In The (Sensory) Garden: The Five Senses And Mindfulness

iStock_000008664639SmallIt seems everyone’s interested in learning about all things sensory, and I’m so glad.  Sensory integration is an area that is often misunderstood, yet vital to understanding the causes of children’s difficulties at home, in school, or with friends.

One of the exciting ways to explore senses is by visiting a sensory garden. 

mint-satit_srihin
Mint plants

A sensory garden is a garden that is meant to be more than a place of beauty—it’s designed to stimulate all five senses.  Although there are as many designs for sensory gardens as there are gardeners, the purpose of any sensory garden is to provide opportunities for people with many different needs to experience nature through the senses.

Features such as wind chimes, water fountains, scented herbs, edible plants, and assorted bright colors and textures stimulate the sensory system and engage the whole person. And there are sensory gardens in many cities.

This blogger explains what sensory gardens are and tells you how to design one on your own.  It’s simpler than you might think.

And this thorough article explains just how much infants and toddlers can benefit from experiencing nature with all five senses. Read about the amazing work this community is doing in their sensory garden to benefit the visually impaired.

pink blossoms Matt Banks

What If You Don’t Have Room For A Garden?

Even if planting a sensory garden isn’t a possibility for you at the moment, you can still incorporate the principles of sensory garden design into your everyday life.

This is how to do it: Together with your child, find the five senses in your daily activities.

If you’re out grocery shopping, feel the smoothness of the watermelon and the spikes of the pineapple.  Listen to the squeak of the shopping cart wheels and the thud of the pasta boxes as you toss them into your cart.  Smell the fresh cake in the bakery section. Taste samples if you can.  See the many colors of fruit and vegetables.

When reading together, listen to the rustle of the pages.  Smell the paper.  Feel the glossy cover and spine.

These activities feed into the sensory system, and help you and your child regulate yourselves within each moment and become more aware of stimulation in your environment.

Try and schedule at least five minutes of sensory-mindfulness throughout you and your child’s day.

Enjoy seeing, listening, tasting, smelling, and touching today,

Miriam

Photo Credits: satit_srihin, Matt Banks

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