Who hasn’t giggled over the idea of giving a young niece or nephew a drum set to “get back” at a sibling?
Many parents have a love-hate relationship with musical toys.
In theory, they love the idea of helping their child develop a love of music.
In practice, the last thing you want to hear after a long day at work is junior banging on his toy xylophone.
If you’re tempted to ban musical toys from your home, consider these three ways that playing with them can help your child’s development.
1. Playing with musical instruments helps children develop their innate sense of rhythm.
A keen sense of rhythm isn’t just good for dancing and not embarrassing yourself while clapping in a crowd, it also helps children’s budding language and pattern recognition skills. These form the building blocks of reading, mathematics and science.
Young children are delighted by their own discoveries of rhythm. All of that banging and crashing might just sound like noise to us, but for a child, it’s their way of exercising their brains while having a lot of fun.
Toy drums, maracas and tambourines are all good choices for helping your child explore rhythm.
2. Musical toys can help children refine their motor skills.
Some toys, like recorders and keyboards help children exercise their finger muscles and learn to use them in isolation. Instruments like maracas and rhythm sticks are good practice for rotating the wrist. Blowing into a harmonica or kazoo helps children learn to control their lips and breath.
Children learn how to vary the intensity of their movements by experimenting with banging on a drum and seeing what happens with a big bang versus a soft tap. Using any instrument will help increase a child’s hand-eye coordination and motor planning abilities. These skills will help children as they learn to write, type, use tools and in future formal music/voice instruction.
3. Playing with musical toys will help your child develop healthy self esteem and nurture their creativity.
Children enjoy performing for their parents and hearing their applause. Toy musical instruments, costumes and other props help encourage children to let out their inner ham and practice appearing in front of a crowd. This will help them develop confidence so that they are more comfortable with public speaking at school and in their adult life.
Children can let their imaginations run free as they play their instruments. They can pretend to be a famous pop musician or in a marching band. They can and will discover ways to use their instruments to produce new sounds. Their curiosity will be ignited as they find that by varying pressure and pace their song will take a new turn.
Parents can help their child reap these benefits by providing them with a variety of toy instruments and encouraging them to use them. If noise is a concern, set reasonable limits on when, where and for how long children can use these toys. As long as you are reasonably flexible, limits won’t discourage your child, in fact, it can make it that much more enticing!
Jacob Maslow has five school age kids. He blogs for Today’s Concept and Allergy Be Gone. Jacob believes that real toys don’t need batteries. Today’s Concept carries Melissa and Doug classic toys, which delight children as much as Mommy’s iPhone or iPad.