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.
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!
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!
Add scents to different paints (banana extract to yellow paint, cherry extract to red paint, etc.) and just let them paint!
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!
These blocks have such a great texture to them! Definitely have them out for building this week!
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!
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.
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.
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.)
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!
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!
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.
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!
Provide different types of dress up clothing with different textures: furry animal outfits, silk dresses, wool coat, etc.
Set up your dramatic play area with picnic items such as a basket with play food, a blanket or sleeping bags and flashlights!
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.
Add Glitter to the paint at your easel this week!
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!
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
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.
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!
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.
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.
Play different types of music and encourage the children to listen to the sound (fast, slow, etc.) and move to the music.
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.)
Let the children use instruments to make "beautiful sounds"!
Thank you to Crystal from Jerome, Idaho for the following extension idea!
Have the children use different instruments (some high pitched and some low pitched) to discover different sounds the instruments make.
Place contact paper, sticky side up, on a large floor and let the children walk on it.....barefoot if they dare!
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.
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.
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.
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!!!
Yup, that's it! The kids will know what to do! Just have clean up towels ready!
Materials Needed: any type of collection such as rocks, buttons, etc. and magnifying glasses!
The children will love to explore these collections!
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!
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.
Use some small ziplock baggies with hair gel, shampoo, paint, etc. Squeeze the air out. Tape the bags closed. The children will love these!
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!
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.
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!
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.