The act of kids trying to make as many different sounds as they can out of nature "stuff" can be a family favorite and time well spent by our standards (check out our Make Music Like Wee Wild Things activity to find out why). Banging and rubbing sticks, shaking limbs and branches, strumming rough bark, rocking a water bottle full of acorns and making drums out of rocks, stumps and logs. Combine the jam session with some game dynamics, though, and the play can go to a whole new level.
After plenty of impromptu music making, walk around the woods, “instruments” in hand. Make very little sound. Make lots of sound. Drift apart, checking to see if you can still hear each other's sounds. Strike up a game of hide-and-seek—sound edition. What's the gist? The hider picks a tricky hiding spot and makes her sound, while the seeker follows his ear to find her.
When we first tried adding sound to the classic hide-and-seek it struck a chord with our girls, and the game just rolled on and on. Our (very busy) 2 year old stayed involved by just movin' and groovin'. Most remarkable, though, was how long our 4-year-old stayed engaged, how much fun she had, how intently she listened, and how focused her hiding and sound-making became. Our take away? Sound+classic game=killer combo.
Why is this activity great for kids?
As kids make sounds and listen intently for the sounds as they seek, they develop not only their sense of hearing but their ability to take in and integrate sensory information.
The ability to block out distractions and stay either on hunt for their sound-making hider or to stay hidden in their sound-making hiding spot are perfect ways to strengthen kids’ focus and self-control.
Although the numbers vary, somewhere around 65 percent of the population consists of visual learners, or people who rely mainly on what they see to learn. That said, a whole lot of information comes at us verbally, in and out of school. So the ability to listen carefully and effectively is still incredibly important for learning, but neither comes easily nor is often nurtured. Strong listening skills also increase people’s success with relationships, both personal and professional.