“Imagery” is our ability to reproduce in our minds things we have previously experienced through our senses – sight, smell, sound, taste, and touch. The joys of living through our senses is preserved by this ability to duplicate them in imagery. To enjoy these benefits, children need to first learn how to utilize all these senses. This is how children begin to learn about the world around them.
The following activities are designed to facilitate this development in children pre-school age (and younger).
Create a “touching bag” with a collection of things with different textures. This might include: velvet, corduroy, feathers, cotton balls, rubber, plastic, leaves, paper, cellophane, pebbles, knit scarf, cork, bottle caps, and/or lace. Place these items in a bag one at a time, have children put their hands inside with their eyes closed, feel the item, describe how it feels, and maybe try and guess what it is.
Give your child an ice cube so that they can feel icy cold. Ask them to think of places where they might feel cold such as: in the snow, near the A/C, at the North Pole, ice skating, etc. Next, have them think of places they can go to feel warm again: near the fireplace, wrapped in a blanket, in the sun, etc.
Create a scent box with a range of smells to experience. This can include: cinnamon sticks, garlic, various herbs, coffee grounds, teabags, fresh ginger, rose petals, lemon rind, perfume, soap, peppercorns, vanilla, garden mulch, baby lotion, etc. You can make this into a guessing game as well, and kids can have fun coming up with new ideas for the scent box.
Try a “mindful eating” exercise. This is a fun way to introduce mindfulness, or the practice of being “in the here and now”. Start with a wrapped piece of candy. Have your child use all of their senses to describe the wrapped candy. The focus is on descriptors, not judgments. Avoid words like “good” or “bad”. What sound does the wrapper make when you roll it between your hands? Is there a smell to it? Use your eyes to describe what you see. Then, slowly unwrap the candy. How does it smell now? What texture is it? What does it look like? Place the candy on your tongue. What do you taste? Now, slowly chew the candy. How does the texture change? Do the flavors get more intense? Finally, swallow the candy and enjoy
HEARING: Set up an impromptu band. You can use instruments you might have and also create your own!
-Blow into an empty jug to create a bass sound
-Bang two pot lids to create cymbals
-Hit wooden blocks together for a hollow percussion sound
-Lightly tap a measuring cup with a metal spoon to make the sound of a bell
-Tie metal spoons of varying sizes along a cord. Strike with another spoon to create various bell-like sounds
-Use a pot as a drum
-Paint a cardboard toilet paper roll bright colors and pretend it is a horn
-Put unpopped popcorn or dry beans in a mason jar to create maracas.
Try a guessing game:
Blindfold your child and have them try to identify various household sounds: the hum of a refrigerator, a creaking door, a window opening, a toaster popping up, a whistle, a vacuum cleaner, water running, chalk on a blackboard, etc.
-Play I Spy around the house or backyard.
-Try placing objects under a magnifying glass, and describing the minute details you now notice. If you have binoculars, try experimenting with these in the backyard as you explore your surroundings in a new way.
-Cover the end of a paper towel roll with colored cellophane and experiment with how different objects change color when observed through this.