Rhythm, Clocks and Child Development


Could it be that listening to the steady tick-tock of a clock and seeing its pendulum swing to and fro may ‘feed’ a child’s brain with the “food” of rhythm? tick-color-scratchandpeck.blogspot.comAre kids attracted to clocks partly because they sense that clocks are good for them? We had good reasons to think so. In fact, in the fields of science, it’s well known that input from the five senses seeing, hearing, touching, etc. plays a crucial role in the brain development of young children.

Following our “hunch” we went to Dr. Kevin McGrew for his opinion. Dr. McGrew is an educational psychologist and the director of the Institute for Applied Psychometrics. We asked him if it was feasible for a young child to be affected, to some extent, in a positive way, by the sound of a ticking clock while awake, or even while asleep, or by the sight of the rhythmic swing of its pendulum.

Tick-shp1x-wphillips.com“It is a reasonable hypothesis,” he said, “based on the extensive body of research currently available on mental timing (brain clock) research, “but,” he continued, “I currently have not conducted the systematic literature review and synthesis of the necessary research to determine the scientific support for the hypothesis.”



So the next step was to do our own research to see if there were any scientific studies that would confirm this “reasonable hypothesis”. So far none have been found; we’ll update this article if and when they are. But what we do know now, based on the results of the established studies on child Tick-kids-clappingliffeytruststudios.com-2development in general is that when children use their innate sense of timing and keep a steady beat, their speech flow, motor tasks, sports skills, reading and writing abilities and a lot more, are dramatically affected. These studies have inspired some to publish child development books and resources for parents, offering a wide variety of rhythmic activity ideas including interactive clock songs. Kids are drawn to these activities. When they play, it’s obvious to see how they love to express beats and rhythms, repeatedly, in new and different ways especially when they sing, clap, dance and laugh to music.

One of the studies mentioned above confirms the benefits of what kids do naturally. It made use of a system called “Interactive Metronome”, or “IM” for short.  IM combines a metronome (a ‘clock-like’ device) with computerized technology to fine tune the human ‘brain clock.’ This is how it’s done: the metronome produces an audible metric ‘beat’ or rhythm, much like the tick-tock pattern of an analog clock; by a person interacting with the metronome’s beat through hand and foot movements, the brain becomes more efficient and synchronous. IM is recognized as an effective intervention therapy and is mainly used to treat learning disabilities, ADHD, dyslexia, autism, and more.

tick-shrp2X-mastercoaches.comwonderIn light of the wide ranging benefits that have been achieved through rhythmic training and fine tuning the “brain clock”, it becomes clearer why children would have an instinctive attraction to the steady beat of an analog clock. Each year at the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors Museum, about 2,100 children between the ages of 3 and 8 years old are captured by the rhythms of the ticking sounds, chimes, gongs, gears, bellows, pendulums and escapements. More than most, museum Director Noel Poirier gets to see first hand the wonder and enjoyment children experience when they encounter clocks. “Children are fascinated by clocks and watches and I have yet to determine why that is” Poirier said, “I don’t know if it’s the sensory experience of the child…but what we’ve discovered is that children love looking at timepieces and really trying to understand them.”

The intrigue kids experience with clocks may be for a reason that goes deeper than mere interest or curiosity. It just may have something to do with ‘brain nutrition,’ that is, being ‘fed’ with the ‘food’ of rhythm.

Are you interested in a cuckoo clock for your little one? Check our selection of kids cuckoo clocks.

If you’ve enjoyed this article be sure to check out our other related article “Clocks Point To More Than Time”. For more information about Interactive Metronome and brain synchronization see www.themindhub.com and www.brainclock.net.

Photo Credits:

Photo # 1 – Tick tock and clock – scratchandpeck.blogspot.com

Photo # 2 – Man with magnifying glass – wphillips.com

Photo # 3 – Children clapping hands – liffeytruststudios.com

Photo # 4 – a fascinated child – mastercoaches.com


Clocks Point to More than Time


Why are clocks so fascinating? What is our connection with them? The mystery of time is surely a broad topic and plenty of blog articles could be written about it from many different viewpoints, such as science, philosophy, theology, first-hand experience, etc. In this article, we’ll look at two of them. Taking a view from plain old experience and from a bit of science, we can find out something more about the allure of time and clocks.

Experience tells us that the relationship we have with clocks is deeper than what we see on the surface. Yes, clocks keep us organized; order, flow and continuity come from their reliability, enjoyment comes from their aesthetics. Point-2-thriftyartist.blogspot.com-handBut there’s more. And it has to do with rhythm and pattern. Rhythm is found in any recurrent sound, movement, arrangement or condition in any sphere of life, including clocks.

