Our 5 Senses

Click here to return to Tammy's Teaching Tips Themes Page

Title: A Taste A Day
Each day present a mystery food. Have the children close their eyes and have a taste of the mystery food and then describe the flavor and guess what it could be. After each child has had a turn, reveal what the mystery food is.

Title: All Ears
Fill pairs of empty 35mm film containers with identical amounts of chosen media such as sand, water, rice, popcorn kernels or pebbles. Securely tape each snap on lid in place. Color code each pair for self-checking by attaching small construction paper circles to the bottom of the containers. Child attempts to pair the containers by gently shaking and listening to the contents of each. When finished, he checks his work. Now that is a listening challenge!

Title: Body Puppets
Mouth Puppets: With fist turned so that thumb faces chest, use the opening as the puppet's big mouth. Apply red lipstick and mark eyes with a make-up pencil. The children may enjoy making both hands into puppets so they can have a conversation. (Toe Puppets) Draw eyes, nose, and mouth on big toes. Put feet up and wiggle toes to gesture. There is plenty to talk about...those shoes were so tight, and whew, what about those smelly socks! (Thumb Puppets) Thumb people can have many adventures. With the help of arms, they can travel up and down mountains, staircases, even a giant's leg. (Knee Puppets) Drape yarn, paper, or a wig over the top of the knee.

Title: Chalk and Buttermilk
Materials: Chalk, Small bowls, Plain paper, white art paper or manila paper, Buttermilk, Measuring cup
1. Pour 1/4 C of buttermilk into small bowls.
2. Place or dip chalk into the buttermilk and draw picture on the paper.

Title: Chalk and Wet Paper
Materials: Paper, Wet Sponge, and Chalk
1. Each child should wet paper slightly with wrung out sponge.
2. Draw freely with colored chalk. Show the children how to use side and ends of chalk.
3. Allow paper to dry.

Title: Chalk & Fingerpainting Combination
Materials: Chalk, Construction paper (light color), Fingerpaint, Trays.
1. Draw freely with colored chalk onto construction paper.
2. Set this aside.
3. Fingerpaint on trays. (These can be reused.)
4. Wash and dry hands.
5. Press chalk drawing onto fingerpainted trays.

Title: Colored Chalk in Starch at Easel
Materials: Paper (Use butcher paper, easel paper, or any good grade paper.), Chalk, Liquid starch, Tape, Paint cups or similar containers, Easel
1. Fill paint cups or containers with about one inch or liquid starch.
2. Children dip large colored chalk into starch and draw on paper on easel.
3. For variation use different shapes and sizes of paper.
4. Two or three pieces of chalk may be taped together with masking tape to add to the experience.

Title: Colorful Collection
Gather an assortment of sample paint cards from a hardware store, you will need two of each card. Cut apart and glue one set to the inside of a file folder. Cut apart and store the matching color cards in a zip lock bag. The child matches each piece by color to the folder.

Title: Crayon Rubbings
Material Needed: White Paper, Peeled Crayons, Various Objects--leaves, pine needles, shapes, sandpaper.
1. Peel many crayons. The fat ones are best for this.
2. Give each child a sheet of white paper.
3. Have various objects for the child to choose as a print. (Leaves, shapes, sandpaper, scissors, feathers, etc.)
4. Let the child select some of these objects and put them under the paper.
5. He then rubs with the side of the crayon onto the paper and the object shows through as a print.

Title: Egg Weigh
Collect some eggs (for example, from pantyhose or plastic Easter eggs) and place inside them items, such as pebbles, spool of thread, paper clips, etc. Have children take turns placing the eggs in order from heavy to light. Extend this activity using more eggs or by having the children pair eggs that seem to weigh the same, and then, perhaps, seeing the items that are inside.

Title: Fabric Blossoms
Materials: Fabric Scraps, Pipe cleaners, Scissors, White glue, Pencil, Paper, Green floral tape
Procedure: Draw a pattern for the petals and cut it out of paper. Trace around the pattern onto the fabric and cut 6 petals. Choose pipe cleaners of a color that matches the fabric. Glue a pipe cleaner around the edge of each petal
you've drawn. Leave one long end on each pipe cleaner. Cut away the fabric from the outside of petal. Make center for flower: cut circle of material, wrap it around a bit of material, or cotton. Put the flower together: hold the stem ends and group the petals around the center, Wrap with pipe cleaner & tape wires.

Title: Feely Bag
Put a mystery object into a shoe bag. Let each child have a chance to feel inside the bag (no peeking), and guess what the object is. After each child has had a chance to feel inside the bag, reveal what was inside.

