A few years ago, my husband was gifted my grandfather’s turntable. For the life of me, I could not figure out what he was going to do with that old thing, for it had seen better days and needed a lot of TLC. Fast forward a few months to Christmas that same year, and my husband’s gift to himself (yes, you read that correctly) was to have the turntable refurbished. He found someone in Des Moines, Iowa and insisted we bring the old turntable along to family Christmas so that he could drop it off for service. Since then, vinyl records have become a staple in our home and to say that our preschooler LOVES to listed to “wrecords” is an understatement. Much to my surprise, vinyl has made a comeback in our house. It has introduced our preschooler to a whole new language and increased his level of fine motor skills as we’ve spent more time at home this year. Come, learn along side with my family!
Learning the proper term for the music device in the basement was the first big ticket item in our house. My father-in-law quickly set us straight in the uncertainty that comes with “is it a record player, or a turntable?” I’d like to share a bit of a history lesson with you: A record player is a turntable with a built in amplifier; whereas, a turntable is more of an instrument. Needless to say, our son learned the lingo and definitely corrects us when we slip and call it a record player!
Our vinyl “collection” is comprised of music from the 1960s, 1970s, 1980’s and today’s modern favorites (for kids). Our son loves having his own mini collection, and it even has to be in a separate section of the shelf. We try to add his modern day favorites, such as Moana, Trolls World Tour, and Disney’s Greatest Hits. However, his music selection isn’t all new– he can’t get away from the 1980’s Alvin and the Chipmunks or Sesame Street originals! Through the world of vinyl, my husband has introduced him to other genres of music, such as: classic rock, country, and others. While we listen, he plays along with shakers, his dog guitar, an old popcorn tin, or anything that makes noise! We practice playing loud, soft, and everything in between. Most of the time, I’m sure the neighbors can hear us, but hey…it’s a blast!
Fine Motor Dexterity
Watching our son carefully select the exact record he’s in the mood to listen to, place it on the turntable, and remove the dust with the proper tools is a bit unnerving, yet oddly satisfying. He holds the mini brush and mimics how his dad carefully removes lint from the velvet brush before storing it upright in the turntable cabinet. Once the vinyl has been handled carefully and cleaned, the ultimate music experience in the basement can begin with a careful flip of the receiver switch and push on a lever to get the turntable spinning.
Although our turntable has a “skip” feature, my husband has been adamant that once our preschooler decides which record to listen to, he must listen to the whole side before moving on to something else. They can repeat songs, but they do not skip forward. Our son has definitely learned records require patience, yet that concept hasn’t carried over to much else. Sorry buddy, that’s a mom trait for sure.
“See one, do one, teach one” is a concept that my preschooler thrives on! He quickly picked up the techniques needed to appropriately turn on the old receiver, turntable, and even plug in headphones! He’s thrilled to have the opportunity to teach me, and I’m amazed at the dexterity and care he has developed by handling the vinyl collection. This fun new adventure is allowing us to slow down and be part of the vinyl movement. This year, vinyl record sales were poised to outsell CDs for the first time since 1986!
Does someone in your family have a turntable or record player? Maybe a trip down memory lane with grandparents would be a fun addition to our new routines in these unprecedented times. What “blast from the past” activities have you introduced to your kids in recent months? Maybe it’s gardening, canning, or even 8-tracks! I think our next fun learning adventure will come with cassette tapes or old VCR tapes that you have to actually wait for it to rewind!