Today I am going to be sharing with you the things I do with my young children at home. I have a 5 year old son and a 2 year old daughter. Exposing them to music right now is the best because they are highly receptive to all types (they have no aversions to classical music).
It is very easy to get young kids excited about music. They first thing you should do is listen to music. Let me rephrase- listen to GOOD music. Britney Spears and Ke$ha are not the musical role models I want my children to embrace. However, not all pop music is bad.
Young kids love movement, so listening to music and dancing is one of our favorite things to do. Some music tells a story and it is fun to talk through the story and act it our with your kids. Another thing you can do is let the kids come up with a story based on the music. I let my son, who was then 4, tell a story while listening to Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet Overture. He was surprisingly on point with the story. He even got that the hero died at the end. I was amazed at how he could pick up on the changes in the music. It goes to show you that kids aren't dumb! I think sometimes we expect too little from them.
Another fun thing to do is go around the house and look for objects that would make great instruments- pots and pans, rubber bands over an empty box, an Easter egg filled with some dried beans or raw rice, etc. Listen to some great rock music from the 50's and go to town with your "band." This is one of our favorite activities to do on a rainy day.
If you are stuck for some songs to listen to, here are a few suggestions. These are just a FEW suggestions. There is so much good music out there; the lists could go on forever.
My Top 10 Songs to Act Out:
- Flight of the Bumblebee by Rimsky-Korsakov
- The Carnival of the Animals by Saints-Saens
- Peer Gynt Suite by Grieg
- Nutcracker Suite by Tchaikovsky
- The Comedians by Kabalevsky
- Rodeo- Hoedown by Copland
- The Sorcerer's Apprentice by Dukas
- Sword Dance by Khachaturian
- Peter and the Wolf by Prokofiev
- Cowboy Overture by John Williams
My Top 10 Classical Songs for Young Kids:
- Gymnopedie No. 3 by Satie
- Four Seasons by Vivaldi
- Stars and Stripes Forever by Sousa
- La Danza Tarantella by Rossini
- Pavane by Faure
- Symphony No. 6 (Pastoral) by Beethoven
- Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 by Bach
- Rondo Ala Turka by Mozart
- Hungarian Dance No. 5 by Brahms
- Prelude in E minor bu Chopin
My Top 10 "Pop" Songs for Young Kids:
- Who Says by Selena Gomez & the Scene
- You Can't Always Get What You Want by The Rolling Stones
- Down to Earth by Peter Gabriel (my son's favorite song)
- Firework by Katy Perry
- Send Me on My Way by Rusted Root
- Somewhere Over the Rainbow from The Wizard of Oz
- I See the Light from Tangled (my daughter's favorite song)
- Fireflies by Owl City
- Ready or Not by Bridgit Mendler
- Beautiful Day by U2
Your best bet is to search for the music on YouTube and just have fun with your kids. They are only little for a short amount of time, and this is the best time to get them interested in classical music and keep them interested in QUALITY of music versus what is popular. There is a huge difference.
Also, listen to music from the shows they like to watch. My son loves to watch Phineas and Ferb, so we bought him a the soundtracks to the show and he loves to sing along in the car. We also have a "mix tape" (or mp3's) of different theme show songs like Pokemon, Digimon, Transformers, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, etc. for the kids to listen to.