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Rhythm and Blues for the Winter

by Amber on February 4, 2010

Meredith Pizzi is a board certified music therapist in Massachusetts. She has years of experience working with young children and using music to enhance development, social skills, and just plain have fun. In this article she discusses how to keep kids entertained over the long winter months with music!

Winter KidsNew England winters aren’t easy for anyone! I really do enjoy the seasons and I don’t know what I’d do if the climate were the same 365 days a year, but I can’t say that I enjoy these short days with little sunshine and I really miss being able to walk down the street without losing all feeling in my fingertips!

And if this is how we feel as adults, imagine what it’s like being kept away from your favorite park or playground for these months. Not to mention having to bundle up in multiple layers of uncomfortable heavy clothes! (Honestly, I had my two girls in 4 hats on Saturday when we had to go on a walk in Boston! Four hats! We counted putting them on and taking them off each time!)

So what can you do to break things up at home or when you’re out?

How can you use music to burn some of that energy that is trapped inside during these months?

A Good Old-Fashioned Lap Ride

Remember “Trot Trot to Boston, Trot Trot to Lynn?” Or if you’ve been to Sprouting Melodies or a Melrose Public Library Program, you also know “Bumping Up and Down in my Little Red Wagon” or “Come Take a Ride on my Yellow School Bus.”

It doesn’t really matter what lap ride you know or remember, what matters is that kids need some good physical fun and lap rides are a great way to give that physical sensation inside and in a controlled environment.

  • The bigger and faster the bounce the better!
  • Try to alternate the fast bouncing movement with a slow side-to-side movement.
  • Exaggerate your voice to make it loud and rough creating even more energy in your lap ride.
  • Lap rides are not just for babies! This is great with older children who are really craving physical play this time of year.

Dance Party Time

I’ve mentioned Dance Parties before as an excellent way to burn some energy in your living room and this is a great time of year to do just that! When I say burn energy, I mean Burn Energy! And to do that you need a few things:

  • Play upbeat loud music, and not necessarily children’s music.
  • Pull out your favorite dancing cd’s and get your kids excited by dancing along with them.
  • Create a Dance Party Playlist on your iPod, or a CD that you can pop in at anytime with your top 10 Dance Hits.
  • If your child is old enough, he or she can even select the song by skipping ahead.
  • Turn the volume up! This is about encouraging movement and fast music will do that.

Strike up the Band!

Collect whatever instruments you can find at home or create some new ones and start a marching band. Most kids find or create a loop in the house to march or run around, so use that to your advantage and make it a Parade Route.

  • Sing a simple song about marching or use recorded music.
  • Join in with your instruments and create a parade like atmosphere.
  • Take turns being the leader and changing the parade route around the house.
  • Remo’s Lollipop Kids Drums and Konga Drums are great for this, or make one with a Tupperware container and a wooden spoon!

Whatever you do this winter, remember that kids (and adults) need lots of opportunities to be physically active. Music provides both energy and structure and is a great way for kids and adults to be engaged in something fun and physical together. Try making some music at home this week to break up the winter chill and send us an email or comment to let us know how it goes!

By Meredith R. Pizzi, MT-BC
Board Certified Music Therapist
Roman Music Therapy Services

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