Here’s an article I just finished for an online magazine. It’s a reminder to shut your door and sing LOUD!
I was a lucky little girl. You see, when I grew up we didn’t have television, computers, or videos. I was left to my imagination and my little record player. I can remember sitting for hours on the floor of our dining room with my red and yellow records singing “I’m a Little Teapot” and “Pop Goes the Weasel.” My mother didn’t realize it at the time, but that was one of the best activities for stimulating my brain and developing my literacy skills. She just knew it entertained me and made me happy.
The world has changed a great deal over the past sixty years, but children today are very similar to the little girl I once was. They LOVE music! There’s nothing like a good song to put a smile on a child’s face. There’s nothing more rewarding than to see their eyes dance and say, “Do it again!” And there is nothing you can say or “teach” a child that will stay in their heart like a song.
According to accumulating brain research, music is one of the most powerful learning tools. Here are ten great reasons to sing with children:
- Music is multi-sensory. The more senses you get going to the brain, the more likely the message will get there.
- If children are exposed to concepts while singing, it is easier for them to learn when formally introduced.
- Music activates the brain. It can be used as an “indicator” to help children know what to expect and energize learning.
- Music nurtures phonological awareness (alliteration, rhyme, etc.).
- Songs and chants are a natural way to develop oral language, auditory memory, and fluency.
- Poems and songs lay a foundation for common knowledge.
- Children are able to use their imaginations and create pictures in their brains when they sing. This is an important part of reading comprehension.
- Repetition is a key to learning. It is much more fun to repeat songs than worksheets!
- Singing and dancing relieve stress and oxygenate the brain.
- Through music and movement ALL children can feel successful.
But nobody sings anymore! There is a whole generation who doesn’t know nursery rhymes or traditional tunes. The good news is you can put music back in your children’s lives and it won’t cost you a thing. You don’t need to be a rock star; you don’t need to play an instrument; you don’t even need an iPod. Just open your mouth and SING! Sing in the morning, sing when you clean up, sing during transitions, sing at the end of the day. Sing, sing, sing!
Here are some of my favorites I’ve sung over the years as a child, teacher, and parent. If you aren’t familiar with these tunes, there’s probably a video on the internet that can teach you. Look in your own memory bank for songs you remember from school, camp, or scouts. Share them! Keep them alive!
SKIP TO MY LOU IF YOU’RE HAPPY
FRERE JACQUES SHORTNIN’ BREAD
MUFFIN MAN MULBERRY BUSH
BINGO ROW YOUR BOAT
LASSIE AND LADDIE FOUND A PEANUT
HUMPTY DUMPTY ITSY BITSY SPIDER
HICKORY DICKORY DOCK OLD MACDONALD
TWINKLE LITTLE STAR RING AROUND THE ROSIE
LONDON BRIDGE MARY HAD A LITTLE LAMB
SHE’LL BE COMING ROUND I’VE BEEN WORKING ON THE
THE MOUNTAIN RAILROAD
YANKEE DOODLE YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE
THIS OLD MAN FARMER IN THE DELL
THREE BLIND MICE IT’S RAINING
WHEELS ON THE BUS THE BEAR WENT OVER THE MOUNTAIN
A TISKET A TASKET POP GOES THE WEASEL
I’M A LITTLE TEAPOT MY BONNIE
HUSH LITTLE BABY MY DARLIN’ CLEMENTINE
Think of these songs as special “gifts” your children can keep in their hearts
and open again and again all their lives. Someone once said, “People sing
because they’re happy, and they’re happy because they sing!” Come on!
Get happy and SING!