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Music education at home sounds overwhelming, but really it is about recycling the things you already have at hand. Wendy Valerio of the University of South Carolina School of Music encourages parents to “play many types of recordings for children, and play them often.”

Babies and toddlers are drawn to things that allows them to experiment with sound and rhythm, she said.

  1. Dried beans or dried pasta securely sealed in recyclable containers are instant instruments. Getting them to help put the dried goods into the containers is fine motor practice.
  2. Drums are best made from empty containers like oatmeal cylinders, yogurt cups and empty cereal boxes. Hand that baby a wooden or plastic spoon and listen to the beat. Bonus points are awarded for those brave enough to hand over spare pots and pans. As they learn to beat loudly or softly, children learn to differentiate tones which later correlates to inside and outside appropriate noises as well as body control movements.
  3. Create a picture song board. Using any material, cut out squares of cards and draw one picture that represents a song. As you go through the motions of the songs you are helping your child work on gross motor movements, independent thinking skills and emotional awareness.
  4. Sing songs in the car. Sing them fast and slow and loud and soft. If you have time, dance to the music with them in the kitchen.

As local mom Jennifer Lowry says, “What matters most is the closeness and smiles of enjoying the music together.”

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