The Five Senses - Kindergarten

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This substitute kit for kindergarten-aged children helps them explore the five senses

Generate interest and excitement by encouraging children to use their five senses to explore the world around them. You can select a few of these activities to supplement your classroom lessons, or use the entire kit for a full exploration of the senses. Includes materials and resources list, individual and group activities, and classroom management tips.

Looking for more substitute resources? Try a trip to the zoo!


Substitute Teacher Kit

The Five Senses (Kindergarten)


As a substitute teacher in a kindergarten classroom, you can generate interest and excitement by encouraging children to use their five senses to explore the world around them. You can select a few of these activities to supplement your classroom lessons. Or use the entire kit for a full exploration of the senses.

Preparation Materials

Books to Read:
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by B. Martin, Jr.
The Five Senses (It's Science) by Sally Hewitt
The Magic School Bus Explores the Senses by Joanna Cole
My Eyes Are for Seeing by Jane Belk-Moncure
My Five Senses by Aliki
My Five Senses by Margaret Miller  
Space Exploration by Carol Stott

Classroom Management Tips

Who's Knocking at My Door? – Icebreaker
Have children play a listening game to identify other students voices.

Have a volunteer come to the front of the class and turn his or her back toward the group.
Point to another child, and have her or him say, "Knock! Knock!"
The child at the front of the class must listen carefully to the voice and try to guess who spoke.

I Spy – Icebreaker
Play a traditional game of "I Spy," describing the visual characteristics of an item in the classroom. For example, you might say, "I spy something big and yellow."

Children can ask questions about the item until someone guesses what it is.
Continue playing the game, inviting volunteers to spy other objects for their classmates to guess.

Introductory Activity
Use a simple drawing to introduce children to the five senses.

On the board or a large piece of chart paper, draw a stick figure without eyes, ears, mouth, nose, or hands.
Ask children to think about the important features that the person is missing.
Prompt them to suggest that the figure needs eyes.
Follow the same procedure and add ears, nose, mouth, and hands.
Explain that seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, and feeling are the five senses. Tell children that people use their senses to learn about the world.

Organize a Senses Library
Gather sensory-related books from the library. Be sure that they contain informative photos or art. Display the books in a quiet corner in the room.

Take a brief "picture walk" through one or several of the books. Then read them to the class or have classroom helpers read them to small groups.
Invite children to peruse the books individually or in pairs during free time.
Have children gather as a class to talk about the books they've explored. Encourage them to tell what they liked and what they learned.

Sensory Centers
Organise a sensory center for each of the five senses.

Sight: Display a small tray with 5-10 items on it. (Items might include a leaf, cotton ball, rock, crayon, and rubber band). Let students study the tray. Then cover the tray and challenge each child to draw the items they saw on the tray.
Sound: Fill 12 or more small boxes with small items such as paper clips, rice, pebbles, pennies, and marbles. Each box should have a plastic-egg "partner" with the exact same items in it. Children can shake the eggs and listen carefully to find each egg's partner.
Smell: Fill brown envelopes with items such as cinnamon, potpourri, vinegar, perfume, garlic, and coffee beans. Encourage students to identify and describe the smells without looking into the envelopes.
Taste: Show a diagram of the tongue with the sections marked for sour, salty, sweet, and bitter tastes. (back: bitter tastes; sides: sour tastes; tip: salty and sweet tastes)
Touch: Put a variety of items under a towel for children to feel (pine cones, sandpaper, rocks, leaves, velvet, feathers, sponges, leather, wax paper, bubble wrap). Then have them identify and describe the texture of each object.

Stress Reliever
Your class may need a quiet time at some point during the day. Dim the lights, draw the shades, close the door, and minimize any noises. You might suggest that children close their eyes or rest on classroom mats. After children have rested, ask them what they saw, heard, or felt during the quiet time. Have them tell what senses they used.


Art – Sound Shakers
Materials: paper plates, staplers, kidney beans, pasta, cotton balls, rice, pennies, small paper clips, pebbles, marbles
Invite each child to decorate the backs of two plates and create sound shakers.

Staple students sets of plates together, leaving a 2-inch opening for inserting small items.
Offer kidney beans, pennies, paper clips, or other items for children to insert between their plates.
Staple students plates shut. Then encourage them to test their sound shakers.
Guide students to compare the sounds different items make in the shakers. Encourage students to identify which items make the loudest, softest, highest, and lowest sounds.

Creative Drama – What Do I Sense?
Materials: none
Challenge children to "become" specific animals.

Tell children that they are going to become lions. Have them walk as lions, make sounds as lions, rest as lions, and pretend to eat and drink as lions.
Then gather as a group and talk about what students' experienced. Ask such questions as: What was it like to be a lion? What did you see as you walked through the grassy plains? What sounds did you hear? What smells did you notice? What did you taste? What did you touch and feel?
Invite children to become other animals such as polar bears, migrating geese, giraffes, or sharks.
Discuss students imaginary sensory experiences.

Writing – A Senses Book
Materials: paper, pencil, crayons, magazines
Give each child six sheets of paper.

Help children write the title "My Five Senses" on the first page.
On the next page, have children write "see." Encourage them to illustrate the page by drawing a picture of something they like to see.
Follow the same procedure, guiding children to create pages for hear, smell, taste, and feel. Assis students with writing as necessary.
Have children gather in groups to share their books.
Encourage children to flip to each page and say, for example, "I like to see clouds. I like to hear rain. I like to smell flowers. I like to taste bananas. I like to feel sand."

Oral Activity – Extra! Extra! Tell All About It!
Materials: oranges or apples
Present the class with a piece of fruit, such as an orange or apple.

Have children use their senses to describe the fruit.
Prompt them by asking sensory questions such as: What does the fruit look like? Does it make a sound? How does it feel? Does it have a smell? How does it taste?
Write children's ideas on the board, reading them aloud as you write.
Help children understand that they used their senses to describe the fruit.
Have students draw pictures to show the things they saw, smelled, heard, tasted, and felt on the walk.
Gather in groups and invite children to share their activity sheets.

Science – A Tasting Tally
Materials: paper plates, items to taste such as lemon wedges, celery, pickles, carrots, crackers, pear slices, apple slices
Cut and prepare items for tasting. Pass out paper plates.

Distribute the first tasting item, placing a small sample on each child's plate. Have children taste each item at the same time.
After tasting each item, have children describe it.
After students taste each item, ask them to raise their hands if they liked that item. Write the name of the item on the board and draw its picture. Then use tally marks to show how many children liked it.
Discuss the results. Ask questions such as: How many children liked carrots? Did more children like pears or apples? Which food was the favorite?

Closing Activity

Ask children to sit with their heads down and eyes closed. Use an electric popcorn popper to prepare a batch of popcorn. Have students listen to the sounds and describe what they hear. As the smell of the popcorn begins to fill the air, ask students what they smell. When students have identified the smell as popcorn, have them open their eyes. When the popcorn is ready, place some in a small cup for each child. Invite students to touch the popcorn and to describe it. Then have students taste it and describe the taste. Finally, invite students to open their eyes to confirm their predictions. As students eat the popcorn, talk about how they used all five senses to identify and enjoy this snack.
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