Rhythm With Littles

I’m the mom of a 2 1/2 year old. While I’m writing this blog for a wide range of ages and interests, one of my goals is musical education. Rather than the usual selection of SOLAR SYSTEM (we are OBSESSED), he insisted on a video by Prodigies Music Lessons, a YouTube channel. For introducing little kids (here, I’m talking about 5-6 years old and younger) to musical concepts such as the beat and rhythm, a free video such as the following is great. Although the moment was passing (and 2 year olds are notoriously cooperative when you ask them to do something again 😆 ), he was clapping and tapping along.
Parents, it helps if you get excited and be goofy about it with them. Especially for timid kids who aren’t usually dancers, seeing you tap along to the beat and imitate the silly movements can really help them feel more comfortable. And if you don’t want to put your kid in front of a screen, this is a super approachable musical concept to teach your kid, yourself. Some tips: make your thigh tapping a “large” movement (easier for kids to copy and perceive), and keep your rhythms very simple, like in the video.

Did your kid like it? Before making the rhythms more complicated, try doing the same basic rhythm and beat activity these ways:

  • Stomp the rhythms
  • Clap them!
  • Speak them: doo doo doo or ta ta ta
  • Jump in place!
  • Harder, but worth it: walk them! This might not happen for a bit for 2-3 year olds, but this process of integrating rhythm into your child’s body is applicable to gross motor skills, keeping a steady beat, and more complicated rhythmic integration, later.

Remember your preschooler’s attention is probably going to be around 2-3 minutes for this, and that’s ok. 2 minutes of rhythm attention, whenever you can fit them in (weekly? daily? whenever!), is a great no-prep game that will prepare your child for music study further on. I switch up what I’m doing every couple of attempts. So 2-3 rounds of thigh slaps, 2-3 stomps, and depending on how the child is doing, maybe add jumps or ‘doo doo dooooooooo.’ Let me know how it goes, and how I can further support you!

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