The Same And Different
To be able to discriminate between the identical and the different, children need to have some developmental skills in place. They need to be able to focus and then analyze and compare objects. They need to compare different variables, such as size, color, shape, and position in space in their mind before making a judgment. Indeed, it may seem like a lot of calculations for a three-year-old! But you can help your kids discriminate objects and people using their senses through these:
- Visual Discrimination — Children are learning to distinguish the visual differences between objects and people. They will consider shape, size, color, and position in space as they do this. Now is a good time to teach them about different colors and shapes.
- Auditory Discrimination – Preschoolers learn to listen to differences between sounds by noticing whether the sounds are high or low, long or short, rhythmical or not rhythmical. Get simple, child-friendly musical instruments and demonstrate the different characteristics of sounds to your kids.
- Vestibular Discrimination – Your vestibular system is responsible for your sense of balance and, together with your proprioceptive system, your perception of your place in space. Children learn how to discriminate between different positions by learning words such as in, up, under, over and through. Play with your kids using a large box and tell them where they are in relation to that box. Instruct them to climb onto the box and illustrate the change in position as they do so.
- Touch Discrimination – Your skin is your body’s largest sensory organ and it sends large amounts of information to your brain for discriminative purposes. Children learn how to discriminate between different textures of fabric and objects touching their skin. They also learn adjectives such as soft, hard, slimy, downy, scratchy, silky as they are exposed to these objects with varied textures.
Children need the ability to discriminate between letters, speech sounds and numbers by the time they start with Kindergarten. Providing them with a sensory-rich environment while they are young will help lay a strong foundation for the development of these skills.