This summer in Kids Summer Group Music we did a lot of....
Movement and rhythm activate the vestibular system which is essential for learning. By singing while clapping, tapping, and marching with your child you are readying their brains and bodies for learning.
Cross lateral movement is important for brains of all ages! Cross lateral movements (crossing midline) help create connections between nerve cells and is necessary in learning to read and write. When a child (or adult!) participates in cross lateral movement the left and right hemispheres interact with one another, which activates the brain! There are many ways to encourage cross lateral movement in children.
My favorite tools for cross lateral movement are paddle drums. These are pitched drums that look like small tennis racquets. I hold onto two drums of different pitches and bring one forward at a time, in different positions and encourage the child to drum as I sing a song with a steady rhythm. By moving the drums to different sides of the body, the child reaches cross laterally to hit it and in doing so crosses midline and activates both hemispheres of the brain. You can really do this with any drum you are able to hold up and move around! Also, hand patting games like Patty Cake and Swiss Boy encourage cross lateral movement!