Five Senses Preschool Theme

The Five Senses: Sight, smell, touch, hearing and taste. One week may not be enough for this theme! You could spend one week on each sense!

Babies learn about the world around them strictly through their senses. As preschoolers, our children have the comprehension, vocabulary and ability to learn even more through their senses.

This Five Senses Preschool Theme page is filled with some preschool activities and ideas for your classroom.

Let the Theme planning begin!

You can either scroll down through this page to see all of the preschool activities for your Five Senses Preschool Theme or click the link below to go to specific preschool activity types you are looking for.


Art Activities Block Area

Circle Time Activities Cooking Recipes

Dramatic Play Ideas Easel Ideas

Gross Motor Games Library and Literacy

Math And Manipulatives Activities Music and Movement

Sand and Water Table Science Activities

Writing Activities

Art Activities

Five Senses Theme Art

Glitter Plates Sense of Sight

Materials Needed: paper plates, glue, paint brushes and lots and lots of glitter!

This activity is self explanatory AND messy! You will have glitter everywhere for a while!

Encourage the children to completely glue the plate and then add glitter to the entire plate.

When you shut off the lights and shine a flashlight on these, they are beautiful!

For easier clean-up, have large trays or cookie sheets available. Place one container of glitter on each tray. The children move from tray to tray to use the glitter colors that they want.

Also, if you place a very small piece of paper towel folded up inside the container, it will slow down the amount of glitter that comes out.

Plastic Fork Painting

Provide shallow trays of paint and plastic forks. Demonstrate how to dip the fork tines into the paint and then gently press it onto paper. Very cool looking designs!

Kool Aid Playdough Sense of Smell

Materials Needed: 2 1/2 cups flour, 1 packet of unsweetened kool-aid, 1 cup of salt, 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, 2 cups of water.

Heat the water up (in the microwave or on the stove). Add in the kool aid and the oil.

In a separate bowl, mix in 2 cups of the flour and all of the salt.

Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir.

Add more of the flour as needed to make a consistent playdough.

The children LOVE to make their own playdough. Allow them to smell each ingredient as they put them into the bowls.

Be careful with the water!

This playdough smells great and will last for up to a month in a sealed bag or container.

Smelly Flowers Sense of Smell

Thank you Amy from Stillwater, OK for this activity!

Make a flower pattern with a circle for the center. Have the children help glue the flower together. Meanwhile mix yellow paint with fragrant hand lotion until the paint smells like the lotion. Paint each child's hand with the scented paint and place their hand print on the center circle. When it dries the flower smells like the lotion. Hang them on the wall and encourage the children to "stop and smell the flowers" as well as reinforcing we use our nose for our sense of smell. I did this activity in an Early Preschool Classroom and teachers, the children and parents loved them!

Finger paint-of Course Sense of Touch

You can add to your finger paint to add to the sense of touch! Try adding a little bit of sand or small pebbles!

Vehicle Painting Sense of Sound

Materials Needed: paper, paint, small plastic vehicles to paint with!

The children love the sound that the cars make while driving in the paint on the paper. Of course, they can make their own sounds to go along with the car, truck, boat, etc. that they are painting with!

Sponge Paint

Give the children soft and hard sponge pieces to paint with!

Sparkly Chalk Pictures

Materials Needed: mix warm water with a lot of epsom salts until it dissolves. Use sidewalk chalk to dip into the solution and draw with on dark paper (dark blue, black, etc.). These look great when dry!

Golf Ball Painting

Inside a tray or box lid, place a piece of paper. Drop some watered down paint (use many colors!) on the paper. Drop in 2 golf balls. The children shake the tray or lid from side to side to paint with the golf balls!

Plastic Wrap Beauties

Let the children paint on plastic wrap. When done, cover with another piece of plastic wrap and hang on the windows!

Smelly Paint

Add scents to different paints (banana extract to yellow paint, cherry extract to red paint, etc.) and just let them paint!

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Block Area

Five Senses Theme Block Center Ideas

Car Sounds

Add paper towel tubes and toy cars to the block area. The children will love the sound the cars make in the tubes as they make ramps out of them!

