Five Senses

Using Your Noggin

Part of a parent's job description is to use his or her noggin to make the most out of what is on hand in the home, creating learning games from odds and ends. Sometimes the weather or other issues prevent you from getting out of the house, and you'll need to be quick on your feet to come up with safe entertainment that is educational and fun. One possibility is using various household items to teach preschoolers about the five senses.

Umm Good


Set up small bowls containing items that represent the different tastes--salty (salt, pretzels/chips), sweet (sugar, candy), sour (lemon wedge), and bitter (the white pith of citrus fruit, unsweetened chocolate). Keep a glass of water on hand. Blindfold your child and let her taste the various items. Ask her to name the tastes. See if she can tell you which part of her tongue senses the different tastes. Have her sip water between tastes.


Set up items that represent the different textures we can sense: soft (cotton), rough (sandpaper), smooth (satin), hard (wood). How many textures can your child name? Make a book of textures by gluing different items onto heavy stock. Label each page with the name of the texture.


Set up items with different smells in plastic film canisters. Punch some pinholes in the lids of the canisters, so the smells come through. If the smells are liquid, like perfume, extracts, and the like, place some on cotton balls placing them in the canisters. How many smells can your child identify?


Have your child walk around the room, looking for her reflection in various items such as appliances, mirrors, windows, and metal spoons. You might also set up bowls of water, or foil for more examples of reflection. Talk about reflection with your child. Show your child how the mirror reflects the opposite side of its depicted subject. Hold up a book to a mirror, or put on one earring and show that it is on the other side on the reflected image. Talk about and demonstrate what happens when you breathe on a mirror or window.


Take a hearing walk, inside or outside your home. Listen for sounds, identifying as many as you can, for example: bird, truck, wind, leaves rustling, baby crying, sneeze, bubbling stewpot. Keep a record of the sounds you hear. Count them up and surprise your child with just how many sounds we hear on a day to day basis.