Title: Five Senses Walk Story
Take a pretend 'sense walk'. Have all of the children stand up. Have them begin walking in place. Start the story. 'Oh it was a beautiful day. The weather was warm, the wind was blowing slightly, and Tommy and his mother decided to go for a walk to the park. They packed a picnic lunch and began to walk to the park. While they walked they looked (stop and let the children point to their eyes.) For all of the animals, birds, and insects. The neighbor's dog came up the walk toward them. Tommy stopped to pet her. (stop and let the children touch their hands.) Her fur was so soft and silky. On they went to the park. Oh No! Tommy
and his mother held their...(Stop and let the children do the same) Guess what they smelled? You're right, they smelled a skunk. They started walking faster to get away from that smell. Soon they were far enough away and they could let go of their noses. They were a little out of breath since they had been walking so fast. They walked a little slower and did not talk for a while, they simply listened for the sounds around them. (stop and let the children point to their ears.) They could hear lots of things. What do you think were some of the sounds they heard? (Let the children answer.) Finally they reached the park. It had been a long walk and they were hungry they sat down under a big willow tree and enjoyed all of the treats in their lunch. (Let the children point to their tongues.) Tommy played for awhile and his mother rested in the green grass. After awhile, Tommy got tired. He and his mom walked back home. 'Reverse the sequence of the walk beginning with all of the sounds Tommy and his mom heard near the park. See how many of the details of the story the children can remember.

Title: Follow the Arrow
Make a number of cardboard arrows -- some straight, some right angled and some left angled. Hide a 'treasure' or 'treat' somewhere in the room or on the playground. Create a path with the arrows that will lead children to the hiding spot. (Be sure to place arrows far enough apart to challenge sense of sight.)

Title: Fortune Cookies
Materials: 4 Egg whites, 1 Cup sugar, 1/2 cup melted butter, 1/2 cup flour, 1/4 t. salt, 1/2 t. vanilla, 2 T water.
Procedure: Write fortunes and fold them. Mix sugar into the egg whites and blend until fluffy. Melt the butter and cool it so it's not too hot. Add flour, salt, vanilla, water and butter to the sugar mixture. Beat batter till smooth. Grease a cookie sheet well. Pour batter from a spoon to form circles (about 3 in or 8 cm.) Bake at 375 degrees for about 8 min. Lay message on circle, fold in thirds, then bend it gently in center. He who eats no bananas has no appeal.

Title: Free Form Mobile
Materials: Yarn - 36 inches, Water colors and brush, Scissors, White tissue paper (2 sheets 10 in. X 12 in.), Mixture 2 parts glue, 1 part liquid starch Black thread
Procedure Day 1 - Tie ends of yarn together. Let child dip yarn into small container of glue/starch mixture, running fingers down yarn to squeeze out excess mixture. Not too hard! Child places yarn on one sheet of tissue in shape
or shapes he/she wants. Teacher places second sheet on top of yarn and child gently presses down where yarn touches tissue. Set aside to dry.
Procedure Day 2 - Teacher cuts around outside of yarn shape. Child paints tissue with water color. Discourage too much water. Poke needle and thread through the edge of tissue. Inside the outside yarn shape. Tie thread and hang mobile to dry. A coat hanger works great for drying.

Title: Goop
Materials: Cornstarch, Water, Trays, bowls, spoons,
Food coloring or tempera, Measuring cups.
1. Mix 1/2 C cornstarch with 1/4 C water plus color
1. Pour this mixture onto trays for the child. See what happens.
2. Add more cornstarch. What happens? More water. What happens?
3. This is totally a tactile experience. Not to take home.
4. Keep reusing mixture.

Title: Grated Chalk and Water
Material: Dishpan, Water, Colored Chalk, Grater, Paper
1. Fill dishpan just to cover bottom with water.
2. Let children grate various colored chalk on top of water. (Do not stir.)
3. Let children lay the paper on top of the chalk and water. Roll it out.
4. Let dry.

Title: Grow a Crystal Garden
Materials: A pie tin, Some pieces of charcoal, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup salt, 1/2 cup liquid bluing, 1 Cup ammonia, a few drops of blue, green and yellow coloring, a mixing bowl, a spoon
1. Place enough pieces of charcoal in the pie tin to cover the bottom.
2. Mix water, salt, bluing and ammonia. Pour it carefully over the charcoal. Make sure all the charcoal gets wet.
3. Squirt a few drops of the food coloring over the charcoal. Do not use red food coloring.
4. WAIT....the garden should grow beautiful crystals by next day.

