Monday, March 23, 2015

Moving and Music: Essential For Child Development

By: Dr. Linda Carson

By age three, most children have acquired around 1,000 words. By the age of six, they have acquired nearly 10,000 words! This highlights the significant role we have during the first five years of life to lay the foundation for expanding vocabulary as well as using language for learning and communicating.

How can busy parents support and enhance this significant stage of child development? Probably the easiest way is to talk to children as much as possible. In the youngest toddlers, describe what they are doing as they explore and experiment. With preschool children, ask questions and have conversations about everything from what they might see in nature to their preferences for activities or foods. And be intentional about introducing new and unusual words so that your child’s vocabulary expands. Another very important but easy way to build vocabulary, and at the same time encourage a love of books, is bedtime reading.

While you are at it, add words to your playtime. Babies think and communicate with their bodies before they actually think with words, so your day to day playful interactions can be very meaningful for learning as well as for building bonds of trust and love. During early childhood, children learn a lot with their bodies and about their bodies. There are rich vocabulary words to be experienced by moving and exploring.
You can download this Healthy Vocabulary Framework chart of vocabulary words from Choosy Kids that can be used to mix and vary active learning experiences for young children. You can also listen to Choosy Kids song, I Am Moving I Am Learning, which incorporates words on the chart.

Combining music with deliberate movement has even greater impact on early learning. When young children hear music, they naturally respond by moving their bodies. Movement and music have been shown to influence and enhance the healthy development of the brains and bodies of young children. Music stimulates both sides of the brain. When childhood songs encourage movements that use both sides of the body and incorporate healthy messages, a powerful double whammy learning experience is taking place inside the child.

“Developmentally appropriate music activities involve the whole child-the child's desire for language, the body's urge to move, the brain's attention to patterns, the ear's lead in initiating communication, the voice's response to sounds, as well as the eye-hand coordination associated with playing musical instruments.” (Harman, M.A. Music and Movement - Instrumental in Language Development, http://www.earlychildhoodnews.com/earlychildhood/article_view.aspx?ArticleID=601).

So music and movement can not only build vocabulary and motor skills, they can also lay the very necessary foundation for school readiness and school success.

Choosy Kids is a company devoted to early learning through music and movement. Listen to samples of well-conceived, fun-filled songs that encourage active learning.

You can check out more blogs like this from a team of 51 other bloggers at the #Blogger52Project, brought to you by The Quinntessential Mommy.

About the Author: Linda Carson, Ed. D, is the founder and CEO of Choosy Kids, LLC, and the Ware Distinguished Professor Emerita at West Virginia University. An award winning, nationally recognized expert, Dr. Carson has devoted her career to promoting healthy preferences for young children and the adults who make decisions on their behalf. Click here to learn more about Linda.

39 comments :

  1. Great post! I love the activity on the rug. I used to make themed obstacle courses when I taught early childhood, i.e. outer space walk hopping from planet to planet, crawling into spaceship (tube), lunar walk (balance beam).

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    1. Your space adventure sounds really awesome! I bet the kids learned a lot!!!

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  2. That is so true about music. My boys can learn just about anything if we turn it into a song. Music is such an important part of learning. It's something that we can't overlook.

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    1. The president and state songs are the only reason I know them in sequential order and alphabetically:)

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  3. Great ideas! My son absolutely loves music, so I use a lot of it. I know the kindergarteners I talk always love learning through song too.

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    1. As an adult, I still learn through music. And isn't it funny how we still know the words to a song that we haven't heard in 15 years (cough cough N'Sync's no strings attached CD just celebrated their release from 15 years ago and I KNOW all of those words FOR SURE!!! 😆)

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  4. I love this- active learning is such a big deal- especially with little ones! I cherish our nighttime cuddles as we read books before bed-such a great tradition!

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    1. Getting all the wiggles and giggles out before bedtime is best. Those cuddles sure are nice. Cherish them - they don't last forever :(

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  5. This is great! My boys and I love to dance!! Such a fun way to incorporate learning and they don't even realize that's what's happening haha

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  6. Music is great for kiddos!!!! All little ones need to get there groove on once in awhile ;-)

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  7. Great music! Saying hello from Blogger 52!
    Cathy@threekidsandafish{dot}com

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    1. Awesome! Glad you made it over from the blogging group! We are so excited to participate :)

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  8. This is a great article! It seems that every time there is a song in a movie or on TV, my 2 year old cousin stops what he is doing and watches intently or even dances along, this makes sense! And is definitely a great way to help learning!

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    1. That is awesome about the TV/movies and music! Disney is obviously really good at putting catchy music in their movies that kids love to dance to!!

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  9. YES! I seriously agree about the music! As homeschoolers, we would start the day out with a set of 'morning songs' that helped the kids to learn while singing & having fun - all w/out even realizing it! I would change it up sometimes & add in some songs that went along w/ certain lessons.

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    1. What a fantastic way to being school! There is music out there about everything. Now if only I would've thought about this when I was in school struggling with math! Hehe! :)

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  10. I remember the old days of School House Rock... I can stills sing the whole Preamble to the Constitution!! Melodies just stick with us, children are the same!

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    1. GREAT example! We watched a lot of School House Rocks in school. "I'm just a bill sitting on Capital Hill..."

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  11. This is a great program! Thanks for sharing. We're always moving with my grandson..he's the one keeping me in shape :). And my son is a musican so there is always music playing. He even gets his toy guitar and "jams" as he says. LOL.

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    1. How lucky that the little ones has live music in his home! Music is so good for the body and soul. Glad he keeps you moving and grooving too!!!

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  12. Thank you for the download - it gives me a lot of ideas!

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    1. You're welcome!! Glad you took the opportunity to review over it :)

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  13. This is awesome! I just wrote a post about music and movement for a place I'm a contributing writer for! I love everything about this! <3

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    1. Can't wait for you to share this Sue!! Congrats on that article and keep up the awesome work spreading the word of how great music is!

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  14. My boys were a little late speaking, but boy do they talk now. But, 10,000 words by age 6? Incredible!

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    1. I know it seems like a lot but just think of all the objects that surround us!! Our world is very descriptive!

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  15. Wonderful! I like the photo as it shows Choosy is actually playing along...too cute. Thanks for sharing! :)

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    1. I am really glad you enjoy the photo. It represents choosy being a part of the child's world!

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  16. My kids love music and the moving just goes with it:) Stopping in and saying hello from the #blogger52project!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by!! We are glad your family loves music and movement!

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  17. My kids are all incredibly musical. We found that piano lessons builds a very firm foundation. We are blessed to go to a Fine Arts Magnet school where music, dance, art, and theater are all incorporated into daily learning. It is such a wonderful concept!
    #Blogger52Project

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    1. That is awesome! Did your kids find their passion for music at an early age? Thanks for stopping by!

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  18. I love this! Thank you so much for sharing, I'm excited to implement it with my kids.

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    1. That's awesome! Check out ChoosyKids.com for a new special that your kids will love!

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  19. My kiddo has plenty of words stored but is saying very little. Does this help with apraxia (what he has bee diagnosed with)?

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    1. Apraxia usually refers to a coordination issue and can be described as either apraxia of movement (or motor), or apraxia of speech. Both indicate some level of difficulty of coordinating the messages from the brain to the muscles needed to produce movement or speech. There are therapies and treatments that can help a lot. Music and movement are part of the list of successful approaches to improve motor planning and coordination.

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