Kids love to learn and explore in many different ways. They are developing all of their senses, sometimes at the same time. Even as a nurse I cannot keep my child from doing this, and even if I could, I wouldn’t want to. I have decided to share just a few of the ways my daughter has developed all 5 of her senses and how I have helped her to develop her senses.
You can almost see your baby react as her sight get better. She goes from looking at your face while you feed her to all of a sudden she is looking everywhere else. She smiles when the cat walks by when just a week ago she couldn’t see that far away.
Your baby learns that things open and close and that things don’t disappear. For example, if you cover a toy with a blanket, your baby slowly learns that if she moves the blanket she can find that toy again. If you put something in a drawer, she may go over to open the drawer to see what is in there.
To help her learn about her sense of sight, I play peek-a-boo with her. I also have toys with a wide variety of colors and shapes. We talk about these colors and shapes all the time, for example if she picks up a blue toy I tell her it’s blue and what shape it is. I talk to her about the animals and colors of those animals. I hide toys and ask her to find them. You can find many ways to help your baby develop her sight by using toys with many bright colors on them.
How many kids haven’t learned early about sound? Your baby knows your voice before she is even born, but as she grows, she learns more and more about the different sounds. My daughter has recently started going from one extreme to the next. She will come up to me and “whisper” then yell. She is also learning that different toys make different sounds when smacked off the TV stand or the door. She has a toy fork that she puts against the glass on the door and moves it. It makes a horrible squeaking noise. I can’t stand it, but it is naturally my daughter’s favorite thing to do and she just laughs it up because this is a new sound to her.
Over Christmas she received a lot of great toys to help her learn about the world around her and many of these toys make different sounds. She is learning that different sized toys make different sounds, even if they look similar.
To encourage the development of her hearing my daughter has a wide variety of toys that make noise. I also make sure to talk to her when we do things and explain what we are doing. This helps her develop her hearing because she is learning all the different sounds associated with words. I also make sure to read to her a lot. When we are playing I make sure to make correct animal sounds so she can learn the sounds animals make.
Now we are getting into the funny ones. My daughter likes to touch everything. Faces, belly buttons (she will find them if you let her), water, dirt, mud, grass, the cat, food, and even more. You name it she has most likely explored it with her hands (or feet).
There are so many different textures for your baby to explore in the world. There are some very easy ways your little one can learn about them with just the things you have in your house. For example, hard floors and carpeting are two different textures and your baby can learn about them just by roaming around your house.
There are a number of toys that encourage kids to play with their hands, my daughter’s favorite is a toy called a taggie. It is like a security blanket with “tags” all around it that are different textures. Your baby will even learn about textures when she is feeding herself. This is the most trying time as your baby will want to play in her food, but just remember that it is an important step in her development.
Can any parent say their child hasn’t put everything in his or her mouth? My daughter literally puts everything in her mouth. Her toys, hands, feet, the cat, food, wipes, dirt, and even a fly. Yes, my daughter ate a fly one time. I guess the only way to learn how it tastes is to try it, right?
Taste is one of the hardest things to help your child develop. You don’t want them to eat everything right? Well, I do let her try anything that I am eating or drinking. Even if it is something I know she doesn’t like or won’t like I let her try, sometimes she surprises me, she loves salmon! It is best to let, and even encourage, your child to try different foods. Even if it is something you don’t like, your child might like it.
Learning about her sense of smell has to be the funniest and also the most gross. She has recently learned that her dirty diapers really stink. If I ask her if she is stinky, sometimes she will sit, try to smell her diaper, then go to the gate so we can go to her room to change it. I have even caught her trying to smell her feet.
This is another one that is hard to help her develop, but I have tried. I can smell a dirty diaper across my living room, and I usually ask my daughter if she is stinky. I help her plug her nose so she can tell the difference. I also try to explain the scents when I am cooking. I will act like I am smelling and say “mmm chicken smells good”. We do this with flowers as well.
I find it amazing to watch how kids grow and learn with the environment around them. How has your little one discovered his or her senses?