Exploring the sense of hearing with your child encourages brain development and kindergarten readiness. Even though young children have more sensitive hearing than adults, they do not filter out the background noises very well. That’s one of the reasons why they do not respond when we talk to them; our voices are lost in all the other sounds.
What are some ways to encourage the sense of hearing? As we read books to kids, they learn to focus on voices but we can just tell stories too without the distraction of pictures. Songs and singing involves careful listening to voices and tunes. There are lots of wonderful choices for music cd’s. Public libraries may have some that you can borrow or just check on the internet.
Finding objects that make noise is great fun and great science, too. Kids are usually very good at finding things that make noise: tables, walls, doors, spoons on pots, plates and floors. Keys will work to jingle but I have experience of a whole set of keys disappearing from a wee one’s hands into a black hole never to be seen again. A quick look around the house will usually turn up some objects that will make noise. A potato chip can with some plastic spoons makes a neat sound. Or try one of those little tea tins with some hard macaroni. A rainstick makes a lovely soft sound.
If you and your child go out, listen for all the different sounds on the street. You can even check out different sounds at home, like the vacuum, the washing machine, the phone that’s somewhere in the house but not on the stand. What sounds do the toys make? Once you and your child have explored sounds, share some quiet time. Close eyes and just listen for a few seconds. (It’s best to have kids close at hand for this because no noise coming from where they are is sometimes not a good sign.) Hearing and listening are important for brain connections and kindergarten readiness. Speaking of phones, what do you hear on the banana phone? How’s your connection?