Title: Homemade Paper Mache Paste
3 cups water
1 1/2 cups of flour
oil of peppermint
- stir flour into cold water
- cook over low heat until the mixture thickens to a creamy paste
- add more water if the paste gets too thick
- cool
- add a few drops of peppermint oil
- use the paste to coat paper strips

Title: How to Make Papier Mache
You need paper (newspaper, newsprint, paper towels, tissues, wallpaper, tissue paper) You need paste (wallpaper paste, wheat paste, liquid starch, white glue mixed with an equal amount of water, homemade paste)
- tear paper into strips
- coat strips with paste
- mold the strips over a base

Title: In The Bag
Put several items into a purse, briefcase or bag. Children describe the items they find in the purse, briefcase or bag. After the children are experienced, one child can describe the item without letting the other children see it and the other children try to guess what the item is. This activity offers a good opportunity for the teacher to expand the vocabulary of the children by asking questions about each item.

Title: Infant Water Blanket
Buy a clear water pad (available at some pharmacies). Fill with distilled water and add glitter, sequins, sponge shapes, large colorful buttons, etc. Replace cap and you have an infant water blanket.

Title: Infant/Toddler Water Bottles
Buy a 6 pack of small Evian Water Bottles. Remove labels and water. Make discovery bottles by adding any of the following materials:
1) bells
2) pom poms
3) cooking oil, food coloring and water
4) clear corn syrup and any other substance (i.e. sequins, glitter) to give it suspension
5) beads
6) water (food coloring, optional) & glitter
7) colored rice
8) water & seashells
9) anything else you can think of
Glue gun the lids on the bottles.

Title: Liquid Starch and Chalk
Materials: Liquid starch, Brushes, Paper or muslin fabric, Chalk, Smocks or aprons
1. There are two ways to do this.
A. Paint entire paper or fabric with starch using brush.
B. Dip chalk into bowl of starch.
2. Let child freely experiment with this. (If too much starch is used you may want to wipe some off or the project gets too messy and frustrates the child.)
3. Show child how to use ends and sides of chalk.
4. This is a messy activity and you may want to use smocks or a bowl of water and towel handy for clean-up.

Title: Match Makers
Provide the children with three or four cans with lids, for example, potato chip cans or coffee cans, and a box of objects that can fit into the can. Allow the children to put objects in the cans. Then they shake the cans to determine which cans make the loudest sound, which cans make the softest sound. Cans can be ordered from softest to loudest.

Title: Media and Chalk
Materials: Media (Can be found in hardware stores.), White paper, Large brushes, Bowls, Chalk
1. Make sure each child has a large piece of white paper.
2. Each child should have a large brush and a container of media.
3. Have children spread the media mixer on paper with brush.
4. Then have children use colored chalk and draw freely on paper.

Title: My Eyes
Here are my eyes,
One and two.
I give a wink.
So can you.
When they're open,
I can see light.
When they're closed,
It's dark like night.

Title: Object Sounds
Set out four or five objects that make different sounds in front of you and have your children close their eyes. Tap on one of the objects and see if they can guess which object it was by the sound it made. If you have time, let your children take turns tapping the objects. Make the game harder for older children by just walking around the room and tapping on random objects for them to guess.

Title: OJo de Dios
Materials: 2 ice cream sticks, or any sticks, Colored yarn or string
Procedure: Cross the two sticks. Tie the yarn in a knot around the sticks where they cross. Weave the yarn over one stick, then around and under, then over the stick toward the next stick. Do this on each stick. Continue around the square doing the same thing for all the rows. You can change colors whenever you'd like to. Start a new color by tying it to one of the sticks.

Title: Paper Towel and Chalk
Materials: Large shallow pan, Hot water, Heavy paper towels (Heavy towels are necessary) Chalk
1. Dip towel into a pan of hot water. Wring out.
2. Place wet towel on table and smooth out the wrinkles.
3. Let children draw with chalk as they wish onto wet towel.

Title: Perfume and/or Aftershave
Materials: Flower petals, Water, Bowls - spoons, Little containers, Masking tape
1. Mix a few flower petals (torn up) with a little water.
2. Stir until it looks yellow.
3. Pour into containers. It does not look too good but it smells very nice.
4. Tape closed.

Title: Placemats
Materials: Clear contact paper, Flowers petals, leaves, pine needles, tissue paper, etc, pinking shears
1. Put some pieces of clear contact paper, sticky side up on the table.
2. Ask the child to arrange dried flowers/petals/tissue paper/spangles, etc., on the contact paper.
3. When the child is finished, place the same size sheet of contact paper on top. Press.
4. Pink the edges with pinking shears.

