by Chalimar Ríos
Children’s development is highly dependent upon their environment. How much are the children in your care exposed to music, language, movement, or exercising freely? A balanced variety of activities that include songs and movements is sure to increase children’s attention, help them socialize with peers, and prepare them to learn and be more perceptive in future activities throughout the day.
Other than the physical benefits of enjoying songs with movements or exercise, research shows that songs and rhymes help children’s language development. As children listen to instructions given during physical activities, they build a relationship between the words they hear and the movements they see; they make meaning of the words as they imitate movements or create new ones. Through songs and rhymes, children also learn sounds, syllables, and musical patterns. Children will slowly continue to store their experiences until they feel prepared to say their own words, repeat the words in a rhyme, build short sentences, or sing along.
You will find a set of 16 Songs/Rhymes and 40 Physical/Health Cards in each Buttercups kit. Both sets of cards help you teach children songs, rhymes, movements, and gross and fine motor skills. Engage children in multiple art interactions and activities in the first theme of April, The Joy of Art. My favorite gross and fine motor activities are:
- Rock and Roll Painting and Tricycle Tracks on Physical/Health Cards 24 and 25 and Decorate the Playground on card 30, where children are encouraged to explore art freely. In these examples, children are prompted to use their hands to shake or roll cans, use their bodies to move tricycles or ride-on toys, and use their creativity to decorate the playground as they wish.
- The song “Keep it Beautiful” on Songs/Rhymes Card 16 teaches children about environmental awareness to the tune of the popular children’s song “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” The familiarity of the tune will support children in focusing on the meaning of the song and help them understand other concepts explored during the second April theme, Nurture Nature.
You will find a set of 44 Music and Movement Cards in each kit. In April’s first theme, The Joy of Art, music and movement activities are used to explore different types of art, colors, designs, and also to reinforce the letter and shape of the month. April’s second theme, Nurture Nature, includes physical activities to support children in developing a good relationship with the outdoors. Here are two activities worth highlighting because they invite children to appreciate nature and their environment:
- Outdoor Stretch on card 27 encourages children to enjoy the outdoors and fresh air by taking deep breaths and stretching.
- Earth Cleanup on card 31 builds a strong awareness of the importance of taking care of our planet by going for a walk and picking up trash around the neighborhood.
Use the music, rhymes, and movement cards as a fun way to include some variety in your day. The cards combine multiple areas of learning, help children master fine and gross motor skills, and promote inclusivity by encouraging teamwork.
Cues for Including Music and Movements in Your Daily Routine
- Pick a movement card to make transitions more fun and meaningful for children.
- Invite children to sing a song from the Songs/Rhymes Cards as a soothing technique when they are experiencing a difficult emotion.
- Set out the cards in an area where children can pick a card, identify what the card is about from the pictures, and experiment with the freedom of choosing and leading a game or singing a song with a friend or favorite adult.