EYFS activities – Making music outdoors
Monday, August 1, 2022
Boogie Mites’ Sue Newman on what the opportunities for music-making are outdoors
- Download a Boogie Mites marching song, videos and suggestions for associated activities for free here
Research shows that children love being outdoors and they love music – so combining the two means that we can harness more benefits.
WHY TAKE MUSIC-MAKING OUTDOORS?
Physical space and freedom: We know young children love to move, but indoor music sessions can be constrained by the space you have. Being outside means more physical space so that children can explore those big movements that are so important for their gross motor skills: e.g. running, jumping, climbing, skipping. You can also find a variety of terrains for children to challenge their physical skills: slopes, rough ground, obstacles such as trees or large stones which can be weaved around; logs which can be walked on or jumped over. Music motivates movement, so play the music and see how children employ a wide variety of movements.
Spontaneity and creativity: More space translates into a greater sense of freedom and creativity during music sessions, for both the children and the practitioners. Outdoor space can present lovely opportunities to follow children’s observations and interests. We have seen children in settings that use our programmes initiating their own music-making when playing outdoors – for example, drumming together on some wooden decking in their garden area, or on a water butt. What a wonderful way to practise those beat-keeping skills, which research has shown to be linked to speech and language development.
Sensory-rich environment: By taking music and listening outside, we open a natural and more varied soundscape to tune into – whether that is the birds singing, a lorry rumbling past, the wind in the trees, or a plane flying overhead; perfect for supporting the development of listening skills.
Connecting to and understanding our world: It feels more important than ever that we all understand the world around us, and our impact on it. Being outdoors strengthens our connection to the world we live in, providing opportunities to notice the creatures, trees and plants we share our planet with. Boogie Mites songs about nature prompt children to think about some of the wildlife around us, while our use of recycled materials for music props and instruments explores how we can reduce our impact by recycling.
Make a nature shaker
We love making shakers here at Boogie Mites – all you need is a recycled plastic container or bottle with a lid, and an outdoor area.
By filling our shakers with things we find in the natural world, such as stones, seeds or twigs, we open up the opportunity for children to develop a range of different skills:
Identifying the objects: Ask your children where they came from, its type and purpose. This is a great way to understand more about the natural world.
Describing the quality of the objects they have found: Are they large or small, hard or soft? Smooth or rough? What colour?
Filling the container uses hand-eye co-ordination and fine motor skills as children practise their pincer grip.
Early maths skills: Spatial awareness through learning which objects fit into their container; counting the objects as the child puts them in; talking about how full or empty the container is.
Sound discrimination: Once you have made your shakers, have a listen to how they sound – can you discover together what affects the sound? Which objects make the loudest sound? Or how does a full shaker sound compared to one with just a few things inside?
As well as having lots of space for marching around to the steady beat of this song, you can also incorporate shaking your nature shaker as one of the actions.
In our experience, children will come up with the ideas for this song once they know it – such as:
Children form a train to march around as they sing
Ideas for actions between each chorus – don’t be afraid to sing over the actions in the recorded song, or to sing a cappella
Creative ideas for using our outdoor environment to make sounds with our bodies, such as stamping in puddles, jumping on wooden decking, and tapping stones or sticks together.
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