The Five Senses - preschool lesson plans
The Listening Walk
Fun With My 5 Senses - lesson plan book
Eyes, Nose, Fingers, and Toes
My Five Senses
Preschool Projects - lesson plan book
5 Senses Early Themes
Making Sense of Art
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You ...
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Polar Bear, Polar Bear,
Toes, Ears, & Nose! A Lift-the-Flap
Books to "See", these books are filled with color
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You ...
Good Night, Sweet Butterflies
A Color of His Own
Babar's Museum of Art
Books to "Hear", these books have rhythm or come with a cd/tape.
Winnie-the-Pooh and Some Bees Book a...
Saturday Night at the Dinosaur Stomp...
Books to "Touch", these books have textures for the children to feel.
Fuzzy Yellow DucklingsFuzzy Fuzzy Fuzzy!
Touch and Feel
Touch and Feel Animals Box Set
Discovering Great Artists
The Artist's Art (Sight)
Most artwork relates to the way that a person interacts visually with the piece. Explore some of the famous artists, such a Jackson Pollack, Pablo Picasso, Leonardo Da Vinci and the artists of the books that you read to the children. Have the children try to imitate the art they see. The book to the left give many great examples of how to accomplish this with a variety of different age groups. It is geared for older children, but has its use in Early Childhood as well.
Any Art (Sight)
Have the children do a variety of art projects. Display the projects like they were in a gallery. Ask the children to name their art and display the name and artist on tags next to the art.
Play Dough (Sight, Touch, Smell)
Play dough is great sensory activity. Children can use tools to manipulate the dough. Add a touch of Kool-Aid to add a scent to your dough.
Texture Collages (Sight, Touch)
Provide the children with a variety of different materials to create a collage. Foil, lace, paper, cloth, string, lace, ribbon are just a few examples of materials that can be used.
Torn Paper Art (Sight, Touch)
Have your child tear many different colors of paper. Let your child glue the torn pieces of paper onto a piece of paper.
Fingerprint Art (Sight, Touch)
Supply each child with a piece of white paper and non-toxic stamp pads. Show the child how to make fingerprints on the paper, using only one finger at a time. When finished, decorate with a black pen. You can make the fingerprints into bugs, balloon, apples, etc.
Paper Plate Shaker (Sight, Touch, Sound)
Take two sturdy paper plates. (The stronger the better) Place some seeds or beans on one of the plates and place the other plate on top of the first so that both eating surface areas are facing each other. Use masking tape to seal the plates together. Have your child decorate with markers, glitter, construction paper, or ribbons. When dry, shake. Shake to music, shake it each time you take a step. Shake, Shake Shake!!!
Kool Aid Art (Sight, Smell)
Sprinkle a little dry kool aid mix onto a piece of paper. Have your child spray water from a spray bottle onto the paper. Use different colored kool-aid mix. For added adventure, you may choose to take your children out into the rain with a piece of paper that has kool-aid on it.
Cotton Ball Clouds (Sight, Touch)
Make gray cloud shapes from construction paper. Have the children glue on cotton balls.
Cereal Rainbows (Sight, Taste, Touch, Smell)
You will need a box of Fruit Loops (or similar cereal), paper, pencil and glue. For younger children, you should draw a rainbow shape on to the paper then have the children glue the fruit loops inside the shape. Older children can make their own rainbow shape, or trace it. You may also do this project as open ended art by allowing the children to make whatever they wish with the fruit loops. Okay, for the taste part, most children will want to eat the cereal while working, provide the children with 2 bowls of cereal, one for the art, and one to eat.
Paint with Clouds (Sight, Touch)
Supply each child with a piece of blue paper, a cotton ball and white paint. Have the child dip the cotton ball into the white paint and press onto the paper to make cloud prints.
Shaving Cream Art (Sight, Touch, Smell)
Add a few drops of paint to shaving cream. Have the children use this to paint with. Not mixing the paint in will give it a special look.
Rubbings (Sight, Touch)
Cut a variety of shapes from paper doilys or sandpaper. Tape these shapes to the table. Have the children place a piece of thin white paper over the shapes and rub a crayon over the shape.
