Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tuesday Teachings - Hearing

When children are born their hearing is tested and for most babies their hearing is fine. It is our job as parents and teachers to give children the knowledge to pick out different sounds and fine tune their hearing. There are numerous things we can do to help children learn about their hearing.

Making Sound Jars

Start with four plastic jars with screw on lids (plastic peanut butter jars are perfect for this). Remove all labeling and clean the jars thoroughly. Next you will fill each jar halfway with one of these items: cotton balls, rocks/pebbles, dried beans or pasta and sand. If you think your child will remove the lids you can put glue around the rims of the jars prior to replacing the lids. Set out the sound jars for the kids. Have your children close their eyes while you shake the jars. Ask them questions about the sounds they hear.

• Is this a loud sound or a soft sound?
• Does this sound make your ears hurt?

Now have the children open their eyes and hand them the jars. Let them shake the jars and put them in order by softest sounds to loudest sounds. As your child’s hearing recognition improves you can add more sound jars with different items in them like: nuts and bolts, jingle bells, marbles, bouncy balls, small plastic toys or pennies. This will assist your child in knowing what an appropriate sound is for indoors and what an appropriate sound for outdoors is.

Making a Sound

Make lists of sounds that your children will be able to recognize and imitate, such as dogs barking, drumming, cats meowing, cars honking, people clapping and doors slamming. Now make a tape of all of these noises. Play the sounds one at a time for the kids, asking them to name the sound. It may take a couple of plays for them to get it right. Once they guess the sound, ask them to imitate the sound. Repeat with the other sounds.

How Do I Sound?

Get out a tape recorder and a blank tape for the kids. Ask the kids questions and record them as they answer. They can be any questions you want as the questions are not what is important. Once they have answered the questions, play the tape back for them to see if they can recognize their voices on tape. A person does not always sound the same on tape as they do in person.

How Do Others Sound?

Now take the tape recorder to a grandparent or close family friend along with a favorite book of the child. Ask them to tape themselves reading the book to your child with cues to turn the pages. Once that is complete, give the tape and the book to the child to listen too. Ask them if they know who is reading the book to them. This will help them to recognize other people’s voices and to listen closely so they know when to turn the page for the story. It will also give them a closer relationship and recognition of someone that they may not see on a daily basis.

Next week we will move onto another of the five senses. As you try this out you will find that the kids will get tremendous enjoyment from hearing themselves on the tape recording. Most toddler are egocentric and love looking at themselves and listening to themselves. I frequently walk into my three year old’s bedroom and see him kissing himself in the mirror. Have a great week!

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