All the five

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Do you love the feeling of sand between your toes? The squishy softness of playdoh in your hands? The smell of your garden after the rain? 

Our senses shape our experience of the world and the memories we carry throughout our lives. Think for a moment about your favourite smell. Where does it take you? 

Children are born eager to touch, see, taste and be part of the world! Every day your child’s senses are hard at work understanding and learning about how things look, feel, smell, taste or sound.  

Everyday routines such as meal times can challenge your child’s senses as they separate the green ‘poppy’ peas from the ‘mushy' potato. At bath time, floating, popping bubbles bring endless joy to the senses. Share a lift-the-flap book for a game of peek-a-boo that can gift you and your child hours of bonding and discovery.  

When your child uses their senses, they are building language skills, especially when you take part in the discovery. Asking your child questions like “How does it feel?", "What does it look like?", or "What sound does it make?” encourages them to focus on using a different sense at a time. When you use descriptive words like cold, fluffy, smooth, soft, hard, or rough, you are helping your little one put words to their thoughts and build up their word bank.

No two babies are identical, so no matter what senses your child has access to, encourage them to make the most of them with fun brain-building experiences and play.  

  • Head outside where you will be surrounded by different sounds, colours and textures. Feel the warm sun on your face and the cool breeze in your hair! “Can you hear the birds chirping?", "I wonder how this flower smells?", "This grass is so soft". 

  • Make a simple playdoh together from scratch and practise words as you measure out the ingredients. “How does the flour feel?", "How does it smell?”. You can make different shapes with your playdoh and explore all the colours and textures.  

  • Share some touch-and-feel books with your child.  

Small moments like these can have big impacts on your child’s early literacy. Let your child go barefoot in the sandpit or make a mess at mealtime - opportunities to talk, read and sing together can happen anywhere, anytime! 

“I have… 

Two eyes so I can see what is around me.

A nose to smell the flowers. 

A tongue to taste the food I eat. 

Fingers and toes to help me touch and feel.

And two ears to help me hear all the wonderful sounds of the world around me.” 

Try with your little one!

Great books for highlighting senses:  

  •  We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen 
  • Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak 
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle 
  • Whatever Next by Jill Murphy 
  • The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson 

If these books are not available at your local library, ask the friendly staff for more suggestions, or see if they are available via Inter Library loan.  


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