Bristle Blocks

These blocks have such a great texture to them! Definitely have them out for building this week!

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Circle Time Activities

Five Senses Theme Circle Time Ideas

Circle Time is such a great time for children to learn the social skills of being together as a large group AND to learn more about your theme!

Feely Box or Bag

Bring a cloth bag or a box with a hole in it. Bring items that have different textures (sandpaper, wet cotton ball, cooked pasta). Add one item and let the children feel and guess!

Flannel Textures

Make flannel pieces that have different textures. Give one to each child. Have them describe what their piece feels like and then place it on the board. Help them with the words: rough, smooth, slippery, etc.

I Spy

Play this classic game to work on your sense of sight!

I spy something red!

I spy something that moves!

I spy something bright!

What's That Sound

In advance, record many sounds such as a cat meowing, a dog barking, someone walking, a car horn blowing, etc. (You may also be able to find sound CD's online).

Play a sound and pause the tape or CD and have the children try to guess what each sound is.


Borrow a few Braille books from the library for the children to see and touch while you explain how others read using them.

Sound Counting

Place a jar behind you and drop items in one at a time while the children try to count how many items you are dropping in (use coins, marbles, etc.)

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Cooking Recipes

Snack Recipe Ideas to Cook Up for Your Theme!

Cooking with children helps develop their math skills and helps them to learn how to follow directions. It also allows for some great conversation! Ask many questions while cooking with your children to encourage conversation! Be sure to ask specific themed questions while making these fun snacks!

Yogurt Shakes

Ingredients and Items needed: Milk, frozen yogurt and a blender!

Just add these materials and enjoy the taste! Try different flavors and colors of frozen yogurt!

Salty/Sweet Trailmix

After checking for allergies, provide different snack items, each in their own bowls. The children measure a tablespoon or so of each into a plastic baggie for snack.

Suggestions: pretzels, cereal, dried fruit, etc.

Personal Pizza

Make personal pizzas using english muffins, sauce, cheese, vegetables, etc.

Discuss the tastes and smells as the children put together their own personal pizza for snack!

Blindfold Taste Tests

Show the children foods they like (fruits work great) such as banana, pineapple etc.

Let them smell them.

Ask them if they can guess which one they are tasting without looking at it (use blindfolds if they will let you!


Show the children different types of corn: Corn on the cob, canned corn, Indian corn, and popcorn kernels.

Of course, make some popcorn!

Thumb Print Cookies

Make cookies. Instead of pressing the dough, make them into small 1/4 inch balls and have the children place their thumbprint in it before you bake them!

Warm, Cold Snack

Have warm and cold at snack time today to discuss the differences! Try hot chocolate and ice cream or Cold lemonade and warm cookies!

Home Made Bread

Make your favorite bread recipe with the children, such as banana bread or gingerbread, and talk about the smells as you make it and as you eat it!

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Dramatic Play Ideas

Five Senses Theme Ideas to Transform Your Dramatic Play Area

Dress Up

Provide different types of dress up clothing with different textures: furry animal outfits, silk dresses, wool coat, etc.

Nighttime Picnic

Set up your dramatic play area with picnic items such as a basket with play food, a blanket or sleeping bags and flashlights!

Eye Doctor

Create an Eye Doctor' office in dramatic play this week! Add an eye chart, mirrors, doctor kits, table and chairs, clipboards and pens, play glasses, etc.

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Easel Ideas

Five Senses Theme Ideas for your Easel--More Than Just Painting (Although that is always THE favorite in our classroom!)

Glitter Paint

Add Glitter to the paint at your easel this week!

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Gross Motor Games

Five Senses Theme Large Group Games that help build their muscles while they have fun together

Obstacle Course

I set up an obstacle course around the room which includes individual tubs of sand, cotton balls and water, large soft pillows, bubble wrap, corrugated cardboard, and other unusual textures. The kids take off their shoes and socks, I put on music, and they have a blast exploring the sense of touch through their feet!

Thank you Cindy for submitting this idea!

Watch Out! Snake!

Using a jumprope, have 2 children hold the ends of the rope and shake it back and forth as the other children try to jump over the "snake"...they'll have to use their great eyesight to keep their eyes on it!