Rainbow Eggshell Collage (Sight, Touch)
Use food coloring to color crushed eggshells a few different colors. (You can use eggshells from eggs you have used, there is no need to hard boil these egg shells.) Let your child glue the eggshells to a piece a paper after the dye has dried.
Cookie Cutter Painting (Sight)
Put a small amount of tempera paint in a large shallow container. (A pie tin works well) Show your child how to dip the cookie cutter in the paint and press onto a piece of paper to create a print.
Stencil Art (Sight)
Provide the children with stencils to trace. They may use markers, glitter, paint, crayons.. etc to decorate the shapes.
Sticker Art (Sight, Touch)
For a very simple art project, supply the children with a piece of paper and stickers. For younger children this provides an excellent fine motor activity.
Sponge Print (Sight, Touch)
You can find already shaped sponges at most art and craft stores or you can make your own. Have your child dip the sponges into paint and press on a piece of paper.
Potato Prints (Sight, Touch)
Cut a large potato in half from the top to bottom, so it's a really long oval. Supply the children with the potato half, different colored paints, and paper. Have the children dip the potatoes in the paint and press them firmly onto the paper. If the potatoes are not cut evenly, the shape will not appear clearly.
Balloon Prints (Sight, Touch)
In a pie tin, place 3 to 5 teaspoon sized portions of colored tempera paint evenly spaced about the area. Inflate a small balloon to a size which will easily fit in the palm of your child's hand. Show your child how to "dip" the balloon in the paint and press firmly onto a piece of paper. Let your child mix the colors, or use one color at a time. This is messy, but the results are wonderful.
Bubble Art (Sight, Touch)
Supply the children with a bowl with bubble mix in it and a straw with a hole near the top to prevent children from sucking the soap up. Have the children blow into the straw while it is in the bowl creating bubbles. Then, have the child place a drop of food coloring on the top of the bubbles and quickly press a piece of paper on the top of the bubbles to create bubble prints.
Leaf Rubbings (Sight, Touch, Sound)
Have the child place a leaf under a piece of paper, and rub the paper with crayon, and the leaf shape will appear. This works much better with green leaves. Listen to the sound it makes.
Bells (Sight, Sound)
You will need yarn, a pencil, craft bells, Styrofoam cups and decorating materials. Have the children decorate their cup. Cut a piece of yarn, no longer than the height of the cup. Tie the yarn to the bell. Then poke a small hole on the bottom of the cup. Thread the yarn through the hole so the bell is inside the cup. Tie the yarn in a knot (or a couple of knots) so it will not come loose. Now you have a bell.
Bell Rings (Sight, Sound)
You will need to make these for the children. Older children can do the threading. Simply thread craft bells onto a small piece of elastic, long enough to fit around your children's ankle or wrist. Then sew the two ends together. These can be used for group time dancing, songs and games.
Pudding Finger Paint (Sight, Taste, Smell, Touch)
Mix instant pudding according to the directions and paint on wax paper. Great for children who like to eat their art
Corn on Cob (Sight, Touch)
Allow the children to use a cob of corn to paint a picture. You may also use an ear of corn and have the children roll the corn in paint and then on a piece of paper. Another variation includes removing some of the corn from an ear of corn and roll the corn in paint and roll it on a piece of paper.
Games and Activities
Pumpkin Science (Sight, Taste, Touch, Smell)
What is inside a pumpkin? Let the children explore the insides of a pumpkin. It's a great sensory experience. Save the pumpkin seeds from a pumpkin. Boil 2 cups seeds in 1 quart water with 2 tbs salt for 10 minutes. Drain the seeds and toss them in 1 tbsp of butter. Spread the seeds on a baking pan, and bake for 30 minutes. Stir frequently.
What's in the Sock? (Sight, Touch, Sound)
Find a very colorful sock. Place something in the sock, like a block, or a toy. Let the child feel the object and try to guess what it is.
What scent is this? (Smell)
Gather four or more different objects with different scents, like vanilla, mint, lemon, popcorn. Blindfold the child, then place the object close the the child's nose, and ask the child to smell it and try to identify what it is.
What Taste is this? (Taste)
Gather four or more different food objects with different tastes, Skittles can be used. Blindfold the child, then ask the child to taste the food, and ask the child to taste it and try to identify what it is. [Note: some children may have allergies or diet restrictions, please keep these in mind when choosing items for children to taste. Peanuts products, strawberries and meat products are ones that you should avoid.
