Eyes, Ears, Mouth and Nose- The Benefits of Multisensory Learning

multisensory learning

There is no question that babies are learning to identify the world around them with their senses.  From the familiar smell and sound of mom, to feeling swaddled and warm, babies are participating in multisensory learning.  

Multisensory Learning

It should be no surprise that preschoolers are continuing in their quest to identify and explore their environment through multisensory learning.  For those of us who are not immersed in the child development vernacular, multisensory just means using more than one of the five senses (sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch) in a learning activity.  So here is an easy rule of thumb: the more senses the activity uses, the more effective the learning will be.

Benefits of Multisensory Learning

We all have a different learning style, the most common being visual or verbal. But one of the great benefits of multisensory learning is utilizing all learning styles.  Furthermore, did you know that multisensory learning can also help children with learning and attention issues?  These children are better equipped to collect data and problem solve as they participate in a more hands-on approach to learning.

Studies have also shown that multisensory learning increases proficiency and effectiveness of learning as it accesses more parts of the brain, improves memory, and enhances brain development. Don’t be surprised if your child is repetitive when doing a multisensory activity.  This type of learning is all about the process!

What Does Multisensory Learning Look Like?

To the untrained eye, multisensory learning may look a lot more like play than learning.  Look a little closer and you’ll find that multisensory play is actually their little brains at work.  

multisensory learning

Put together a puzzle and your little guy is using his sight as well as critical thinking and kinesthetic learning.  Talk about the puzzle as you complete it and you’ve added verbal and social learning styles.

multisensory learning

Role play gives children the opportunity to handle objects in their world as they discuss and apply their usefulness, using logical–and sometimes not-so-logical–thinking.  They are able to develop social learning skills as well as a combination of visual, verbal, and even auditory learning.  (When was the last time you noticed your preschooler singing while playing?  Yep!  That was auditory learning!)

Water tables are fabulous multisensory learning tools, as they just beg to be played in!  Whether using rice, water, sand, beans, or water beads, the feel of the medium on your hands and fingers are firing those synapsis all over the place!  Add the toys, and our preschoolers are busy little bees learning laws of physics while their processing brains go wild.

3 Multisensory Learning Activities to Try at Home

Puzzles and role playing are easy to play at home, too.  Get a plastic tub in the back yard and fill it with water, add a funnel, and you have your own water table as well.  But here are a few more fun multisensory learning activities to try at home:

1-Play-doh

The store-bought or homemade kind both work great.  Not only do they work their little kinetic minds while kneading the dough, they process so much more when you give them tools to use.   Here are a few ideas:

  • Plastic knife or fork
  • Plastic scissors
  • Cookie cutters
  • Milk lids
  • Wire whisk
  • Measuring cups
  • Scale
  • Muffin tins
  • Rolling pin
  • Stampers- any shape you have around the kitchen

And if mixing colors gives your OCD heart an attack, make your own dough and let them help you mix the colors in. (Make sure the dough is cool enough.) You can always make more if the final product is “blah” in color.

Homemade Playdough

2 c flour

2 c water

1 c salt

2 T oil

4 t cream of tartar or alum

Food coloring- add to liquid

(Or add a package of Kool-Aid for scent and color)

Cook over medium heat for 3 minutes until ball is formed.  Knead until stiff.  Store at room temperature in an airtight container.

2- Cook!

Popcorn. Lemonade. Cinnamon Toast. Any food preparation your preschooler can participate in introduces them to textures, smells, colors, shapes and best of all, taste!  Not to mention all the small muscle development, independence, and scientific learning it fosters.  This Rainbow Salad recipe is healthy and perfect for little hands to make with a plastic knife and parental supervision.  Don’t forget to discuss shapes and colors as you make it!

multisnesory learning

Rainbow Salad

½ c sliced strawberries (sliced with egg slicer)

1 small can mandarin oranges, drained

½ c pineapple chunks

½ c kiwi, slices cut into triangles

½ c blueberries

½ c red grapes, cut in half

Mix and enjoy.

 

3- Textile Mosaic

Grab some different textiles and colors and let your child cut and paste them.  What shapes can she make?  What sound do they make if they crinkle?  (Lois Ehlert, illustrator of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is a fabulous textile artist if you need some ideas.)

