Last month I hosted a competition to win a copy of Justin Fletcher’s cd. To enter the competition I asked people to ask questions about musical activities with young children. The winner was Maya Russell who asked this question on my Facebook page.
Is there a musical game I can play with my 3 year old to help them learn about notes, beats etc?
The ability to keep a steady beat has been recognised as the single most influential factor in later academic success. There are a number of activities you could employ to build these skills. In fact I ran a successful project with Springboard Opportunity Group on this topic, proving that even children with severe disabilities can benefit from and enjoy Steady Beat activities.
At the simplest level this can involve singing simple nursery rhymes and chants including, the grand old duke of york, 5 little monkeys jumping on the bed and 5 little peas in a pea pod pressed. Most traditional nursery rhymes have a strong beat and if you say them whilst tapping the rhythm on your knees the children soon follow suit. Ros Bayley has some wonderful resources for Steady Beat activities including Beat Baby
Beat Baby is a gorgeous fluffy creature available in a variety of colours. The magnet in his tail allows him to curl up and he only uncurls when the children make a steady beat and chant an introductory rhyme. There are a number of Beat Baby books with rhymes but it can also be used with well known rhymes or some you make up of your own. Ros Bayley also has a number of rap books with accompanying cd’s. A great idea is to have a dressing up box with baseball caps, trainers, gold chains, puffer jackets etc. and encourage children to be rappers.
3 is probably a little young to learn notes and their values but there are a number of things you could do in preparation. Create flash cards of notes to play snap and pairs games with, introducing the names crochet, minim, semibreve and quaver.
A good way to introduce rhythm is to use animal names for clapping out rhythms. A steady 4/4 beat would be cat – er – pill – ar, 2/4 would be ti- ger , 3/4 el – e – phant. Once children have been introduced to the animal names you can try clapping a rhythm and asking the children to tell you which animal you are clapping or hold up an animal and ask the children to clap the correct rhythm.