According to Northern Illinois University “music and movement can benefit a child’s development in many ways” including social skills, motor skills, and emotional expression. On August 1 at 10:30 a.m., musician and entertainer Lolly Hopwood will bring her adventurous children’s concert to the Somerset County Library System of New Jersey (SCLSNJ) virtual branch, Explore From Home.
During the virtual program children entering grades Pre-K to 2 will have the opportunity to explore an interactive musical adventure. The concert will feature original songs inspired by vintage children’s music that comes alive through puppets, props, and audience participation.
“Music is important at any stage of a child’s development, whether they’re a toddler learning a simple song, a kid dancing to a song that they like, or a teenager starting their own record collection,” said Hopwood. “There are so many ways that children benefit from having music as part of their lives. From a scientific standpoint, music awakens both sides of your brain, which helps with intellectual, social-emotional, motor, and literacy skills. It’s also incredibly beneficial for mental and physical health.”
Hopwood, who has always had a passion for music, grew up in a family where they would often connect by singing and playing musical instruments together. This led her to continue to explore creating music throughout her life.
“When I was in my 20s I was working at a record store and doing storytimes at a local bookshop, so combining my love of music and my love of kids and children’s books was a pretty natural progression,” said Hopwood. “I love the way that kids have their own unique perspective on the world. I love how unpretentious and honest kids are. If they’re having fun, that’s the biggest compliment you can ever get. I also love performing for kids because it’s easier to be experimental and adventurous with the songs, games, and stories.”
Hopwood uses a combination of props in her shows that help attendees feel more involved and that bring her performance to life. Her beloved cast of characters include Al the Alligator (who’s always trying to eat the audience), Mouse and Robin, Tracy the Spider, Nico the Penguin, and Quinn the Unicorn.
“I’ve also been able to have kids look around their own environments to interact with the adventures, too,” she said. “Since kids are watching from home, they have things in their own environment that they can use like stuffed animals, scarves, blankets, pillows, and even their own parents. Finding colors, different fruits and veggies, or stuffed animals in their houses makes them a real valuable part of the online shows.”
“We are thrilled to have Lolly engage young children in interactive singing and dancing as one of our SOARING Early Childhood programs this summer,” said Christine Jansen, manager of youth services programming and collaborations, public services. “Singing is one of five early literacy practices, because music slows down language, stimulates different parts of the brain, and helps develop coordination and muscle strength. To explore the different strategies you can use at home to support early literacy through each developmental stage, visit sclsnj.org/reading-at-home.”
For more information or to register for the virtual concert visit: sclsnj.libnet.info/event/3934070.