Name the Sense Beanbag Game

In advance, enlarge a picture of an eye, a hand, a mouth, a nose and an ear (8 X 10 is a good size). Tape them together, side by side.

The children toss a bean bag to toss on your home made mat. They then name the sense and something that goes with it. For example: Nose--Sense of Smell--I like to smell popcorn!

Traffic Light Thank you Argyll from Scotland for this idea!

An active game using sight.

Discuss what traffic has to do at the lights.

Children will be the traffic and have to obey the traffic lights.

Hold up coloured objects ( plastic cones from PE, bean-bags, toys, circles)

Initially tell the children what to do each time you change the colour you hold up. Progress to telling them you're changing the colour. Older children may be able to look often enough that you don't need to remind them to change what they need to do.

Recently in my (Miss Cheryl's) classroom, the teacher held up a sign made of a red circle on one side and a green on the other side and flipped over the 'traffic light' for the children to follow!

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Library and Literacy

Themed Ideas for Your Library and Literacy Activities for your Preschool Classroom

Book Suggestions for the Library

Books on Tape Provide the children's favorite stories on CD or tape so they can hear and read at the same time!

Feely Bugs by David Carter

My Five Senses by Margaret Miller

Five Senses Series by Maria Rius (She has one for each sense!)

David Smells! A Diaper David Book by David Shannon

My Five Senses by Aliki

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Math And Manipulatives Activities

Five Senses Theme ideas to help your Preschoolers develop those small muscles in their hands!


There are so many sensory puzzles you can use for a Five Senses theme: Fuzzy animal puzzles, interactive puzzles, etc. Check out your local library!


Provide different types of toys for the children to sort by touch, color, size such as teddy bear sorters, buttons, etc.

Counting Music

Materials Needed: Plastic eggs, small pebbles or beans

Have the children add pebbles or beans to the eggs. Encourage them to count them as they put them in or give them a number to count out and place in. Close the eggs and shake them for some maraca sounds!

Texture Matching

Make matching pairs of papers with different textures like sandpaper, furry material, legos glued on, etc. The children match them and have the chance to touch and discuss the textures.


Provide plastic pegs, plastic hammers and floral foam for the children to hammer the pegs into.

Board Games

Some board games are great for this theme!

Try having Candyland, Memory, Hi-Ho Cherry-O or Connect 4 available this week!

Puzzles by Touch

Encourage the children to try and complete a 5 piece puzzle without looking at it, perhaps with a blindfold, to get the idea of what it might be like to not have their eyesight.

Rough or Smooth?

Provide 2 bins and a large variety of items for the children to sort by either rough or smooth. Use items such as wool, silk, rocks, sea shells, etc.

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Music and Movement

Five Senses Theme Music and Movement Activities and Ideas to get your Preschoolers Movin' and Groovin'!

Scarf Dancing

Play different types of music and encourage the children to listen to the sound (fast, slow, etc.) and move to the music.

Freeze Dance

Have many different tempos of music and songs available. Play a few seconds to a minute of each. When you stop the music, they must FREEZE! When you start the music, they must dance to the beat (slow, fast, etc.)

Musical Instruments

Let the children use instruments to make "beautiful sounds"!

Thank you to Crystal from Jerome, Idaho for the following extension idea!

Using Instruments

Have the children use different instruments (some high pitched and some low pitched) to discover different sounds the instruments make.

Sticky Walk

Place contact paper, sticky side up, on a large floor and let the children walk on if they dare!

Bubble Popping

Tape large amounts of bubble wrap on the floor for the children to walk and jump on!

Name That Tune

Have many CD's available and play the first few sounds of the children's favorite songs. Then pause it for the children to guess which song it is.

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Sand and Water Table

Five Senses Theme Ideas for the Senses!

Five Senses

Add some different items to your water table this week to use all the senses!

Colored Ice Cubes--place them in the table alone or add them to water!

Add vanilla to the water

Colored macaroni or colored rice with spoons and cups

NOTE: To make colored rice or colored macaroni:

In a large ziplock baggie, place 1- 1 1/2 cups of macaroni or rice.

Add 1 teaspoon of rubbing alcohol.

