Teach Kids the Five Senses With These 20 Free and Fun Ideas

Help them see, hear, smell, touch, and taste the world!

Five Senses We Are Teachers

Kids are usually introduced to the five senses in Pre-K or kindergarten, a precursor to the more advanced anatomy lessons they’ll learn in upper grades. For now, they need to recognize the senses as sight, sound, smell, hearing, and touch, and identify the body parts that go along with them. These fun activities will help them do just that!

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1. Read a book about the five senses

Story time is a terrific way to introduce wee ones to the five senses. Here are some of our favorite books to try.

2. Hang a five senses anchor chart

Post an anchor chart and fill it in as you discuss each of the senses and the body parts related to them. (Tip: Laminate your anchor charts so you can reuse them from year to year.)

Learn more: Kindergarten Smiles

3. Break out Mr. Potato Head

Five Senses

Mr. Potato Head toys are perfect for teaching little ones about the five senses. Learn how to make a Potato Head poster from Fun With Firsties, then grab the free printable spinner from A Little Pinch of Perfect and use it to play a fun senses game.

4. Make a set of finger puppets

Get your free body parts printable at the link below, then have kids color, cut them out, and glue them to wood craft sticks. Use them for all sorts of five senses activities!

Learn more: Simple Everyday Mom

5. Sort objects according to senses

Five Senses

Sorting games are always fun for kids. Use a muffin tin to sort smaller items, or try hula hoops for sorting larger items instead.

Learn more: The Preschool Toolbox

6. Set up Five Senses Stations

Allow kids to explore each of the senses on their own with these stations. Visit the link for plenty of great ideas for what to include at each one.

Learn more: We Have Kids

7. Use all your senses to explore popcorn

Five Senses

Popcorn is a terrific food for senses activities, especially if you can use an air popper to make it fresh while kids watch. Plus, you get a yummy, healthy snack when you’re done!

Learn more: Play to Learn Preschool

8. Or try Pop Rocks instead

Five Senses

If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, tear open a few bags of Pop Rocks candy and use your senses to experience them to the fullest. Kids will go wild for this one!

Learn more: Little Bins for Little Hands

9. Solve the case of salt vs. sugar

Guide kids as they try to determine which jar has salt and which has sugar. The catch? The sense of taste is the last one they get to use!

Learn more: Kindergarten Kindergarten

10. Put on a pair of Lookers

Five Senses

In the clever story The Looking Book (Hallinan/Barton) , two boys discover the world around them after their mom gives them each a pair of “lookers”—which are really just toy glasses. Pass out pairs to your students and send them out to use their sense of sight.

Learn more: Mrs. Jones’ Creation Station

11. Explore up close with a magnifying glass

Take the sense of sight even deeper with a magnifying glass. Show kids the tiny details their eyes can see with that bit of extra help.

Learn more: Stay at Home Educator

12. Take a listening walk

Five Senses

Inspire kids with a reading of The Listening Walk (Showers/Aliki), then head outside to take one of your own! Make a list of the sounds you hear, or give kids a checklist (get a free printable one at the link below) of sounds to listen for.

Learn more: Teach Preschool

13. Learn how sounds help you make decisions

This is a cool activity to help kids understand that while our five senses collect information, it’s our brain that helps us interpret and make decisions. You can use this idea with hearing or any other sense.

Learn more: Completely Kindergarten

14. Play a sound matching game

Five Senses

Fill plastic eggs or medicine bottles with a variety of small items. Ask kids to shake them and see if they can figure out what’s inside based on sound alone. It’s harder than they think!

Learn more: Play to Learn Preschool

15. Sniff a collection of scent bottles

Five Senses

Add a few drops of essential oils to cotton balls and drop them into spice jars. Ask kids to sniff them without looking, and see if they can identify the smells.

Learn more: Things to Share and Remember

16. Go on a scent hunt

This activity also uses essential oils, but this time you hide the scented cotton pads around the room and see if kids can sniff their way to the right locations!

Learn more: PreKinders

17. Test your sense of taste with jellybeans

Five Senses

Jelly Belly jellybeans are known for their true-to-life flavors, which makes them perfect for a blind taste test. Want to make it even more interesting? Add some Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans into the mix!

Learn more: Stay at Home Educator

18. Do an apple taste test

Our sense of taste is more subtle than kids might realize. It’s easy for them to recognize the taste of an apple, but they’ll be surprised to discover they can actually tell different kinds of apples apart too.

Learn more: Play to Learn Preschool

19. Describe how different things feel

The sense of touch gives us some of the best descriptive words. Ask kids to feel a variety of items and list the adjectives they’d use to describe them.

Learn more: Some of This and Some of That

20. Make mystery touch boxes

Five Senses

Turn empty tissue containers into mystery boxes! Drop an assortment of items into them, and ask kids to reach in and identify what they see using only their sense of touch.

Learn more: Prekinders

Love to get hands-on with science? Check out these 50 Easy Science Experiments You Can Do With Stuff You Already Have.

Plus, Inspiring Science Books for Kids in Elementary School.

Teach Kids the Five Senses With These 20 Free and Fun Ideas

Posted by Jill Staake

Jill Staake is a writer living in Tampa, Florida. She's spent most of her life teaching in traditional classrooms and beyond, from 8th grade English to butterfly encounters, and believes learning is a life-long process.

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