Our Senses

Our Senses

plural noun: senses

  1. a faculty by which the body perceives an external stimulus; one of the faculties of sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch.

Ouch….Ew….Yuck!  Right from the start….life is a journey of the senses.  For babies and toddlers the things they hear, see, smell, touch and taste begin to form everything they know about the world around them.  And really, quite literally, this continues throughout life.

The senses work through a network of nerves that, like a highly complex roadway, carry signals between our sense organs/receptors and our brains.

How does it feel to be enveloped in a warm hug?  Which do you prefer, a bath or a shower?  Why don’t we like those scratchy tags on our t-shirts?  Does anyone else love to crumple up paper into a ball?  How do you know there are cookies in the oven, or baby brother needs a diaper change?  What gives it away that the bananas are getting too ripe?  How do you feel when your favorite song comes on the radio or a friend calls on the phone to chat?

All day, every day we are bombard and are constantly assessing situations through our senses.  And its not just physical.  As we take in information through our senses, our belief patterns, the way we understand the world to work, and how we think begin to take shape too.  Have you ever heard the saying “seeing is believing” ?  Our sense of taste and smell influence our eating habits.  How our bodies process the feelings of hot and cold influence our level of comfort and potentially our level of ease or anxiety in different situations.

Walk while chewing gum?  Balance on one foot while singing a song?  Rub your belly and pat your head? Brush your teeth with your non dominant hand?  Spin, duck, weave, dart, jump, hop, bear crawl to your heart’s content.

Even though we know the “five senses” best, there are two other senses that are huge when it comes to the fully developing child and they have to do with movement and body awareness.  The vestibular system detects movement through inner ear receptors and the proprioception system is basic body awareness that allows a person to keep track of and control parts of their body.  Activities that encourage movement, developing concentration and coordination, use of both sides of the body, and balance are awesome for boosting this sensory skill set.

Now it all makes sense!

Suggested Reading LIst

  • You Can’t Taste a Pickle with Your Ear by Harriet Ziefert
  • My Five Senses by Aliki (also in Spanish)
  • Cold Crunchy Colorful by Jane Brocket
  • Bark, George by Jules Feiffer
  • Listen, Buddy by Helen Lester
  • The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
  • Hey, Water by Antoinette Portis
  • Mud Book: How to Make Pies and Cakes by John Cage
  • Festival of Colors by Kabir Sehgal
  • The Squiggle by Carole Lexa Schaefer
  • I Feel a Foot by Maranke Rinke
  • In the Tall, Tall Grass by Denise Fleming
  • Listen by Holly M. McGhee
  • The Listening Walk by Paul Showers

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