Helping young children to develop their five senses - taste, touch, smell, sight, and sound - will result in overall increased learning and retention capabilities. Sensory activities should be playful and fully engrossing in order to have maximum effect on the young minds you are attempting to shape. Jungle-themed sensory activities are ideal, as they lend themselves to getting wild and messy, all in the name of education.
Invite your young students to join together for a jungle feast! Lay out bananas, animal crackers, coconut juice, and assorted nuts. First, have the children eat like wild animals. Let them get as messy and eat as fast as they want for a full 30 seconds. Next, tell them it is time to eat in slow motion. Have children take a single bite of banana or a small sip of coconut juice, rolling the food around in their mouths. This change in pace will heighten your students' sensory responses to taste stimuli.
Bring large stuffed animals into your early childhood education class. The animals should be jungle dwellers, such as gorillas, lions and zebras. Have children touch different parts of the animals and report on how they feel. For instance, you can ask questions like, "Is the lion's hair soft or hard?" and, "Are the zebra's eyes rough or smooth?" This simple activity will develop both a child's sense of touch and his ability to articulate various qualitative descriptions of inanimate objects.
Take a number of cotton balls and distribute them across your entire classroom floor. Put a few drops of scented oil (i.e. patchouli or sandalwood) on about two-thirds of the cotton balls. Tell your students that lions use their sense of smell to find food and other animals in the jungle. Let them know that it is their turn to be lions. Have the whole class, you included, get on all fours and roam around the classroom, sniffing out the good-smelling cotton balls. Students should bring all the smelly cotton balls to a central location and leave the non-smelly cotton balls where they are on the floor. This activity will help students to develop acute sensory abilities related to smell.
Ask parents to bring their children to class wearing their best jungle gear; tropical-themed shirts or safari garb is welcome. Take a field trip to the local zoo. Allow children to observe wild animals in their native jungle habitats. Take advantage of the opportunity to build spatial concepts into your children while they develop their sense of sight. Ask questions like, "Are the giraffes taller or shorter than the lions?" and, "Is the monkey above or below the monkey bars?"
Bring a number of tribal drums into the classroom. If this is too difficult, have students gather together with pots and spoons or other classroom objects that can withstand a beating. Tell students that they are going to make jungle beats. Have students perform fast rhythms, slow rhythms, loud beats and soft beats to build on their sense of sound.
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