Now that Winter is finally over and Spring is in the air, flowers are blooming and birds are chirping! Tweet tweet! What’s that you hear?! Lots of new sounds start buzzing around your little one’s ears as the days start getting longer and creatures start hopping and flying around! Your little one may be hopping and jumping right along with all the Spring creatures waking up after Winter and with that comes lots of opportunities for sensory learning and focused listening.
There are many benefits of exposing young children to focused listening activities at an early age and it is imperative that caregivers give children the opportunity to practice listening intentionally, choosing what or what not to listen to specifically. Not only is listening important for learning, but notably for safety purposes and building solid, reciprocal relationships with others as well. Listening is one of the most common skills necessary for thriving in school situations, for example circle time. Listening is key for understanding our busy world and being aware of where things are in relation to oneself, for example cars. Listening is also critical in nurturing relationships with others and exhibiting compassion and empathy, for example in conversations with a friend. In almost every Kindermusik class, we incorporate an activity that focuses on the act of listening. Listening is very different from merely hearing. The ears and brain naturally receive sounds from their environment. That is considered hearing. Listening, however, is an intentional mental process that requires attention and focus as the brain sorts and interprets sounds. Listening activities that focus on one sound at a time help children practice the skills of attention and engaged listening.
Incorporating focused listening into your daily life is super easy and super fun at the same time, especially outdoors! Here’s a “Try It Tip” for home! Try going for a nature walk with your child around your neighborhood or at a local park. As you encounter the sounds in your neighborhood or park, highlight sounds you hear, for example a bird chirping, a basketball bouncing, a plane flying overhead, a dog barking, or even a train chugging along nearby! There are so many sounds that you can focus in on and lead your child to intentionally listen to and for! Explain that listening is how we learn about the world around us and try some of the following ways to extend the learning during your nature walk: talk about how sounds can vary in volume or length and imitate the sounds you hear by trying some vocal play games like echoing one another back and forth! You can even bring the conversation inside and try a Spring Creatures Egg Carton Craft featured in the video below, talking about all the creatures you heard while you create!
Listening activities can happen during so many facets of life, so remember you can try focused listening with your child in the car, at the grocery store, during diaper changes, before bedtime, the list could go on forever! Enjoy exploring the world with your child and seeing the sparkle and wonder in their eyes as their world grows and they get the chance to see what makes life so interesting and exciting at times!
Sing N Move LLC is owned and opearted by Lena Sandulova-Baeza, licensed Kindermusik Educator, in the Lehigh Valley. Liv Forster is also a licensed Kindermusik Educator at Sing N Move LLC.