The five senses—sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch—are how we experience and interact with the world around us. For young children, activities that teach kids about the 5 senses is not only essential for their cognitive development but also an exciting way to explore and understand their environment.
By engaging children in fun and interactive activities that involve their senses, parents can help their kids build strong neural connections and improve their ability to process information.
Let’s explore some creative and engaging activities for parents to teach their kids about the five senses and enhance their overall learning experience!
Activities to teach kids about the 5 senses (ages 2-3)
Children ages 3 and under learn by using their 5 senses—from putting objects in their mouths to listening to the sounds their parents make! By engaging your child in these fun activities, you can help them develop their five senses and enhance their cognitive development.
1. Sight: “I Spy”
Play the classic game of “I Spy” with your child! Choose an object in the room and describe it using color, shape, or size. Ask your child to guess what the object is based on your description.
Once they’ve guessed correctly, switch roles and let them choose an object you can guess.
2. Sound: “Hearing Hunt”
Go on a “hearing hunt” with your child. Take a walk around your neighborhood and listen for different sounds, such as birds chirping, cars honking, or bees buzzing.
Encourage your child to identify the sounds they hear and describe them to you.
3. Taste: “Flavor Test”
Do a taste test with your child using different flavors, such as sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami.
Cut up small pieces of fruit or vegetables with different tastes and have your child try them one by one. Make it extra fun by having your child close their eyes so that they can’t see what it is they’re testing.
Ask them to describe the taste of each one and identify which flavor it is.
For more Playlearning™ support, watch this episode of “Baby Bot Know the Flavors,” where Baby Bot and Elliot discover the world of different flavors!
4. Smell: “Scented Playdough”
Make scented playdough with your child using essential oils or spices, such as cinnamon or vanilla.
Encourage them to smell the playdough and describe the scent. Is it sweet? Spicy? Stinky?
You can also play a game of guessing the scent of each playdough color.
5. Touch: “Texture Collage”
Create a texture collage with your child using different materials with varying textures, such as sandpaper, cotton balls, and bubble wrap.
Encourage your child to touch each material and describe how it feels. Then, glue the materials onto a piece of paper to create a textured collage.
Activities to teach kids about the 5 senses (ages 4-6+)
These activities are not only fun for older kids, but they also help them to develop their sensory skills, language skills, and cognitive development.
1. Sight “Sensory Scavenger Hunt”
Create a list of objects for your child to find based on their appearance.
For example, ask them to find something red, something round, or something shiny. You can also take this activity outside and ask them to find objects based on their size or shape.
2. Hearing: “Sound Mapping”
Take your child on a listening adventure by creating a sound map.
Have your child draw a map of their surroundings and mark where they hear different sounds. This could include sounds from nature, traffic, or people talking.
This activity helps children develop their listening skills and their ability to focus!
3. Taste: “Blindfolded Taste Test”
Blindfold your child with a scarf and have them taste different foods or drinks.
Ask them to describe the taste and texture of each item. Make it fun by including unexpected textures like peeled grapes, grated carrots, mashed potatoes, etc.
4. Smell: “Smell Identification Game”
Gather several different scents, such as vanilla, lemon, and lavender. Blindfold your child and have them identify each scent by sniffing it.
You can also make it into a memory game by asking them to identify which scent is missing after you remove one of the scents.
5. Touch: “Texture Walk”
Take your child on a texture walk and ask them to touch and feel different surfaces. This could include the bark of a tree, the soft petals of a flower, or the rough surface of a rock. You can also encourage them to describe the texture of each surface.
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Which sensory activities are your child’s favorite?
Let us know by commenting below!