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The 5 Senses

Compiled By: luv2teach77

A collection of ideas/activities dealing with all 5 senses. Lots of hands-on ideas included!

Five Senses
Posted by: Cathy-Dee

Ok, here goes....

I do about 5 weeks for my unit. The first two senses I do more as centers, sometimes I will do the third one as well with centers(depending if I have another adult in the room or not) and the last two I combine and do as whole class activities.

I usually start with a general overview of the five senses with my students.
Then the first sense we cover is "touch".
I have 4-5 centers and we do them everyday for a week in rotations. Each day a group does a new center.
My centers are...

- touch and feel bags - I have 12 bags filled with different items. The students put their hands into the bags (no peeking) and draw what they think are in the bags on a sheet I made that has 12 boxes for them. Sometimes I have done more bags depending on the class.

- touch and feel socks - with this activity I have 8 socks (you need fairly thick socks) that I put objects into. This time they take off one shoe and feel with their feet (they leave their socks on as well for sanitary reasons). I have a page with 8 socks on it that they draw what they think is in each sock. There are numbers on the socks (likewise on the bags mentioned above).

- touch and feel concentration - I cut up squares of heavy bristol board. On the squares I put items making sure I had two of every item. The students put the squares out on the floor and then blindfold a partner. The partner has to feel with their hands and find two objects that match.

- I have a touch and feel booklet they make as well for one center.

Then I do sound

- center 1 is a listening center (sound bingo)
- center 2 is sound concentration - I obtained film canisters (dark ones) and put objects into them. On the bottoms of the canisters I put coloured dots with letters on them. I made two full sets so that a group of 4 could play in teams of two. The canisters are in pairs with matching objects inside and matching letters on the bottom. The children take turns choosing one container and then shaking the rest to find the one that matches. Then their partner takes a turn. They confirm the match via the letters on the bottom.

- center 3 - guess the sound - using the canisters again I made up 12 different ones. The students shake and then draw a picture for what they think is in the canister.
As with the bags, socks and these canisters, once everyone is finished that activity for the day I open the containers to show what was inside them. I change the containers every night so that the next group (who often overhear) do not know the answers.

- center 4 - paper plate tamborines

- center 5 - this one I stay with for the most part - we do a number of things - use stethoscopes, use hangars with strings to hear sounds in our ears, make paper cup telephones, etc.,

- this one I sometimes do as centers but often go to whole class activities because I need to be with several of the activities at the same time otherwise.
- braille cards - I made up a sheet (81/2 by 14) with the braille alphabet on it. I darkened the circles for the alphabet and the students glue split peas on the circles. Creates a tactile braille sheet for them. They also do their name in braille on the bottom of the sheet.
- I have a couple of books in braille they also can look at and touch
- We look at different optical illusions - some I have on the computer, others through books (so I put them on the overhead)
- We make 3D glasses

I made up containers (film canisters) with different smells. I have enough sets for each group of students to share. We do this as a whole class activity - guessing smells, etc., graphing likes and dislikes.
- we also do a tasting party
- I also buy jelly-belly beans and I have the students hold their nose and chew on a jelly bean. You have a sugar sensation but no taste. After they chew for about 20 seconds I tell them to let go of their nose and they get a blast of flavour. We then discuss the role of our nose with taste.

I also have a number of books we read, a few videos we watch, etc.,

Hope these ideas help.

five senses - sight
Posted by: Cathy-Dee

I thought the post might get too long so I'm breaking it up. I won't do all five tonight but I will finish them up before the end of the week.

- This one and taste I do not do as centers as it's easier to just do the activities as whole group activities.

- make 3-D glasses - this one is always fun to do. I have a template and we order in the blue and red plastic to glue on each lens to make them 3-D

- Braille - we re-look at braille and I went to the National Institute for the Blind and was able to obtain a number of braille books for free.

- Optical Illusions - we do this one more as a class and we look at a variety of optical illusions.

