Sunday, October 30, 2011

31 Days of Play! Songs

I talked about my love of playing music with Beansprout in this post, one of my first about play this month, but can't help but write about it again.  I've been reminded a few times this month how songs have really helped Beansprout in one way or another.  Of course, singing lullabies was a huge part of his babyhood - I learned as many as I possibly could as I'd do anything to help get him to sleep at that time.  Yet, music also came in handy as a distraction when he had to go in for numerous tests as a baby -- I was able to help him stay calm and relaxed by singing some of our favorite Mothergoose songs.  For his first year of life I attended a weekly Mothergoose program with him - if you have a young one, I highly recommend even one session of this program!  The program helps you remember songs you knew growing up and teaches you many more that you can stockpile for just the right moment.  We've been able to encourage him to brush his teeth and get his hair rinsed with songs and I know we've learned a getting dressed song, too.  My friend, Lorraine, and I used to joke that we had a song for everything - much to the annoyance of those around us, I'm sure!

Marching with the Dinosaurs
What I really appreciate is the fact that songs have not only soothed my little guy in many situations, but they've also helped him make connections in his world.  We recently visited the dinosaur exhibit at Science World and he fell in love with them!  We thought he might be afraid of the sounds and the lights and the size of the creatures, yet he wanted to go around and around to see them numerous times.  I half think that it's due to the fact that as soon as we entered the exhibit I started singing, "We are the Dinosaurs", from The Laurie Berkner Band.  Instead of being afraid, this was a signal to Beansprout that it was connected to play!  Whenever he sees or talks about dinosaurs now he always mentions their marching, a key part of the chorus, so it was easy to "march" him around the exhibit to help him take it all in at first.

I love when Beansprout is working to make connections, but songs have also helped avoid major meltdowns (for all of us) when the car ride has become too much for him.  Snacktime from Barenaked Ladies has been a favorite - one of those kids' albums that doesn't make you want to stick a knife in your head after listening to it.  He enjoys participating in "Popcorn" and likes to chime in with his favorite snack on the title track of the album.  The songs are really enjoyable, as many of them have playful lyrics that appeal to adults - lyrics that go over the heads of the young ones, I'm sure.  (Besides, who can resist all the famous Canadians featured on the "Snacktime" song!?!)

I'm always on the look-out for music that will appeal to both me and Beansprout.  Do you have any favorite albums for kids that you love?  Can you still remember those from your childhood?  How have songs helped you or your children?

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