Setting Kids Up for Success: Sensory activities to explore five senses

Older kids will, eventually, learn about the five senses in greater detail, exploring human anatomy through diagrams and skeletal models. However, teachers and educators at a Silver Spring child care center can introduce young minds to those senses much earlier.  Using magnetic boards, to stick-on body parts indicative of various senses, is one way to get the ball rolling. But there are other fun ways to go about exploring the five senses too.

Having Fun with the Senses

When you think about it, almost every activity one performs involves some or all the five senses – seeing, touching, smelling, tasting, and hearing. And, because of that, it’s easy to come up with a list of activities to explore those senses with children. However, unless the activities are fun and exciting to do, kids may disengage from them. Here are a few exciting activities that parents and teachers can explore:

  • Taste

Kids usually look forward to snack breaks or meal time at a Gaithersburg daycare center. Caregivers can use this eagerness to offer teaching moments. Place various platters of colourful foods on five platters, and ask each child to take a tiny helping from each platter, and taste it. As they deliver a response, explain what sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and savory means.

  • Touch

Caregivers may take children for nature walks, or may do these activities indoors. Outdoors is more fun, where kids identify and touch things, like leaves, grass, dew or water, snow, rock, and sand. The teacher (or parent, if this is a home-based activity) can then explain what each texture is.

  • Smell

Educators, at a daycare in Olney MD,  may use objects like scented play dough, orange peels, coffee, mint, sage, or essential oils, and place them on a table. Kids must smell each item and express what they smell, or how articulate what their reactions are to the scent. The teacher may then explain what each smell is, and how to classify it.

  • Sight

The sense of sight is best practiced outdoors. Point everyday objects to kids, like cars, buildings, backpacks, cups, bicycles – and teach them wat they are. This is also a good time to explore sight in terms of colors, shapes, and sizes. Playing “I Spy…” is a great way to encourage children to exercise their sense of sight.

  • Sound

A great sound recognition activity, that also hones children’s sense of hearing, is a listening scavenger hunt. Educators at a child care in Silver Spring MD may take a group of kids outside, and ask them to listen for sounds: The slamming of a door; the chirping of a bird; the passing of a car; a dog’s bark. Children may then be asked where the sound came from, and to identify what it is.

Mixing It Up

Teachers and caregivers may mix-and-match these activities up, to bring variety to teaching moments. For instance, the “I Spy…” game might include spotting and identifying only living objects – birds, animals, or insects. Or the smell-test may involve naming only food smells, from among a broad array of aromas and scents. Many of these activities are more effective when conducted blindfolded, but with appropriate safety measures in place.

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