- Camouflage - I have the students find a picture of an animal in a magazine and cut it out. Then they colour and draw a picture that will camouflage their animal.

- This is the one section that I spend some time reading books and showing videos that discuss how eyes work and how to take care of our eyes.

- If you live in a city or large town you might also be able to invite in a blind person who has a seeing eye dog to talk with the class.

five senses - hearing
Posted by: Cathy-Dee

This is probably my favorite out of all of the senses to teach. I do mainly centers but sometimes will do a few class activities as well.

Guess that sound - I went to London Drugs and asked for empty film canisters. Most stores which develop film are more than happy to give you bag-fuls of canisters.

I labeled the tops of 12 canisters with coloured dots and numbered them 1 to 12. In each canister I put an object (kool-aid, marbles, dice, money, eraser, tacks, beads, etc.,). Then on a sheet that had pictures of canisters from 1 to 12 on it the students wrote or drew what they thought was in the canister. When everyone in the group is done then I open the canisters to show what was inside.

Canister Sound Concentration - I took more canisters and made identical sets of sounds for the students to shake and try to find the one that matched. On the bottom of each canister I put coloured round labels and labeled them from A to K (or whatever letter I went to). So if the two letters matched the student then the sound did match. If the letters did not match they had to try again.

I purchased a couple of bingo sound games - they are not too expensive and up to 4 students can play.

Paper Plate Tambourines - the students decorate the plates and then we put in assorted beads, beans, etc., and I staple them together. We discuss vibration and how sound travels through vibration.

One center is a variety of things to look at - I have stethoscopes - we fill glass jars with water and listen to the change in sound if there is less water, more water when we clang a spoon on the jar. I tie string to the ends of a wire hanger - one string on each end - students then wrap the string around their index finger and stick their finger in their ear. Then I tap the hanger and they can hear the sound quite loud in their ear. Again we talk about vibration and how the sound travelled through the string. If we have time we make paper cup telephones.

We read several books on ears and hearing and we also see a couple of videos on how to take care of our ears and hearing.

five senses - smell and taste
Posted by: Cathy-Dee

OK, this is my final section.

usually I do these two senses together as they are somewhat connected.

For taste

We discuss our tongue and the main 4 tastes we taste. We also talk about how these tastes can be combined to make many different flavours.

One experiment I always do....
Get some jelly-belly beans and give students about 4 to 6 jelly beans each. Have them plug their nose and chew on one jellybean and then after about a minute unplug their nose.
Up to that point they would have had a sugar taste but when they unplug their nose the full flavour just jumps out. So then we discuss how smell is important in how food tastes.

We also have a tasting party - sometimes I just bring in the items - other times I ask parents to donate items.

Sweet - candy, fruit
Salty - pretzels, plain chips, popcorn
Sour - pickles, lemons, limes
Bitter - Unsweetened Chocolate (just a tiny piece)


Using those wonderful film canisters - I make up enough sets of about 10 smells for each group of students I have. I again label the canisters with round coloured dots and numbers and have each group look at the canisters as I call them.

So we all open number one at the same time and take a sniff. Then I'll call on a group to see if they can tell me what they think it is. I try to have enough canisters so that I can call on each group twice.

We also make up a Venn diagram of smells most people like, smells most people dislike and smells that are sometimes liked and sometimes not liked.

Other activities you can also do....

Get large pieces of paper and label them. Things we like to look at. Things we like to touch. Thinks we like to Hear. etc.,

Then have students cut out or draw pictures to put on the paper and hang them as posters for all to enjoy.

Name Sense Poem

My name looks like _____________
Ny name feels like _____________
My name sounds like ____________
My name smells like ____________
My name tastes like ____________

To do this poem have the students make their name in some fancy manner. Then write the poem based on that.

So if you take a name like Shirley and write it with wavy lines.

My name looks like waves on the ocean.
My name feels like smooth stones on the beach.
My name sounds like whispers at night.
My name smells like _______
and so on.

And here are a few links I've also used to get ideas from.

