Saturday, June 4, 2011

Using all of your Senses

We have a wonderful Farmer's Market here in town.  Vendors sell everything from local fruit, veggies, seafood and cheese to handmade crafts and handiwork to delicious and aromatic baked goods.  My husband and I love taking our 2 dogs, Frisco and Ziggy, to the Farmer's Market early in the morning.  This is also a great place to take children for wonderful learning experiences.  Young children especially benefit from outings where they can train their senses.

Walking through the produce with your child, you can ask them to look and name the colors.  They can compare different shades of red, yellow and green.  Is the broccoli a darker green than the celery?  Which shade of red is closer to orange, the apple or the tomato?  What is the brightest color at the produce table?  Which is the softest color?  What vegetables are smooth?  Bumpy?  Leafy?   You can help your child compare and contrast and train their eyes and sense of touch.

It is said that the sense of smell often is often what our first memories are made of.  Smell each vegetable and fruit.  Which smells sweet?  Which smells spicy?  Which one smells the freshest?  Asking questions like these increases your child's vocabulary and helps train the sense of smell.

Sit for awhile if you have the time and listen to the sounds of the Farmer's Market.  Can music be heard?  Which direction is it coming from?  Do you hear laughter?  Dogs barking?  Babies crying?  The sounds of the Market are varied and come from all around you.  Training the ear to pick out different sounds and the direction from which they come is a great activity.

Perhaps the most important training from the Farmer's Market happens when you get home.  You can help train the sense of taste.  Children are more apt to try something if they have a hand in growing it,  preparing it or picking it out.  Cut up small pieces of different veggies, have a taste test.  Children love to skewer cut up fruit and make kabobs.  If you try a variety of fruits and vegetables, your children are likely to follow your lead.  Serve the vegetables first, add them to foods they already enjoy like pizza, lasagma, and tacos, and make a point of enjoying them yourself, all these strategies will set a good example for your child's taste buds.

Enjoy the time you spend on an outing like this.  It is counterproductive to have to rush off to soccer, ballet, or piano.  Make the time to help your child develop his or her senses.


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