Have you ever noticed how much more children remember when they've been actively involved in hands-on activities and experiences?
This is because hands-on activities activate kids' brains.
Activities which require talking, listening, touching, moving, etc., use multiple areas of children's brains. Hands-on activities allow children to use different senses (sight, touch, smell, hearing and taste) to gather information and make sense of what they are experiencing.
When children use multiple areas of their brain, they retain more information. By using different skills (e.g., drawing, talking and listening), children make connections in their brains which enable them to expand their understanding and knowledge.
This is something to remember especially when it comes to listening stories. By expanding story times to actively include children, we enhance children's comprehension and language skills.
Practical Ways to Engage Children in Hands-On Story Activities
To engage children actively in story times through hands-on activities, children could:
- draw what they hear while listening to the story
- help to make sound effects (e.g., clapping hands, stomping feet to make noises for horse hooves/ play musical instruments, etc) to enhance the story
- act out stories with simple props added in
- turn the story into a puppet show
- help to read repetitive phrases or join in with text they know
- read the direct speech of different characters, just as if it were a play
- make a sound or do an action every time they hear a particular word (e.g., jump up, clap, baa like a sheep, etc.)
- predict what they think is going to happen next
- talk about what has/is happening in the story and why
- read the story to others.
There are many ways to get children actively involved in reading stories. What are some of your favourite methods? We'd love to hear about your experiences. Leave a comment on this post or on our facebook page.
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