Music activities are a wonderful way to spend time with your child. On top of having fun expressing yourselves, there are so many benefits of music making.

Singing songs can help with a child’s language development, dance can help develop their gross motor skills, and playing musical instruments can help develop fine motor skills.

Here are just a few:

Music Can Change the Mood

Have you ever noticed that hearing your favourite song puts a smile on your face? Or a song makes you feel calmer, or helps you release some anger and frustration?

Kids feel the same way! You can use music as a tool to help regulate children’s big feelings or to burn off some energy when they’re bouncing off the walls.

Music is a Teacher

There are so many ways that the benefits of music can contribute to a child’s development!

Did you know having a good sense of beat makes you better at using scissors? That young children who can pick out sounds in music can also pick out sounds in words, making them better readers? Did you know that moving to music helps children learn to control their bodies, making them better at sports?

There are so many reasons why music is a great tool for learning!

Music is a Team Effort

Music activities can get families working together, not against each other. There is no winner or loser in music games and (in most cases) no fighting over who gets what!

Playing music together is a great way to create a sense of connection and belonging, practice social skills like turn-taking, and build your child’s self-esteem.

Benefits of Music Activities
Benefits of Music Activities

10 Fun and Easy Music Activities for Toddlers & Preschoolers

As a music educator and mom, here are my favourite music and movement activities that anyone can do:

Family Dance Party!

When you’re feeling cooped up, crank up the tunes and get moving!

You can choose music that kids love (Encanto soundtrack, anyone?), expose them to some of your favourite songs, or together create a playlist so everyone gets their pick. No need to stick with just preschool music – kids love all kinds of styles and often interpret songs differently than we do. Pop, rock, oldies, world, or classical music- as long as it has a great beat, it can be great for dancing.

You can also suggest ways to move, like moving like a specific animal, or dancing using a certain body part. Then add some silk scarves or shakers to really make this a party!

Freeze Dance

A classic kids game. Put on some favorite songs and dance around.

When the music stops, FREEZE! You can be in charge of starting and stopping the music, use one of the many pre-made freeze dance songs from the Kiboomers, or my personal favourite, play the Silly Dance Contest by Jim Gill.  

DIY Musical Instruments

You don’t need fancy equipment or expensive musical instruments; you can make homemade instruments using items around the house. Pots, pans, empty yogurt tubs, chopsticks, wooden spoons, and jingle bells are all fantastic music makers.

If you’re feeling crafty, you and your preschooler can make your own shakers or paper plate tambourines, or older children can try making a water xylophone.

Sing Some Action Songs

Action Songs
Action Songs

Preschoolers love action songs and they may already know the standard circle time songs like I’m a Little Teapot, If You’re Happy and You Know It, or the Wheels on the Bus.

Adding simple actions makes the music more engaging for children, and also helps them remember and understand the lyrics of the songs. For a newer classic, try The Wiggles’ Rock-A-Bye Your Bear or Going on a Bear Hunt.

Knee Bounces

You may think knee bounces are just for infants, but 2 to 4-year-olds love them too. If you can handle their weight, sit on the floor with your child in your lap.

Kids love getting bounced up and down to the Grand Ol Duke of York (just watch the face of the child in this video), or being bounced faster and faster in This is the Way the Ladies Ride.

Being bounced to a steady beat helps children feel and develop their sense of rhythm.


Fingerplays are such valuable tools for preschoolers.

They focus energy, help with counting skills, and they also help strengthen those little finger muscles. I use finger songs when I need to bring energy levels down or to fight boredom when we’re stuck waiting somewhere like the doctor’s office.

5 Green and Speckled Frogs, The Finger Family Song, and 5 Little Ducks are all classic finger songs that preschoolers love.

Musical Storytime

Many storybooks are based on favourite songs, and most libraries (and Amazon!) are stocked with them.

You and your kids will love looking at the beautiful illustrations as you sing the words. Illustrated nursery rhymes like The Wheels on the Bus by Paul O. Zelinsky add visuals to classic songs, but there are plenty of books using more popular music.

Expose your child to a variety of musical styles with Louis Armstrong’s What A Wonderful World, Peter, Paul and Mary’s Puff the Magic Dragon, The Beatles’ The Octopus’s Garden and Bob Marley’s Every Little Thing.

Balloon Dancing

Fun Music and Movement Activities
Fun Music and Movement Activities

Kids. Love. Balloons.

And there’s a good reason for it! Balloons are fun, unpredictable, and make great dance partners.

Play a family game of Keep Up by tossing some balloons up in the air and working together to keep them off the ground. Add some magic to this game by playing a fun song at the same time.

Keepy Uppy from the Bluey soundtrack is my go-to.

Color What You Hear

This is one of the quieter music activities that will help your child develop their listening skills.

Choose some classical music that has a very clear story or theme, like In the Hall of the Mountain King, The Happy Farmer, or anything from Carnival of the Animals. Find a printable coloring sheet online that matches the theme and get out the crayons. Colour in your pictures as you listen to the music.

Not only does this help develop listening skills, it also helps your child understand how music can make us think of something else.

For a more advanced version, instead of a printable, give them some blank pieces of paper and ask them to draw what they hear in the music.

Hear A Real Musician

If you can, take your child to see a children’s concert, stroll around an outdoor jazz festival, or just stop and listen to a sidewalk busker.

Many orchestras also offer concerts designed to expose young children to the different sounds of the orchestra and to classical music, and they are typically during the day, under an hour, and allow kids to move around as they listen.

Sign Up For a Music Class!

Making music at home is wonderful, but making music in a group is a whole other experience.

Early childhood music lessons typically involve singing songs, dancing and moving to all types of music, playing rhythm instruments (like drums, sticks, bells) and creating positive musical experiences for children and their families.

Most of the activities can be done at home too, giving you plenty of musical ideas for the week!

Final Thoughts

Beyond creating a fun and engaging environment for young children, music activities can have a profound effect on early childhood development.

We hope that these suggestions provide you with an understanding of the benefits of music and lead to many years of music-making!