Visual memory is another one of those skills that’s important for reading and writing. And visual memory is based on visualizing, seeing something in your mind’s eye. To help your child visualize use lots of words. I know that seems contradictory. After all, to help someone with visual skills it makes sense to use visual material. But in this case, the intention is to encourage your child to make up his or her own mind pictures. Since it’s May, we’ll go with monsters.
First, describe your monster to your child. For example, I see a monster that’s round and green with 1 big eye and 1 little eye. He has a big smile with 2 yellow teeth, 1 big tooth on the top and 1 little tooth on the bottom. He has 1 foot with 3 toes.
Now, ask your child to think of a monster and describe it to you. Encourage lots of details, colors, shapes, etc. Commonly, when people are creating a visual image, their eyes move up and to their right. When accessing a visual memory eyes move up and to the left. Making mind pictures is an activity that can be done anywhere and anytime and will make learning tasks a great deal easier for your child. It can also fill desperate moments and give kid-monsters something to do. Is visualizing an easy or challenging activity for your mon…er, I mean, munchkin?
Who remembers yesterday’s activity? The topic for this week is promoting the development of visual memory skills. Again, use a tray of about 10 small objects (more if your little one needs an increased challenge or fewer if this is not yet a strong skill for your child). These could be a lego block, toy car, pencil, elastic band, etc. Say the names with your child and discuss the items. Then, cover them with a towel and while your child closes his/her eyes take one away. Take off the towel and ask your child what one is missing. Put the object back, cover them again and this time you can hide your eyes while your child takes one away. Can you name the missing item? Because the number of items can be varied, it is adaptable to children of different ages and adults, too. This is another of those games that kids do better than I can. How about your house? Do the kids win or the adults?
While blogging about helping children learn some strategies to cope with waiting I remembered a Eugene Field poem that my grandmother used to recite to me about a toy dog and soldier that waited and waited for a little boy. Because the poem had a sad ending it was never my favorite. But I love remembering the sound of her voice and the memories of curling up with my grandmother and listening to poems and stories. I can both see and hear these times in my mind. For this week, I’d like to explore memory skills. The question-of-the-week will be: how can we help children develop visual and auditory memory skills?
Here is one activity to start. Find 10 different little objects and put them on a tray. Some possible items are a spoon, a spool, a bread tag, a button, a fridge magnet, a small plastic toy, etc. Point to them together and say their names. Cover them with a towel and ask your child to remember the items on the tray. How many of these things could your child remember? Now, you have a turn. Who remembered more, you or your little one? In this case, you had the advantage as this is Round 2. Do it again with some different objects. Try it with some other family members or friends. These activities count double, both visual memories and memories of fun together. 1, 2, 3…remembering.
Did you happen to see the headlines this earlier this week: First Ladies Play With Kids. The Mexican President’s wife Margarita Zavala accompanied First Lady Michelle Obama to an elementary school where they hopped, skipped and played with the kids. The key word is Play. Play is children’s work; that’s how they learn. When we help … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Don’t Wait to Play
Songs for waiting, stories for waiting, activities for waiting and today some games for waiting. The most recent blog posts have been all about helping children learn skills and strategies for coping with having to wait. Ring around the rosie is a traditional favorite that really young children can do. There is an element of … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Games for Waiting
Being able to wait is an important social skill for children–see earlier posts from this week. I enlist the help of a few stuffies to show kids some waiting strategies. A stuffie conversation may go something like this: Well, hi there guys. Today, we’re going to take you for a walk in the stroller, as … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Waiting Activities
Music can help children–and adults–cope with many challenges. Waiting is something we all have to do and it helps if little ones have some skills and strategies for waiting. Mr. Rogers has a waiting song as well as Daddy Kooala, Boowa and Kwala but these only have a couple of verses. Sometimes, songs need to … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Songs to Wait By
For patiently waiting, this story’s character takes the prize. He waits on every page. As mentioned yesterday, being able to wait is a skill that gets easier with practice. It even has it’s own label: Strategic Allocation of Attention. Being able to wait is so helpful for little ones because they will have to do so … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Stories for Waiting
At the beginning of the month, I was fortunate enough to attend a presentation by the child expert and parenting author, Michele Borba. She reminded the parents, caregivers and teachers present that education is more than academics. We need to make sure that we provide experiences for social, emotional and physical development as well as intellectual. Michele … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Hurry Up and Wait
On my way to work yesterday, I caught part of a radio interview with astronauts Robert Thirsk and Frank de Winne. They were talking about their previous mission on the Space Shuttle Atlantis just before its scheduled lift off. The interviewer asked about 6 people living in a confined space for 6 months. Robert Thirsk advised … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Lessons from Atlantis