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A simple but effective way to include sensorial exercises in play and learning is to involve a blindfold!
We must remember how sensitive and powerful a child’s hands can be – and how important they are to the learning process! We so often use the phrase “hands-on learning” to describe the optimal conditions for education but we sometimes forget to strengthen the sense of touch so that a child’s “hands-on learning” will be more refined, successful and joyful. – Jessica, Montessori Child.
We got our blindfold from Montessori Child (this is not a sponsored post – although Montessori Child is a sponsor of Racheous – Lovable Learning) and it is perfect for a child to put on independently. Cameron said it is comfortable and I love that it can grow with the child. If you’re in the US here’s a similar velcro child-sized blindfold.
There are many ways to do this with varying difficulties and resources. I thought I would share some of the ideas I have used and think are unique and interesting. Every single one could be extended or changed to involve an interest point and/or adapted to the child’s age or abilities.
The primary senses involved with blindfolded activities are:
- tactile (touch),
- auditory (sound),
- olfactory (smell) and
- gustatory (taste)
When using items with the tactile sense you can involve tactile, baric, thermic, and stereognostic differences. That is differences in:
- weight, and
Something to consider with sounds is having a tape player with recordings, comparing tone bells, or DIY shakers.
Regarding the sense of smell, I would recommend picking plants with strong scents together and exploring them initially (think basil, mint, lavender, rosemary) before introducing the blindfold and determining with scent alone. However, for more variety we have used homemade scents:
Finally, with respect to taste, remember to always involve tastes that are familiar. Particularly if your child is sensitive (my son is!). This can be a lot of fun and I have even got Cam to reverse the rolls and have me guess what he’s feeding me.
Now, onto the ideas! Aside from simply determining the object they’re touching, hearing, smelling or tasting, there are some other ways you can modify a blindfolded exercise!:
Probably the most commonly known extension is to have two of the same object, sound, scent or food to match. This is very satisfying when given the right amount to match for their development.
With different groups of items, have the child sort blindfolded.
This could even work with other senses than tactile with sorting floral and herbal scents or sweet and sour tastes!
We did this with some of our natural treasures:
With two or three different textured objects, have the child finish a pattern using only their tactile sense!
As a side note, some blindfolded identification concepts I’ve thought of are still very complex in nature and can be a great challenge. For example:
- identifying sandpaper numerals or letters,
- completing a puzzle or even binomial/trinomial cube!,
- doing something simple but timing themselves,
- identifying unusual natural objects,
- completing Montessori sensorial materials blindfolded (i.e. knob-less cylinders)
- completing a magnetic/finger labyrinth maze, and
- determining similar animal sounds.
Have you used a blindfold with your child lately? Cam loves it and is excited to try more ideas!