Demo Lesson
Posted by: Barbara

I love this lesson. It's a science lesson using the 5 senses. Its called "What's inside our mystery box? Inside a large box you put a popcorn popper. Cut a hole on one side to let the extension cord through. Have the children look at the box and make predictions on whats inside (sight) and write them down on chart paper or the chalk board. Next, turn on the machine and have them predict what it could be just by listening to the sound and write those guesses on the chart paper. Now as a class you can ruleout certain guesses and as the popcorn begins to pop the children usually know what it is. And you use all of your five senses( touch, taste, smell) throughout the lesson. And you can assess the lesson with a sequencing page on which sense you used first,second etc. If you want more info on this lesson email me at The children really enjoy this lesson. I did it for my principal last year and she loved it. Be sure to give her some popcorn too :o)!!

5 senses
Posted by: Jean

I have done experiments: Use film canisters with different "smells" inside. Cut a hole or slit in the lid of the folm can. Put things like cotton balls soaked with a little vanilla extract or almond. You can slso have slices of onion, a pickle, peanut butter and so on. They obviously have to try to identify them only a sense of smell.
For another "touch" experiment, the 'feely' box would work. Reach in and identify items by touch. For sight, you can use pieces of a whole (magazine) picture. They try to identify the whole by seeing only the part. You could also try partners leading one another, while one is blindfolded to get the experience of not having sight.
For hearing I have made tapes of common sounds that they identify (Discovery toys used to have a game like this with all tapes!).
Hope this helps!

5 senses
Posted by: Cathy-Dee

I set up my 5 senses unit as centers. This week we did the sense of touch.

I had 4 centers (each day the students rotate centers).

Center 1 - bags with items inside. They feel what is inside the bag and then draw what they think on a record sheet. I oversee this experiment (to prevent the sneaking a peek syndrome). At the end I show them what was in each bag.

Center 2 - socks with items inside. This time they use their feet to feel what is inside the socks. They record their answers on a sheet. Later I open the socks and show them what was inside.

We then discuss which was easier - using our hands or our feet.

Center 3 - Making our own braille card - I created a large sheet with the braille alphabet. The dots are coloured in dark. We glue split peas on the dark circles to make our own braille card. The students also braille their own names.

Center 4 - touch memory game. I have objects glued onto bristol board. The students spread the objects out and then one of the students is blindfolded and tries to match two objects only by touch.

I also do centers for hearing and do similar activities.

If you would like more info on the rest of my activities please feel free to email me. I could also mail you my forms, etc., if you'd like

Descriptive writing using 5 senses
Posted by: Kris

I do a FUN activity with my kids using the five senses. I give each student a piece of writing paper and tell them we are going to write about "Object X." They have to pretend they are aliens and want to send information back to their home planet about a new discovery: "Object X" (a Hershey's kiss!).
1) we write about what it looks like first(no touching);
2)then how it feels,
3)then we write about the sound(of the foil wrapper);
4)next we smell Object X
5)we use our sense of taste!!!! mmmm!

By the way the students are not allowed to use the words CHOCOLATE, or KISS! My first graders had a lot of fun with this activity and it is centered around writing! I have my kids write at least one sentence for each sense.

Posted by: trt

As a new teacher you may not have resources, so you can get some help from the children!

Send home with each child a brown lunch bag and have them select something for classmates to touch (and guess) at circle time.

Another day, send with each child a film canister w/ a cotton ball and have them put something smelly in it.

For sight, send home a piece of paper and have them glue magazine pictures (or draw) things they like to see. Share at circle.

Posted by: Jenn

When I student taught it was in a first grade setting. I did a unit on the five senses. I did a lot of activities that were hands on. I had a hands on bulletin board that the students loved.
( I bought it from the teacher's store).
-When I taught smell I bought small tubberware and cut slits in the top. I filled each container with a different object. (lemon, onions, maple syrup, etc) The children used their sense to firgure out as a small group what was in each container.
-Hearing. I made a tape with all differet noises that they would know such as the phone ringing, the car horn, a doorbell, water running, even the toilet flushing. THey loved it and learned a lot.
-Touch. I filled containers with all sorts of objects and even included food. The students put their hands in containers that could only fit a small hand.
THese are just a few ideas that I used for my unit. If you have any questions just email me.

