The Human Body: The Senses (page 2)
The home and its environs offer many, many opportunities for parents and children to explore the senses and share sensory experiences. Both inside and outside, there are things to see, smell, hear, taste, and touch. When parents encourage close observation through the senses, children learn the importance of their perceptual functions in concept formation.
Parents (and teachers too) need to formulate safety rules for sensory exploration. For example, not all things should be tasted or touched. Children should taste and touch only those items that parents approve. Parents will probably be aware of their children’s allergies, but teachers should certainly be informed. The senses also warn children about danger, but they may not be fully aware that a very hot burner in the kitchen will seriously burn them.
The following experiences require almost no preparation on the part of parents except perhaps time. Teachers may want to send these suggestions home through a handout or newsletter or discuss them at a meeting with parents.
- Parents can help children to sharpen their listening skills. Read P. Showers’s The Listening Walk. After discussing the things that parents and children may hear on a walk (especially if they are quiet), parents may venture out with their children to take a walk. Parents and older children should record everything they can hear. These sounds vary with the time of day and the location of their home. For example, city children will probably hear cars, airplanes, buses, and the chatter of people and businesses. Children in the country may hear the wind, rustling leaves, small animals, birds, and insects. As a follow-up activity (or for a parent meeting or party), teachers may ask parents to assist children in recording their findings, then go back to class and compare the sounds that were heard. Did children hear the same things? Sounds may be charted with comparisons.
- As parents invite children to help with regular cooking routines or a special dinner, children may taste, smell, feel, and observe ingredients before, during, and after the cooking process. Parents and children may make a list of everything that was experienced by each of the senses. Of course, everyone gets to eat the food and describe its texture. Making popcorn is a simple and inexpensive way for children to have a sensory experience. Making popcorn engages all of the senses. Children hear it pop, watch the transformation from corn to “puff,” and smell the corn as it pops. Comparison can be made between the kernel and the finished product, between popcorn with and without salt.
Potential learning experiences for families based upon the senses present themselves every day. Teachers may want to remind parents to capitalize upon sensory experiences and heighten their awareness of the opportunities available. For example, “Taste this salt that I am adding to the stew and tell me about it.” “Does the cake batter need more sugar?”
© ______ 2007, Merrill, an imprint of Pearson Education Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The reproduction, duplication, or distribution of this material by any means including but not limited to email and blogs is strictly prohibited without the explicit permission of the publisher.
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