S is for Senses

S is the next letter in the A to Z Science series for toddlers and preschoolers at Inspiration Laboratories. S is for Senses. Learning about our five senses is a fun way to introduce science to toddlers and preschoolers {and babies, too – look for a baby senses post coming soon}. We use our senses to make observations.

S is for Senses - part of the A to Z Science series for toddlers and preschoolers

What are the 5 Senses?

Ask your child what senses they have? Our senses help us interact with the environment {things around us}.

Sight – We use our eyes to make observations with our sense of sight.

Smell – We use our nose for our sense of smell.

Taste – We use our mouth, tongue, and nose to help use with our sense of taste.

Hearing – Our ears are for our sense of hearing.

Touch – Lots of our body parts use the sense of touch. Our fingertips are probably the most sensitive to touch. We also use our hands, arms, feet, other parts of our skin, and more.

Read a Book about the Five Senses

Amazon affiliate links are below.

I like Aliki’s My Five Senses. After introducing each of the senses, the author goes on to give specific examples of how we use each of our senses. Aliki also describes how we often use many senses at once. “When I bounce a ball, I use three senses…” A variety of ages would enjoy this book. Read just the beginning with younger children and use it as a great teaching opportunity for older kids.

Check out the Fizzy Coconut Lime Play Dough we made to go along with this book. It explores 4 of our 5 senses!

Fizzing Coconut Lime Play Dough

Play Five Senses Games to Work on Observation Skills

I Spy – This game is great for practicing our sense of sight. Take turns choosing things at random or pick a theme. Spy only things that are red. Look for things that start with the letter A.

Guess the Scent – Traditionally, this game has different smelling foods or objects in film canisters with the holes poked in the lid. Film canisters may be difficult to obtain, so you can use other small plastic containers. What will you place in the containers? Here are some suggestions:

  • Coffee
  • Peppermint
  • Lemon
  • Orange
  • Cinnamon or other spices recognizable by your child
  • Popcorn
  • Chocolate
  • Other fruits that have a recognizable smell

You can play this game two ways. Have your child simply guess the scent of what is in the container. Or you can play a scent matching game. Have two containers with each scent. Then, have your child try to figure out which ones smell the same. This version works well even if your child isn’t familiar with all of the scents. We played a Christmas scent matching version using different extracts.

scent matching

Taste Test – Present a few different kinds of foods to your child. {This is a fun way to introduce new foods.} Encourage your child to try each food and describe what it tastes like. Is it sweet? Is it salty? Does it taste good?

taste test

You can also incorporate other senses into the taste test. Observe the shape and color of the food first. Then, smell the food. What does the food feel like – soft, crunchy, etc.?

Talk about your observations, draw pictures, or write down what you observe.

What’s That Sound? – Use your sense of hearing in this easy listening game. Choose some objects that can make noise. Discuss the sounds that the objects make. Does it sound like a drum? Does it make a clicking sound? Have your child face away from you. Make a noise with one of the objects. Have your child decide which object made the noise. For a slightly different version of this game {that gets kids moving} and two more easy listening games, check out our L is for Listening Skills post.

Practice Listening Skills with a Listening Game

A Touchy Case – Place an object in a closed box or bag. Your child reaches her hand inside the box or bag and tries to guess what’s inside. She uses her sense of touch to help her out. Read the full directions for the touchy case game here including modifications for younger children and questions to ask as you play.

What is your favorite way to explore your five senses?


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