Monday, June 25, 2012

Improve your children's listening skills with pieces of paper

Do you know what paper sounds like? What can you do with paper to make a noise? How much noise do you think you can make with one piece of paper? These are some of the questions you can ask to initiate exploration of paper, or you can leave them around, discovery box style, for the child to find and listen to. Either way, the preparation is pretty similar and can be adapted for children of any age ready to refine their listening skills.

Cut some differing pieces of paper to the same size. (A4 works well as it is small enough to handle and big enough to do a variety of things with.) Find ways to make a noise with them, comparing as you go. Simple. Your child will practice listening to quiet sounds and subtle differences in sound, both good for focussing better in school and becoming a good conversationalist.

We used ordinary printer paper, tissue paper, grease proof paper, tin foil (OK, I know it’s not paper, but it makes a great sound), thin packing paper and a piece of kitchen roll. Use anything you have available. My two year old looked at me oddly when I asked him what he thought paper sounded like, but was soon listening intently to the differences as we shook them. 

Are you ready to listen?
Then we listened carefully to the quiet sound made when you put thumb and fore finger on either side and rub in a circle. Holding the paper close to the ear we heard a very different sound. He was enthralled.

Flicking the paper produced lots of giggles as he saw the paper move quickly towards him as I hit it from the other side.

Next we ripped the sheets up. Some paper sounded the same as other sheets, and some very different. Then we just had loads of fun ripping it all up!

Paper Ripped Noisily!
For an almost three year old, that was enough. We learnt a lot and had lots of fun. An older child may want to do more and talk about the how and why of the different sounds. A larger variety of materials would also be interesting, for example different thicknesses of card or other materials like plastic.

Here are some things you could do:
  • Rip
  • Shake
  • Rub
  • Flick
  • Draw on - with different types of pen
  • Screw into a ball
  • Walk on (especially on carpet)
  • Have a pet walk on
  • Hang on a line and throw a ball at
  • Drive cars or other vehicles over

Any more ideas? I’d love to read your comments.

Most of the sounds here are very quiet, especially in a child’s world, and are a reminder that sometimes it is worth holding your tongue and paying attention to what’s going on, just so you don’t miss anything.

And we didn't waste the paper...

Add glue and coloured card

 We made an interesting picture:

Recycled Paper Art

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