I decided to work a bit with Sammy on his 5 senses. Sammy has become recently fascinated by the dark. He has slept with a night light for some time now, but has started to show some interest in having his room dark. And he loves flashlights. Really loves them. I thought it would be a fun idea to come up with some 5 senses learning activities we could play in the dark.
There are actually a lot of reasons for playing games in the dark. Of all the 5 senses, Preschoolers and Kindergarteners begin to rely on their sense of sight even more then their sense of touch. It is an excellent idea to expose wee ones to using all of their different 5 senses. By learning through touch, the information is encoded into our wee ones brain in a slightly different way then learning it through, say, sight or sound.
Our 5 Senses are: Sight, Sound, Touch, Taste, and Smell. I introduced my Sammy to each of these senses with an apple.
First I had him tell me what it was using his sight. Then I let him listen to it (hmmm … well that was pretty uneventful). He touched the apple and then we cut a slice, explaining to me what he felt. He then smelled and tasted the apple.
Then we played some games that used our five senses!
1. Explore in the Dark
This is a super simple, super educational, and super fun activity for toddlers and preschoolers. We simply turned the lights off in a room (so it is dim, not completely black) and had him explore. Wee ones can simply explore items in the darkened room, or can be provided with items to try to identify. I encouraged my Sammy to use as many senses as he could.
- The Touching Game or Smelling Game or Tasting Game or Listening Game
In that same dark room I gave Sammy items to identify only by using one sense. we used a gourd, leaf, cinnamon, and an apple (it is Fall!). Sammy explored the items one at a time and tried to identify them using only one sense. Then he added in one more sense to see if he was right.
(I turned the lights on for the picture and had Sammy close his eyes – these are not very photo friendly activity – I do apologize!!)
2. Flashlight Tag
A favourite game of ours right now is Flashlight tag. There are many versions, but the way we play is great for wee ones. My Sammy gets a flashlight (so immediately he is thrilled and engaged – did I mention his obsession … I mean love of flashlights?) and I call out a description, such as, “Shine your flashlight on something bumpy”, or “Something that starts with the sound ‘S'”. We have played this many times and simply focus the description on whatever skill we have been working on. Here are some ideas:
“Shine your flashlight on something that rhymes with _______”
“… something that is big”
“… something that is soft”
Just like the first game, this one helps wee ones build deeper connections and a deeper understanding of their world.
3. Lights Out Obstacle Course
This is another family favourite — truly fun for the whole family. And with winter just around the corner (I am so sorry to have said that to you! It’s only September!) we will be getting dark skies before dinner soon. We create an obstacle course in the dark – with soft things of course. Lots of cushions, blankets, pillows, soft chairs, and usually a couch. Starting at one side, everyone has a turn trying to get through the obstacle course. My wee ones love when we time them and always make it a competition against Mom and Dad.
This is a great way to figure out how to get around an obstacle (Can we go over? Under? Around?) without using sight. Further deepening our wee ones understanding of movement.
Playing in the dark was a fun way for my Sammy to learn about his 5 senses. And it was also a great way to make the dark not seem so scary.
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Keep those Wee Ones Learning!