Senses packet
Posted by: Joy

I do a sense a day and have a page for each sense in the packet. For sight I have them draw (and write for those who can do invented spelling) things they see.
For smell, I do a blind smell test where two kids buddy up and pick out of familiar smells in a box at their table like paint, wood, crayons, etc and they write if they got them right or not.
For taste I have a sheet with the word bank for the parts of the tongue (salty, bitter, sweet, sour) and we try lemon, brown sugar, salt, and coffee grinds on the four parts of the tongue to see where they taste it best and then label a tongue with the word bank words.
For touch I do feeling boxes like the other person that wrote.
For hearing I bring in different instruments from the music room. We talk about the different instruments and hear their sounds. Then I do an eyes closed test where I play an instrument and they draw them in the order that they are heard.

Posted by: cg

Taste: Provide an assortment of safe to taste food items that cover sweet, sour, spicey, etc. All the areas of taste on the tongue. Have the students taste item, then place a picture of it on a grid to indicate how it tasted (sweet column, sour column, etc.)

Hearing: Sensory bags or boxes with something inside that makes a sound that the children have to identify. Or make the sound behind a screen or something so the children can't see what it is. Use a timer, a see-and-say, wooden blocks tapped together, a bell, crumple a piece of paper, etc. Use sounds they are familiar with in the classroom.

Sight: Make Magic Wands. Place a piece of colored celophane between a cutout shape of a magnifying glass & have the children look at things. How does the color make them look different? Overlap a red wand with a blue wand; suddenly it's purple! What happens when red & yellow overlap? Use those "Where's Waldo" type of books & go on a character hunt. I have seen a book where you search for Tigger that young kids would enjoy.

Touch: Use sensory bags/boxes again. Have the child stick hands inside & describe the object, then try to identify it. Use common, familiar objects. Make a guessing chart: Item #1: my guess is_____. Item #2: my guess is ______. Have your sensory area full of different textures that they can play with: sand, salt, rice, bird seed, material scraps both soft & scratchy & in between.

Smell: Place "smelly" things into jars with lids that have holes punched into them. Have the children smell them & decide if it's a pleasant smell or unpleasant. Chart results as a class. [5 students thought that box #2, was a pleasant smell, but 3 thought it was yucky. Look what it was...] Use onions, garlic, strong smelling cheese, cloves, perfume soaked cotton ball, soap, etc. Be sure that items are safe to smell & inhale.

Hope that's enough to get you started!

Posted by: Barb


I did a mini unit on the senses not too long's a few of the ideas I used/found (my students are younger than yours so...not sure if these would help...but may give you some ideas to build upon...:

Taste test different foods..salty, sweet, sour, hot, cold, crunchy, mushy, etc...

We colored pictures of different things and then matched them to what senses we use to identify them...i.e. perfume (smell), flower (sight, smell) fur (touch), etc....

we made a texture collage for touch...soft, hard, smooth, rough, etc.

you can use extracts (vanilla, peppermint, etc) and coat cotton balls in them..then put the cotton balls in a film canister of some small container and have students sniff them and try to identify/match the smells.

paint with textured paint...put in oatmeal, sand, etc in it.

hopefully some of this helps give you ideas

Posted by: Em

We do the five senses after Christmas but here are some of the activities we did:
1)sight- played I spy, I made a guess who type game where I glued pictures of animals onto bristle board then the children would ask a question about what they could see (ie. does it have wings) If it didn't I would use sticky notes to cover all the ones that did) and so on until they could guess it.
2)taste- tasted sweet, sour, salty foods, graphed our favourites and made lists of other foods in those categories.
3)touch- touched different textures things, made texture art, they drew a pictures and I provided materials of all different textures to glue on, had a feely bag
4)smell (talked about good smells and bad smells. Had a center where I had six magerine containers with holes in the tops and things with distinct smells in them, the chidlren would smell it and try to write what they thought it was.
5)Hearing- played sound bingo, for homework we asked the children to make a musical instrument with the families and bring it to school, we had a parade and a band, we had string, horns, shakers, drums ect... it was so much fun.

