"Our evidence is showing that babies are more auditorially sophisticated and picking up much more than [researchers] suspected," says Polka. "Babies can benefit from being exposed to a wide variety of auditive experiences."
The musical games of childhood are a natural introduction to these experiences. Lullabies, songs, and nursery rhymes provide opportunities for enjoyable parent-child interactions while promoting a child's perception of sounds and language.
Music educator Lorna Heyge, Ph.D., states, "While educational leaders turn to early childhood music because it promotes brain development, they will stay with music because of the joy and stimulation experienced in actual music making. Music learning requires total involvement—that is why it appeals so much to young children."
Consider providing your child with sound-making toys, musical instruments, and tape recorders so that she can create her own songs and rhymes. Listening games like "Simon Says" offer light-hearted challenges that can be visited time and time again. Try reading a recipe out loud and see how well your child follows directions. Why not involve the whole family in a continuous story like, "When I went shopping I bought some_____?" Everyone gets to add an item and remember those added previously. You may find yourself amazed by your child's auditory abilities. Pull out your favorite CDs and turn up the volume on fun!