Brain Development

Kindergarten Readiness – Brains Are For Hearing

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.

rainstick1Finding 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?

Kindergarten Readiness – Brains Are For Seeing

Exploring the five senses with your child promotes both brain connections and kindergarten readiness. Every day will have opportunities to develop the sense of sight. Children learn to use their eyes naturally but we can encourage them to build on what they know. Below are some suggestions:

      • Play I Spy, looking for shapes, or colors, or what things are made of. When trying to get a little one ready to head out the door a game sometimes gets their quick cooperation. “Let’s see if we can I Spy your other shoe!”
I Spy Cookies!!
      • Read books, checking out the details in the pictures.  Many stories have a special clue on each page, like Goldbug in Richard Scarry’s books, or a ladybug, duck, or little mouse in other stories. There are dozens of I Spy books ranging from simple to really hard.
      • Have a supply of crayons, markers, chalk and paints for your child to create his/her own pictures. Washable ones say they will wash out but some colors wash better than others.
      •  Try to put on socks with eyes closed. Pretty hard to get the heel part in the right place or tell if the socks are right side out.
      • There are plastic magnifying glasses for kids that are fun to use to see how things change.
      • When walking or going on a bus look for things that are very tall or very short, round things or pointy, lines that are straight or wiggly.

Getting groceries can keep eyes very busy. So can parks and playgrounds. There’s lots of stimulation for eyes and brains. Do you see some other activities to help your child grow kindergarten readiness and brain/eye connections?