I’ve taught Preschool Music classes for many years. I’ve taught parented classes to mini musicians as young as 6-months-old, and unparented classes for toddlers and kids into kindergarten-age. The goal for this age is simply to provide a safe place where the children can explore sounds and experiment with beats, rhythms, different instruments, different timbres. Your home can be that safe place where they develop a love for music to carry them through their life. Here are some instrument suggestions that you can use with your children at home!
Maracas & Egg Shakers
Maracas & Egg Shakers are great for all ages. Babies can even use them on their own with just a palmar grasp. Maracas come in different sizes and egg shakers in different weights.
Little drums are good for all ages. They can be used to keep a steady beat or tap out a rhythm. For fun, try echo and response – copy what your child taps out (or vice versa).
Xylophones are wonderful for learning high/low pitch and playing little melodies. One like the picture above is safe for all ages. This one also has the musical alphabet (A-G) and solfege (Do-Re-Mi, etc.) on it. The mallet is detached, which I like, but it still has a storage home under the xylophone. The two images below will give you ideas on how to make beginner-friendly “sheet music” for little performers!
Wooden instruments and claves are so much fun, but can be oh-so-loud, so it’s best for kids who can understand “gentle,” and then can learn dynamics like forte/piano (loud/soft).
Castanet – it’s fun to say! The castanet on the left is good for young babies with a palmar grasp. The one on the right, you’ll need a pincer grasp, and may be looking more at toddler age.
Who doesn’t love a tambourine? Perfect for learning a steady beat! Although it can be used “like a drum,” I like to use this more for toddlers who can learn to hold it with one hand and play it with the other.
The triangle – learning shapes and music! Definitely save this one until your kids are not putting things in their mouth, for safety!
If you want the bells to play fun melodies, you’ll want them for school-aged kids, but that doesn’t mean toddlers can’t enjoy making those bells ring and making simpler melodies with you and others!
It’s fun to have a “Jam Session”! Put all the instruments in the middle and let everyone improvise. Tip: Ahead of time, teach and practise the “conductor’s silence” signal (for everyone’s sanity)!