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Preschool Activities About the Five Senses

written by: Tracey Bleakley • edited by: Amanda Grove • updated: 8/24/2012

These activities for preschool children about the five senses will introduce your students to the senses of smell, taste and touch. Use these hands-on activities as part of a Five Senses or an "All About Me" Unit in preschool.

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    Sight

    Students will learn about how our eyes and our sense of sight help us discover the world around us with these fun activities.

    Our Eyes Begin this activity by showing your students a diagram of an eye. Explain that our eyes are the part of the body we use to help us see. Point out different parts of the eye. Tell them that the colored part of their eye is called the iris. Then ask them to predict which eye color is the most common in their class. Give each student a small picture of an eye and tell them to color the iris the color of their own eyes. You might want to pass around some small mirrors for the students who aren't sure of their eye color. Then collect the pictures and make a class graph to show the different colors. Discuss the results.

    What's Missing? Play a game that encourages your preschoolers in the practice of looking carefully at things. Gather the class around in a circle. Place several items in front of you. Have the students look at them for a minute and close their eyes. While their eyes are closed, take an item away. Can they guess what is missing? Students also play this game in pairs or small groups.

    Nature Walk Head outside on a nice day and have your students talk about what they see. Encourage them to look carefully at their surroundings. You might even give them a list of things to look for like insects, seeds, birds, etc. When they come back inside, provide paper and crayons for them to draw some of the things they saw.

    Brown Bear, Brown Bear Read the book Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr and Eric Carle. Then make a class book using the children's names. Give each student a piece of paper with "__________, ____________ What do you see? I see a ______________ looking at me." Depending their age the students can write their own names or you can fill in their names and what they see. Let them illustrate the page and bind all of the pages together into a class book.
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    Sound

    Try these fun preschool activities on the five senses to teach your students about hearing.

    Sound Bingo Make a recording of different sounds that the children will be familiar with - a dog barking, a door closing, bells, drums, etc. Then give a student a bingo card with picture of the different sounds on it. Play a sound and have the students cover the picture that goes with it.

    Vibrations Teach your students that vibrations cause sound. Stretch a piece of thin rubber like a balloon or rubber glove across the top of one side of a PVC pipe elbow and attach it with a rubber band. Then put a few pieces of rice on top of the rubber and talk into the pipe. Vibrations will cause the rice to "dance" on the rubber. You can also demonstrate vibrations by letting your students run their fingers along the teeth of a plastic comb or by having some students lay down with one ear on the ground, while other students jump around.

    Crickets Read Eric Carle's book The Very Quiet Cricket and let your students listen to real crickets. In early fall you might be able to go outside to listen for them. If not, you can play recording or bring a few crickets in to listen to and set them free when you are done. Talk about how and why crickets make their sounds.

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    Smell

    After introducing the sense of smell to your students, try some of these fun activities.

    On separate cotton balls put some perfume, lemon juice, vanilla extract, peppermint extract, cinnamon and garlic powder. Place each one in a clean baby food jar. Pass the jars around to the students one at a time to smell and then discuss what they think the scent is. When you have tried all of the jars talk about which smell each student liked the most and the least. You can also make two sets of jars with these scents or new ones and put them at a center for the students to match.

    Mix one packet of Kool-Aid with about one tablespoon of water to make yummy smelling paints. Use several different colors of Kool-Aid and give your preschoolers paintbrushes and paper so that they can make their own sweet smelling masterpieces.

    Talk about which smells your students like and dislike. You write their ideas on a t-chart. You might also discuss what different smells remind them of and let the students draw pictures of some of the things that they like to smell.

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    Taste

    Start by teaching your students that our tongues are covered in taste buds that allow us to taste things that are salty, sweet, sour and bitter.

    Provide students with examples of each flavor to taste. Lemons, pretzels, unsweetened cocoa, and sugar work well. Talk about the foods and whether or not the students liked them. Then give each students a paper in the shape of a tongue and pictures of the four foods they tried and have them glue them on the tongue. You can also provide them with labels that say salty, sweet, sour and bitter to glue under the correct pictures.

    To teach students that our sense of smell helps us taste, blindfold one student and have him hold his nose. Then give him a flavored jellybean to taste, Can he guess the flavor? Then try it without holding his nose. This would be a good activity for small groups so that everyone can try. You could also use jarred baby food for the tasting.

    Make a taste sorting game. Give the students pictures of different foods and have them sort them into the four tastes - salty, sweet, sour and bitter.

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    Touch

    Finish up your unit about the five senses with these activities involving touch.

    Make guessing boxes or bags. Place a few items inside and have students reach in and try to guess what's inside just by feeling it. Some items to use are a bar of soap, cotton balls, a pine cone, a ball, or a rock.

    Make a book of textures. Discuss different textures like soft, rough, smooth and bumpy. Give each student a small book with the different textures written on each page. Then give them a cotton ball, a piece of sandpaper, a piece of wax paper and a piece of corrugated cardboard. Have them glue each item onto the page with the texture that matches it.

    Provide your students with a variety of art materials and let them make texture collages. Give them pieces of fabric, sand paper, glitter, pipe cleaners, ribbons, sequins and other items with different textures to glue onto a piece of card stock.

    Finger paintingis another fun way to explore the sense of touch.

    Do you have any further ideas to try? Let us know in the comments.