SPARKLERS / Using our senses

Sense of the day

A week of sensory fun and exploration.
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Why we love it

Mindfulness enables us to participate more fully in our lives, be responsive rather than reactive and understand and manage our emotions.

We often forget to tune into our senses, or rely largely on our sense of sight.

This activity helps tamariki discover and focus on their lesser-used senses, so they can find new ways to be present and enjoy the moment.

Kōrero

To help tamariki think about their senses, ask:

  • What sorts of things might we notice when we’re at the beach?
  • So what are the different ways we can notice or experience something? (Sight, smell, touch, sound, taste.)
  • And what are these things called? (Our senses!)
  • Which senses do we notice most? Which do we often forget about?
  • What places could we use our senses more?
  • What are your favourite sensory activities? (Baking, eating, walking on the beach, smelling candles, noticing the feel of nice materials.)

What to do

We’d suggest introducing this activity on a Friday, ahead of a fresh week.

Let your class know that you’re going to have a sensory week where they’ll get to explore and enjoy a different sense each day.

Starting Monday, write your ‘sense of the day’ on the board. You may like to change some things in the room to bring this sense to life. E.g. Using a nice room spray if your sense of the day is smell.

Brainstorm your Sense of the Day. When do they most enjoy using this sense (e.g the smell of fresh baking, the ocean, their Mum’s perfume)?

To bring the sense to life, set up (or hand out) 1-5 fun tactile things tamariki can try using that sense. E.g.

  • Smell: Lemon/lime, popcorn, chilli paste, pine needles, saw dust, grass, cotton wool with lavendar.
  • Touch: Cotton wool, pinecones, sand, fur, moss, stones, drift wood.
  • Taste: Chocolate, orange, marmite, cheese, raisins, rock melon, pretzels.
  • Sight: Windmills, kaleidoscope, colours, photos, or try this optical Illusions website for kids.
  • Sound: Instruments and auditory items or play Guess the sound (hide pictures and pause after each noise to let them guess!).

Encourage tamariki to keep tuning into your ‘sense of the day’ and give them a chance the following morning to report back on things they’ve noticed. They may like to bring something from home that encourages this sense.

Ask how they found focusing on this sense, and whether there are situations they’d like to use it more.

Extension

Try Juicy, crispy, crunch so tamariki can describe a sensory experience.

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