See, smell, hear, taste, feel…these are the things that we experience every day. This fun five senses preschool theme is perfect for science exploration and hands-on (and nose-on, mouth-on, and ears-on) fun! No matter the time of year, these five senses lesson plans are sure to be well-loved.
Get ready for tons of ideas and activities for a five senses preschool theme, including book ideas, art and sensory play, plus math and science fun. You’ll find the entire lesson plans at the end of this post with a free download!
FREE 5 SENSES ACTIVITIES FOR PRESCHOOLERS INCLUDING FREE PRESCHOOL LESSON PLANS
One of my absolute favorite themes to teach with my preschoolers is the five senses. It’s so fun to think about all the ways we use our incredible bodies to learn and absorb everyday happenings.
Plus, preschoolers love to get hands-on and involved, and this theme has it all! From taste tests to stinky smells, learning about the five senses is full of fun and giggles.
FAQ About a 5 Senses Theme
Why are the 5 senses so important?
The five senses–sight, taste, touch, hearing, and smell–help us to take in and organize information about the world around us. In fact, using the five senses is the primary way babies and toddlers explore the world. Our senses can provide us with happiness like listening to music, or smelling yummy treats baking in the oven. Our taste buds help us taste delightful flavors. However, our five senses also alert us to danger and help protect us from things that are too hot, too loud, too bright, or even too smelly.
How do you teach the 5 senses to preschoolers?
Preschoolers are often able to tell you about their body parts, so it’s easier to help them understand that each of the five senses is related to an important body part and serves a special function. Reading books about the five senses, sorting items according to the corresponding sense, and hands-on activities that use various (or all of) the senses helps to cement the learning.
What do I need to teach the 5 senses to preschoolers?
Teaching the 5 senses to preschoolers doesn’t mean you have to buy lots of materials! Simple and fun activities like taste tests, listening walks, color exploration, and using old materials in a new way are the perfect way to introduce the five senses.
Hands-On Preschool Activities for a 5 Senses Theme
Learn about all the wonder in our senses with these fun-filled ideas. These are the perfect activities to keep with your five senses lesson plans.
Literacy Activities for a 5 Senses Theme
5 Senses Mini Book – Cut 3 pieces of paper in half and staple them together to make a book. Write a cover page titled “My Five Senses.” Label each page, “I see…” “I hear…” “I smell…” “I feel…” “I taste…” Then go on a walk (indoors or outdoors) and invite your preschooler to begin drawing items on the corresponding pages. Experiment in the kitchen to explore taste and smell! Follow your preschooler’s lead and allow them to take charge of their five senses learning.
Label Mr. Potato Head – Preschoolers love Mr. Potato Head, and they’ll love looking at his features in a whole new way! Invite your preschooler to put Mr. Potato Head together so that he has all his facial features, as well as his ears and arms. Encourage your preschooler to draw a replica of Mr. Potato Head on paper. Practice labeling the parts of the body that we use for our five senses (eyes, nose, mouth, ears, hands). Encourage your preschooler to listen for the first sound as they write.
Don’t Forget Picture Books!
One of the best ways to teach preschoolers about any theme is by hand-selecting the highest quality picture books! This is a book list for our best-loved picture books for a five senses theme. They’re the books about the five senses that we read every time.
Math and Science Activities for a 5 Senses Theme
Number Formation Practice – Write numbers in large print on a piece of paper. Invite your preschooler to trace the number with liquid glue. For smell, sprinkle Kool-Aid on top of the glue. For touch/sight, use glitter or salt/sugar on top and feel once dry! After the salt/sugar is dry, encourage your child to paint the numbers with watercolor paint for a beautiful sight! Or find some printable number formation activities here.
Texture Touch Boxes – Using 4-5 empty tissue boxes or containers, place items of different textures inside and invite your preschooler to identify the item. Consider sandpaper, cotton balls, feathers, playdough, rocks, yarn, pinecones, etc. After touching all the different textures, invite your preschooler to sort by characteristic: smooth, rough, fluffy, soft, etc.
Taste Test – Salty, sweet, bitter, or sour? Our tongues can identify many flavors! Grab a lemon, pretzels/chips, cocoa powder, and a piece of candy. Label a plate with the four parts of the tongue and invite your preschooler to place the food item under the label they think matches the taste. Time to taste! Encourage your preschooler to taste each item on the plate and decide if their taste prediction was correct. I’ve done this activity with different flavors of jelly beans, too!
Playful Learning Activities for a 5 Senses Theme
Straw Bead Necklaces – Cut up some plastic colorful straws and invite your preschooler to thread them onto a shoelace or string to make a colorful and creative necklace. Have your preschooler listen carefully to the noise the straws make when they are snipped. Help them use descriptive words to describe what the necklace looks like, feels like, or even the pattern they created.
DIY Counting Abacus – This is a great sensory activity! Make ten balls of playdough and grab some dry spaghetti noodles. Stick one dried noodle into each playdough mound. Add one cheerio or bead to the first mound. Add two to the next, then three, then four, until you have 10 sets. Use these to model one more/one less, counting, adding, and subtracting.
Art Collage – Using fun materials from around the house, make textured, colorful, unique art. Simply glue or tape to a piece of paper and display. Focus on one color or specific colors. Allow the child to lead the way, creatively!
Social-Emotional Learning for a 5 Senses Theme
Emotional Senses – Although we may not be able to see our emotions and feelings, they’re certainly a part of us just as much as our physical five senses. Go to YouTube and watch How is She Feeling? Invite your preschooler to look beyond the facial expressions and use their body language to give you clues about their mood. Play a game to show various body languages and see if your preschooler can guess how you’re feeling!
Facial Expressions – We may use our eyes and mouths to see and taste, but we also use them to show how we feel. Using playdough, invite your preschooler to use it to make facial expressions to show different emotions. Print this playdough mat and feeling cards for more options. Identifying and mimicking facial expressions helps preschoolers better decipher how others feel and determine what might have caused that feeling. Practice making the same facial expressions on the card and share what might have happened to make someone feel that emotion.
Just Plain Fun Activities for a 5 Senses Theme
What Flavor is it? – Using various flavors of jelly beans or assorted fruits/ vegetables, encourage your preschooler to taste and identify flavors. If you’re using fruits and veggies, have your preschoolers close their eyes and take a bite off a fork to really test their senses!
Homemade Binoculars – Make some handy binoculars for the sense of sight using paper towel tubes taped together. Go on a nature walk and use them to spot new things!
5 Senses Playdough – Make homemade playdough for the senses! Use colors, scents, and texture to make it fun!
Get Online Activities for a 5 Senses Theme
Online Story – Go to YouTube and listen to the book I Hear a Pickle (and Smell, See, Touch, and Taste It Too!) by Rachel Isadora. After reading, invite your preschooler to share other items/foods/objects that use ALL five of their senses. Make a picture list together and add to it as the days pass and you think of new things.
5 Senses Circle Time – Enjoy a lovely and interactive five senses circle time and read-aloud of the book “My 5 Senses” by Aliki.
5 Senses Song – Get up and moving with this fun kids rap song about touch, taste, see, hear, and smell!
Get Your Free 5 Senses Lesson Plans Here
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Make Your 5 Senses Theme Even Better
I’ve put together a fantastic list of five senses toys and activity kits that can help amp up your five senses learning!
I’m Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home-mama of five! I’m the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught a range of levels, from preschool to college and a little bit of everything in between. Right now my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.