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"I hear somethin', Mommy!" Toddler Observations Using the Sense of Hearing

“I hear somethin’, Mommy!” has become music to my ears. My little science tyke has always been paying attention to sounds, and now she’s pretty pumped that I’m paying attention to them with her. Turns out, for exploring this sense, the sense of hearing was more about me helping her to talk about all of the sounds she was already reacting to, versus me pointing out sounds and drawing her attention to them.

My two-year-old makes annoyed noises when dogs are barking or cars are passing. I used to think these noises were some random whines of toddlerhood. But as I’ve been asking her about the sounds we hear together, or making sounds for her and talking about them, she’s started using words to explain what sounds have been annoying her as well.

We spent the last two weeks playing a variety of sound games as we went about our days. I love the simple things we can do to focus on our sense of hearing. In the middle of any moment, we close our eyes and I ask her, “What do you hear?” Birds, people, and her own footsteps have been among the daily sounds she’s delighted in purposefully listening to and describing. At the table, I tapped the tabletop and, in a moment of total lack of foresight, I tapped the silverware on different surfaces on the table. Yeah, I don’t recommend that one after a week of my toddler banging forks and spoons on the wooden surface..

We verbalized many sounds as well. Tykes love to make animal sounds or guess what animal makes the sound a grown-up is making for them. We used different silly voices to say the same phrases repeatedly. This was a great opportunity to make high- and low-pitched sounds and identify them as using our high voices or our low voices. We used our loud voices and our soft voices. We made sounds that lasted a long time and ones that were short-lived.

The ability to describe sound in these different ways will help us as we explore our next topic. After two months of focusing on using our senses and how we use them for observation, we’re ready to dig into a new science concept. Can’t wait to share our next posts on the science of sound. Get ready for exploring how sounds is made, how sound travels, and how you can share the science of sound with your tyke!

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