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Music and Dance

Child plays with chime panel at playgroundTwo-year-old Ben runs to the kitchen and presses the button on the CD player, announces his favorite song to his mother, and grins as music fills the room. Several minutes later, he runs to the electronic piano in the living room and starts pounding keys. His mom does a silly dance for him and Ben laughs excitedly.

Music brings pleasure, calm, and satisfaction to children's lives. Small babies respond to a soothing lullaby, toddlers have favorite songs, and preschoolers love to dance and sing. Older children idolize pop singers and plaster their room with posters.

Music is also beneficial for children. Listening and playing music, singing songs, and dancing help to develop important skills. The patterns and rhythms of music enhance spatial reasoning. Rhymes and repetitions sharpen memory and aid in the development of language and literacy. Children can also learn about culture and history through the exploration of music.

Make music a part of your playspace with some simple steps. Include a CD player or radio so children can choose background music for their play. Churches or universities might have pianos or other large instruments to donate. Xylophones, triangles, and conga drums are fun for children to play. Choreograph your child's day with silly songs and funny dances.

Helpful links:

The Children's Music Web, http://www.childrensmusic.org/

Childcraft Education. Records/Cassettes/CDs –Featured Products. http://store.schoolspecialtyonline.net/OA_HTML/ibeCCtpSctDspRte.jsp?sname=MUSIC&section=10787&minisite=10044&JServSessionIdrootauohsschl34=z9lrcnf891.mljJo7bNmQvGaNeIpR9vmQLzpRjOqQXPqAbDpAqImQXHcBSUax0Kax4-

Flaxman, Lisa. (1999-2004). The rhythm of play: Interacting with babies and toddlers through music. Toddlers Today. http://toddlerstoday.com/resources/articles/playrhythm.htm

Formaro, A. (2006). Nine easy to make musical instruments for kids. Artists Helping Children. http://www.artistshelpingchildren.org/articleformaro.html

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Sing-Along Songs. NIEHS Kids' Pages. http://kids.niehs.nih.gov/music.htm

SoundPlay Outdoor Musical Instruments. (2006). Accessible equipment for people of all ages to enjoy self-expression and build community through music. http://soundplay.com/

Website of Jet Fuel Only, rock band created by middle-schoolers with autism, http://www.jetfuelonlyband.com/

(Photo courtesy of Landscape Structures)