Get into the groove by making musical instruments your child will love


Music not only gets your toddler or preschooler up and moving but helps with their development too.

Singing repetitive songs like “The Wheels on the Bus” can help with your child’s language development, while dancing to music strengthens their arm and leg muscles.

“It helps develop their large muscles, and it’s going to show that development in their balance, equilibrium, and in their ability to stand on one foot, hop, skip and jump,” said Jacqueline Chaney, infant-toddler lead teacher at Oakland Family Services’ Children’s Learning Center in Pontiac.

Research suggests that music enhances brain development and nurtures a child’s imagination and creativity. Music and movement also helps children sharpen other skills, such as listening and following directions, when they play musical games and sing songs like “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.”


“What I think a parent can do while listening to music with their children is not to just let them listen but to get up with them and go ahead and do movements that the music is instructing them to do,” Chaney said. “Then the child is going to follow the lead of the parent.”

What can you do to get your toddlers or preschoolers interested in music? Make some musical instruments with items in your house. Here’s a few suggestions:

  • Shakers: Fill empty water bottles with noodles, rice or anything that will make noise.
  • Drums: Grab some wooden spoons along with pots and pans, aluminum garbage can or empty coffee can with lid to use as drums.
  • Rain stick: Cut a circle from a brown paper grocery bag, place it over one end of a cardboard paper towel tube, and secure it with a rubber band. Fill the tube with dried beans and close it with another paper bag circle and rubber band.

Don’t forget to make music and movement part of your child’s daily routine!