How many senses are involved in playing video games? How many senses are involved when picking wild blueberries? How many senses would you like your child to develop to their utmost potential? Children with developed senses as a result of sufficient exposure to nature are more likely to notice and categorize objects from the natural world, and are thus more likely to attend to other patteerns they encounter in life. In Laura Sewall’s book Sight and Sensibility, she claims that it is only through the senses that we experience what it means to be fully human.
As children in today’s society spend much of their time indoors, in urban developments, or in structured outdoor activities, they are narrowing their senses physiologically and psychologically. Today, more than half of the world’s population lives in urban environments and traditional ways humans have interacted with nature are disappearing along with a substantial amount of biodiversity. In an urban environment, I understand that it can be difficult to take your child to a field or mountain. But let me ask you – why is it so difficult to find a natural area for your child to play and explore? Are these pristine areas located far away? You don’t have the time? Or is it because you cannot afford the gas money to go to these places? If you have the means to get your child to a natural field, stream, or hill to explore but would rather not inconvenience yourself with the journey or bore or visiting such places, then you should be aware of the lack of sensory development that will result in your child. If you want the best for your child, don’t take the easy way out. Expand every sensory horizon for your child and watch him/her reap the benefits and joys of such powerful encounters with nature. Sure, you can buy lavender and put it in a beautifully purchased ceramic bowl for your child to smell and enjoy – but what about seeing, smelling, touching the plant in its natural environment? Teach your child about the cultivation process that occurs, how the plant grows from a small seed in the ground to a large prosperous plant, the importance of soil, air, water and sunlight. Don’t buy nature, take your children outside to enjoy it in its natural forms and allow them to soak up the beauty and mystery of the natural world through all five of their senses.