Sense-Sational Activities to Teach Kids about Touch and Hearing
By Hilary Parsons, Terra Nova National Park, NL
The Club Parka program at Parks Canada is all about encouraging kids to explore their surroundings. Most of our activities focus on the sense of sight, but here are a couple of guessing games to challenge other senses. Young explorers love them and you can play them indoors or out.
Activity 1: Feel and Find
You will need:
- An assortment of small objects with distinct textures and shapes, such as a pine cone, shell or feather, i.e. objects you can easily find in your neighborhood.
- A paper bag, box or back pack to hold the items (make sure you can’t see through it).
- Show kids the objects and talk about each one.
- Hide all the objects somewhere where kids can’t see them. Place just one item inside the bag.
- Ask the kids to take turns reaching inside the bag to explore the object by touch alone. Does it feel smooth? Bumpy? Rough? Round? Light? Heavy? What is it?
- For older children, you may want to place the objects in the bag without first showing them the items. Can they guess what they are without seeing them?
Activity 2: Open Ears
You will need:
- An assortment of small objects that can be used to make sounds (pebbles, a piece of paper, a book, shells, bells, etc.). I went with a food theme, but you can use whatever you like.
- Small containers with lids to hold some of the items (try plastic yogurt tubs).
- Show kids the objects and have them listen to the sounds they make. For example, shake the pebbles in a container, tear a strip off the piece of paper, flip through the pages of the book, hit two shells together or ring a small bell followed by a larger one.
- Hide all the objects from view.
- Keeping the objects hidden, make each sound in turn. See who can identify each object from the sound it makes.
- For a variation, show the objects without making their sounds first. Then ask the kids which object makes each sound.
Kids can choose or invent their own sound-makers to challenge each other in follow-up rounds of play.
The next time you’re out for a nature walk, ask the kids to concentrate on listening for clues to figure out what’s nearby. They may be surprised at what they discover!
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