Multi - Sensory Learning
We are surrounded in our world by a constant flow of multi-sensory stimulation. Infants interact with their toys and surrounding objects in a variety of ways. They don’t just depend on the visual but interact with objects by touching, smelling and of course tasting! They react to the sounds their toys make and use all their senses to play and learn.
A multi-sensory learning approach always engages more than one of our five senses and provides a more effective way of learning. Experiences that involve several senses make lasting impressions on the brain. Young children are right brain dominant until approximately three and a half. The left brain learns through logic and reasoning while feeling, doing and visualizing engage the right brain. This is the reason for all that touching and tasting of everyday objects that we are so familiar with in babies and very young children.
So a simple way of incorporating this multi-sensory approach can be when learning parts of the body. You can say the word "nose", but when you touch your baby’s nose as well and perhaps sing along with "Heads, Shoulders Knees and Toes" and help her to move and touch each body part in turn, then you are using multi-sensory teaching. When you read to your child and allow her to turn the page, feel the textures on it, make the sounds of the animals in it, you are providing the multi-sensory experiences needed for optimum learning.
When selecting products and toys for your child keep in mind the variety of stimulation that is needed for young children and check how the product will engage your child in a combination of these ways.
- Through Sight pictures, colours, art, images, text, video
- Through Sound reading, CDs, music , song, instruments, rhymes, chants
- Through Touch textured objects, play dough, sand, water, finger paint, puzzles, shapes
- Through Movement –dancing, clapping, rocking, rolling, bouncing, jumping i.e. kinaesthetically (using gross and/or fine motor)
Don’t forget to have fun with your little one and take time to stop and smell the flowers and enjoy together that tangy orange and creamy yoghurt.