Wet or Dry (Touch)
Have the children touch a variety of different fabrics that are wet (with water) and dry. Have the children guess whether they are wet or dry.
Milky Rainbows: (Sight)
Provide every child with a shallow container of milk. Place a couple drops of different food coloring in the milk. Next have the child dip a toothpick into a little dish soap and then dip it into the milk. What happens? Try it again!
Looking at the world through different colored glasses: (Sight)
Obtain different colored cellophane wrap and many toilet paper rolls. Apply a square of the cellophane wrap to the end of the toilet paper roll and secure with a rubber band or masking tape. Each child should have one. Have the children look through the tube to see what everything looks like. Have them trade with a friend. You could also have five of these set up in your science area for the children to use, or bind two of the same color for binoculars.
Mix 2 cups water with a little food coloring, add 6 cups of cornflour/cornstarch to make goop.
Sand and Water Table Ideas: (All, except taste)
- Add a little food coloring to water
- Add plastic ducks with water to the sand and water table.
- For older children (over 3) place broken dried eggshells in the sand and water table.
- Supply the children with different colors of plastic Easter grass for a tactile experience.
- Add food coloring and soap to the water
- supply the children with colored pasta noodles or rice
- Add Shaving cream
- Add ice or snow to water
- Add ice or snow
- Add warm water in one section and cool water in another
- Add leaves
- Add beans
- Add dirt
- Add feathers
- Add Pine Cones
- Add a little kool aid to the water
- Add goop
Nature Sounds (Sound)
Obtain a nature sounds tape. Ask the children what makes the sounds. You may also find ones that have animal sounds on them.
Make popcorn for the children. (Popcorn is a choking hazard, it is not recommended for children under the age of 3, for older children, direct supervision is required.) Before popping, look at the popcorn. While popping, listen and smell. If possible, use a popper that allows the children to view the popping corn, while also maintaining a safe environment. When done popping, look at the popcorn again. Have the children feel the warmth. Allow to cool. Finally, the best part, have the children taste the popcorn.
Flowers (Sight, Touch, Smell)
Provide the children with a variety of flowers to smell and touch.
Bell Balancing: Ages 3+ (Sight, Sound, Touch)
Supply the children with bells and a balance. Show the children how to make the balance even. Count the bells on each side.
Bell ringing: Ages 3+ (Sight, Sound, Touch)
Supply the children with many different bells. What different sounds do they make. How are the sounds different.
Bell ringing 2: Ages 3+ (Sight, Sound Touch)
Supply the children with pairs of bells. Mix them up. See if they can find their matches by the sound.
Bell Ring Song (Sound)
Supply each child with a bell ring. (Instructions on how to make bell rings in art section.)
Sing this song and follow the directions:
Sung to Frere Jacques
Ring your bells,
Ring your bells,
Shake them left and right,
Shake them hard and light,
Ring them loud,
Ring them soft.
Ring your bells,
Ring your bells,
Shake them up and down,
Shake them all around,
Ring them loud,
Ring them soft.
Bells on Shoes (Sound)
Younger children will enjoy this activity. You can thread craft bell onto the shoelaces of your children. Then have your children walk around, dance, or stomp.
Bell Ring Game (Sound)
Instructions on how to make bell rings in art section. Played like Doggie Doggie Where's your Bone? With a twist. Older children will have a hard time keeping the bells quiet, and it will give younger children the advantage of hearing the bells. This is how the game is played. The teacher picks one child to sit in the middle and be the Doggie. Then the other children sit in a circle around the Doggie. The teacher picks one child to hold the bells (bone) behind their back, and all the children sit with their hands behind their back. Say the Chant:
Where's your bone?
Somebody took it from it's home,
Upstairs, downstairs, by the telephone,
Wake up doggie, Find your bone.
The Doggie picks up to three people that he/she believes has the bells. One at a time, as picked, the children show their hands. If they pick the right child they "win". Regardless the child with the "bone" become the next Doggie, and the old Doggie pick who will get the bells next.
Another Bell Game (Sound)
Bell relay race. Have a relay race where the first player had a bell ring on each wrist and ankle (four total). They run to the next person, and they have to take off all the bells and put them on the next person. (variation: only one person of the two may touch the bells).