Add generous amount of food coloring.

Seal bag and mix.

Let air dry on a tray overnight.

Goop Recipe

Mix equal parts of school glue and liquid starch. Let sit overnight! This is very stretchy!!!

Another Good Recipe

Add water to cornstarch until it is the consistency of mashed potatoes.

When you pick it up, at first it feels dry but when your body heat mixes with it, it becomes drippy and falls between your fingers and then dries again! This is GREAT stuff!

Yup, another five senses Goop recipe!

2 tablespoons of cornstarch, water and 1 drop of food coloring.

Put the cornstarch into the glass cup.

Add hot water, 1 teaspoon at a time. Stop adding water when the consistency is like pancake batter or white glue.

Add food coloring and stir.


Gak Recipe

2 tablespoons of white glue; 2 tablespoons of water; 1 drop of food coloring; 2 teaspoons of borax solution**see below

Combine glue and water. Stir until mixed.

Add food coloring. Stir to mix.

Add borax solution. Stir until it is one blob.

Drain excess liquid and knead for a minute or so.

**Borax solution: Stir 1 tablespoon of borax into 1 cup of warm water until dissolved.

Caution: This will stick to carpeting!

Another Gak Recipe

Same as Gak recipe above except use clear glue instead of white glue!

VARIATION: Adding glitter to glue and water---it looks awesome!!!

Shaving Cream

Yup, that's it! The kids will know what to do! Just have clean up towels ready!

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Science Activities

Five Senses Theme Science Ideas--for your Preschool Scientists in Training!

Exploring Time!

Materials Needed: any type of collection such as rocks, buttons, etc. and magnifying glasses!

The children will love to explore these collections!

Smelling Jars

Materials: baby food jars and items to smell!

Try adding a cotton ball with vanilla extract in it; peppercorns; vinegar; etc.

Poke holes in the cover and hot glue the covers on for the children to sniff and guess!

Sound Jars

A twist on the smelling jars above. Place items in jars and cover the jars with paper so the children can not see through them. Encourage the children to shake the jars and guess what is in them!

Some suggestions are: pebbles, mini legos, sand, etc.

Discovery Bags

Use some small ziplock baggies with hair gel, shampoo, paint, etc. Squeeze the air out. Tape the bags closed. The children will love these!

Guessing Bags

Provide a special bag for the children to place a toy in. Encourage them to ask a friend to guess what is in the bag by just feeling the outside of the bag or by putting their hand in the bag and feeling the item! This is a favorite game in our classroom!

Watch Those Colors Move!

Materials needed: round pan (pie or cake pan), food coloring of different colors, milk, liquid dish detergent.

Pour milk in the pan.

Drop a few drops of each color of food coloring on one side of the pan on the milk.

Add a drop of dish detergent on the milk on the opposite side of the pan. Slowly, the colors will move and mix. Drop another drop of dish detergent on a different side of the pan on the milk and it will start all over!

Different Shells!

Most classrooms have a plethora of seashells that are only used during a Summer or Beach theme. Add them to this theme! Provide a variety of shells and magnifying glasses. The children will notice the different sizes, shapes, colors and textures!

Warm or Cold?

In advance, prepare 3 baby food jars. Fill one with cold water, one with luke warm water and one with very warm (but not hot) water.

Have the children feel the luke warm water and then the cold and identify it (warm or cold).

Dry their hands and then immediately have them feel the warm and then the luke warm. They will think the lukewarm is cold in this second try!

Well, will you look at that!

Provide many objects for the children to look through that will give them different views! Provide telescopes, microscopes, prisms, magnifying glasses, plastic wrap sheets (placed inside frames) etc.

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Writing Activities

Writing Activity Ideas for Your Preschool Classroom's Five Senses Theme!

Fingerprint Names

In advance, print each child's name on a large piece of paper. Provide stamp pads and show the children how to press their finger in the pad and cover the lines to the letters of their name!

Sandpaper Rubbings

Provide different shapes of sandpaper. The children place paper over the rough side of the sandpaper and then rub the paper with the sides of a crayon. Very cool!

VARIATION: Cut the sandpaper into letters, numbers, shapes or other concepts you are working on with the children.

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