Hi there everyone! Welcome to the new year and another Pram Jam post by yours truly. Given the spectacularly awful weather we had over the weekend (don’t even think about saying it was nice) and how this affected me, I thought a theme about the most fundamental ways in which we interact and learn from the world around us would be just the ticket. I’m talking about our senses.

I’m pretty sure we know all about the traditional 5 senses:

Sight     Sound     Touch     Taste     Smell 

And there are many, many JK books to cover you there, like this series from Annie Kubler:

               

       

But, as we do in modern times, there is some reassessment of how many distinct senses we really do have. They don’t get much coverage in first concepts books for young children but it is interesting to have a think about them anyway.

For example, the sense of touch is now thought of as several “somatic” senses that include the perception of pressure, heat and pain [aka “ouchies!” – Ed.]. There are also a variety of “interoceptive” senses, which analyse information that comes from inside the body – like balance (the sense of the body’s alignment), the ‘organic’ sense (the sense of internal condition, like hunger or thirst), and “proprioception” (the brain’s knowledge of relative positions of body parts – the “put your finger on your nose with your eyes closed” thing, basically).

 

Curious George discovers the senses              Sensational senses : sniff! blink! tickle! bang! burp! 
/ adaptation by Adah Nuchi                             / written by Dr. Patricia Macnair

               

So, when we have such wonderful weather like we did last Sunday, you can engage your little ones in a discussion and explore how they are feeling and experiencing it. You could talk about how in the dry, baking weather you could actually feel the pressure of that hot, oven-like, wind pressing on your skin. Likewise, when it’s rainy or humid you can talk about how that “feels” in various ways. You could even expand on that and explain how what we ‘feel’ is linked to our ‘feelings’ or mood – why we sometimes seem to get short-tempered or cranky when it’s very hot, or a bit mopey or even sad when it’s cold and wet.

For example …

The start of Spring

It is also good to talk about the way the senses are connected and often overlap and can sometimes confuse us – as with taste and smell. How often have you thought something tastes like the smell of something completely different or had a cold with a blocked nose and couldn’t seem to taste anything at all? [You mean like how the steak dad “cooks” on the barbie tastes just like the smell of the black, charcoal aftermath of a bush fire? – Ed.]

My bodyworks :
songs about your bones, muscles, heart and more!
/ by Jane Schoenberg

As important as learning about the 5 externally focused senses are for body awareness, it is equally important to engage young children with being aware of that ‘organic’ sense – the one that tells us what’s going on internally. Apart from the obvious sensations of hunger and thirst, there are other important developmental milestones like, for example while potty training, children learning to understand the internal cues the body sends and anticipate that it is going to expel something: in “a while”, “soon”, “very soon” or “right now, you’ve run out of time!”

Ah, those senses. Now, dry eyes, tired fingers and a stiff back … my 6th sense is telling me I’ve been at the computer too long. I better get up and go for a stroll and stimulate some of these other, wonderful senses. Smell you later!