Circle time is a lot of fun for the children in the room and for the parents, but beyond that, singing songs with your children helps your child to learn in many ways, and enhances your connections as a family. Singing builds:
- Musical skills
- Mathematical and spatial skills
- Connections to traditions
- Emotional Intelligence
Learn more about music and development.
Here are a few of my favorite resources for kids’ songs:
The King County Library has produced videos of librarians singing LOTS (hundreds!) of classic children’s rhymes: http://kcls.org/content/. If you’re trying to remember the tune of any childhood song, this is a great place to look!
Jbrary is a channel on YouTube featuring two children’s librarians singing songs, lap songs, and finger rhymes from library story times: www.youtube.com/user/Jbrary/videos. I LOVE all their videos.
Nancy Stewart has gathered lyrics and made audio recordings (.mp3) of lots of traditional songs, including her Baker’s Dozen of songs every child should know and a collection of campfire songs: http://singwithourkids.com/song-library.htm. She also has lists of recommended books which include songs, or have rhythmic text that can be sung to children, to reinforce both music and early literacy skills: http://singwithourkids.com/bookshelf.htm.
Let’s Play Music was developed by Sara Mullett, based on 15 years experience teaching kids’ music classes. It includes over 150 songs – each has lyrics, sheet music, a video of the tune being played on a xylophone, and activities / motions to go along with the song. http://www.letsplaykidsmusic.com
YouTube has a huge collection of animated videos featuring traditional and new children’s songs, in a wide range of languages. For example, not only would you find countless versions of the traditional alphabet song, plus many variations in melody (like ABC Rap), plus many elaborate alphabet songs (Animal Alphabet, Alexander Alligator, etc.), you can even find several different songs each dedicated to a single letter of the alphabet. (Even Q has 8 or more songs!)
As with everything on YouTube, the quality ranges tremendously, and there are some that are frankly inappropriate for children; however, it’s worth searching through and finding some of the great ones and setting up your own playlist. I will includes links to some good ones on my “favorite songs” page. Most kids love watching the videos along with the song, but if you’d rather not expose your child to videos, you can easily find a free program online which will allow you to convert videos into .mp3 audio files. (I use YTD Video downloader)
Music Connections offers some great posts on teaching rhythm and a steady beat to kids age birth to five: A Parent’s Guide to Beats and Rhythms, Developmental Progression of Steady Beat, and “Catching” a Steady Beat with Very Young Children. This includes tips like: help your child experience steady beats by singing with them, dancing with them, or tapping on their knees in rhythm. When they’re doing repetitive movements, like tapping on something, sing or dance along in a steady rhythm that’s similar t o their rhythm. Have them walk or march to a beat.
Click here for my favorite songs to sing with young children.