The Benefits of Multisensory Experience
Our world is filled with a variety of things that stimulate various senses in various ways. As a result, it is important for people, especially young children, to learn how to interact with the world using all their senses. Having multisensory experience has some serious benefits for anyone who experiences them. Even more so, people with cognitive and/or physical impairments can see an even wider array of benefits. Integrating these experiences into our lives and the lives of our children will only help strengthen our means of navigating the world. Kung Fu Boogie provides this type of experience in a fun way the whole family can enjoy.
It is no mystery that our world is a multisensory place. It is filled with sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures. In order to go about our day and interact with the world we must use all of our senses, but we must also use them all at once. We take in sights, sounds, and smells and mesh them together to identify things and how we can interact with them. Young children learn this naturally as they age, and exposure to these kinds of environments is the only way they can learn how to deal with them. Learning is a key factor here.
The biggest benefit of multisensory experience for everyone is the intertwined concepts of learning and memory. Some studies have shown direct benefits to learning and retaining new information through multisensory approaches. They talk about how our memories, especially our strongest ones, are tied into all the things we experience at that time. For example, when you remember your grandmother you may remember what she looked like, but you also think of smells like her cooking or the smell of her house. You remember the way it felt to hug her, and how good her pie tasted. You remember the sound of her voice. Learning and memory are so closely tied together, you could almost argue learning is creating memories, just for a specific benefit or end goal. Then it becomes clear that multisensory experience enhances memory and learning. If you can associate a concept with a sight, touch, and sound it is much stronger than only having one of those factors. As you add more senses you strengthen the memory and learning potential. While this is a huge benefit, those with a variety of disabilities see even more benefits.
The benefits of multisensory environments for the cognitively and/or physically impaired are so numerous it would be unreasonable for me to try and explain them all. The Christopher Douglas Hidden Angel Foundation has done a great job of summing up the benefits on their site, so here is their list of benefits:
- Increase concentration and focus attention
- Develop or reactivate senses of hearing, sight, smell, touch, and taste
- Heighten awareness and improve alertness
- Improve coordination and motor development
- Promote cognitive development by increased brain function
- Lead participants to explore their environment
- Provide security
- Be an unrestrained atmosphere where participants feel able to enjoy themselves.
- Improve creativity
- Stimulate the sensory building blocks
- Develop of a sense of cause and effect
- Develop language – more vocalization
- Promote social interactions
- Promote mental and physical relaxation – Stress levels drop dramatically
- Result in more calmness and lower aggressive behaviors
- Increase opportunity for choice and self-determination
- Improve communication and sharing
- Lead to non-responsive patients becoming communicative
- Provide relief from pain and painful physiotherapy
Beyond all this it also makes participants happier and allows them to have fun.
Obviously, we would want to encourage these experiences both with ourselves and especially with our children. How do we get our children into these kinds of environments without them fighting back against every idea you as a parent might come up with? Well we look for products that children will love but also provide this type of multisensory experience. A great example of this is Kung Fu Boogie. Kung Fu Boogie is an augmented reality (AR) dance battle game for kids. It uses foldable craft paper toys (touch) and then brings them to life (sight) through an augmented reality app. The app is a dance battle game with music (sound) and characters performing various dance moves to see who is the best. It’s a great, nonviolent way to get your kids interested with toys and games, but really be giving them a strong multisensory experience. Kung Fu Boogie is live on Kickstarter, donate today to make this