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make your own instruments
Explore creativity, music and rhythm with your child when you create your own marching band instruments at home. We found some easy-to-make instruments that your children can use to create music wherever they are — some of them are so simple!

Some extra suggestions:
🥁 Use a string or strap so they can carry them while playing
🥁 Take the instruments outside
🥁 Take the instruments on a walk around your neighbourhood and pretend you're in a parade
🥁 Have children play by themselves or have music in the background to play along with

Click here for instructions on how to make drums, tambourines, xylophones, guitars and more.

"By age two, children usually become activated by music as they rock, march and respond with their whole bodies. At this stage, 'singing' is chaotic combination of tonal fragments accompanied by whirling - moving quickly with little control over where the body is going. The child can begin moving on command but finds it difficult to stop. He can clap quickly but not slowly. His free play with instruments is random and exuberant.

Between ages five and six, the child has developed a sense of rhythm that enables him to respond to action songs, to clap repetitive patterns and to distinguish such musical concepts as high, low, soft and loud." (YMCA Playing to Learn, Martin and Huggins, 2015)

Explore Music
Our YMCA Child Care team encourages you to explore music with your kids! Click here to find the lyrics and melodies for all types of children's songs. Infants and toddlers can experience how their bodies move and respond to the music, and older children can work on mastering their performance!

More musical activity ideas:
🎵 Create a stage to perform on
🎵 Record the performance to look back on or send to someone you haven't seen in a while
🎵 Make costumes for your music show
🎵 Have the whole family join in

“Young children should experience music every day as they sing, listen, move, and respond. There should be many kinds of music in their world – traditional children’s songs, contemporary melodies, classical pieces and music from other cultures.” (YMCA Playing to Learn, Martin and Huggins, 2015)
Freeze Dance Party
If it's raining outside, why not have an indoor dance party? Here are some instructions and tips for incorporating a game of Freeze Dance into your dance party:

🎵 Put on fun, uplifting music
🎵 Have your child find a space in the room and start dancing
🎵 When you yell out "freeze!" everyone must freeze on the spot and hold their pose

Here are some actions that you can have them complete:
🎵 Free Dance
🎵 Hop
🎵 Skip
🎵 Twirl
🎵 Jump

“Ensuring children have access throughout the day to gross motor activities indoors and outdoors is critical to healthy gross and development.” (YMCA Playing to Learn, Martin and Huggins, 2015)
physical literacy with cosmic kids
We know that physical literacy and exploring imaginations are both really important! Here's a resource that has both covered: Cosmic Kids can take your child on a fun adventure through storytelling that integrates yoga, dancing and mindfulness exercises. Click here to try it!

“Ensuring that children have access throughout the day to gross motor activities indoors and outdoors is critical to healthy growth and development" (YMCA Playing To Learn, Martin and Huggins, 2015).
Ribbon Wands
Make your ribbon wand to use while dancing and twirling inside or outside to some of your favourite tunes. All you need is:
👯 wooden dowel, or if you want to create something with nature find some sticks that are on the ground and use these for your wand.
👯 different colours of ribbon cut to 36 inches long
👯 scissors Once you have collected your supplies tie the ribbons one at a time, tying at the halfway point on each ribbon, to the end of your dowel or stick.

Tie about 5-7 ribbons around your wand so that you end up with 10-14 pieces of ribbon hanging from the end. You are now done and ready to incorporate your ribbon wand into movements with music. Try some of these:
🕺 have a dance party
💃 draw numbers or letters in the air
🕺 play catch with it
💃 make a swirling tornado with the wand
🕺 shake the ribbon wand at different levels of high, medium and low and speeds of fast, medium and slow
💃 run around and see how the ribbons move in the wind
🕺 create your fun movements or dance based on the rhythm and beats in the music you are listening to.

“Responding to music comes naturally to children and provides a constant source of joy" (YMCA Playing to Learn, Eden and Huggins, 2001).