In my quest to transition our home into a Montessori environment, my next step was in the activity area: the music basket.
The BASKET: Good thing I love baskets because this Montessori project (erh…for the next decade or so) does requires quite a few of them for activities and storage. I found our “music” basket at Target for ten bucks. Since then I have found numerous Montessori-esque baskets at consignment stores for very inexpensive. With that said, if you don't have the time to wander consignment store, order online! You can find great deals!
BOOKS AND INSTRUMENTS: We currently keep this basket in the activity/play area near our reading corner. I want my boys to connect books and song with musical instruments so I am bringing the areas physically together. So included in our music basket are not only instruments but wonderful books made from traditional songs on which we all grew up. For example, Three Little Kittens, Itsy-Bitsy Spider, The Little White Duck, Five Little Monkeys, etc. There are some great songs to get the little bodies moving too. So when I see my sons migrating to the music box, I make sure I am situated near enough to them so that they can access me for reading and singing. It works every time. We're almost always listening to music during this time too. At this point, we don't have a set schedule for “music” but typically music is a stopping point during “free” play or “choice time” in the morning.
ORDER IS A BONUS: A huge bonus to the basket is that it lets my boys know “the instruments and song books belong in this basket”. Everything has a place, which is great for us parents, but this approach does wonders for children who crave order (we just don't always indulge them or even know this is the case).
I am not sure if my sons will be musicians in the future – they definitely don't have any help with the “no rhythm” gene from both parents – but I do know that music is having a profound impact on our family and on their development.
I have grand ideas with the music “area” of our impending Montessori home school environment/classroom tying music to geography, history and culture. For example, recently, I saw the most amazing map on an outing to our Symphony's children's program space called Soundbridge. (We are very fortunate in Seattle to have an amazing Symphony that emphasizes family and children's programs.) The map was a very large wall world map. There were arrows from images of instruments pointing to various countries, some countries and instruments obscure and some not. This map gives children a wonderful visual of world music. The map, honestly, gave me chills. Very powerful. So, I'd like to include something like that map in our music space.
Again, here is what you need:
- Medium sized basket
- Melissa & Doug's Band in a Box
- Any sort of rattle or shaker
- Various books and stories created from song
Thanks for reading and have fun!