As a music teacher, I love to use toys and props in my homeschool early childhood music classes and lessons to help children learn musical concepts. It is so much fun to see their creativity, and it's always an added bonus if they have that toy at home already that they can go home and use musically.
Here are my top 3 favorites! Let me know if you try these out in your home or classroom!
1) Pop-up Squirrels
These pop-up squirrels are so much fun! They're a great fidgety-type toy to give your hands something to do, but I love using them with my squirrel songs. I have multiple squirrel songs, but my favorite one to use with this toy is Peep Squirrel (here's a demonstration video in case you don't know the song). I find that having a prop or toy helps young children stay engaged in the song for many more repetitions of the song than if I just sang it alone, allowing their ears to hear the song more times and sing it way more accurately once they do! I usually pass this toy around the circle and sing it myself while they keep the beat. Then another day, I will have them sing the song while they pop the squirrel on the beat.
2) Hoberman Sphere
The hoberman sphere is often called a breathing ball, and I enjoy using it to teach young children what their lungs are doing when they breathe! It's a great way to start off a children's choir rehearsal, or to use with any class if children got a bit wild in the middle as a way to reset and regroup. I like having students take turns opening and closing it; I always pick students who are demonstrating a specific skill I would like to see (ie low diaphragmatic breathing or silent breaths).
3) Googly Eye Rings
I just love using these googly eye rings for vocal exploration or Arioso (if you're familiar with Feierabend's First Steps in Music)! You can get them in different sizes (like these big ones here) but I find this size to be the best for little fingers. I like to call mine hummers and have the children make humming sounds with them. They are SO willing to sing on their own if they have a fun toy/prop in hand to do it with! They'll even have musical conversations and make up tunes together with these little guys. I always buy the 100 pack because they're tiny and we lose them easily. :P
Well, there you have it! My top 3 favorites. Which one are you going to try or have you tried and really liked?
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