This fun sensory lesson plan will give kids a glimpse into what it’s like to be a shark!
I often reference animals in my therapy practice. Kids love to use their imaginations to move their bodies and, the bonus is, they have no idea how awesome this type of movement is for development. I’ll have kids crab walk to work on core strength and motor planning. We walk like penguins to practice weight shifting and we move like spiders climbing their webs to boost our ability to cross midline.
My son is totally into fishing right now. Any and all fishing! He is enthralled with YouTube videos about the types of fish he can catch and he loves reading about the characteristics that make them all unique.
When we received a copy of the book “How To Survive As A Shark” by Kristen Foote, I just knew he would love it!
Surviving as a shark isn’t as easy as it sounds! In this book, baby sharks are taught all about how life in the big blue ocean works from the viewpoint of a grown shark. My son was amazed at all of the facts he learned. His favorite new knowledge is how sharks use their sensory systems to hunt!
Just like humans, sharks use an organized sensory system to survive! They have 6 senses that make them super hunters. After reading this book, we decided to come up with an activity to show those senses and make it easy to understand how sharks fine their dinner.
As humans, we use the senses of sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell every day to tell us everything about the world around us. These sensory systems are so huge for us that we even wrote a book about it, Sensory Processing 101. But guess what? Sharks have these systems too!
But, they have one more sense that is extremely important for them to help find food in the dark, deep water. It’s called Electroreception. This sense helps sharks feel electric fields — like the heartbeats of fish! This super sense only works in the salty underworld of the ocean where the electrical charge of fish heartbeats and muscle contractions can be carried on the sodium and chlorine ions.
So let’s pretend to be sharks!
How to Use Your Senses Like a Shark
The next time a meal is being prepared in the kitchen, sit at the table and put on your best shark face. Pretend that you are hungry….so hungry. Download the FREE printable and complete the following steps…
1 || Look around you. What do you SEE that might satisfy that hunger? Look for 3 things that count as food for your growling tummy.
2 || What do you FEEL? Sharks use their lateral line to feel. This is an imaginary line that runs from their tail to their head. You can feel with your whole body. You have your sense of touch and a deeper sense of proprioception that can tell you about pressure. List 3 things you can feel – do you feel the chair under you? What do you feel by your feet? Any food close by?
3 || Now use your nose. What do you SMELL? YUM! Maybe it’s a pizza cooking, or cookies baking. Can you identify 3 different smells? Sharks smell as the water runs through their nose. That would not feel so great to us as humans.
4 || What do you HEAR? Sharks have a strong inner ear that can pick up sounds from very far away — distances of 800 feet!! We are not quite that talented. But, I bet you can listen enough to get a few different sounds identified in the kitchen. A can opening? The beep of the microwave? What else? List 3 different sounds that you can hear right now.
5 || As your meal is put in front of you, take a bite. Chomp down like a shark! What do you TASTE? Is it salty? Sweet? Describe how your feast tastes. I am willing to be it tastes far better than a mouth full of mackerel!
6 || Now, for that tricky shark sense. ELECTRORECEPTION. Close your eyes. What do you feel now? Do you feel a breeze from an open window? Can you feel the vibration of the refrigerator motor?
Have someone in your family make a paper fan. Keep your eyes closed as they walk around you and wave a breeze your way. How far away can they get until you can’t feel it anymore? It’s not exactly the same as electroreception, but you get the idea. Sharks feel the vibrations of their prey in a very similar way!
Did you know that we have a secret sense too? It’s called interoception! This sense refers to our perception of what is going on inside our bodies and is responsible for feelings of hunger, thirst, sickness, pain, having to go to the bathroom, tiredness, temperature, itch, and other internal sensations.
There are tons of other fun facts about sharks that I never knew! Find those facts and lots of laughs in the book, “How To Survive As A Shark”!
You'll get a FREE copy of printable mini-workouts designed by pediatric therapists to help kids conquer their goals!