Give the gift of music this Christmas
Here is a fabulous guest blog from Harriet at Boogie Mites, about bringing the joy of music to your child as an entertaining and educational Christmas present:
Give The Gift Of Music To Your Child This Christmas
I don’t know about you, but I always feel overwhelmed by Christmas present shopping! We seem to be bombarded by adverts and marketing emails from just after Halloween through to Christmas Eve, and I even heard my first Christmas song in a shop just the other day (it’s not even December!).
Yet how do we know what will really be the best present for our child? There are always the tales from exasperated parents who spent a fortune, only for their child to play with the box or wrapping paper, or the 5-minute wonder present that was soon discarded with the wrapping paper in favour of the much-loved wooden spoon or a kitchen roll tube!
Here at Boogie Mites, we say that music is the top gift you can give your child this Christmas. Now this doesn’t have to be spending hundreds of pounds on the latest keyboard or guitar that no one in the family knows how to play, especially when children are still developing their own musical identities. It could be much more creative, interactive and (best of all) cheaper than that!
We know that when parents take part in music with their children, not only the children, but the parents benefit too. A study by De Gratzer (1999) found that parents reported non-musical benefits such as improved relationships and increased communication with their children, and Nicholson, Berthelsen, Abad, Williams and Bradley (2008) found that a 10 week music project showed significant improvements in measures of parental irritability, activities with their child, parental mental health, child communication, and child social skills. Closer to home, an evaluation report of Boogie Mites music programmes (Fairchild & Karousou, 2013) found that parents felt more confident when singing and with their general music practice. And in particular, parents of children with SEN stressed how Boogie Mites music was a valuable means of communication and interacting with their child and also an enjoyable activity as a family.
So now we know how great music is, how could you turn this into the Christmas gift that keeps on giving?
We at Boogie Mites absolutely love making our own instruments and encourage everyone to do the same. It’s cheap, fun, eco-friendly and best of all, something that is totally personal. In my last Old Station blog I talked about making shakers. If you’ve tried this, then why not add to your band by making a drum.
Watch the ‘How To Make A Drum’ video for tips on making your drum and then using it to have lots of fun with nursery rhymes – and boost language and counting skills too!
Are you having family with little ones round this Christmas? Try wrapping up all the craft elements needed to make a whole percussion band – empty bottles for shakers, wooden spoons for rhythm sticks, empty boxes for drums – and have fun decorating them together (yes grownups love this too!). You could theme them for each person or for the festive time of year. You could also use all that leftover wrapping paper to make sounds and music with.
Once you have your percussion band assembled, you could add sound effects to your favourite stories, and encourage your little one to be the conductor! Or perhaps invest in a quality, educational music CD that you could tap along to, or a book with all your favourite nursery rhymes in. If you’re feeling particularly ambitious, you could make a song bag yourself, with objects or props to represent your child’s favourite songs. You can keep adding to the bag as you and your child learn more songs.
All of these gifts could be used in many different ways throughout the following months and years, so won’t end up in a corner unused. And because they’re interactive, you’ll know that actually, you’ll be giving the best gift any child could receive: you.
Happy Christmas everyone!
About the Author: Harriet Thomas is Creative Director at Boogie Mites UK, offering early years music training for practitioners and licensee opportunities for anyone with a passion for music for under 5’s.