Let’s look first at the hands of an analog clock. They follow a circular pattern and always arrive back at the place where they started, only to begin again as so many patterns and rhythms of nature do. Accompanying that continuum of movement is the delightfully ordered and rhythmic tick-tock of the clock’s mechanism. A swinging pendulum yet adds another layer of rhythm.

So if you’ve ever sensed a certain connection when you looked at a clock, or listened to its ticking, or watched its pendulum swing, there is a reason. In its simple and unassuming way, a clock mirrors the order and rhythm of nature and reminds us that we’re connected to that rhythm. Rhythm is an integral part of our being, so much so that we can even say that we’re “rhythmic beings,” and because we are, we have a natural affinity to the presence and workings of rhythm all around us in the patterns of the seasons, galaxies, mathematics, music, sports, poetry and so on…and in the patterns of the clocks.

Now to throw in some science, biology, at that. It’s well known in the fields of science that rhythm is an inseparable and intrinsic part of our physical bodies; our brain is a “master clock” that coordinates all of our body clocks. Our brain controls our internal timekeeper, called a “circadian rhythm,” so that all parts of our body work in sync with one another–all moving together like the precise gears and mechanisms of a finely tuned clock.

Children naturally experience, over and over again in different ways, just what we’re talking about–the beats, rhythms, and patterns, when they sing, clap, dance, laugh to music…and listen to the steady tick of a clock.

So we feel this connection with clocks because they’re closer to us than we might realize. When we look at and listen to a clock something inside us resonates, something that speaks of the rhythm that moves in us and all around us, and is perhaps the most basic pattern in nature. It’s our plain old experience that confirms it; clocks are just fascinating.

Photo Credits:

Photo # 1 – Clock face – we-are-star-stuff.tumblr.com

Photo # 2 –  Pointing hand – thriftyartist.blogspot.com

5 Good Reasons Why Clock Enthusiasts Are Enthusiastic


BLOG#2rh8367_289x433Ah, the difference between a digital clock and an analog clock. Where are the animated dancers, the finely crafted wood carvings, the deep sonorous gongs and the dumpling eaters? Think about it. They’re seen and heard on the analog clocks. I’d rather get the time from a beautiful grandfather clock or a charming cuckoo clock than from the digital icon on my computer screen or iPad. Wouldn’t you? Maybe you’ve been thinking about getting a clock, but aren’t convinced yet that it’s a good idea.

Here are 5 reasons why clock enthusiasts are enthusiastic:

1. Tradition

Blog-tradition-polls_tradition_2258_517561_pollYes, analog clocks are passed down from generation to generation bringing with them their family history and the warmth of relationships. And, by the way, clock lovers, who have sometimes lost their family treasure, will purchase a clock today that is just like what their grandmother had. That reconnects them to their family heritage in a deep and personal way. And what if there isn’t a family heirloom to be passed down? You could start one today. It will be an heirloom in the making. Think of your children and their children who will remember you and enjoy the beauty of the clock you got started.

2. Decoration

BLOG-Hermle0803RoomSceneThis can be anything from filling that large wall with a chic over-sized clock or grouping a selection of smaller clocks to create a center of attention. Like a painting, a clock will beautify your decor. They’re works of art. You can bet they’ll add warmth, atmosphere and charm to your home. They’re versatile too, whether traditional or modern, large or small, for the table top or fireplace mantel, clocks bring movement and mirth to the air.

3. Relationship

BLOG#3relationship-300x225Here is where the fun is. Did you know how musical and moving a clock is? They’re almost like kinetic sculptures that you can interact with daily. They engage your senses and can fill your spirit. Listen to their sounds, feel the clicking in your fingers and hands as you wind them and admire the visual artistry of their craftsmanship. With their ticking, chiming, cuckoo-ing and swinging, they become a part of the hum of your home.

4. Expression

BLOG-#2-PaintBrushesWhat is your unique personality? Clocks let you express it with their variety of colors, shapes, textures, and sounds. There are fun clocks, bold clocks, stylish clocks, classic clocks, unusual clocks, chic and over-sized clocks–all with their own flavor and character.

 5. Conversation

BLOG-conversation#2-indexHaving friends or relatives over? The winsome characters, hand painting and woodwork, deep sonorous gongs and the intricate brass mechanisms seen through a clear casing, have been known to open many a conversation over a glass of sherry before the ring of the dinner bell, or with a cup of mint tea at dessert.

Convinced yet why clock enthusiasts are enthusiastic about clocks? If not, ask any clock lover and they’ll tell you–or even better, they’ll show you. And you just might catch the enthusiasm.

Photo Credits:

Cuckoo Clock: northcoastimports.com

Room Scene: hermleclock.com

Paint brushes: http://inspired2act.com