June 20, 2014

The Five Senses- Weekly Home Preschool Theme

As this week went along, I felt like I wasn't really doing much in the way of preschool, but then when I sat down and started compiling this post, I realized how much we had actually done!  Using the five senses as a theme is a fairly easy, because there are just so many options of activities to choose from. Some people even do a whole week on each one of the senses.  I just picked a couple of activities for each sense, and that worked well for us. We also did a couple of activities that focused on all of the senses together.

Read all about our basic home preschool plan here, and our list of themes with links to the other weekly theme posts here.

Picture Books 


The Magic School Bus series is so cute, and the books are graphically rich and full of great information presented in a silly way that will grab your preschooler's attention.  This week we read The Magic School Bus Explores the Senses by Joanna Cole and Bruce Degan.  It is fairly long, so we didn't read it all in one sitting.  Instead, we read about one of the senses, then did our related activity, while we talked about what we had learned.

Other picture books we enjoyed this week were:

First Human Body Encyclopedia by DK Publishing
Toes, Ears, and Nose by Karen Katz
Inside Your Outside: All About the Human Body (Cat in the Hat series) by Tish Rabe
The Ear Book by Al Perkins
The Eye Book by Dr. Seuss
The Nose Book by Al Perkins


Binocular Craft
Make binoculars out of toilet paper tubes.  We always save these, so we have plenty for crafts.  Paint them and then let them dry, or just use markers or stickers to decorate.  Using white school glue, glue them together then clamp together with small binder clips while they dry.  Punch holes in the outer edge, add a string and a simple knot so that you can wear them around your neck, and voila-- you've got binoculars!  My girls loved these, and spent lots of time this week spying out of our back window at the birds (and at our neighbors-- haha).

To show the girls how powerful their sense of sight is, I had them wear a toboggan pulled over their eyes and gently guided them around the house.  There were lots of giggles, and they were able to see how much they rely on their sense of sight.


Make scented play dough, and then see if your little ones can identify what the scents are.  I used our favorite homemade play dough recipe (doubled), divided it into 4 parts, and then added cinnamon, vanilla, ground coffee beans, and lemon juice.  Lena was able to identify every one except the lemon, which didn't smell very strongly.  After we had done our smelling, I added food coloring to it for their free play.


Sound Eggs
These were so much fun, and not nearly as much trouble to put together as I had anticipated.  It took me less than 5 minutes to gather our eggs and all the fillings.  Grab some plastic eggs (leftover from Easter) and anything that will make an interesting sound.  I used a bottle cap, pompoms, mini erasers, a jingle bell, coins, popcorn kernels, black beans, marbles, rice, buttons, beads, and dried pasta.

Show the eggs to your kids, have them shake them to listen to the contents, and see which ones they can identify.
We did this activity once before the girls had seen what was inside, and then several more times after they had seen the contents and knew what kind of thing they might be listening for.  We talked about how some things that were similar size and made of similar materials (the beads and the buttons, and the popcorn and beans) made similar sounds and were difficult to tell apart.


Sensory Bin
Use any sensory bin to talk about how things feel.  Discuss how the items feel in your hands, on your feet, or on another part of your body, like your arm.  This is a great way to illustrate how our touch receptors are stronger on certain parts of our bodies than others.

I pulled out last week's flower sensory bin, which I hadn't put away yet, and let the girls play with it after we read about the sense of touch.

Drawing on Backs
Draw shapes or letters on your child's back and see what they can identify.  Explain how their touch receptors are sending messages to their brains.

Touchy-Feely Box
 Use an old wipes box and put a variety of objects inside.  Have your children reach in to see what they can identify.  I used a crayon, chapstick, feathers, marbles, a hair tie, a mint, a binder clip, several small wooden blocks, a puzzle piece, a cotton ball, a sponge, a button, small Russian nesting dolls, and some small animal figurines.

We did this once before the girls had seen what was inside, and again after they knew some of what they might be trying to identify.  As they felt, I encouraged them to describe what they were feeling with adjectives (soft, hard, etc.), rather than just call out the object immediately.


Set up a simple taste test for your kids.  Choose foods that are sweet, salty, bitter, and sour.  Try placing the different foods on the different areas of our tongues that are more receptive to those particular tastes.  We also experimented with holding our noses while we ate to see how it affected our sense of taste.

All Five Senses

Popcorn Snack
Popcorn is the perfect snack for a Five Senses theme.  You can listen to it pop, then describe how it smells, feels, looks, and tastes.  It's also yummy.  Make sure your children are old enough to eat it, and supervise them closely!

Mr. Potato Head
You can easily use a Mr. Potato Head to discuss the five senses, since he comes with all the appropriate parts!  As we read some of our books this week, I gave each of my girls a Potato Head, and had them pick out and add the appropriate parts as we came to them in our reading.  Ask your child to add the part that is needed for sight, for hearing, etc.


The Magic School Bus (available on Netflix) has an episode on smell, called "Makes A Stink" that we watched.  It was a bit over Maggie's head, but Lena enjoyed it and understood it. 

There are also 5 episodes of  Sid The Science Kid on the senses.  They are available on the PBS kids app.  We didn't have time to watch them this week, but always love the show.

Next week we'll be learning all about the buildings and construction.

Check out tons of other ideas on the Pinterest inspiration board!

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  1. These are great ideas for home preschool!

    Thank you for stopping by the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop this week. We hope to see you drop by our neck of the woods next week!

  2. I love all your ideas and how thorough they were with the senses. I especially loved that you suggested a netflix movie that ties in with your theme! Great way to round the unit up!