Stop and Smell the Roses
I can't believe it's almost August. It really feels like this year is whizzing by! Juggling all sorts of activities, it's easy to get lost in the go go go-ing of daily life.
Today, I thought we could focus on finding ways to slow down and really savor each delicious morsel of time we get to spend with our loved ones.
Lately, I've been trying to check in with each of my 5 senses (seeing/hearing/smelling/tasting/feeling) one by one and thought this might be a perfect learning opportunity to share with our little ones.
Children already are full of curiosity and ready to explore the world around them. Encouraging children to notice their senses and share their experience can help to expand their verbal skills, increase mindfulness, and create moments of meaningful connection.
Mindfulness doesn't have to be a chore. Any activity can become a playful game for children and grownups.
Find opportunities when you're chatting, waiting, or commuting to really use your sense of sight to take in your surroundings. You can share your findings with your little one, and ask what they can see. Describe what colors, shapes, and objects you see.
The classic game of "I Spy" is an easy, portable, and fun way to make a game out of investigating your surroundings using the sense of sight. No matter the verbal skills of your child, you can foster curiosity by communicating and questioning the things you see around you.
I often experience sensory overload with televisions, phones, technology everywhere. Sometimes its nice to shut everything off and really listen to the sounds around us.
What are the different sounds you can create with daily objects? Can you point them out to your child and see if they notice them too? How would they describe their experience of these sounds? Can we mimic these sounds with our voices and our bodies?
What other sounds can we create with our own voices and bodies? You can point out the sounds of our feet hitting the ground as we walk, our hands tapping on our lap, and the sound of songs we love to sing.
Smell Ya Later
As cheesy as it is, sometimes it's nice to literally stop and smell the roses. What are the things we smell in passing throughout our day that we can use language to describe?
They say smell is deeply connected to our memory. Whenever I smell basmati rice cooking, I remember my dinners with my mom and the time spent together. What smells do you experience as a family? Discussing our sense of smell with little ones is the perfect opportunity to share past memories and create future ones.
Probably my favorite sense is the sense of taste. When sharing a snack or meal with your little one, find time to discuss the flavors you can taste. Maybe even try a taste test guessing game!
What is it that they like about the foods they love? What food do you love that maybe your picky eater isn't ready to try? How can we make taste an exploratory exercise that encourages our little ones to try new things and assess them based on the experience rather than the judgement of good or bad?
You Feel Me?
There are endless options to explore our sense of touch. We can describe everyday things we feel, like the texture of clothes, running water on our hands, or a fuzzy stuffed animal.
We can also created sensory experiences by providing the opportunity to really get messy. Whether this is at the beach or at home, you can find simple, accessible objects of varying textures to play with and give your child the chance to explore.
If you're looking for a simple sensory bin idea, you can make your own taste-safe sand at home by combining:
-4 cups of flour (whole wheat for color)
-1/2 cup vegetable oil
Life doesn't have to be a beach to soak up the sensory moments all around you!
Have fun experiencing and talking about your senses with your little one! We will see you soon.