11 Engaging Five-Senses Activities For Preschoolers To Learn

Hear, see, touch, smell, and taste! Are your curious toddlers licking and touching every random object around them? As toddlers begin to explore their surroundings, they enjoy seeing various colors, smelling odors, tasting, hearing new sounds, and feeling new textures.

Sensory play is one of the best ways to provide your children with the opportunity to explore their sensations. Besides attuning their senses, sensory and sensorimotor activities also promote your child’s motor, fine, and cognitive skill development.

These five senses activities for preschoolers and toddlers can engage them in hours of play while letting their imagination and creativity peak.

In This Article

11 Five Senses Activities For Preschoolers And Toddlers

This list of 5 senses activities for preschoolers can help you keep them engaged when you run out of ideas or anytime you want to introduce sensory play for fun.

1. Sound match

Sound match, 5 senses activity for preschoolers

Image: Shutterstock

This game helps in honing their listening skills. It teaches children the importance of staying quiet while developing problem-solving and negotiation skills.

For this game, you will need several plastic eggs in different colors. Fill random items such as rice, beans, paper clips, beads, bells, etc., into two eggs each. Now, children have to pick each egg up, shake it, listen, and determine the type of sound coming from it. Then, they must place it near the egg with the same sound. Furthermore, they can move two distinct eggs together to generate new sounds.

protip_icon Quick tip
Children may not be able to differentiate the sound right away. Therefore, you need to demonstrate and give hints to recognize the sound they hear. Helping them a few times can also improve their listening skills.

2. Senses sorting

Senses sorting, 5 senses activity for preschoolers

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Children enjoy and benefit from sorting games. With this five senses activity for preschool children, you can teach them the functions of each sensory organ. It is easy to organize. You can get printables for the game online, or you can DIY them.

All you need is a muffin tin, a strip of paper in each cup naming the sensory organ, its function, and a few objects to sort. Then, the children examine each object, classify them, and put them in the corresponding cups. For example, they can put a whistle into the “hearing” cup, a feather into the “touching” cup, and so on.

3. Popcorn explorers

Popcorn exploring, 5 senses activity for preschoolers

Image: Shutterstock

Popcorn can be quite helpful in organizing a 5 senses activity for preschool. The fact that popcorn is so easy to prepare and consume only adds to its advantages. Watch your preschoolers polish off all the popcorn while learning something new. However, ensure to take caution that they don’t choke.

While you make popcorn, let them pay attention to the popping sound engaging their hearing senses. The aromas of the delicious popcorns engage their sense of smell. Using their sense of touch kids put the popcorn in a bag. Now, let them decide if they want to use their eyes or tongue to satisfy their cravings.

4. Sandpaper sun

Sandpaper sun, 5 senses activity for preschoolers

Image: IStock

In this activity, kids can feel various textures and learn more about them.

Take two sheets of sandpaper. Draw and cut out a circle on one sheet. Paint it in shades of the sun, on the other sheet, the children finger- or hand-paint the entire surface. Once it dries, cut out sun-rays and stick them to the sun. Now, let your children explore various textures and engage their senses.

5. Ice cream test

Ice cream test, 5 senses activity for preschoolers

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This is one of the most enjoyable five senses activities for preschool. Children might even ask you to get new ice creams daily for a “taste test” to satisfy their taste buds.

First, you’ll need ice creams in different flavors. Add scoops of all ice creams in different cups. You could also mix a couple or more of them. Blindfold the children. Feed them a spoon of ice cream and let them guess the flavor of  each ice-cream.

protip_icon Point to consider
Alternatively, you can also blindfold your child, feed them pieces of different fruits, and ask them to recognize them by taste.

6. Water xylophone

Water xylophone, 5 senses activity for preschoolers

Image: IStock

If your child loves music, they are sure to enjoy this activity. It helps in developing a child’s hearing and deduction skills.

Get similar-looking flower vases. You could also use glasses or cups. First, pour water into each of them ensuring the water levels vary in each container. Next, give your child a spoon. Now, the child taps each vase gently to generate a sound. They can also sing along with this music. In addition, older children may be able to compare sound or pitch variations. Isn’t this water xylophone quite fun?

7. Texture collage

Texture collage, 5 senses activity for preschoolers

Image: IStock

If you are up for some messy play with your children, texture collage is a good activity to try.

Get a large sheet of paper. For the collage, find as many items of different textures as you can around your home. You can choose different fabrics, leaves, feathers, beads of different textures, fur, and even pieces of wood or metal. Apply some glue on the paper and stick these items together to create a beautiful collage. Once it is complete, encourage your children to close their eyes and run their fingers on each texture. This is a great group activity as well. You can further ask children to exchange their collages and find various textures.

8. Visual tracking

Visual tracking, 5 senses activity for preschoolers

Image: Shutterstock

Did you know, the most common method of tracking is following a color? With this easy activity, you improve your child’s visual tracking skills as well as logical thinking abilities.