My Senses - Booklet
Posted by: Sharon D. W-L

I was in a grade one class observing last week and the Science lesson was a wrap up to the Senses unit. Each child was given a pre-made tiny booklet. On chart paper and colour coded the teacher had the following:

Title: My Senses

Page 1: I see a ______.

Page 2: I smell a _____.

Page 3: I taste a ______.

Page 4: I hear a _______.

Page 5: I feel a ______.

What she didn't want copied was printed in black (example Title) and the rest was in blue, which was to be copies by each student. They aslo placed their name on the bottom of the cover page By ________. I was thinking to use the same out line but maybe add the Easter or Spring theme to it.

In Spring I see _______.

In Spring I smell _______.


Also can I have a copy of the poems mentioned for the senses?


5 senses bulletin board
Posted by: Mary

I did a mini-unit for an education class on the five senses and I saw a really cute bulletin board idea. I wish I still had the URL. I am trying to remember exactly what I saw... let's see there was a person in the middle with his head and shoulders including one arm with a hand. Then there were different objects and pictures hanging around the board on string attached somewhere near the man. This is not very clear I know. :o) HOwever, let me see if I can do this... say there was a flower. The flower could then be moved to the eyes (sight, the nose (smell), and the hand (touch). If the object was a cat it could go to the hand, eyes, and ears. Does that make sense? The students move the pictures to the various senses it uses. I can't remember the title for it either. Not much help am I? Sorry. I will see if I can find the URL for it. It was a cute idea. Good luck with the bb!

5 Senses
Posted by: jayme

I did the same lesson at the beginning of firt grade. We talked about each sense. I made a little booklet for each. At the top of each page I said. We use our ___ to see_____. We then cut pictures out of magazines that represented each sense. Like a picture of a mouth. Each student filled up their pages with pictures. I also did a blind test using small butter bowls filled with different things. One was an orange they had to smell and guess. Beans had to touch. Look at a round object in the bag a ball. And ears was krinkle paper, listen and guess. Anyway, I rambling hope this helps.

Five Senses
Posted by: Cathy-Dee

I really love this unit and it is so much fun to teach with the students. What is neat is I have more ideas than I can use which makes it easy for me to change it every year so it doesn't get boring for me either.

I set up this unit in centers - usually one week per sense with one last week bringing it all together. So usually I have 5 centers with the students doing one center per day.

Sense of Touch

- mystery bags - I number 12 bags and put in objects. Students put in their hands and feel the object and then on a form I created that has 12 bags on it - they write down what the object is or draw a picture of it. This is one that should be supervised so the students do not peek in the bags first.

- socks - I number 8 socks and put items in them (the socks should be thick ones) - this time the students take off their shoes and socks and feel the object with their feet.

(once they have done both activities we discuss which was easier and the students usually come to the conclusion that hands were easier because we use them more to touch)

- braille cards (this one can be done for sight as well) - I made up a template of the braille alphabet and it is large enough for students to glue split peas on the circles (already coloured in) to create a large braille alphabet.

- blindfold concentration
take a number of objects (in pairs) and glue them on separate pieces of cardboard. Have the students spread them around - then blindfold one person and have them try to make pairs by touch. I usually have enough cards so that a group of 4 can divide into two groups and work in pairs.

-tactile names - I print each student's name on a piece of bristol board and they cover the letters with different materials (seeds, beans, sequins, beads, etc.,) to make their name tactile. (Can be done for art as well)

- Touch and Feel Book - I have a little take-home book that the students cut and put together by pasting objects on each page for each touch. Cotton balls - sentence says - This feels soft.
Sandpaper - sentence says - This feels rough.