Summer Camp Week 4: Echo, echo…

I wonder if it is possible to get through the summer break without feeling some degree of guilt or inadequacy about how we are spending our time.

I’ve seen magazine articles claiming that facilitating too many activities for children damages their ability to function independently… and I’ve read advice from educators on steps we should be taking to halt the ‘summer slide’.

I’ve clicked on comforting blog posts celebrating carefree and unstructured summers… and I’ve marvelled at pinterest boards and facebook feeds full of fabulous crafts and amazing excursions.

As with most things, I guess the key is to find the right balance for your family (and your sanity!). Luckily there are many ways to make music a part of your summer fun with very little planning or extra effort, so this week’s posts will focus on quick ways to provide some musical moments.

Today – echoing. This is something you can do at the breakfast table, in the car, at the checkout… or at the piano or somewhere more ‘musical’ if that’s where you happen to be! All you need to do is sing a short phrase – anything from a couple of notes to a line or two of a song and get the children to sing it back to you.

You can sing to ‘da, da, da’ or ‘la la la’; sometimes I’ll throw in some solfege names to see if the kids parrot them back without realising that I’m sneakily trying to teach them something. For some variety (or if you don’t feel comfortable singing) you can also do this with clapping or tapping rhythms.

And that’s it!

So far playing echoing games has proven to be a good distraction when my little lot start bickering (and it’s also a great way to make use of those times when the children decide to play the HILARIOUS ‘copying everything I say’ game). Plus, as I increase the length or complexity of the phrases I sing to the kids the thought occurs that, along with prolonging our musical playtime, I might also be helping them prepare for any pesky aural exams that might crop up in their future. Result!

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