Wednesday, October 5, 2011

All About Me: Sound!

I make a great noise
Of rustling all day
Like rabbit and deer
Running away.

This week we are focusing on the 5 senses. So far, we have covered sight and smell.  Today we are turning our focus to hearing!

Of course we want our kids to become better listeners.  Can teaching my kids to listen and observe (both quietly and while discussing loud sounds!) help them fine tune their hearing, and listening? Since sound is a sense that is frequently triggered by stimulation (i.e. when the baby hears a marching song he wants to stomp his feet!) we might overlook it in our sensory training. Today, during our ongoing 5 senses week, we are going to focus on sounds.

One of the best and most important ways to learn about sound (or any concept for that matter) is through the use of music. Just ask my mom.

Using music, we can teach rhythm, motor skill development (dancing), loud vs. quiet, etc. We can also use music to talk about emotions. Is this music relaxing or sleepy? Does this music make me want to march? Is this great music for twirling? Basic childhood songs are also a great way to learn about numbers, ABC's, animal sounds, and on and on.

One fun way to teach your child about sounds and music is by creating homemade instruments. Any contained bottle or jar filled with rice is an instant “shaker.” And what child doesn't love to beat on pots and pans with a spoon?  

For our purposes today, I was excited to make use of the 6 trillion Easter eggs sitting in a large bag in our pantry. They made lovely concealed noise-makers! I filled each egg with something different: rice, candy corn, beads, rocks, marshmallows, and noodles.  I took the kids outside where we shook each egg, then guessed what was inside. They really had fun opening them to see if their guess was correct!   

In addition to music, there are many listening activities that you can regularly do with your child—whether you are in the house, in the yard, at the park, or walking down main street. What is that noise? Can you hear that? What do you think it is?  Today we sat under a tree with our eyes closed and heard a car passing, a bird, the dog panting, and a jet flying above, all in just one minute.

Fortunately, we have “The Ear Book” by Al Perkins checked out from the library this week, so it worked out perfectly to read on our Sounds day!  The other amazing book on sound is Polar Bear, Polar Bear What do You Hear? by Eric Carle. There are many other great books that focus on Sounds and Hearing; we also have several books with sound effect buttons—those would be great, too.

To incorporate all of this learning into your child's All About Me book, here is a new page!  After you have spent time listening and discussing all the sounds around you, have your child write a list or draw her favorite objects on this page for her book.

**More Mud:
If you want to take Sounds and Listening to another level, you could talk about the story of Samuel in the Bible. What did Samuel hear? How did he respond? Samuel 3:10. Other optional verses are Mark 4:9, and possibly Rev. 3:20.

Enjoy making sounds and listening with your little ones today! And here is a great Fall poem by Robert Frost:

Gathering Leaves
Spades take up leaves
No better than spoons,
And bags full of leaves
Are light as balloons.
I make a great noise
Of rustling all day
Like rabbit and deer
Running away.
But the mountains I raise
Elude my embrace,
Flowing over my arms
And into my face.
I may load and unload
Again and again
Till I fill the whole shed,
And what have I then?
Next to nothing for weight,
And since they grew duller
From contact with earth,
Next to nothing for color.
Next to nothing for use.
But a crop is a crop,
And who's to say where

The harvest shall stop? 


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