Hello everyone, I’d like to introduce you to this week’s guest blogger: Renee Abramovitz of School Sparks. She has some great tips for you on increasing observation skills . If you like what she has to say, please feel free to stop by her website and check our her cool worksheets. Also, stop by Mrs. Miner’s Monkey Business tomorrow for my guest blog post on puzzles.
Strong observation skills are important for children for many reasons. Lessons in school are often taught through demonstrations that require children to observe. Interactions with peers on the playground require children to observe what others are doing so that they can make decisions about joining in the game, for instance, or understand what game is being played. And of course, recognizing letters and numbers for reading and math work depends on keen observation skills.
Some children seem to have a natural knack for noticing details while others seem to be oblivious regarding the finer points of things they see. But whether your child appears to be a natural observer or a one who isles aware of details, there are ways to help him hone his observation skills.
Visual discrimination games
Children can be taught to be more observant by playing visual discrimination games. These can be short, spur of the moment activities that take place when you have a few spare moments, or they can be part of a more formal learning session. Either way, practicing looking at details in visual images helps children understand its importance and hone this critical skill.
1. ) Play "I Spy" and add detailed information about the hidden object to prompt your child to look for those details. For instance, you might spy a book on a shelf that is a certain color with words written in a specific color as well.
2.) Look at detailed pictures in storybooks and magazines with your child. Ask him to point to specific parts of the picture. Begin by asking your child to find more obvious items and then make the game more difficult by requesting that he find smaller items, partially hidden objects or items with a specific design or detail.
4.) After taking pictures with your camera, print out two similar pictures that were taken in sequence. Often there are only slight differences between the two shots. Ask your child to point out how the two pictures are different.
5) When cooking dinner, allow your child to pull a chair up to the counter and give him some challenging compare and contrasts worksheets to complete while you are busy. This way he will fee close to you and you'll be available to answer any questions, but you can both complete your separate work.
6.) Write a letter or number boldly on an index card. Ask your child to carry the card with him when you are shopping together and tell you when he spots the letter or number on store signs.
7.) When setting the table for dinner, turn one spoon or fork upside down or move one water glass to the opposite side of the dinner plate. Ask your child to spot the error.
8.) Buy two identical Memory games. Place three of the same picture cards in a row and add a different, but similar card to that row (such as three cards that show a banana and one card with a picture of a pencil). Ask your child to find the picture that does not match the others.
9.) Using the same Memory game cards, find three pictures that belong in the same category (foods, toys, the same color, or vehicles, for example). Then add a fourth card that does not belong. Ask your child to find the odd card.
Strong observational skills will benefit your child is all areas of life. Best of all, they are fun to practice so consider starting with your child today.
Renee Abramovitz is a retired kindergarten and preschool teacher and she is passionate about helping children start school prepared to succeed. Visit her at www.schoolsparks.com for hundreds of free kindergarten worksheets to help children develop critical skills and begin school prepared to succeed.