Snow Cones (All)
You will need a snow cone machine and the recommended ingredients. For the one I have, I need ice and snow cone syrup. Have the children look at the ice before you put it in the machine. While you grind the ice, have the children listen to the sound it makes. After the ice is made, have the children look at the ice again. You could add some of this ice in the sand and water table for the children to feel. Make snow cones for the children. Have the children smell the snow cones, does the ice have a scent? Does the syrup? Then have the children eat the snow cones. How does it taste?
Obtain many film or prescription bottles. (Both are great items to get from parents.) Place matching objects in two containers. I.e. a penny, rice, a pair of dice, pasta, etc. If using film containers, seal the lids with hot glue or super glue. If using prescription containers, cover the bottles with colored contact paper. This Montessori based activity would normally be introduced to the children in the following manner: without speaking, the teacher picks up one of the containers and shakes it. Then the teacher will pick another bottle and shakes it. Then the teacher shakes the first again. The teacher will shake the bottles and compare them until it is determined if they are a match, if they are not a match, the teacher would shake his/her head "no" and set the second bottle aside, and continue by picking up another bottle and shaking it, comparing it again to the first bottle. When a match is found, the teacher shakes his/her head "yes" and places the two bottles aside, next to each other. Then continues by picking another bottle and try to find its match until all of the matches are found. The child is invited to help when prompted by the teacher, with a shoulder shrug, or by the teacher initiating the child to pick a bottle, etc.
Do any art Project.
View any art project.
Look at pictures in a book.
Find objects in the room that are red, blue etc.
Play "I spy"
Compare and contrast flavors.
Try different flavors of Kool Aid. Graph which one each child likes the best.
Blindfold the children for a taste test.
Try different kinds of foods.
Provide different objects in the sand and water table. (See Above)
Allow children to touch different fabrics, materials and textures.
Read a book that has different textures on the pages, like "Feely Bugs.
Work with play dough, goop, shaving cream etc.
Provide the children with a variety of different things to smell.
Have children try to guess what they are smelling.
Explore the sounds animals make
Can we be loud, soft? Can we make our voices high, low?
Tap the table with your hands
Play an instrument.
Talk about the colors all around us. You could play "I spy" or have the children all search for an item that is a specific color and bring it back.
Colors evoke feelings. How does a certain color make you feel? Which is your favorite? Make a graph of the children's favorite color. For many more ideas, visit our page about colors.
Talk about all the shapes around us. Blocks, traffic signs, flags, cups, bowls, etc. See if the children can find the different shapes in the class such as a circle, square, and so on. For more ideas, visit our page about shapes.
Compare the sizes of various objects in the room, such as blocks, cups, dolls, even the children. Who is the tallest? Who is the shortest? Develop the children's concept of big, small, tall, short, wide, narrow, thick, thin, tiny, huge. Have the children come up with as many words as they can to describe size. Create a list of those words for a word wall.
Talk about how an object looks. Develop words that describe an objects texture such as rough, smooth, shiny, dull, clear, etc. Have the children come up with as many words as they can to describe texture. Create a list of those words for a word wall. Provide the children with many objects that have different textures to see and feel.
Talk about the various prepositions that identify where and object is, over, under, below, above, beside, etc. A great book for this is is "Inside, Outside, Upside Down". Have the children use blocks to demonstrate a variety of words. Have the children come up with as many words as they can to describe position. Create a list of those words for a word wall.
Provide the children with a magnifying glass and a variety of objects such as coins, leaves, bugs, etc. For added interest, create a fingerprint card for each child with their finger prints and their name. The children can look at the fingerprints with the magnifying glass. You could make another set of cards without the names (or put the names on the back) then have the children try to match the fingerprints.
Allow the children the opportunity to tape their own voice and listen to it. There are many different devices that will record a few seconds and play back.
Sounds of the World:
Record a variety of sounds such as running water, the microwave beeping, an alarm clock, traffic on a busy street, popcorn popping, a light switch being turned off and on. Play the sounds and have the children guess what sound it is.
Repeat the Rhythm:
Tap out a simple rhythm and have the children repeat it back to you. Alternatively, you can clap the rhythm or use musical instruments.