Beyond being a tool for fun learning, teaching kids nursery rhymes and folk songs such as Rasa Sayang and Chan Mali Chan have other discreet but incredible benefits.
As parents living in the 21st century, you’d be forgiven for thinking about how great the Internet has been as an early education tool. With a few clicks of the mouse, you can find yourself on YouTube or any one of hundreds of thousands of educational websites with seemingly endless content for kids’ activities and fun learning sessions.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with tons of foreign kids’ activity and learning videos online. (Credit: Shutterstock)
Yes, it’s become extremely easy to entertain our kids with YouTube videos and grab parenting life hacks from articles or internationally-famous mummy and daddy influencers on Instagram, but the fact of the matter is that in doing so we succumb to the problem of losing touch with our roots and our culture—not least of all those of us from Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia.
When you contrast the way our little ones today grow up with the way kids’ activities were done 30, 40, or even 50 years ago, you’ll see how today’s juniors are far more in tune with international content—Sesame Street, Peppa Pig, and Baby Shark, for instance—compared with the more local fare many of us grew up with.
More and more, our babies and toddlers are growing up without familiarizing themselves with Nusantara classics like Rasa Sayang, Burung Kakak Tua, and Gelang Sipaku Gelang. These are just a few among many others, all of which combine great musicality, flowing poetry, and innocent wit and humour to make some of the most beloved and timeless pieces of Southeast Asian culture.
And even more alarming is that so many of us parents have forgotten how to sing these beautiful rhymes and lullabies to our young ones during fun learning sessions.
Give Them Strong Cultural Roots!
While there are many reasons we should start thinking of reintroducing local lullabies and folk songs as part of kids’ activities, the most obvious ‘why’ is the sense of cultural belonging and identity these songs can inculcate in young ones.
‘Burung Kakak Tua’ and many other Southeast Asian nursery rhymes are tools that can be used in fun learning sessions to teach kids how to sing in Bahasa while developing a love for their heritage.
If you go on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, or most other online portals, chances are high that you’ll easily head toward more Westernized children’s content instead of making the effort to look up a Malay folk song or Indonesian lullaby. This is simply because there are so many arrows pointing towards international content—shares from your friends, viral videos, and so on so forth.This is why it’s so important to remember that amidst the spread of content from foreign countries, it’s vital that our kids don’t get overwhelmed and end up losing sense of who they are and where they come from.
Start Them Early
By getting them to learn these tunes at an early age, we’re putting them on the right path to preserve a love for their heritage and culture, which in turn leads to more meaningful bonds and familial connections with others of the same ilk.
Additionally, these songs can be used as tools during kids’ activities to help babies and toddlers pick up Bahasa Malaysia or Indonesia through repetition. This works because kids and babies have been proven to be exceptionally keen on catchy and memorable tunes, especially those easy to sing along to. If you can manage to add a few songs in Bahasa to their fun learning repertoire, you can bet they’ll be able to pick up the language much easier as they enter primary school.
Ultimately when you weigh up all the benefits, there’s really a strong argument for getting kids to learn and familiarize themselves with local folk songs, nursery rhymes, and lullabies at an early age.
Rasa Sayang Books
Once you’ve considered the above, the next step is to act by finding ways to get your kids interested in these songs. You could start by browsing YouTube and picking out animated videos for your child to watch or look out for television shows that feature these songs, although it’s rarer to see anyone actually watching TV these days.
But if you’d rather not have your kid spend too much time in front of a screen, you might want to consider a book such as our bestselling Rasa Sayang Sing-and-Record Fun Book, its pocket-sized twin, or the Pok Ame-Ame Sing-and-Record Fun Book, all of which are designed to teach kids how to sing classic Southeast Asian folk songs and bursary rhymes including the titular Rasa Sayange, Anak Kambing Saya, Lenggang Kangkung, and Burung Kakak Tua.
Both books come accompanied with a smartly designed sound module that lets young readers listen and learn how to sing the tunes before letting them record their own rendition of the songs that they can replay as much as they want—some kids have even done duets with their parents and siblings during fun learning sessions, making it excellent for parent-child bonding in addition to being a great kids’ activity tool!
baba baa’s song books all feature smart sound modules to help babies and toddlers immerse themselves in a musical and fun learning session while getting familiar with local nursery rhymes and folk songs.
If you’re a parent to a babies or toddlers (or a soon-to-be parent) and have decided on gifting your little ones the opportunity to acquaint themselves with local tradition and culture, you can learn more about the sing-and-record fun books and our other fun learning products right here!