Top tips to get your kids singing, dancing and learning
Sam Moran from Nick Jr.’s shares his wisdom
By Sam Moran
August 16 2018
Sam Moran from Nick Jr.’s Play Along with Sam knows all too well how to make learning fun. “We all know that our children resist being ‘taught’ things, which is why I’ve always been a huge advocate for learning through play,” he says. “My songs, while being entertaining, are often mixed with developmentally appropriate lessons so children don’t even realise they’re learning.” Here, Sam shares his top five tips to get your kids singing, dancing and, most importantly, learning.
1 RHYME TIME
Nursery rhymes and songs have been used for centuries to teach children simple lessons. Rhyming words help build vocabulary quickly, because they extend upon already familiar sounding words with new words that have new meanings.
2 FINGER PLAY
Learning to count is achieved through pure repetition and songs can be a great fun way to do this. Anything that encourages your child to count on their fingers, while singing, will help them along the way. My favourite as a child was “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, once I caught a fish alive, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, then I let him go again”.
3 OVERCOMING FEARS
All of us can remember being scared of things we didn’t understand as a child – whether it be trying a new type of food, or visiting the dentist. A child is scared of what they don’t understand, so if you can find something, like a song, that explains it, then you can help remove that fear. There are songs that talk about these experiences from a child’s point of view and I’ve found that singing these songs can help take the fear away and actually create a desire to experiment. I still haven’t found the song that makes me like brussel sprouts, though!
Learning music at a young age creates many benefits for a child’s developing brain; ones that persist throughout their lives. While studying music education, I was shocked that researchers believe the main reason most people don’t think they can sing is that they were told so at a very young age, or told to be quiet. Young children’s vocal chords are not developed enough to be able to sing in tune. So, don’t just assume that your three-year-old can’t sing. It’s through them singing out loud that they ‘find’ their voice and stretch their vocal chords in new ways. So, if you can bear it, try to catch yourself from telling them not to sing so they can develop their voice.
5 JOIN IN
While children are often engaged with singing and dancing themselves, sometimes they might need a bit of extra encouragement. In my experience, there is no better way than to do it yourself and encourage them to join you. Dancing helps develop a child’s gross motor skills in a fun way. My daughter still insists that we ‘ballroom dance’ together in the lounge room at any opportunity.
A FINAL NOTE FROM ME: Nick Jr.’s Play Along with Sam revolves around songs that help kids in developing their rhyming, counting, dancing and singing skills amongst many others. I like to integrate fun themes like favourite events – Christmas and Halloween; family activities including going to the beach or the zoo; dress-ups and dance parties to stir the creative and inquisitive minds of preschoolers. It’s all about exploring the world they live in!