Where Does the Music Take You? Painting to Music Teaches Emotions

Photo by David Hume Kennerly
Photo by David Hume Kennerly

By Rachel Ward

From their favorite lullaby to the theme song for Caillou, music captivates and entrances children of all ages and places. (Is there anything cuter than a toddler bobbing their head and stomping around trying to dance? We think not.)

New styles of music, new instruments, and different rhythms and tempos offer a lot of sensory input—and a heap of learning benefits. That’s why our centers offer a special enhancement to open the world of music to children: our Music Adventures program.

“By introducing children to new forms of music and musical elements, they’re exploring patterns through rhythm and tempo, and even getting practice at identifying emotions,” explains Taunya Banta from KinderCare’s Education team.  

So how do our Music Adventures teachers use music to explore emotions? One of our favorite activities is painting to music for kids. Take a look below!

Music and Emotion Activities Combine for a Wallop of Learning

With music playing in the background, kids focus on painting along with the song’s rhythm while creating a work of art that shows how the music makes them feel.

There’s no right or wrong answer in this activity—and that’s what makes it such a great exercise. Some children may feel relaxed or happy while listening to, say, a classical waltz; others may feel bored or even impatient and restless.

“The true value of this activity is that it’s useful in building emotional awareness across all age groups, from toddlers to preschoolers. Children are actively paying attention to the emotions that the music stirs inside them and learning how to describe and name those emotions, both with words and their art supplies,” says Banta.

We introduce musical activities all the time at KinderCare. But there are ways you can keep the exploration going right at home, too. Check out our fun tips below!

Let the Music Move You! 3 Musical Activities for Kids

Photo by Maahoo Studio / Stocksy / 1416224
Photo by Maahoo Studio / Stocksy

1. Follow the Music

Teach your child how to hear changes in music with this fun game! Turn on your radio and hit the living room. Then challenge your little dancer to move according to the music, whether they’re dancing fast and slow to the changing tempo, or moving high and low to the changing pitch.

2. Move Like an Animal

Is your child a big dinosaur fan? Do they love nothing more than a cute, cuddly kitten (well, besides you, of course)? Turn on one of their favorite songs and encourage them to move just like whatever critter has captured their imagination, whether they’re stomping, wriggling, hopping, or rolling!

3. Craft a Musical Instrument

Listening to music is fun, but there’s nothing like making some yourself! If your child is big into rhythm instruments, try making a tambourine at home: Fill one paper plate with dried beans* and tape a second paper plate on top, and you’ve got a fun shaker! For kids who love the guitar, all they’ll need is an empty tissue box and some rubber bands to wrap around them.

*Always supervise your child around small items like dried beans.

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