As I write this, I am wondering if my children understand that hearing uses their ears; they do point to their ears when they say "listen". This would be a good starting point!
A way of helping to teach children that hear through their ears, is to speak to them and ask them to put their hand over one ear, then the other, then both and ask them to describe what is happening each time.
For further activities to help your children understand the sense of sound:
- Record many different sounds and ask your children if they recognise the noise when played to them. Recommended sounds: water running from tap, animals (cat, dog, duck etc.), giggles, baby crying, car engine, motorbike, bell and telephone. The University of Illinois extends this exercise by creating a reference book for your children to point to.
- Bright Hub Education offer 3 fun activities to learn about hearing: sound bingo, vibrations and crickets.
- Another great idea from Bright Hub Education; metal can speaking.
- By making musical instruments, Bright Hub Education have devised a fun lesson plan, which also teaches your tots about the sense of sound.
- A firm favourite - water in glasses. Fill several glasses with water at varying levels. Show your children how to make them 'chime', by running a wet finger around the rim of the glass. By using your voice, sound a low note and a high note and explain what they are; can your children identify the lowest tone and highest tone produced by the glasses?
- Have your child sit with their eyes closed (not possible for my toddlers I do not think, but you never know!), in your garden. After 2 minutes, talk to your children about the sounds you heard and see if they recognise what produced them (car, bird etc.).
- Similar to above. As with the other senses, take a sensory walk with your tots. As you walk chat about the sounds that you hear and again, what may have produced them.
- Education suggest cooking popcorn to teach sound. Fun and yummy!
- Lucy Gardens detail ideas to create a hearing sensory garden.