Here some example mediums to use:

  • Tinfoil or foil paper
  • Corrugated cardboard
  • Felt
  • Any scraps of fabric
  • Feathers
  • Pipe-cleaners
  • Craft foam
  • Newspaper or magazines
  • Construction paper
  • Small sticks and pinecones

 

This month at UDA Creative Arts Preschool, we have been learning all about our senses and we are dedicated to implementing multisensory learning! In addition, we are prepared to teach all styles of learning, including the “taster” who is prone to put that paint brush right in his mouth.  We invite you to come watch us in action.  You can schedule a tour today by calling (801) 523-5930.

Written by: Elsje Denison

Music Matters! How Music Benefits Preschool Learners

We all know of the importance of preschool when it comes to ABC’s and 123’s, but what about the Do Re Mi’s?  Let’s consider how music benefits children, as well as how can you enhance that learning with music activities at home.

Albert Einstein said, “If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music.  I live my daydreams in music.  I see my life in terms of music.”   

Really, is there anything music doesn’t teach?  Music has the ability to reach every part of us, developing our whole selves.  It moves us and gets us moving.  It brings us together and creates meaning.  

Music Benefits for Preschool Learning

Here is a list of some of the ways we use music at UDA Creative Arts Preschool to benefit your child’s learning.

    • Math Skills are developed as children learn patterns, sequencing, beat, rhythm, and dynamics.
    • Memory is enhanced as children learn lyrics and repeated patterns, as well as curriculum.
    • Language develops as children recognize sounds, syllables, vocabulary, story sequencing, and sentence structure.
    • Science Skills are developed as children discover cause and effect with instruments and body movements. UDA Creative Arts Preschool also uses music to teach science curriculum in the exploration of the world around them.
    • Motor Skills are used as children use instruments and create movement.  Children love the opportunity to move their bodies in various ways to the music and to internalize tempo and dynamics.  Also, small motor skills develop as children learn how to clap and shake and tap instruments.
    • Brain Development occurs as children use both their right and left brain hemispheres simultaneously.  They practice using their eyes, ears, and bodies at the same time.
    • Emotional Development occurs as children learn to recognize feelings created by different styles of music.  Like Einstein said, it inspires children to dream and create.
    • Social Skills are developed as children interact with one another and the teacher during songs, and as they learn to take turns with the instruments.
    • Self-Discipline is practiced as children learn to pause before playing, to leave their instruments in their laps, and to share.
    • Listening Skills are developed as children listen to learn lyrics and rhythms and focus on sounds in order to recreate them.
    • Happiness and joy are felt as the children giggle and wiggle, laugh and smile.

 

Music benefits children

Music Activities For Preschoolers You Can Do At Home

While we are implementing this wonderful teaching tool with our music activities at UDA Creative Arts Preschool, we don’t want you to miss out on the fun!  Consider these music activities you can do with your preschooler at home:

1- Expose Your Preschooler to a Variety of Music.  Children songs are so fun, and we all have our favorite radio stations, but add some variety to give your child exposure to different rhythms and timbres.  The Salt Lake County Library System has a collection of music you can download for free with Freegal.

2- Name that Instrument! Play a game when you listen to music and have your child identify the instruments they hear.  Drums and guitar are pretty easy to find on the radio.  Go to a classical station to add more instrument families.  You may even challenge yourself!

3- Make use of Downtime! We all have those moments when an app is just the thing to entertain our rambunctious munchkin while we…fill in the blank.  Why not make it a learning opportunity?  Common Sense Media provides a list of music learning apps for preschoolers, along with ratings and summaries so you can chose what works best for your little learner.

4- Sing! Sing in the shower! Sing in the rain!  You don’t have to be a professional for your child to love your voice.  Sing a phrase and have them come up with a rhyming word for the next line.  Composing your own songs while you flip pancakes, brush hair, or tie shoes will encourage your child’s creativity, develop language skills, and most importantly, convey your love!

Ask your preschooler what songs they are learning at school and some of our budding musicians may give you a concert.  If you can’t wait for our next program for a performance, come visit us at UDA Creative Arts Preschool and see for yourself how music benefits our little learners.  