Title: Pudding Painting
2 pkgs. vanilla pudding mix, food coloring (4 colors).
Prepare pudding according to package directions. Divide amongst 4 (disposable) containers. Add a different color to each container. The pudding can be used like fingerpaint - be sure to provide enough paper. You may also want to have cake decorations, sprinkles, colored sugar, etc., on hand. For a change in texture try whipped cream or shaving foam. (Use regular shaving cream only, as
the menthol variety can be harmful if it gets in your eyes.

Title: Puffs of Smell
Place cotton balls in several paper cups. Drop a different smelling liquid in each cup -- vanilla, orange, peppermint and lemon extracts (or other substances safe to smell). Let children smell and identify. Activity can be extended by having children identify the lunch menu from the smells coming from the kitchen.

Title: Rhyming Time
Prepare the children by reading stories and poems with rhyming words. Provide the children with a box of small toy objects. Ask the children to name each object.
When the teacher is certain the children can correctly identify each object, the children can be asked to find objects with names that sound alike, for example, cake, rake; boy, toy, etc.

Title: Self-Silhouette
Materials: dark colored construction paper (a large piece), white chalk, tape, scissors, magazines, glue, filmstrip projector or overhead projector, helper
Procedure: Sit in a chair next to a wall (with your side to the wall). Tape the construction paper to the wall at the same level as your head. Set up a source of light and shine it right on the paper. to your chair and sit very
still while a friend traces around the shadow of your profile. Carefully cut out the silhouette. You might want to paste it onto a card, bright paper, or a piece of wood.

Title: Senses
Eyes to see with,
Ears to hear with,
Nose to smell with,
Tongue to taste with,
Feet to run with,
Hands to touch with,
I'm a lucky child,
Aren't you?

Title: Sewing on Meat Trays
Materials: Meat trays, Large needles, Yarn, Buttons - fabric pieces - noodles - bangles,
1. Give each child a meat tray.
2. Let each child choose color of yarn.
3. Thread onto needle for the child. Secure knot at end.
4. Help the child to poke through meat tray and in/out.
5. Let child thread buttons, fabric, noodles, etc. onto the yarn as they sew.
6. Adult should tie off the end when finished.

Title: Smell Bottles
Use flavor concentrates to make smell bottles. Ask your pharmacist for eight small brown plastic pill containers with easy-to-remove plastic tops (film canisters also work well). In each bottle place a cotton ball. Drop two drops of flavor concentrate on each cotton ball. (You can find concentrates such as vanilla, peppermint extract, mitation
butter, onion juice, and lemon extract in the baking supplies section of your supermarket.) You can make each bottle different, or you can have two bottles with the same smell and have the children match the pairs.
For a twist and a good parental involvement activity, send each canister home with the child with the directions to fill it with a smell--good or bad. You can also do this with sounds.

Title: Squeeze and Sculpt
Materials: Plaster, Water, Bowl for mixing plaster, Sturdy plastic bag, String, Newspapers, Fine sandpaper, Optional: paint and brush.
Procedure: Mix plaster into warm water. Pour plaster into a plastic bag and tie it shut tightly with string. When the plaster begins to thicken squeeze the bag with both hands. Hold the 'squeeze' for 5 to 10 minutes until the plaster is hard enough to hold its shape. When it is completely hard, tear away the plastic bag and lightly sand the rough edges (if you want to). Paint your sculpture if you'd like it colored.

Title: String and Glue Art
Materials Needed: Various thicknesses of string and yarn, Glue (watered down), Bowls, Dark paper or matte board, Wet towel (for clean-up).
1. Have small bowls of glue (watered down) on hand for each child at the table.
2. Give each child a piece of dark paper or dark matte board.
3. Dip yarn or string into glue. Take the yarn and pull it between the fingers to get rid of excess glue.
4. Arrange yarn or string into a design on paper or matte board. It will stick.

Title: Super Spinner
Materials: String, Cardboard, A fat needle, Crayons, paints or markers, A compass for making a circle, Scissors
Procedure: Cut a circle out of cardboard. Decorate both sides with crayon, paint or markers. You can cut away the edges a bit but you must do it equally all the way around so the shape doesn't get lopsided. With the needle, punch 2 holes and tie the ends together. Cut a piece of string about 5 feet long. String it through the holes and tie the ends together. Keep the spinner in the center....and spin!

