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The Five Senses
When in school, children are taught that they have five senses. To them, the senses are seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching. Teachers call them visual, auditory, olfactory, gustatory, and tactile. All five senses allow for a variety of preschool sensory activities based around the Easter holiday to help refine each of them.
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Refine the visual sense through matching, sorting, and categorization activities.
- Purchase a set of plastic Easter eggs. Take them apart and place them into a basket. Children must match the colors. Make it more difficult by including sets of different sizes all mixed into the basket.
- Use stickers to create concentration games, bingo games, and dominoes to practice visual discrimination.
- Cut out different sizes of identical Easter shapes, such as baskets, bunnies, eggs, and candy, for the children to sort by size.
- Cut out pictures of Easter objects to be sorted by category. Include different kinds of bunnies, baskets, and candy.
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Refine the auditory sense through matching and grading activities.
- Purchase decorative bells of varying sizes from an arts and crafts store. Attach small pieces of string to each, making five pairs of matches. Have children match the two that sound the same.
- Using one bell from each set above, have the children grade the bells from loudest to softest.
- Fill plastic eggs with different things, such as salt, rice, blocks, etc., making five matching pairs. Glue them closed, then have children shake them to match the ones that sound the same.
- Again, use one egg from each set above to grade from loudest to softest.
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Refine the olfactory sense through these matching activities.
- Bring in different kinds of candy and jellybeans for the children to smell. Have them guess the smell based on the color of the jellybean.
- Make smelling cylinders by putting items into salt and pepper shakers. Use items such as dried flower petals, grass, dirt, and favorite sweets. Let the children guess what is inside and match each shaker to a picture of the item.
- Create two matching sets of the cylinders for children to match.
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Refine the gustatory sense with these tasting activities.
- Children love to taste candy. Set aside one special day toward the end of the day for a guessing game with jellybeans. Try to guess the flavor by the color, then see if they are correct! Use a mix of fruity and spicy jellybeans to make it trickier.
- Do a taste comparison with carrots in different forms. See how different baby carrots taste from their longer counterparts. Try them cut vs. shredded. Put some into a juicer and taste the carrot juice.
- Compare the taste of carrots to other vegetables that bunnies may like, such as different kinds of lettuce.
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Engage the child's sense of tactile with these activities.
- Hide a bunch of small Easter tokens in a large bin for the children to find with their fingers. Bury them in sand, rice, beads, or beans. Each medium provides a different sensory experience for the children. Try a different one each day.
- Cover a table with shaving cream for the children to "paint" Easter pictures.
- Use fingerpaints for tactile painting experiences. When dried, the paintings could be cut into Easter shapes, such as bunnies or eggs.
- Create three-dimensional pictures, using shredded cotton balls for rabbit fur, and Easter grass to represent the grass.
- Cut out Easter-themed shapes from different kinds of material, such as cotton cloth, felt, etc., for the children to match by touch.
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Incorporating the Five Senses
Tweak each sensory activities to keep the children's attention. As they become more adept at using each of them, they will better be able to appreciate and observe the world around them as well as enjoying great activities around the Easter holiday!