Phonemic awareness is having a grasp on the structure of language. Although an extension of phonemic awareness, this does not mean understanding written language. Phonemeic awareness revolves completly around the sounds that are made and how they are connected to words and one another. The three main achievements that children will make when grasping phonemic awareness are syllable awareness (the ability to separate and identify syllables), onset-rime awareness (the ability to separate syllables into their beginning and ending sounds), and phoneme awareness (the ability to separate syllables into all the separate sounds that are pronounced). As a helpful reminder, just remember that phonemic awarenss can be taught, learned, and practiced in the dark.
Songs that play with sound are a great way to attain these skills without a child even realizing how much they are learning and accomplishing. For example, the song Apples and Bananas, practices using the same vowel sounds at the beginning of most of the words in stanza. Instead of saying "apples and bananas" one would sing "eeples and baneenees" to understand where the vowels come in a word. The song Down by the Bay practices rimes, and this could be a song that also incorporates creativity as children make up their own verses and practices their understanding of rimes. Both of these songs are examples from the musician and children's songwriter Raffi. Here is a collection of his compositions that would be very fun to explore with your child!
Incorporating music into learning lightens the atmosphere and creates a positive connection for the child by correlating learning with fun and enjoyment. The opportunites are endless for word play in music and even daily activities or conversation that just come up. You will often find that children are eager to develop their own rhymes or phrases with phonemic connections; they just need to follow your lead.
So go ahead and get singing, rhyming, and learning!