With April in full spring and warm weather approaching, what better way to bond with your little one than to make music? We all know the saying, “April showers bring May flowers”, but before we can have picnics in parks and beach days, we have to sit through a few sun showers to let that green grass grow! When April decides to shower, there are a bunch of activities you can do with your bundle of sunshine to keep them shining.
The rain dance activity is a great way to keep the spirits up and make great music with your child. If you find that your child is afraid of thunderstorms, this could also be a great way for them to understand his or her fear.
Start by sitting down with them in some chairs (so you can face each other). Have your child mimic your movements as you mimic the sounds of the rain. First, rub your hands together, as if you’re trying to warm them, to make a soft sound. The storm is starting! Next, transition into snapping. If your child doesn’t know how to snap yet, this is a great time to try! If snapping is a bit of a reach, have them clap softly. These are the first few raindrops. Then, pat your thighs like a drum, starting out soft but getting louder overtime. The biggest part of the storm is coming up! Now you’re patting your thighs and stomping your feet because it’s raining hard out there! We all know the rain doesn’t last forever, so we have to finish the storm so the sun can come back out. Slowly retrace your steps through the rain dance, from stomping to patting to snapping/clapping and back to rubbing your hands. At the end start low and stand up, stretching your arms out wide, because you are the sun coming back out! The rain dance is a favorite of music lovers both young and old!
Drip Drop Orchestra
When it’s expected to rain for the whole day and you’re home with your little one, making rain instruments can be a rockin’ way to make the time pass. The best thing about these instruments is that you can make most of them with stuff at home!
The Rain Stick
One of the most common homemade instruments is the rain stick. What you need: an empty toilet paper or paper towel roll, uncooked rice, aluminum foil, rubber bands, and markers, construction paper, glue, glitter, etc. to decorate. How to make it: 1) Have your little music maker design his or her paper towel roll with markers and other decorations to his or her liking. 2) Cover one end of the empty roll with aluminum foil, securing it with a rubber band. 3) Pour some uncooked rice into the paper towel roll, enough to make a swishing sound if shaken. 4) Now cover the other end with foil, also securing that side with a rubber band. 5) Enjoy your now finished rain stick! Have your child turn the rain stick upside down to hear the swishing sound of the rain.
Drum Bowl, Please…
A bowl drum is another great idea for an impromptu rain band! What you need: two paper bowls, a stapler, and decorations like markers, glue, glitter, etc. How to make it: 1) You along with your rock star can decorate the bowls with markers or crayons, making cool designs. 2) (Optional) You can put some uncooked rice or beans in the bowls to double the drums as shakers. Whether you put in rice or not, still staple the two bowls together after. 3) Have your little one hit the bowls like a drum or shake them like a tambourine. Sounds nice, doesn’t it?
Thunderstorm Tap Shoes
If your young dancer has tip tap fever, these easy-to-do tap shoes can be a great way for them to dance the rain away! What you need: some elastic (about ½ inch wide), some metal washers (about 1¼ inches across). How to make it: 1) Cut two pieces of elastic about eight inches long. 2) Weave the elastic through the metal washers 3) Wrap the elastic around your child’s shoe, tying it securely on the top, but not too tight to make him or her uncomfortable. 3) Your little one is ready to dance! Along with your instruments, you both are now ready to have a rockin’ party!
If your child is worn out after the music making, a great way to cool down can be reading one these awesome books: On Monday When It Rained by Cherryl Kachenmeister, Rain by Robert Kalan, or It’s Raining, It’s Pouring by Kin Eagle.