Playing with Senses - #GrowBigathome
We know how difficult it can be to entertain and stimulate your children when you're stuck at home! We have put together some simple, easy and cheap ways to engage the senses in a fun way which everyone can try, using household items or the nature on your doorstep. Take a look!
Playing with Smell
We don’t always think about our sense of smell until aromas trigger likes or dislikes, evoke memories or even alert us to danger such as when smelling smoke in a house. To engage your sense of smell, try these simple suggestions at home and have fun!
Blindfold smell test
Collect a range of smells from ingredients around the house- slices of orange, coffee granules, chopped herbs, fabric conditioner, disinfectant etc. (Always choose products which are safe to smell/inhale through the nose).
Take it in turns to place a scarf around your child’s eyes so that they can’t see and allow them to smell the ingredients one by one to see if they can guess what it is.
Go for a smelly walk
Look through magazines or images on the internet for examples of scents that you may smell whilst out for a walk in your local area. These could include car fumes, bonfire smoke, freshly cut grass, flowers, horse manure, etc.
Make a checklist and when you go out for a walk get the children to tick off the smells that they experience whilst out on the walk.
Did they have a favourite?
What did they dislike?
Playing with Taste
Taste and smell are closely linked; our lips and tongues are highly sensitive and the average human has around 10,000 taste buds! Taste is very individual - what one person likes, another may hate. Texture is also a very personal thing; some children may have an aversion to certain textures such as sloppy foods whilst others may enjoy the experience of crunching textures with their teeth like dried pasta or cereals.
Take the taste test
This is also a blindfold game so take it in turns to wear a hat that covers the eyes or loosely tie a scarf around your child’s eyes whilst they take turns to taste different foods.
Consider selecting a variety that will allow sensations from sweet to spicy, spicy to salty. Selecting a variety of textures or mashed foods will allow children to experience the different sensations in their mouth.
Try creating food pictures where foods are organised and arranged on plates. This helps to encourage new vocabulary and conversation as well as providing an opportunity to refine those fine motor skills as children grip and organise the foods.
After creating the pictures, enjoy eating them!
Playing with Touch
Take a look around the house to see what is available for you to create a tactile floor space that children can walk, crawl or slide across – wool rugs, rubber mats, bubble wrap sheets, pillows, newspaper, or even foods like rice or cereal to create a crunchy walk!
Cook some spaghetti and add food colouring to the water whilst it's cooking so that the spaghetti absorbs the colour. Drain and allow it to cool. Add some soap and mix before allowing the children to play with the spaghetti worms.
Playing with sound
Our world is filled with sounds and we usually develop skills to tune out background noises that are unimportant to us (eg traffic noise, ticking clocks, washing machines). We learn to focus and tune into sounds that are relevant to us or aid our communication such as voices and telephones.
Experiment with sounds
Encourage children to explore making different sounds with their mouth; clicking with their tongues, whistling or even blowing raspberries!
Move onto imitating animal sounds - hiss like a goose, cluck like a hen, quack like a duck or moo like a cow. This is great for developing language and practising animals names.
Build on this idea by getting children to either impersonate these animals or to make the noise that an animal’s footsteps would make - scampering like a mouse, stamping like an elephant, creeping like a tiger.
Playing with sight
Making bubble pictures
Make your own bubble mixture by either using hypoallergenic washing up liquid or baby shampoo. Divide the mixture into old yoghurt pots and add a little paint or food colouring to each.
Create bubbles by blowing a bit of the mixture over a surface of paper to create patterns and bubble prints.
Looking through water
Fill a clear plastic bottle with water and look through it to see how images are distorted. Look through pictures from a book or magazine to experiment with the visual changes. Discuss with the children what they see and how it has changed from how they normally see it.
We hope these cheap and easy ideas help you to entertain your little ones and stimulate your senses! Have fun!