Why Experiment With Sound?

In our Tree Tots sessions we provide opportunities that will help children begin to notice and become attuned to the sounds around them. Fortunately, the woodland naturally offers a vast range of environmental sounds that can be explored but we also provide other provocations that further enhance the development of early listening skills.

This week we made a listening tree for our preschool visitors to discover. We hung wind chimes, bells, cans and other ‘instruments’ from the branches along with some suggested activities to help parents to give a little focus if needed.

Listening to sounds or auditory discrimination, is one of the earliest skills needed on the pathway to becoming a reader. Children need to be able to hear and decipher between sounds so they can eventually hear the different phonemes, sounds, that make up words.

Developing Motor Skills

In addition to the listening benefits, by hanging the instruments in the branches of trees means that, to access them, the children are stretching, balancing and consequently strengthening core muscles. It may surprise some that this too helps with reading, core muscles are essential to sit up and hold a book! Added to this turning tiny handles, pinching and flicking the levers on the bike bells, squeezing the horn all help to strengthen the hands, preparation for turning pages. An all round workout of gross and fine motor skills!

 Ideas for games to play…

After children have had time exploring all the different ‘instruments’, ask them to close their eyes and while you, or one of them, plays a sound. Then see if they can work out where that sound came from and what made it. This involves lots of climbing and reaching around the tree so is great for busy little people.

Play a sequence of two distinctly different sounds, for example a bell and a horn, then ask which sound was heard first and which sound came second. Then increase to a sequence of three sounds. This is helpful for introducing concepts of first, middle and last and a precursor to listening for letter sounds in CVC words (consonant/vowel/consonant) . Make sure they also have lots of turns playing a sequence too as playing with the ‘instruments’ is really the fun bit!

‘The earth has music for those who listen.’

William Shakespeare