their cognitive abilities to improving their social skills and emotional well-being, musical play is a fun and engaging way to help your child grow and thrive. In this article, we’ll dive deeper into the benefits of musical instruments for infants and offer some practical tips for incorporating it into your daily routine.


What is musical play?

Young children are at a crucial stage in their development, where they are constantly exploring and learning about the world around them. Musical play provides a unique opportunity for children to engage with music in a fun and interactive way, which can have a profound impact on their growth and development. To put it simply, the benefits of playing a musical instrument as a child are countless.

Through singing and dancing, children can learn about rhythm, melody, and pitch, and develop their listening and comprehension skills. Incorporating musical instruments into different types of play, such as drums, xylophones, or even homemade instruments like shakers or kazoos, can help children build their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. This type of play also allows children to express themselves creatively and build their confidence, as they explore their own unique musical talents and abilities.


Benefits of musical play

Let’s take a closer look at some of the many benefits of musical instruments for preschoolers.


Cognitive benefits 

When children sing songs or play musical games, they are not only having fun, but also developing their ability to memorise and recall information. The repetition of popular songs like “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” or the “Alphabet Song” helps children learn and remember important information in a fun and engaging way. Moreover, musical play has been linked to improved language development, as children learn new words and concepts through the lyrics of songs

On a similar note, playing musical instruments can help children develop their spatial-temporal skills, which are important for maths and science. By interacting with music, children are exposed to complex patterns and structures, which can help them to develop their pattern recognition skills.


Emotional benefits

Musical play is not only great for cognitive development, but also for emotional well-being in young children. When children sing, dance, or play instruments, they are engaging in a form of self-expression that can help them manage and regulate their emotions. Music has the power to evoke emotions and feelings, and playing musical games or listening to songs can help children identify and express their own emotions in a safe and fun way. 

Musical play can also help children build self-confidence and self-esteem, as they discover and develop their own unique musical talents. 


Social benefits

When children engage in musical play together, they are taking part in a collaborative and interactive experience that actively fosters important social skills such as turn-taking, sharing, and cooperation. Playing musical games with others can help children learn how to work together and communicate effectively, while also building important friendships and connections with their peers. 

In addition to these important social skills, musical play can also be an excellent addition to preschool activities, as it can help children develop empathy and an understanding of different cultures. Through exposure to different types of music, children can learn about different traditions and ways of life, which can help build their appreciation for diversity and broaden their worldview. 


Motor skills development

As a type of physical activity, musical play can be a wonderful way for young children to develop their fine and gross motor skills. Playing musical instruments, such as tapping a drum or shaking a maraca, provide children with an opportunity to develop their hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. Dancing and moving to music can also help develop gross motor skills, such as balance and coordination. This can be supported through movements like swaying, clapping or stomping to the beat of the music.

Incorporating props like scarves or ribbons into musical play can also allow children to further develop their spatial awareness and coordination in a fun and engaging way.


Ways to incorporate music into playtime

There are plenty of easy and fun ways to incorporate music into your child’s playtime routine, including:

  • Singing along to nursery rhymes and songs or changing the lyrics to beloved classics
  • Encouraging your child to create their own songs or musical stories
  • Dancing to music
  • Creating a musical instrument station or basket with shakers, drums, and bells
  • Inventing songs for specific activities like getting changed or bathing
  • Playing musical games like “musical chairs” or “freeze dance” to develop social skills and encourage movement and creativity
  • Building a musical playlist for your child that includes their favourite songs and nursery rhymes. Play it during playtime, car rides, or other daily activities to make it a regular part of their routine.
  • Attending music classes or performances with your child to expose them to different types of music and encourage their interest in music.