When giving children access to screen time, it can be hard to find the right apps or sites for them to use that will be fun and educational. We have some suggestions for websites you can visit that will engage the little ones in your life with music in just about every way, from playing to listening; identifying instruments to composing. These pages are fun, user-friendly, and have a variety of activities that can engage children of many ages. Check out some of our suggestions below. We’re not sponsored by any of these organizations – we just think they’re great.
San Francisco Symphony Kids
This site has it all – there are options for streaming music if you just want to play something in the background, but the real fun comes in the interactive elements. In the “play” section, you can choose to capture stars in rhythm to a wide variety of orchestra pieces (better for younger children) or react to the mood of the music by picking phrases that sum up how the music makes you feel (best for kids who can read on their own). In the “perform” section, kids can select from a wide variety of instruments and experiment with their sound. The “conduct” section lets you learn the basics of conducting. The “compose” section teaches about music composition and lets you start experimenting with creating your own music. This site has a variety of options for a variety of ages. Very young children would need help with exploration, but for kids who can navigate a screen and read, there are hours of options to engage them.
New York Philharmonic KidZone
Games, games, games! From helping the conductor collect and organize instruments before the concert begins to the percussion showdown, a Simon Says type game using various percussion instruments – there is something for every type of learner. There are card games, too – from matching instruments for the little ones, to matching music with its composer for a child who has a little more experience with orchestra music. Many games allow you to select a level of difficulty. Be careful with this site, though – you might find yourself not wanting to hand over the iPad!
PBS Kids Music Section
This site is especially good for young children to explore with their parents. Activities are focused on familiar characters like Daniel Tiger, and the activities themselves are interactive and fun – lots of great pictures and sounds. We especially like that this site explores a wide variety of musical styles – kids can learn how to differentiate between jazz and country, blues and classical. Our favorite is Splat Symphony, where Curious George and the Man in the Yellow Hat guide you through creating visual and musical art. It’s all the fun of throwing paint around with none of the cleanup.
Classics for Children
For a more relaxed experience, we suggest exploring the Naxos Records “Classics for Children” site. There you will find a long list of children’s stories set to music by a variety of composers, including Bartok, Prokofiev, and Ravel (all composers we have highlighted in Tiny Tots). Many well-known personalities narrate the stories. Try one for a different kind of bedtime story, where kids can experience story and music together. The next day, try listening to a piece of music and create your own stories from how the music makes you feel.