Over the past 4 years I have watched my daughter experiment with many different toys ranging from baby dolls to toy cars but I have noticed that her favorite toys are the ones that she can make music with. I will admit that she has been surrounded by music and musical instruments her entire life but she has never been forced to play with musical toys or instruments. Because of this fascination I began building her instrumental toy collection. I have spent many hours researching musical instruments for young children. At the moment she owns 2 toy pianos, several shakers, a toy guitar, her own trumpet mouthpiece and a junior drum kit( even Mommy enjoys that one). There isn’t a day that goes by that she doesn’t tinker with one of these toys. As a music educator and mother I know that these toys provide far more then simply entertainment. Although the entertainment factor is a very good reason to purchase musical instruments for young children. In this post I would like to explore the many benefits of musical instruments for young children. After all there are thousands of manufacturers creating musical instruments specifically for young children.
Promotes Exploration and Experimentation
Anyone who has spent time with little children will have discovered that they all love to explore the environment around them. For a young child their environment presents many things to explore. Sound is something that fascinates many children. After all beating on the pots and pans seems to be an activity that all children will enjoy at some point in there toddler years and perhaps even beyond. Musical instruments presents another medium for exploration. Children can experiment with loud and soft or high and low. They press different keys on a piano to here the differences between the high notes and the low notes. They may even press several at once just to here what it sounds like. This is there first introduction to dissonance, although they have no idea what that means. They may hit a drum really hard and then really soft to discover the harder they hit the drum the louder the sound and vice versa. Exploration and experimentation with instruments provides children with an opportunity to practice many skills.
Improve Motor Skills
While playing with musical instruments and musical instrument toys young children will begin to explore the ways to hold them. Some parents, like myself, may even encourage them to hold them correctly from the very beginning. I only choose to do this because I want to correct mistakes early just in case she decides to learn how to play these instruments in the future. Junior drum sets, for example, allows the child to use their feet on the bass drum foot pedal while hitting the other drums with the sticks. Small pianos can teach them how to use each finger individually when pressing the keys. Any musical instrument will help improve motor skills in some way.
Encourages Movement and Self Expression
Many musical toys and musical instruments offer a function that allows children to listen to demos or prerecorded sounds. I know my child gets great enjoyment out of pressing the presets on her little keyboard and dancing around to them. Any type of movement is great for young children. This movement also allows the child to express themselves. These movements foster creativity and provides an emotional and energetic outlet. Most parents will agree that a child needs a way to release energy and emotions.
Stimulates the Brain
Playing with musical instruments or musical instrument toys stimulates the brain. Today’s generation of children spend way too much time in front of a television which does not stimulate children in the same way as free play. While playing with musical toys and instruments many of a child’s senses are stimulated. There sense of touch and hearing are stimulated and improved each and every time they play with musical toys and instruments.
Perhaps one of the simplest benefits of providing children with musical instruments and toys is entertainment. It is a known fact that children love to play. I am firm believer in allowing children to learn through free play. Many children will find the different sounds made with musical toys and instruments extremely entertaining. These toys also provide entertainment for adults, as they enjoy watching their children experiment and explore musical instruments.
The above benefits emphasize the importance of providing musical instruments and musical toys to young children. While not all children will become professional musicians or even take music lessons in their childhood years they have at least had the opportunity to explore what playing a musical instrument has to offer. Music plays a huge role in many cultures, thus having the option to choose music as a career path should be provided early in a child’s development. I know from experience the benefits of providing musical exploration to children. As long as my daughter continues to show interest in music and playing musical instruments I will provide as many opportunities as possible for her to experience music through musical instruments and musical toys. If you have any benefits to add to this list, or questions concerning musical instruments for young children please feel free to leave me comment.
Click here to learn more about a junior drum kit like the one featured in this post.