What do you get when you combine a catalog with a magazine? Our magalog, Surprises, is your guide to the best of our baby gear selection and the top toys of the season. But there’s more: each issue of Surprises is loaded with informative articles about babies and kids, and common-sense advice that you can use.
Just in case you missed them, we’re reposting our magalog backlog here on the Spilling the Beans blog. And we’ve got a great new issue on the way, launching in November 2012. Go here and sign up to make sure you get yours!
Ever notice how when we memorize a song, it’s called “knowing it by heart”? Music is the language of emotion, starting with the love and protection we feel when we hear our first lullabies. Children’s musician Laurie Berkner says that music gives kids “a way to connect to their feelings, express themselves, and enjoy their bodies.”
But listening to music is only half the story. When small children sing, or even bang on a pot in the rhythm of a song, they’re learning how to express themselves creatively. As they get older, more skills come into play: learning tunes and words, and developing memory and language skills.
When you introduce an instrument, the benefits increase. “Mastering a song or technique allows children to feel a sense of accomplishment and a desire to move on to the next challenge,” says Stacy Osborn of Music & Arts, a retailer that sells music gear for kids. And making music with others helps kids learn to cooperate. “Music teaches you to listen to one another,” says conductor Carlo Ponti. “It’s all mirrored in the social world.”
Whether kids are listening to music or making it, music is a boon to young brains. Children who take music lessons may be more prepared for mathematical reasoning. According to Scientific American, “Our brain is constantly trying to make order out of disorder, and music is a fantastic pattern game for our higher cognitive centers… Our brains are exercised by extracting different patterns and groupings from music’s performance.”
Music introduction doesn’t have to be formal. Kids love it when you sing to them, and they hear your favorites at home and in the car. Take them to a kids’ music show or a symphony in the park, and give them an opportunity to dance to some new tunes. Get some instruments and let your child experiment with making notes and rhythms; put on a song and sing, play, bang, or rattle along!
Ultimately, your child’s tastes and preferences will lead the way. Shyno Chacko Pandeya, a Magic Beans customer, plays all her favorites for her son Nikesh, including Bollywood music and ‘80s pop. “I always have music on in the car and in the house,” she says, and Nikesh has an iPod full of classical music and children’s music, plus toy drums, maracas, a xylophone, and bells.
And make sure to experience music together. “I really feel like music is so connected to love and family,” says Laurie Berkner. “Sharing music as a family, you feel the love through the music, and you’re reminded what it feels like to be loved.” Introducing your child to music creates a shared soundtrack for your family – part of your shared language of love and fun, learned by heart.