Music has been a part of our world for thousands of years. But it is a lot more than just entertainment, music also has many benefits for early childhood brain development. Music is proven to help develop cognitive, social, emotional and language skills. 

Here are some ideas for activities to do with kids that use music to support brain development in early childhood. 

Singing Songs


  • Language skills, including vocabulary and pronunciation
  • Phonological awareness, or the ability to identify and manipulate sounds in language

Add hand movement, dance, and props to make singing more interactive. Or try making up your own songs to boost creativity and imagination!

Listening to Music


  • Appreciation for different sounds and rhythms
  • Improve memory and attention skills

Ask children to identify different instruments or patterns in the music. Encourage movement or dancing to help with motor skills. 

Instrument Play


  • Cognitive skills, including focus, attention, and memory
  • Improve brain function and development

Start with simple instruments like shakers, tambourines, or xylophones. Encourage the exploration of sounds and rhythms. Play simple tunes and ask children to follow along. 

Music Games


  • Social emotional skills, including teamwork and communication 

Some ideas:

  • Musical chairs
  • Freeze dance
  • Name that tune
  • Musical scavenger hunt, find objects or instruments that make different sounds

Music and Movement


  • Gross and fine motor skills, including coordination and balance
  • Emotional regulation by letting out physical energy and emotions

Dance, march, or clap to music, add props like ribbons or scarves and let children come up with their own movements or dances. 

Incorporating singing, listening, instrument playing, music games, and movement activities into a daily routine can help develop skills that help children succeed both academically and socially. Making these activities fun and engaging will motivate children to participate and learn.

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