What joy it is to watch your little child jump and hop in tune to music! Apart from being a lovely sight to behold, action songs benefit a preschooler in many ways.
By Dr Priscilla J S Selvaraj
When your little one sways her arms and taps her feet to the beat of action songs, do you think it is all for fun and enjoyment? Well, action songs have a lot more to offer to your child. They benefit her in many ways and ensure her wholesome development. Let’s see how action songs benefit preschoolers.
1. Develop fine and gross motor skills: Songs such as ‘Ten little Indians…,’ ‘Five little ducks…,’ and ‘Incy, Wincy Spider…,’ involve dexterous finger movements. Such finger play (opening and closing the fingers, wiggling and wagging them) aids fine motor skills development in your tiny tot. Similarly, when your little one mimics the actions and sings aloud, ‘Row, row, row your boat…,’ or chants, ‘I am a little tea-pot…,’she develops better muscular control, balance, and co-ordination.
2. Offer early introduction to music and dance: Children love music – who doesn’t? While your child was exposed to lullabies and rhymes earlier, now is the time for him to graduate to musical pieces involving beat and rhythm. Action songs serve the purpose. Using this medium, you can teach him almost anything.
3. Aid memory and recall: While observing the actions, your little one learns to retain what she observes in her memory and recall it when she needs to mime or mimic them. Thus, her first steps in memory and recall begin in preschool through action songs.
4. Enhance comprehension and vocabulary acquisition: When your preschooler listens to the lyrics of the song and watches the associated actions, his comprehension powers improve. He understands the words and associates the words to the actions. Apart from his comprehension power, his vocabulary kit also begins to expand. When he sings, ‘Do the Boogie, Woogie, put your right hand in, put your right hand out…,’ or ‘Teddy bear, teddy bear, turn around…,’ he learns to associate the positions ‘in’ and ‘out’, and the movement ‘turn around’ with the respective words.
5. Help follow instructions: When young children see and do the actions shown to them while performing action songs, it enables them to listen to and follow instructions. This is one of the early lessons they need to learn in communication. Also, children learn by copying and imitating. Action songs tap just that ability of theirs.
6. Allow self-expression: Action songs enable little ones to express themselves using gestures, facial expressions and body language. Also, they help children exhibit their emotions. When they sing, ‘If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands…,’ they learn to express joy and happiness.
7. Boost self-confidence: As action songs require children to be up and moving about, it instils confidence in them. It helps them overcome shyness and boosts their self-esteem.
8. Groom social skills: Singing along in a group helps preschoolers to mingle with peers, learn from them and even teach them. The laughter and chatter that punctuate the singing ensure that children function happily as a group. Also, while performing the songs, children learn to respect each other’s space – this is a key lesson in the development of their social skills.
The next time you want to shake a leg with your tiny tot through action songs, remember that apart from bringing a lot of fun and excitement to the activity, you will also help him develop in many other ways. So, go on and enjoy bonding with your little one through the good-old action songs!
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Dr Priscilla J S Selvaraj