Family Autumn Activities
Text by Kindermusik Basel, a long-time supporter of the BCT.
“Some people think music education is a privilege, but I think it is essential to being human” – Jewel Kilcher.
With cold and wet weather, it can be great to have some autumnal songs in your family repertoire. Singing and moving to music helps tired legs travel further on an autumn forest walk. It also makes a trip home from the park feel more fun.
Alternatively, musical play is a wonderful way to help everyone feel good when bad weather keeps you inside.
Here are several suggestions:
(1) Play this recording of Autumn leaves with your children.
You can try to do the following while listening to this song:
Active listening is a great way to help build children’s focus and concentration
You can ask your children about the actions mentioned in the song. Or you and your children can try to mimic the movements described in the song, for example, by twirling, falling, or crunching through the leaves in time with the music.
Matching words to actions can help children develop their vocabulary and gross motor skills.
Talk about when and why the leaves fall (and which ones don’t). Consider which animals might be hiding in the fallen leaves.
Move slowly to the music, like a leaf falling gently from a tree.
Slow movements, like rocking or swaying, copy the actions a baby feels as it develops. This motion is soothing and restful and can help babies and children feel calm and safe. Young children may find this activity challenging and will need lots of encouragement. Nonetheless, it is a beautiful aid for developing impulse control.
Try introducing a floaty scarf. This addition can help the toddlers see the slow movements to imitate. It also makes the dance an excellent partnership as you each hold the cloth together, dance through, or peep out from the scarf.
For young babies, scarf dancing is a good way to support their vision and track development as they focus on the moving scarf or the face behind it. It will also help their motor skills as they reach for the scarf and their problem-solving skills as they work out how to manipulate it.
Collect and dry real fallen leaves, or make them out of coloured paper.
You can cut out big leaf shapes from baking parchment for little ones who put everything in their mouths. It is safe to go in their mouths and won’t disintegrate (but still keep a close eye).
Crunch them, scrunch them, throw them in the air and let them rain down on you. Feel the different textures with your hands and the soles of your feet.
Stick them to the windows to make autumn scenes. Or place them in empty tissue boxes and help your little one pull them out one at a time and then post them back in again. Make face shapes on the table, or sort them by colour to make a colour spectrum. If you have one at home, put them on a drum, and see them jump as you play it.
(2) Play this recording for a wonderful autumnal dance.
The lyrics in the song (Like a leaf or a feather) suggest movements which are great for a baby and child’s vestibular system, helping them develop better balance and core strength.
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