A challenge of working in child care is discovering ways to engage children while also enhancing their development. Exploring the five senses with children in child care can open up your mind to many activities with the confidence that you are contributing to their development.
The five senses are an excellent way for children to learn about the world. Providing plenty of opportunities in child care to expose children’s senses to a variety of stimuli goes a long way to shape their development and understanding of themselves and the world around them.
Just in case you need a refresher, the five senses are taste, sight, touch, smell and hearing. Let’s discover some engaging activities you can try when exploring the five senses with children in your care.
Taste adventures can happen each day at meal times, the key is to how children how to be mindful and take notice of the flavours. Morning tea is usually great — cut a few different fruits up to taste the different flavours. Compare lemons to bananas and talk about the different taste experiences.
Sight is a great sense to explore while also working on early literacy and improving children’s memory and observational skills. ‘I Spy’ is simple, fun and can be tailored to different ages. For example, if children are not yet able to identify objects by the letter they begin with, try adapting the game and encouraging children to say “I spy with my little eye something green/big/hairy” and so on.
There are many ways to explore the world through touch that will keep children entertained inside and outdoors. With older children you could try putting items inside a pillow case and getting them to take turns identifying the object or objects by only using their hands. Head outside and have fun with messy play, experimenting with the different textures of mud, sand, water, leaves and other similar.
Place a variety of strong smelling objects in an array of plastic cups with a piece of fabric over the top and you have smelling cups! Children can guess what is inside each cup, without looking of course. Flowers, onion, coffee, mint — the options are endless. Change it up by naming a scent and asking them to say which cup they think it is in.
The most engaging and enjoyable way for children to explore the sense that is hearing is through music. Get out the drums, xylophone, guitar, recorder — you name it — and make some music! Experiment playing fast, playing slow, playing softly and playing loud and identify feature or differences between sounds.
The five senses present a great way to approach early learning in child care, and so much fun as well.
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