Anyone who has attended a story time at the library (or online while the library is closed) knows that every story time starts with a song. These songs, often accompanied by hand and body movements, are fun for the children. Songs are often repeated from one session to the next because repetition helps the learning process. They also grab the attention with their rhythms and rhymes, and not only serve as a good introduction to the program but they also serve to encourage literacy in young children.
Parents are encouraged to sing, talk, read, write, and play with their children to help foster an environment that supports literacy. Music can fulfill two of these points, sing and play, when hand and body movement and simple musical instruments are used together with singing. Some songs even have picture books that include the lyrics, so parents can incorporate reading, too!
Some of the most commonly sung songs, such as "The Wheels on the Bus" and "The Hokey-Pokey," are ones that parents and caregivers may remember from their own childhoods. Even if the songs at story time are new to you, their simple melodies and rhymes will have you learning them in no time! Singing with your children is important, but it's okay to sing along with a recording if you don't have a group of people to sing with like at story time. Listening and singing to recorded music is another way to learn new songs that may appeal to your children. The songs don't have to necessarily be music meant for young children. Just try and use ones that have easily understood lyrics plus simple melodies and rhythms.
As I wrote earlier, incorporating simple musical instruments can be a way of bringing in more fun to the musical experience. The best place to start is with a variety of percussion instruments such as shakers (like maracas), jingle bells, and drums. Inexpensive instruments meant for children can be found at many toy stores, and there are ones that can be made at home with easy-to-find materials.