Our five senses connect us with the world and with ourselves. Newborns use their senses with no conscious effort, led only by their primary needs. Toddlers, fuelled by their innate curiosity, explore their surroundings more consciously by intentionally investigating the sound, smell, look, feel and taste of certain things.
The book I hear a pickle by Rachel Isadora is a great resource to explore the senses with younger children. Depicting familiar sounds, smells, objects and foods, the author makes each sense relatable and establishes the connection between a sense and the feelings and associations it evokes.
Before reading the book, you could ask the children what they can do with their ears, nose, eyes, hands and mouths. Can they taste with their ears? See with their noses? Smell with their eyes? Watch their reactions and listen to their comments. Do the children have a favourite sense? Does a banana taste differently when they eat it with closed eyes? Does the room look differently when the lights are turned off? Do they know that some people can read with their hands? Which animal has a great sense of smell? Can fish hear? How do nocturnal animals see in the dark?
With our book recommendations, we want to spark an interest in children to discover STEM in their everyday lives. Most books go beyond the obvious STEM connections and can be a great starting point for exploring children’s questions and ideas further.