In a world in which videogames and television shows capture more than their fair share of attention from little ones, it can be a challenge to find activities for our children that are both educational and stimulating. After all, getting kids to sit down and read a book with you can be a chore when the little ones are whining that they would rather watch the television show all their friends are raving about. As a parent that homeschools, one way that I overcome the roadblock is by engaging my children creatively through art projects. Crafts and creative activities as you are probably well aware, can teach our children to be meticulous in attention to detail and we can incorporate educational material into the task at hand.
An even stronger solution to this problem has been to introduce our children to basic musical instruments. My kids and their friends have all formed a “band” and they love holding “jam sessions” together and perform for all the parents.
The three main benefits, I have found, from learning to play a basic instrument for a child are as follows:
1. They learn to read music. This helps to stimulate their brain, and who knows, they may enjoy playing the instrument and want to continue later in life.
2. It gives them confidence. When they finally play their first song in full, the beaming look in their eyes will make you one proud parent.
3. It teaches them a sense of responsibility. Practicing on a regular basis does not come naturally to children but, as they fall into a rhythm and reap the rewards, a sense of discipline and commitment develops.
Want to get your kids started? All of the below musical instruments for kids can be found at WestMusic.com.
Recorder: The Recorder is one of the best instruments for beginners. It is especially suitable for children aged 5-6. The reason I recommend it for kids that are still new is that there is no “start-up time”, if you will. An instrument like the violin, clarinet, or trumpet requires time and patience in order to produce any sort of pleasant sound at all that isn’t sound like their blowing up a balloon or stepping on the tail of a cat. With the recorder, sound is created by simply breathing. If you know little about music, this is the perfect instrument for you and your homeschooled child to learn together.
Shake-Egg: The Shake-Egg percussion instrument is the most basic of all instruments; you simply shake it to make a sound. It is in the shape of an egg, obviously, and has little beads inside that bounce around. It is good to put in a child’s hand around the age of 3-4, as this will introduce them to both the concept of rhythm and the idea of a musical instrument in general. An added bonus is that it’s not as loud as a drum, so you won’t have to put up with hours of loud, inconsistent thumping.
Single Snare Drum: The snare drum is suitable for children aged 7-8. It will teach them rhythm and allow them to play songs. The snare drum is great for teaching children a sense of responsibility because they understand that it is “their” drum and they need to take care of it. Be aware that it can be rather loud so I recommend buying a compatible rubber sound-neutralizer so that you don’t receive agonizing headaches every time your child practices.