Sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell. The five senses are a crucial part of early childhood development. Children learn about and make sense of the world around them through their senses. They learn about their environment, how to communicate with others, and develop social skills.
From the moment they are born, sight is a key way that children learn to explore and understand the world. From faces to bright colors children quickly begin to perceive and interpret visual information.
To support visual development, provide children with toys and objects of different colors, shapes, and textures. Read books to help them learn about different objects and concepts.
Children are exposed to sound from the moment they are born. A parent’s voice, music, and environmental sounds are quickly nearby. As a child grows, they can distinguish between sounds and identify the sources of sounds.
Expose children to a variety of sounds to develop these skills. Listen to music, noises outdoors, and languages. Sing songs, play instruments, and read books out loud to help develop hearing and language skills.
Feeling the world around them is something that children are drawn to early on in their lives. They may be comforted when being held or touching and grasping for finders and different objects or textures.
Develop a child’s sense of touch through different textures like soft blankets or rough blocks. Engage in activities like finger painting or playing with playdough.
Taste and Smell
These senses are closely linked, from a first drop of milk to their first solid foods, children will explore different tastes and smells. Provide a variety of flavors and aromas to stimulate these senses.
Introduce children to different types of foods and spices and involve them in the cooking process when preparing meals.
Additional Activity Ideas
- Sensory bins: Fill a bin with materials like rice, beans, or sand and let your child explore the textures. Add hidden objects like toys, tools, or pinecones and leaves to add more interest.
- Sensory walks: Take a sensory walk and ask your child to point out what they see, hear, feel, and smell. Ask them questions to help them describe their experiences.
- Play dough: Mix in essential oils, spices, or natural dyes to make play dough look and smell different. Add different textures with sand, rice, or glitter.
- Dance parties: Play different types of music and encourage your child to move their body to the rhythm. This helps to develop a sense of timing, rhythm, and coordination.
- Sensory bottles: Fill a clear bottle with materials like glitter, beads, or rice and add water. Shake the bottle and the materials will move and create interesting patterns and sounds to stimulate your child.
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