Exploring Your Senses!
by Kim Jaworski, Homeschool Resource Specialist
Have you studied your senses with your grade schooler yet? These are such fun activities as you watch them focus their concentration on just one sense to make their guesses.
Taste is easy enough. Arrange a variety of food samples or even some items from the spice rack or baking cupboard for your blindfolded child to taste. Make sure pieces are small so the texture doesn’t give it away. You can grate apples or pears and mash a banana to avoid giving clues through texture. Let the child guess (first with nose plugged and then without) and chart their answers. You’ll see how taste and smell work together.
Smell challenges can include an array of perfumes, spices, food items, cleaning products and any other smell your child might recognize. Put each “smell” in a Dixie cup with the answer written on the bottom. Perfumes can be sprayed into a square of toilet tissue, and then the tissue tucked in the cup. Other items can just be placed in the cups. A blindfold will again help focus the child’s concentration to just their nose and remove any hints from what something looks like.
Exploring Sight can mean looking at books about optical illusions or exploring what we can see by day or by night, and how much light we need to manage to get around in the dark. You can also cover one eye and then both and have the kids navigate through the house that way. Be mindful of any possible hazards as they make their way. Also a great time to talk about and explore peripheral vision and the things we see without even looking at them.
Our sense of Touch can mean texture, hardness/softness, and a variety of nuances that our fingers take in as we handle something. Gather things of different texture and rub each against the back of your child’s hand, their forearm, or let them rub their fingers over it and say if it feels smooth, soft, scratchy or dry to them. You can play with textures like sand paper, chalk, different kinds of cloth, sawdust or sand. See how different parts of our arms and hands are more sensitive to these differences. What about the back of your neck? Can your blindfolded child recognize common objects just by feeling them with their hands? Try a plastic cup, marker, or spoon, and then move on to something trickier like a chopstick or a leaf.
Hearing activities can be played anywhere. The grocery store, the park or the library—what makes that sound? Or at home, you can sit your child in one room while you go into the next room and create a sound for her to identify. Drop a book on the kitchen counter, turn on the faucet or garbage disposal, turn on a small fan. Try to find obscure things and see if your child can place the sound. Click a stapler, snap 2 lego pieces together, close the rings of a 3-ring binder. Or for older children, set different items on the kitchen counter and see if they can guess what it is just from the sound it makes when you set it down. Can they tell what it is or what it’s made of? A drinking glass, a coffee cup, a tea kettle, a small cooking pot or a fork.
The next time there’s an odd sound in the house, have everyone venture a guess as to what made the noise. Then investigate to see who is the better sound sleuth.