Mainly Music is a program for pre-schoolers that originally began in New Zealand, before it crossed the ditch to Australia to entertain families here. Run during school term times, it is a fun and interactive half an hour of songs with musical instruments, games and silly dances. For both kids and adults, it is an enjoyable way to have some quality time together and also meet new friends in the community. For kids, without even knowing it, they are improving their gross and fine motor skills, language, imagination, mathematical and pre-reading skills as well as learning to socialise with others.
Mainly Music is run by volunteers at local churches around Canberra and costs just $5 for both child and carer. Included in this small cost is half hour of group music, a healthy morning tea (for both adult and child) and the opportunity for kids to play with their large variety of toys before and after the session. When you arrive you are each given a name sticker so everyone can get to know each other week to week, without the embarrassment of trying to remember names. At most sessions, there is playtime with toys beforehand to settle the kids into the space and for the adults to relax and chat to each other.
When Mainly Music begins, the words of the songs are shown up on a big screen projector so adults can sing along and teach their kids the words. There is often bubble blowers for eye stimulation and there may also be a parachute for kids to flap or lie under during a song. Every activity is a way to get each child to develop new skills, improve on co-ordination and giggle their way through the morning.
Afterwards there is always healthy snack time and water so the kids can sit together on mats and socialise with each other while they eat, before having one last play. For kids there is a variety of foods to choose from including cheese cubes, savoury biscuits, fruit, unsalted popcorn and carrot sticks, to name a few.
For adults, the wonderful volunteers have usually made sweet or savoury treats to enjoy with a cuppa. In my personal experience with the Mainly Music groups I have visited, the volunteers look after the carers as much as they want the kids to enjoy themselves too. As a carer for a pre-schooler, enjoying a cup of tea and morning tea that someone else has made, is often just what you need to get through a long day. It is also comforting to meet other carers and swap ideas on places to visit and fun things to do with pre-schoolers. Friendships are made and connections are formed at these supportive, family mornings around the community.
In Canberra, the locations of Mainly Music are Belconnen, Kaleen, Charnwood, Dickson, Reid, Tuggeranong, Greenway, Calwell and also Queanbeyan in NSW. Although run by the local church, most of the songs aren't religious and are simply designed for kids to have fun and for the community to get together. There is usually a good mix of mums, dads, grandparents and carers at each session. Contact your local Mainly Music before you arrive to check there is available spaces, as some of the larger ones have waiting lists (eg. Tuggeranong).
It is also important for the adults to get their silly on and dance around as if no one watching - and no one is. With everyone getting into the spirit and having fun with their kids, it is easy to enjoy the morning just as much as your little one. I know I do.
Get your silly on at Mainly Music. (Mainly Music Calwell).