Trans4mind Home Page
Home Article Library Child Development & Parenting

Teach Your Child Visual Discrimination

By Esther Andrews

Would you like your child to develop phenomenal creativity? Brilliant problem solving skills? A perception for details far superior than you have ever seen? Genius imagination? Here is your chance to help your child develop all these, and improve your own skills in the process! These are fun and enjoyable activities, that require no special equipment, no expense, just a little bit of practice will show huge benefits. We will talk about different age groups, and age appropriate activities.

The Subconscious Mind:
We all use only a small part of our brain. A genius part of our brain, the subconscious mind, is neglected by most of us. Our subconscious mind, which is the seat of our intuition, holds far more information than our conscious mind. It is said to know the answers to all of our problems. It is constantly active, but we have learned to ignore it, therefore we don't use its enormous capabilities. We have a bank of knowledge in our subconscious mind that we have forgotten how to access. Many techniques have been developed in order to tap our subconscious mind; some of them are based on careful observation and development of our visual discrimination.

Young children did not yet learn how to ignore their subconscious mind. Children are easily taught how to access this part of their mind. The following activities will develop the visual discrimination, and get your child into the habit of detailed observation. The advanced activities will prepare your child for the important skills of thinking in pictures, visualization, and visual creative problem solving.

Very young babies take the first few weeks of their lives to mature the connection between their eyes and their brain. You can help your newborn develop their eye-brain connection and mature their eye focus skill by showing them an image. The trick is to show your newborn an image that is big enough (for example, 10"x8" or bigger) and has bold colors. It can be a simple picture at first, preferably one of a close person, for example Mom or Dad. You hold the picture in front of your baby, and watch the baby's eyes. Wait until the baby focuses on the picture and hold it there for a second or two. Do this several times a day. You will notice that the baby takes less and less time to focus its eyes on the image. Normal babies may take 6 to 8 weeks to get to the point that they can easily focus on an image and perceive the details, but if you help your baby in this manner, it will speed up the process.

Since 'Mom knows best', you will know when your child is ready for the next step. At that time you can start showing a picture of an object and say the name of the object. The child will develop his vocabulary and visual discrimination. You can show the same image several times in a row, and then switch to a different picture. Do this only when the baby and yourself are in good mood, and turn it into a fun, relaxed and joyful activity. Show your baby lots of love when you are done.

I suggest you prepare a set of pictures ahead of time, probably about 25 pictures. Remember, the pictures should be in bold color, and at least 10"x8".

Next Step:
From there, you can start discussing the pictures with your child. If your baby cannot talk yet, you can advance to a more detailed image, and go from one detail to another, pointing them out. Then you can describe what is happening in the picture, what action is taking place, observe the people or the objects, describe them, paying attention to the smallest details. Next session you can get into finer details. You can do this a few times in a row, but after 3 times, I recommend starting on a new picture.

Please know that your child is learning much faster than you expect. Watch your child, and make sure you are not too slow. You want to avoid boring your young child, or you lose his attention.

When the Baby Can Talk:

This becomes very exciting. You take turns with your child, observing an image and describing it. From the very obvious details you can go to the less obvious details, and then you can start imagining and developing a whole story around the picture. You will discover that the more you observe the image, the more details you will notice. This will develop the child's visual perception and imagination. You can do it for a few minutes a day, or for a longer period of time (in my opinion, you should not take more than 30 minutes), but the longer you do it, the finer the details that you will observe. You can start with a few minutes a day, several times a day, and increase the period of time gradually.

This activity is appropriate for a variety of age groups. It is a great pastime, and it lets you take advantage of wasted time, for example at the doctor's waiting room or in line at the bank. When you are out of the house, you can observe your environment, and discuss your surroundings. Turn it into a game - take turns describing the subject, or imagining a story. For example, what are these people doing? What kind of family do they have? What kind of a house? How does this person feel right now? (Observe expression on their face).

After a very short period of time of practicing these activities, you will notice the results. You will notice a huge change in you too! Please, let us all know what you are observing.

This gets more and more interesting and beneficial as we progress through the activities. When you feel that the time is right, you can start practicing your child's memory. You observe an image for a few minutes, then you take the image away, and try to remember the details. Take turns describing the image, and the person who remembers more details - is the winner. You can prepare ahead of time a few questions about the picture, and ask the questions after the picture was taken away. For example: how many of a certain objects, what color is a certain object, and so forth. Within a short period of time, the child will be able to remember many details, and very fine details, too. You will discover that your own memory is improving too.

Visual memory can be improved indefinitely! I know a boy who, at the young age of 8, plaid chess without looking at the board (blindfold). He beat his chess teacher in a game, even though the teacher was allowed to look at the board.

For school-aged children:
All the activities described above, except for the one for infants, are appropriate for all ages. With school aged children, you can invent some games, or compete with them, and you can vary the games. You can take time looking at an image and describing it in more and more detailed fashion. Then take it away and see who remembers more details. This game trains the perception as well as the memory. Then you can progress to the imagination and creativity stage, when you invent a story around the picture, and try to guess how the people in the picture feel, what brought them to the "present" situation and so forth. (Of course, these are just examples). See if you can write a little story about the picture at hand.

My kudos to you for being a great parent! Next week we will look into some other enjoyable activities that can give your child the edge and turn him into a genius!

If you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to email to me at Esther Andrews. I promise to answer every e-mail.

Lets change the world by turning our children into geniuses!

Esther Andrews has grown 2 highly gifted children, and managed the "School of Gifted Education" for many years. In her newsletter, "Develop Your Child's Genius" she shares her experiences and provides information about fun and easy activities you can do with your children, to develop their intelligence in a few minutes a day.
More Child Development & Parenting articles