Eyes & Sight
These two activities show you how important your eyes are. We use our sight more than any other sense. We see because our eyes and brain work together to make pictures of what is in front of us.
For this activity you will need someone to help you. Standing several feet away from the helper, toss a bean bag or soft squishy ball back and forth. After a few tosses, blindfold the person helping you, take a few steps away from them, and then pull a blindfold over your own eyes. Now try tossing the bean bag back and forth again. Talk about what senses you had to use when your eyes were covered and what was harder to do when you couldn't see. How many more times did you catch the bean bag with your eyes open than when you had the blindfold on?
You could also try rolling a ball back and forth, with you and your helper sitting on the floor. If you only cover one eye, instead of using the blindfold, how hard is it to roll the ball to your helper? Our eyes work together, so it is much harder if one of them is covered up.
Learn about the Braille alphabet with this project. Braille is what people who cannot see use to read and write! They 'see'' the letters by feeling them with their fingertips instead of looking at them with their eyes. Print out a copy of the Braille alphabet. To make the letters raised like Braille, put a drop of white glue over each black dot. When the glue is dry you will be able to feel the raised dots with your fingers.
You might think that different soda pops taste different, but will you be able to tell when you are blindfolded? Try it out!
You will need a blindfold (a bandana or piece of dark fabric will work well), two cans of soda (one cola, such as Coke or Pepsi, and one clear, like Sprite or 7-UP), a glass of water, and someone to help you.
Ask your helper to blindfold you. Make sure that you cannot see through the fabric. Have the helper open one can of soda without telling you what kind it is. Carefully take a sip with the blindfold on, and guess what kind it is. You can't see the color to help you know what it should taste like, so it might be a little harder to tell than normal. Take the blindfold off. Were you right? If you want to try guessing a second time, take a few sips of water first, to rinse the taste of the first soda from your mouth.
You might have been able to guess what kind of soda it was, even with a blindfold on. Do you think you could have done it if you couldn't smell anything either? Try the test again, but this time plug your nose when you taste the soda. Was it harder to taste the difference this time? Though it may seem like there is a big difference between clear soda and cola, our taste buds work together with our sense of smell to help us taste things. This is why food doesn't seem to have as much flavor when you have a stuffy nose.
Sounds Like Fun
What is sound? Sound is caused when objects vibrate (move back and forth very quickly). Vibrations create sound wavesthat can travel in all different directions through the air and into our ears.
You can use a slinky to show how sound waves move. You will need someone to help you for this project. Have your helper sit on the floor and hold onto one end of a slinky (a metal one will work best), then stretch out the other end and sit down across from him or her. Then, while the person helping holds his or her end of the slinky still, move your end slightly from side to side. What happens? The motion creates 'waves'' that move down the slinky towards your helper. Hold your end of the slinky still and let the person on the other side move his or her end and watch what happens to the waves. What happens to the waves if you both move your end at the same time? Sound waves travel in only one direction at a time, just like they do on the slinky.
This activity requires chewing and so could be either done during a meal or else as an experiment. To learn more about sound, chew a bite of food, listen to the sound it makes, and compare the sounds made by soft foods and hard or crunchy foods. Try bananas, bread, crackers, chips, carrots, etc. Do you think the sounds will be louder or quieter if you cover your ears with your hands while chewing? Try it out.
The sounds we hear while chewing are actually louder when our ears are covered. Do you know why? There is a tube that connects each ear to your nose and throat called a Eustachian Tube. When you plug your ears from the outside, you can still hear sounds from inside of your mouth through this tube. Everything you hear sounds louder because the noises from outside your ears are being blocked out.
Take a Walk!
A good way to learn about your senses is to take a walk. You can walk around your neighborhood, or even just explore your backyard, or you could make a trip to a park, with an adult. What sounds do you hear on your walk? What do you see? Touch the things around you - are they smooth or rough? What is the weather like - is it hot or cold? What things do you smell on your walk?
Can you chew food with your nose or smell a flower with your ears? No, of course you can't! Each of the senses are uniquely designed. We see with our eyes, we hear with our ears, smell with our nose, taste with our tongue, and feel with our hands and skin. You shouldn't stick anything you find from your walk in your mouth, but you can learn about the other four senses - sight, hearing, smell, and touch. How did those four senses make your walk better? Was there anything you saw or touched that you didn't like? When you get home, draw a picture list of all the things you saw, heard, smelled, and felt on this worksheet.