Video segment about me, by the school district

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Fun with the Five Senses

Since I talk so much about being a "five senses" teacher, I thought it fitting that I write a post specifically about books, songs, and projects related to the five senses and people who are differently abled.

There's a wonderful book, Lucy's Picture, about a little girl whose class is given an assignment to create a picture.  Lucy decides to make a tactile collage for her grandfather, who is blind.  You don't know that her grandfather is blind until the end of the book, and this is a story that is fun and keeps the attention of any pre-k or kindergarten class.  I like how the teacher encourages Lucy to explore in her own way instead of stifling her creativity.  I think that creating collages (using different types of materials) is an excellent way to teach new vocabulary, textures, colors and shapes.  When my students finish their collages, I ask them to describe their pictures to me using a variety of adjectives.  This is a great way to assess how your children's language has grown over time.  I also keep the finished collages in their portfolios, with the children's own descriptions of their work attached.  I have gotten into the habit of collecting scraps of material (denim, silk, corduroy, aluminum foil, sandpaper, and scrapbooking paper, to name a few) and cutting them into many different shapes over the summer, because one of our first units is about the five senses.  And I LOVE having the students make these collages!

Textured Collage Shapes from Lakeshore

Lakeshore sells an assortment of Textured Collage Shapes that makes this a thousand times easier if you don't want to sit and cut out the fabrics.  They're on sale right now!

Some fabulous songs for a five senses unit are:

Five Senses by Dr. Jean
5 Senses by Jack Hartmann
Listen to the Sounds by Jack Hartmann
Five Senses by Mar Harmon

I found that these songs are all very easy for the kids to sing after just listening to them one time.

The Listening Walk, from the carousel at the top of the post, is a marvelous book for focusing on hearing.  I collected many sound effects (by searching for and downloading them in iTunes) to match the sounds in the book, so that I could enhance the story telling by playing the sounds in my classroom.  One album that was especially helpful was "Greatest Sound Effects" by Audio Environments & Co.  The kids truly enjoyed guessing what sounds were on the CD.

Students exploring scent bottles in science center
I also created scent bottles for my science center by adding store-bought extracts and cotton balls (to help prevent the liquids from leaking out) to clear bottles, gluing the pull-out caps on, and letting children try to match bottles to picture cards.  My students loved playing with these in science center, and it was a safe way for them to explore their sense of smell.

Dog Bones Tactile Set from Learning Resources
I am always looking for new toys to put into my science center.  Last Christmas, a friend bought me this oh-so-cute Dog Bone Tactile Set from Learning Resources that fits into an adorable dog house for easy storage.  Again, this is a great way to have your students use their sense of touch while learning new vocabulary and comparing and contrasting textures.

Mystery Box from Lakeshore
This Mystery Box from Lakeshore is much larger than the dog house and can be used for years because it's wood and very sturdy.  Inside mine I have placed tactile pillows, letters, numerals, and a wide variety of objects found around the house for the children to guess based on feeling the items.  This center is always exciting for the kids, especially if you frequently change what's inside the box.  You can also specialize the activity for phonemic awareness, for example, by filling the box with items that start with one particular letter.

If you're interested in some really fabulous Graphic Organizers about the five senses, I've made a nice set on TPT that's easy to use with your children.

Please feel free to ask me any questions about the books or projects in this post.  I especially enjoy talking to people about this topic.  ;-)


  1. I love doing 5 senses units! Cooking is also an awesome 5 senses activity because it can stimulate all of your senses... seeing the ingredients and utensils, touching the utensils and sometimes touching the food as you work with it, hearing the sound of the ingredients being stirred or the different ingredients in their containers, smelling the individual ingredients and then smelling them together while they cook, and finally TASTING!

    1. Absolutely, Angel! I've brought blenders into the classroom to make milkshakes, air poppers for popcorn, and even a breadmaker one time. What types of cooking projects have you done in the classroom? I would love to know!


  2. Yes, indeed writing children books, songs, etc do really fits you. You're already familiar with what they like. And you know how to encourage them because you're a teacher.

  3. These are great resources, Sharon! Thank you! I love the idea of the mystery box and have done something similar using a bag. I am bookmarking this post to come back to, and your 5 senses graphic organizers are now on my TPT wish list :)


  4. Sharon, you have such great ideas and wisdom to share! I am nominating you for the Versatile Blogger award and the Liebster Blog award. Visit my blog to pick up your awards!


  5. I love teaching the 5 senses...thanks for sharing your great ideas with us! Very glad you found my blog so I could find yours. I'm your newest follower!

    Inspired By Kindergarten

    1. Thanks, Michelle! Actually I'm going to be making some five-senses bottles this week, since it's one of our first units in science this year. I'm always looking for new science ideas, so come back and share! :)