My child is a dreamer: One of those wonderful people who's imagination consistently transports them to another place and time. Her stories are rich and detailed and she is often seen gazing out windows and doodling on paper. As a "go, go, go" kind of person, I will admit that her distracted behaviour often drives me a little nuts. However, one day a few years back, I read a beautiful article that made me realize that even though her lack of focus and attention can be troublesome when we are trying to get ready to go somewhere or accomplish a particular task, her dreaming is a kind of gift. She is a "noticer" - someone who sees the little details and appreciates them. A stop and smell the flowers kinda kid. And who the heck am I to take that away from her? Nonetheless, there are times when she needs to be able to gather her thoughts and simply focus. Music is a wonderful way to develop focus in your little musician! Here are three musical games we play together at home to develop concentration in a fun way!
1. Dance and Freeze
Throw on music that really gets you moving. Jukebox oldies work brilliantly for this game in our house. Encourage your little musicians to dance as expressively as they can! Meanwhile, keep your finger poised over the "mute" button and discretely turn off the music periodically throughout the song. When the music stops - everyone has to freeze! Laugh. Repeat.
2. Find the Phone
Choose a song on your phone (if you don't have a cell phone - a music box works just as well). Have your little one close their eyes while you hide the phone in the next room. Now your little musician must focus her ears to find the phone! (Such a great activity for auditory learners).
3. When you Hear the Instrument, Play Along!
Choose a noise maker and some music to play that includes multiple kinds of instruments. Instruct your little one to play along when she hears a particular kind of instrument (e.g. drums). Now stop when the instrument is finished playing. This one is great to do with jazz music where different instruments get lots of solo time. An alternative to this game is to play along when you hear a particular word. Songs with lots of repetition are awesome for this (e.g. "All you Need is Love" by The Beatles. Play your instrument every time you hear the word "love" ).
The ability to focus and pay attention is so important for little ones to develop and, let's face it, it can be tough to get your child to listen at the best of times. Games like these are excellent ways to make the idea of listening fun. Artsy Startsy's ROAM curriculum is chock full of these kinds of games. We'd love for you to join us on our musical adventures! Take a peek at our sample week.