Learning Activities for Kids

Q. My 5-year-old seems to have an unusual love for music and sounds. From the time he was a baby, he’s always been fascinated by sounds. How do I encourage this interest of his?

A. Expose your son to different kinds of music, and encourage him to explore by clapping and moving to the beat. Help him experiment with many types of sounds by making your own instruments from household objects such as pots, boxes, and glasses of water. If possible, sign your child up for music lessons, and take him to concerts. Consider educational software that allows for further exploration with music and sounds. Reading is also important, and your child is likely to be especially responsive. He may have a special affinity for poetry and rhyme. Try making up silly sentences together, using rhyming words or words that use the same sounds. You could also read up the article on Making Music in the Mom’s Ezine – enquire for your free copy.

Q. You mentioned something called Parantese in this section. Can I learn it?

A. Parentese is not a language that you need to learn – it is something that comes to all parents, especially mothers, very naturally. You may have noticed that whenever you talk to you baby you talk in a loud sing-song manner, bringing your face close to her – this is parantese. As mentioned in last week’s Learning Byte, researchers believe that talking in this manner to the baby is very helpful in process of brain development

Teaching young children about opposites stretches their word association power. It enhances their vocabulary and offers countless opportunities for word games. You and your child can act out opposites, such as in and out, up and down, back and front, big and small, high and low. Turn this into a physical activity for the playground. You and your child will be exercising your bodies as well as your minds. As your child learns opposites, write them down. Then write and illustrate a book of these opposites with your child.

Match the shapes
Ages: 2 to 4
Set simple familiar objects (a key, a jar lid, a small box, etc.) on a piece of cardboard. Use a marker or a pen to trace the outlines of the objects. Remove the objects. Now you can play a simple game. Encourage your child to place the objects back in the appropriate places. Start with just two objects and add more as your child’s ability increases.

Puppet Show
Ages: 2 1/2 to 5
Use extra photos of the family. Find a large one for each member of your family. Cut out each figure and show your child how to glue or tape them on to a plastic straw. Instead of the straw your child can glue the cut outs to the fronts of toilet tissue rolls. This will help the characters stand up on their own and be moved around. Now your child has characters to use for imaginative play and storytelling.

Learn with Magnets
Ages : 2 ½ to 4
Magnets can be great fun to play with while learning at the same time. For toddlers use large refrigerator magnets (if the magnets fit through an empty aluminum foil holder, they’re too small). Place two pairs of large magnets on your refrigerator at your child’s level. At first just encourage your child to take them on and off. As your child takes off a magnet, say the word “off.” Then when he replaces the magnet, say “on.” Be sure to name the object he selects each time: such as, “apple,” “bananas.” These little exercises will help your children expand their vocabularies. When you are sure your child understands the name of the magnets, stretch his language skills further by attaching more characteristics to each magnet, such as, “yellow banana.” Similarly the magnets can be used for alphabet recognition and spelling.

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