"Taste this!" "Look at that!" "Listen up!" Parents appeal to their children's senses throughout the day without thinking about it. You can also encourage your kids' awareness of their senses in a more overt manner, and have them learn from the experience, by staging fun activities that focus on the five senses. Call them the "Sensory Olympics" and get ready to host the games.
"Activities involving the senses are great ways to help children learn about themselves and about science -- and have a great time doing it," says Eric H. Chudler, PhD, a research neuroscientist at the University of Washington in Seattle. Chudler also is director of Neuroscience for Kids, a National Institutes of Health-supported initiative devoted to teaching students and teachers about how the brain works.
After consulting with Chudler and with Lawrence Katz, PhD, author of Keep Your Brain Alive, we gathered some sensory exercises that will make your kids use -- and marvel at -- their five senses. Most of these events are basic enough that young children (6 or younger) will find them easy to follow, but fun enough that older siblings won't mind joining in. We've also offered some sense-appropriate prizes for the winner of each event.
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