Written by: Elsje Denison

9 Movement Activities for Preschoolers You Can Do at Home

movement activities for preschoolers

Over the years, as academic requirements have intensified to meet standardized test scores, early childhood education has beefed up its emphasis on reading, writing, and more. Unfortunately, for some early childhood education providers, this has meant a de-emphasis on movement. But taking movement out of a preschooler’s day actually inhibits academic progress. Plus, any parent can tell you that 3-5-year-old children need to move — a lot! Movement activities for preschoolers are not only fun, they’re necessary for your child’s development.

Benefits of Movement in Early Childhood Education

Focusing almost exclusively on academics during the preschool years actually misses the point! It’s possible — and actually essential — to focus on both physical development and mental development in preschoolers.

movement activities for preschoolers

Physical activity in preschool is important, and its benefits can last far beyond preschool graduation. Preschoolers who get plenty of time to play and participate in physical activity enjoy:

  • A healthier lifestyle, now and in the future
  • Increased school readiness skills
  • Stronger cognitive, social, and emotional skills
  • Appropriate muscle, bone, and joint development
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduced anxiety and depression
  • An increased learning capacity
  • Greater self-confidence
  • Better concentration
  • Fewer chronic health problems
  • Fewer sick days
  • Increased memory skills

Not only that, but interactive games give your child a leg up on social interaction and communication skills. Kids learn to problem-solve while also learning important things like counting and colors.

Children simply do better when they are allowed to move. Early childhood curriculum that incorporates movement sets your child up for a better future.

Movement Activities for Preschoolers

When you want to bring movement activities home for your preschooler, you don’t have to do anything elaborate. In fact, young children learn at a very basic and fundamental level, so activities are often better when they are simple. Use these simple movement activities for preschoolers in your home.

Music and Movement

preschool movement activities

Children love music, and generally respond very well to it. Ask your child to listen to the different rhythms and tell you what he hears. Ask him to clap his hands, jump up and down, or tap his head to the beat. Let him get in on the music creation by giving him empty oatmeal boxes to use as drums and empty paper towel rolls to use as “trumpets.” Add bells to shoelaces or belt loops and dance around the living room.

Beach Ball Balance

Give a beach ball to two or more children and have them hold the ball between them — without using their hands!  See how creative they can get when they’re left with shoulders, heads, backs, and tummies for holding a beach ball.

Jumping Animals

In this fun jumping game from The Inspired Treehouse, work on coordination, gross motor skills, balance, and more as your child gets to pretend to be different jumping animals. (For full instructions visit the link.)

Get Up & Move Dice Game

Make two giant dice out of boxes. On one, write action words like “jump, climb, run.” On the other, write direction words like “in a circle, like a monkey, forward.” Throw the dice and do what they instruct. (“Jump like a monkey.”)This will get you moving too! For full instructions, visit Growing a Jeweled Rose.

Hot Lava

Who knows when the hot lava game originated, but chances are you (and everyone you know) grew up pretending the floor was hot lava. The preschool age is a great time to introduce this classic game. Make it more interesting by using paper plates as jumping points.

Flash Light Treasure Hunt

Hide a few of your child’s favorite toys around the house (or just in one room), turn off all the lights, and send her off to find her items with the flashlight! Hide a fun snack to enjoy together too.

Floor Tape Activities

  • Make a tight rope by laying tape down on your carpet. Teach your preschooler to walk across it without falling off, and if he does — the tickle monster gets him!
  • Lay down an indoor hop scotch with tape.
  • Put tape all throughout your house for a road. Your preschooler can be the car and run along the tape, or she can get down and drive her cars all around the house.

Note: Don’t leave the tape on your carpet for too long, as it can become hard to pull up once it’s been walked on for several days.

Indoor “Basketball”

Your mom told you not to throw balls in the house (and she was right), but you can still play “basketball” inside with your preschooler by wadding up newspaper for basketballs and using a pot, laundry basket, or clean bin for the hoop.

Do Chores

movement activities for toddlers

Yep. Seriously Give your preschooler a broom, mop, rake, or dust rag and get to cleaning together. It’s all in the attitude — if you act like this is a fun game (“Let’s see if we can sweep the kitchen before the song ends!”), your preschooler will pitch in with glee.

At UDA Creative Arts Preschool in Salt Lake City, we know children get the full benefit of learning when we incorporate movement into our lessons. That’s why we provide a dance/movement class taught by a trained instructor who gives lessons that correlate with our weekly preschool themes. Send us a message, or call us at (801) 523-5930 for a tour.