Title: Tactile Temperatures
Prepare a jar of ice water and a jar of warm water. Let children take turns touching the jars to see which is warm and which is cold. Children may close their eyes when touching the jars if they wish. This helps concentrate on using one sense.

Title: Taste Test
Prepare popcorn for snack time. Divide popped corn into three bowls. Season one bowl of popcorn with Parmesan cheese, one with salt and one with sugar. Let children identify the substance on the popcorn in each bowl, after having had their three choices defined.

Title: Use Your Ears (game)
Use your ears, use your ears,
Listen now and hear!
Use your ears, use your ears,
What kind of sound do you hear?

Have the children close their eyes. Make a sound with your body, such as a clap, a whistle, a snap of the fingers and so on. Let the children guess what sound you make.

Title: Use Your Eyes (game)
Use your eyes, use your eyes,
You can look and see;
If you have on brown shoes;
Come and stand by me!

Repeat this verse with the children changing the various colors of clothing.

Title: Vegetable Plate (lunch or snack)
Give each child a paper plate and sliced vegetable. Ask them to create themselves using the slices of vegetable. Example; tomatoes for eyes, cauliflower for a nose and bean sprouts for hair. This presents an ideal time to
discuss the importance of eating well to maintain healthy bodies. When their creation is finished they may eat the fruit plate for snack!

Title: Wacky Wednesday
Read the story Wacky Wednesday by Theo LeSieg to the children on Tuesday. This book is a 'What's Wrong?' story. Tell the children that when they come to school tomorrow it's going to be 'Wacky Wednesday.' If they want to participate, they may do so by dressing in a way that is unusual, such as wearing a shirt inside out. On Wednesday, do several things to the classroom that are obviously unusual. For example, a table may be turned upside down or bulletin board characters could be reversed. Items could be moved from one center to another area of the room. The teacher could dress in an unusual way , such as wearing a pair of skates. Use your imagination, the wackier the better.

Title: Watch the Blob (Age 6+)
Material: 2 pieces of paper with a hard surface, India Ink, Newspaper, Fine point black marking pen
1. Drop a blotch of ink on the paper.
2. Press another piece of paper on top of it. Rub gently out from the center to spread the ink blob.
3. Remove the blotting paper.
4. Use a fine-point marking pen to create something from the 'blob.'

Title: Who Has The Bell? (game)
Ask the children to sit in a circle while one child leaves the room. Give a small bell to one child in the circle and ask her to close her fist. Direct all the children to make fists with their hands, too. When the first child s to the room, all the children stand up and shake their fists above their heads. The first child must try to identify the one with the bell. Once your children gain skill with one bell, try more then one.

Title: What's Missing?
Provide children with a box of small objects, for example, crayon, scissors, pencil, paste jar, book, etc.
Let the children select four items. Have the children close their eyes, then remove one of the items. Ask the children to tell you what's missing. Continue the game, changing the items.

Title: What's the Order
Collect three or four items from around the classroom, for example, block, crayon, book, doll, etc.
Arrange the items in a specific order. Ask the children to close their eyes. Change the order of the items. Ask one child to put the items back in the original order. This activity may be done with objects specific to an area of study. Flannel board items may also be used.

Title: Maracas
A) Paper mache over two old light bulbs. When they're dry, decorate them with paint. Then bang the bulbs on the floor until the glass breaks.
B) Drop some pebbles or gravel into an empty soda pop can, and tape it shut.
Fasten the can to a stick and paper mache around it or paint.....then shake!

Title: Is This Cup Full?
Fill a glass with pebbles. Ask the children if the glass is full. If they don't think so, have them add pebbles until everyone agrees that the glass is full. Then ask if they think anything else will fit into the glass. The children will say no. Pour either salt of sand into the same glass. The children will be surprised. Call their attention to how the salt or sand fills in the spaces left between the pebbles. Now ask if the glass is full. Pour water into the same glass. Ask if anybody knows why the glass could hold water. Ask the children if the process could work in reverse starting with the water. Try it out.

Title: Mirror Reflections
Have children select a partner and stand facing each other. One child moves very slowly and the second child copies the movement. Use of variety of arm, leg and face movements.

Title: Ticklers
Have children lie on the floor on their backs with each child placing her head on another child's stomach. Tell the children to laugh. Let each child describe how it felt when everyone was laughing.

Title: Pictures, Pictures, Pictures
Develop a file of pictures from magazines. Children take turns describing how items are used, for example, chairs are for sitting, trees are for climbing, cars are for driving, etc.

Click here to return to Tammy's Teaching Tips Themes Page