Gather as many recycled water bottle caps as possible. Use round dot labels or colorful markers to color the inside of each cap. Color them using bright colors. Then, get some pom-poms. Place the caps and the pom-poms on the floor. Now, children have to hunt for caps with the same colors as the pom-poms and put the pom-poms in the cap with the matching color. You can ask them to close their eyes while doing this activity. You can also perform other activities with these items, such as peripheral tracking and staring.

9. Scented playdough

Scented playdough, 5 senses activity for preschoolers

Image: Shutterstock

Though your children can identify various scents, they often do not know the names of those smells. This activity puts their nose to the test!

Get some white, unscented playdough along with some artificial flavors (strawberry, lime, vanilla, etc.) and food coloring. Divide the playdough into sections and add some color and flavor to each. Knead it all well and freeze the dough. Now, give these playdough sections to your children and see if your child can recognize the smell of each playdough section.

10. Water beads

Children love playing with colorful water beads! Water beads are available in dry form and swell up when soaked in water. It is best to soak water beads about six hours before playtime. However, giant water beads may take up to 30 hours to swell fully. They offer a pleasant texture for children to feel and have fun. You may add essential oil to water beads and ask your children to identify the smells. These beads come in different colors and can be used for learning and sorting colors. Furthermore, you may add shaving foam to these beads or even freeze them to give your children a different sensory experience.

11. Eye spy bag

Eye spy bag, 5 senses activity for preschoolers

Image: Shutterstock

Eye spy bags can be fun for your little one. DIY your very own eye spy bag using random objects and let your child “discover” what’s inside.

Take a Ziplock bag and put some tiny objects into it. You can put in beads, sequins, or anything you like. Then fill the bag with clear body wash and swish all the objects around it so that they appear to be floating. You may add some soap color to the liquid at this point. Once everything is mixed well, and all the objects are merrily floating, seal the bag and then cover the mouth with duct tape for some extra protection. Let your children run their fingers over the bag and find each object. In other words, they should use touch to visualize the objects.

Reema, the mother of a pre-schooler, shares her experience of playing with eye spy bags, which she calls “the stereognostic game.” She says, “We played stereognostic game to train our sense of touch…So, after having played the game with household objects, we played the game with two types of mystery bags – one with sets of 5 pairs of spheres that vary in size and one with 8 different pairs of small 3D geometrical solids. First we inspected all the objects and then I blindfolded my daughter and she matched all the pairs. But instead of a closed bag, I used an open box. Super fun!! These are the products I used for the activity (i).”

Sensory activities are easy to organize and a lot of fun to play. They provide your tiny tots with hours of entertainment on days when they cannot step out. You can use these activity ideas at home or at preschools too.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I explain the five senses to preschoolers?

One of the most effective ways to teach preschoolers about the five senses is by helping them experience each sense. Having them touch, taste, smell, hear, and see different objects through fun activities will make the lesson more memorable and exciting.

2. Why is it important for children to learn about the five senses?

Children’s cognitive development is shaped by their experiences, which they perceive through their five senses. Hence, teaching children about their senses helps build and heighten their engagement with various stimuli.

3. How can I make sensory activities educational for my preschooler?

To ensure that sensory activities are educational for your preschooler, include a range of textures, colors, and scents that engage their senses. Incorporate concepts such as counting, sorting, and shape recognition to encourage problem-solving, language development, and exploration within the sensory play experience.

4. How can I create a sensory bin for my preschooler to explore?

To create a sensory bin for your preschooler, pick a container with tall sides to keep the materials contained. Next, select a base material like dry rice, beans, or kinetic sand. Include a variety of objects connected to a specific theme or educational idea, such as toy animals, letters, or colored shapes. Ensure the bin is large enough for the child to explore without spilling the filler.

Sensory activities such as 5 senses activities for preschoolers are great to hone your kid’s sensory abilities and also allow them to discover the various sensations. Besides promoting their senses of smell, taste, touch, sight, and hearing, these activities also help enhance imagination and creative thinking and develop vital skills. Whether tracking sounds or food tasting, or painting activities, children would love them all. Children receive numerous stimuli throughout the day, and engaging in these activities will help hone their senses. So choose an age-specific activity to engage and entertain your tiny tots for hours, especially when they cannot go outdoors, and watch them enjoy a day of self-discovery.

Infographic: Five Senses Activities For Preschoolers And Toddlers

Children love to touch, smell and eat any and everything that is at their disposal. All of this is a part of their sensory development. In the infographic below, we present a list of activities you can introduce to your child to help develop their sensory abilities.

activities to enhance the five senses of your little one (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Get high-quality PDF version by clicking below.

Download Infographic in PDF version Download Infographic
Download Infographic in PDF version

Key Pointers

  • The five senses let us explore the world around us, and you may help improve these in preschoolers through activities.
  • Five senses activities exercise a specific sense through relevant objects and actions.
  • Activities involving the five senses improve a toddler’s lateral thinking and other vital skills.

Watch this video for fun, educational activities that help children explore their five senses.

Personal Experiences: Source

i. Sense of touch activities for kids.

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