Kayaking across a lake or soaring with the pigeons, Frankee considers himself a natural born explorer. Truth is, most kids are a lot like Frankee. Every chance they get, they seek out exciting new challenges. For children, life is an unfolding adventure, experienced through their senses. Each one fires off different connections within your child’s growing mind. Besides being fun, engaging in sensory play with your little one helps her stimulate memory, build language, learning, and cognitive skills.
Get creative and try the sensory experiences below!
Place 3 objects with different feels on plates or cups. Uncooked spaghetti, mushy jello, paperclips, kidney beans… Whatever works. Go for it! Have your child close her eyes, and simply feel. Allow her to experience the tactile stimuli.
Set up a scent station in your kitchen: start with two or three aromas, one in each jar. Fragrant herbs, spices, essential oils, all work great. Be playful and silly. Have your child close her eyes and play a scent-guessing game as she tries to figure out the contents. Encourage her to express herself. What does the scent make her think/feel?Scent is linked to memory in the brain, builds focus and concentration.
FeeBee swirls beauty into the world with one stroke of her magic paintbrush. But she also loves getting lost in the work of others. Take a lesson from FeeBee, choose a brightly colored work of art that isn’t identifiable. A painting, or print, (magazine or video image) with an assortment of shapes. Ask your child to focus for at least 5 minutes. Later, talk about what she sees. Gazing at abstract art helps foster creativity, imagination, and deepen problem solving skills as the mind processes what it sees.
Discovering nutritious foods through sensations is fun, one veggie at a time. With closed eyes, tell your child to notice texture, and taste on her tongue. Ask her to become aware of when food tastes changes, while chewing slowly. After swallowing, what does she remember about the taste?
One of the best ways to experience sound is through silence. Ideally, done in nature, sit with your child on a blanket or comfy chair. Open or closed eyes, relax the breath, seek out all sounds large and small. Simply listen. After 5-10 minutes of quiet time, ask your child what she discovered. Listening helps engage the mind, improves learning, communication and lessens anxiety.