Musical Intelligence

Earlier, Clark was discussing how the different intelligences of Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences apply to outdoor play.  Another of Gardner’s intelligences that can be addressed outdoors on the preschool playground is the musical intelligence.  Children who have high musical intelligence learn best through song, rhythm, beat, and rhymes.  A child with a high level of musical intelligence on the preschool playground may enjoy learning through singing songs, playing games like “Ring Around the Rosie,” or playing playground musical instruments such as drums, chimes, or xylophones and hand held instruments like maracas, tambourines, rain sticks, and other shakers.

With musical experiences and outdoor musical instruments likes these, children can discover and experiment with concepts such as loud and quiet, hard and soft, fast and slow, high and low sounds, steady beats, and patterns.  When all this discovery might become pretty loud and overwhelming inside, the children’s outdoor play area is a great place to really cut loose and play the instruments as loud and as much as the children would like.


Try playing a game of opposites with the children playing instruments.  Call out “louder” then “softer,” “high” then “low,” “fast” then “slow” etc.  Or, teach the children about making a steady beat.  Count the beats to practice numbers or say a child’s name while pounding the beat to show the concept of syllables.  It’s learning through music!  So, let’s sing some songs, play some musical instruments, and have fun learning on the preschool playground!

Smith, Mark K. (2002, 2008) “Howard Gardner and Multiple Intelligences,” The Encyclopedia of Informal Education

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