Yes, ‘just shakers’ are great for child development.
At Boppin’ Babies we like shaking instruments to live music every single week and there is very good reason for this!
When children play with shaking instruments, they are not ‘just shaking’ they are learning about their bodies, about music and also about concepts. They are making music with someone, and sharing special moment in time that is real and live.
Promote early brain development
Shaking instruments and moving to music are all rhythmic activities that promote early brain development. When they are shaking they are learning how their body moves in space, how their body parts interact with each other, how to balance while moving limbs independently, how to listen for sound, change that sound, interact with the sound and also they are learning how to follow sound concepts as well as comprehend cognitive concepts.
Children are learning how to integrate their senses and process them through something as fun as making music with their shakers!!
Learn about rhythm
Even the little babies join in the games where we STOP and then wait, and GO with our shakers again, or play fast and slow.
The live music at our groups allows us to work with the children and make music together which means we are making magic! When little people make music with someone else they experience a real connection. They move together in the music, sharing a space and moment in time… We call this entrainment, and our music therapists use this technique a lot in our groups. This is when we meet the children where they are at in terms of their rhythms, and match that to the pace of our group.
Improve gross and fine motor skills
As children get older, and shakers get easier to play, we make it more challenging by introducing concept comprehension in our songs and games, and more challenging physical skills are rehearsed and practised. Children work on gross motor skills by playing their instruments in different ways (up high, out wide, great concepts too!) And they practise fine motor and grasp skills by holding and moving their instruments.
Opportunities for them to use their hands independently, or bi-laterally are always available and opportunities for them to cross the middle of their bodies, or midline, means they are getting a great brain work out too! And by changing the pace of the live music that accompanies all our sessions the children are constantly working on their beat and rhythm skills without even knowing it – winning!
Make music at any age
But one thing I love the most about shakers is they provide all children with ways to immediately access and make music, no matter what their age or ability level is. They do not require a certain level of fine motor skill or dexterity of strength, like some instruments, so all children have equitable access to explore and learn through music at Boppin’ Babies in age and developmentally appropriate ways.
So yes we love to shake at Boppin’ Babies. And yes, ‘just shakers’ are age and developmentally appropriate for children. Our program is based on research and we know from the research that these wonderful instruments are perfect for little people and we use them each week for this reason.. and because they are great fun!
So let’s go Shake Shake Shake….