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This music activity is always a fan-favorite and opens up great conversation about how music can make us feel. From a young age, children can identify songs that can make them feel sad, happy, or excited. Learning to identify and label these feelings and learning can set the groundwork for emotional intelligence, so guided questions are great here to allow kids to verbalize emotions and feelings!

Here in New Jersey, we are emerging from our quarantine bubble after being inside for months. Our children were either out of daycare or learning virtually. As a result, we found ourselves scouring the internet for music activities and crafts to do with them.  Even after being a public school music teacher-turned stay-at-home mom for a few years, I had to go into that bag of tricks early for activities for my three and five-year-old. One of the things we all loved was drawing to music.

When I was in public school, this was a music activity I did with my Kindergarteners so I knew it was a great one to do at home. We watch The New York Philharmonic play The Carnival of the Animals (Saint-Saens) while Bugs and Daffy narrate. There’s some really great animation in between and within each piece, but they also feature the orchestra and conductor.  Each animal song has its own page to draw. That’s it! There are no rules, no lines to stay within, no color constraints, no shape requirements. It’s incredible seeing the difference in color, shape, and form between “kangaroo” and “elephant.”

Questions to ask your child after the music activity:

  • Tell me about your picture!
  • What in the song made you use these colors?
  • What do these shapes mean?
  • How did that music make you feel?
  • What did this piece remind you of?

Here are some links for some great pieces that pair well with this activity.  I have enjoyed this activity with Saint-Saens’s “Carnival of the Animals,” Antonio Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons,” and Gustav Holst’s “The Planet’s Suite,” but “Four Seasons” and “Planet’s” are long in entirety.

Music Examples to Use

Have you done this music activity before? What pieces did you use?



Author djjohnston

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