I am starting a new early childhood class next week and am very excited. I love working with fresh little people and discovering the whole world of music with them.
This has started me thinking on what I find is a vexed problem. We know children should be encouraged to explore their world and open ended play is the best way .Open-ended play allows children to express themselves in play freely and creatively, not bound by preset limitations.
Playing with open-ended materials with multiple uses and limitless possibilities, such as molding clay, wet sand, paint, blocks and other loose parts, allow for imaginative play. There are no rules to follow, no expectations, no specific problems to solve, and no pressure to produce a finished product when engaging freely in open-ended play.
In contrast, closed-ended activities have a determined outcome, a right answer, and a restriction on individual differences. Examples of closed-ended materials would be single-use toys like puzzles.
The problem is that music tends to be used for close – ended activities, just look at all the three year old children taking Suzuki violin lessons. Children need to be able to freely explore their environment with sound as well as art that is traditionally done.
What to do? Our wonderful brass teacher says children should be able to play with their instruments before they learn to play them. True. But they also need to be able to play with objects that make a fundamentally musical sound and are in tune, or what are they learning? Toy shops are filled with rubbishy “music” toys that are pointless, unmusical and out of tune. I despair of being able to suggest toys that allow children to explore the world of music. The only really great toy that fits my criteria of a musical toy and can still be purchased, I have put below in you tube video.
There was a wonderful series of Lego music makers but I believe they are no longer manufactured but I have a full set. My early music people always go to them whenever they have free time.
So my question is. Does anybody know of good quality open ended play music toys?