The Magic of Music and Movement

Jan 17, 2020 | Read time: 6 mins

Jan 17, 2020 | Read time:

Children’s brains grow at their fastest rate in the first three years of their life, so it makes sense to offer rich sensory learning experiences during this time such as musical activities. Music at an early age can have profound long term effects and introduces fun learning for kids. Children enjoy tapping their feet, rocking, marching, rolling, clapping, wriggling, tickling, bouncing and moving to the beats. Music is a natural part of life for toddlers and it’s not just entertainment. It is critical for the social, emotional, intellectual,  physical and cognitive development in children.

To address the important question of how do you help and encourage your child to learn, we at KLAY have come up with a unique solution to make learning enjoyable. At KLAY, Music and Movement is an integral part of the daily activities. While rhymes are sung during multiple times of the day (circle time, during lunchtime, during transitions and even during hand wash), Music and Movement is a focused activity time intended to meet certain objectives. The role of the teacher during the music and movement sessions is critical as she needs to make observations on the developing milestones of children.

Objectives for Children’s Learning

Socio-Emotional Development Cognitive Development Physical Development
Is the child participating in a group? (singing or dancing with other children)Is the child able to express anger, fear, joy, and other emotions through music and movement?Does the child recognize that music and dance help them express moods and feelings?Is the child able to notice changes in tempo or pitch (adapting one’s dancing or clapping to shifts in tempo or beat)?Does the child have an increased awareness of different movements or body positions?Is the child creative and imaginative in responding to problems in movement or music?Has the child learnt new words and concepts through songs and movement (learning body parts by singing the song “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes”)?Does the child explore cause and effect by experimenting with musical instruments and other devices for creating sounds? Does the child explore the many ways in which a body can move  Has the child developed large motor skills (moving to music and participating in other creative movement activities)?Has the child learnt to balance and coordinate, while dancing? Has the child improved small motor skills (learning fingerplays and playing musical instruments)?

Childrenlearn through doing, and that movement whether it’s running around or dancing away to music is critical to a child’s development. Movement is important for developing strength in their bones and muscles, developing their blood circulation and overall health. This also imparts the concept of fun learning for kids.


Through songs which require movement or specific actions, children not only learn how to co-ordinate their hands, feet and bodies in actions that are not normally part of everyday life but also develop extensive connections across their brain.
Songs with a beat or lyrics which encourage children to walk, hop, jump, gallop, skip, crawl, stamp, or creep all help develop their motor skills, balance and co-ordination. Songs which ask children to swing, stretch, bend, twist and spin help to develop their body awareness and balance.

Language development:

By immersing children in musical activities, they start to develop their language skills too. Children’s songs often have repeated phrases and use rhymes, making it easier for young children to remember. Songs which have words that describe their actions help children to understand language.

For example, if you sing a song about going up and down, and your hands and the melody move up and down, then the little one will start to develop a real understanding of the concepts of  ‘up’ and ‘down’.

Focused listeners:

Musical activities are multi-sensory and because they involve vision, hearing and movement, many brain areas are involved. There are lots of sequences in music too, whether they are words, rhythms, melodies or actions and these all help to make the memory and learning more lasting than just watching or hearing something. Music builds focused listeners because musical activities use sound along with constant cues for the children to notice and react to.


Songs which are about pretending to do something or be someone help develop children’s imagination as well as the language associated with that topic. For example, a song about digging in the garden uses different words (and actions)  that talk about that action. Songs can also help children to visualise what they’re singing about.

Stimulation for Cognitive Development in children :

Music and movement combined are a great way to stimulate young children. For example, when a child marches around the room to music while clapping hands, their brain gets stimulated at different levels:

  • They listen to music and then need to co-ordinate their walking in time with the beat.
  • They clap with their hands while co-ordinating their feet, building complex connections in their brain.
  • Sometimes the clap may be at half the speed that their feet are moving. This introduces math concepts of division into their brain.
  • Children develop eye strength through hand-eye co-ordination as they bring their hands into contact with each other. They also develop eye strength to focus on different objects/people at different distances as they move around.
  • They develop body awareness by knowing how much space they take up in a room, and spatial awareness by walking in free space around objects or other people while they are also moving.
  • They sing, using their ears to aid them in tuning their voice to match the song.
  • They develop their language capabilities by learning the words of a song, with the aid of the rhyme and rhythm.
  • They develop their memory by learning the sequence of words in a song.
  • They develop social skills by moving with other people, sharing space and giving way to others.

Feeling good:

  • Music motivates children to move. An upbeat tempo of the music is energizing and fun and movement associated with that music oxygenates the brains and pumps blood around their bodies making them feel happy.

Introducing Music and Movement is how you help and encourage your child to learn. These are two crucial factors for comprehensible development in children. So do not think that children were just playing and dancing around, in reality there are so many possible learning opportunities in planned music and movement sessions. After all, it has been rightly said, “ music gives wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.”

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