Last week we taught one of my favorite units, five senses! I think five senses are so much fun to teach. If possible, I would extend this unit another week, but sadly there is too much to teach in a school year and not enough time to teach it.
Over the week we did lots of fun five senses activities and tried to incorporate them into as many centers as possible. Here are just a few of the activities we did.
The first thing I explain when discussing the sense of hearing is that in order for our sense of hearing to work well, everyone has to be very quiet. This is a great way to keep the kids from getting too wild when playing our hearing game.
We have a set of wooden sound boxes in our classroom. When you shake the box it makes a unique sound, and each box has a match. I like to play this game during circle time as a whole group. We all sit in a big circle and I will pick up two sound boxes and shake them. The kids will then give me a thumbs up if they think the boxes are a match, or a thumbs down if they do not match. On the bottom of the boxes there is a colored dot to make the game self-checking.
The kids love trying to find the matches. After we have finished playing, this game is added to our puzzles and games center so the kids can play with their friends during center time.
Another fun activity during sense of hearing is musical instruments. We are lucky enough to have enough musical instruments for every kid to have one. It is so much fun to pass out the instruments and let each child explore the sound it makes. The kids always have a blast when they get to make their own music!
When it came time to teach the sense of sight, we read Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Eric Carle. This book is a favorite of all kids and tied in perfectly with what we were talking about. After reading, we played a little game where I gave clues to something in the room and using only their sense of sight, the students had to figure out what I was describing.
I made these five senses smelly bottles about 5 years ago and have used them every year since. To make these I first started with empty water bottles and used a knife to poke a hole in the top of the lid. I then took cotton balls and thoroughly soaked them in various cooking extracts. Once the cotton balls were soaked I put them inside the bottles and hot glued the lids onto the top. I used a sharpie to write the scent at the bottom of the bottle for my reference only.
In the classroom we pass these bottles around the circle and the kids have the opportunity to smell each one and make a guess as to what the scent is. I have always found this to be a fun activity for teaching smell and the kids always love it!
Another fun activity to teach the sense of smell is to make a scent book. These books are super easy to make and smell so good. We used 5 index cards to create the book. The first page is just a cover page that says “My Scent Book” with the child’s name on it. On each page after that we spread on a very minimal amount of glue and helped the child shake some kool-aid onto the glue. At the top we wrote the name of the scent with a highlighter and the child traced it.
Once each page is dry we stapled together to finish the book. At the end of the week the kids got to take their books home to share with their families.
During the discussion of the sense of touch we played another whole group game. This game is called Ruff’s House. Ruff is a dog and inside his house he has several different bones, all with unique textures. Each bone has a match. To play, the teacher gives the student a bone and using only their sense of touch, the child reaches into Ruff’s house and tries to find the match.
Ruff’s House was a big hit. The kids were asking to play with it even more after we were done, so this activity ended up in a center as well.
If you want to use Ruff’s House in your classroom you can purchase it from Learning Resources.
If you saw last week’s Five for Friday post, then you read a little snippet about our taste test. The taste test is hands down my favorite part of the week. After discussing our sense of taste, we have a little taste test to allow each child to taste something sweet, salty, bitter, and sour. After the taste test we graph the students’ favorite tastes.
For our taste test we had pretzels, marshmallows, green olives, and pickles.
As you probably guessed, the marshmallows won favorite taste by a landslide. Surprisingly pickles came in second, pretzels were third and green olives were last.
The taste test was definitely the highlight of the week. All of the kids were so excited to get to participate in the taste test!
Five Senses Sensory
To further tie in the five senses theme to our centers, we created an apple themed five senses sensory bin. The idea for this sensory bin came from a blog post by Fantastic Fun and Learning.
We took inspiration from the original blog post and modified it to fit our classroom. Here is what we came up with:
To create this sensory bin we used oats and Apple Jacks cereal with some apple pie spice sprinkled on top to bring in the sense of smell. We then die-cut and laminated some apples and added two silver buckets.
The kids have absolutely loved exploring this sensory bin. The apple pie spice added the perfect amount of scent to this sensory bin and made it an even more unique experience.
Red Sensory Bin
Our color of the week last week was red, so when trying to come up with something for our second sensory table we decided to create an all red sensory bin.
We searched the classroom for any and all things red in order to make this sensory bin. The base is red straws which we cut up. We then added red pom poms, tangrams, bowls, scoops, magnetic letters, and various math manipulatives. This sensory bin was a lot of fun and really helped reinforce the concept of red.
That wraps up our five sense unit. We hope you have been inspired to try some new activities in your classroom. If you use any of these activities in your room or have some ideas of your own, please share them with us. We love reading your comments!