Cultivate Wonder

Exploring Science with Children

Senses and Sensibility

Most of us have five senses.  Some of us have six (if you happen to be one of those rare individuals, you already know what this blog is going to be about and need not read on).

In last week’s Wonderworks Storytime, we tested each of our five senses: seeing, hearing, touching, tasting and smelling.

We read the nonfiction book Our Senses, by Janine Scott, which discussed each of the five senses. In order to keep the children engaged as we read, we asked them questions regarding each sense, such as, in the case of smell: “What are some things that smell bad?”  and “What are some things that smell good?” and so on.  The children all enjoyed sharing their favorite and least favorite smells, flavors, sights, sounds, and textures.


We passed out shakers and used Jim Gill’s song Alabama, Mississippi between books, explaining that we would be using our senses of hearing to note the parts where we sang loudly verses the parts where we sang quietly.

Our picture book was Ed Young’s Seven Blind Mice, the story of seven unseeing mice who have to use their sense of touch and their combined impressions to discover the identity of an unknown entity in their midst.


For our activities, we created many different stations to test each of the senses.  For smelling, we made smelling jars, using cotton balls, scented with a variety of essential oils – some not as pleasant as others (according to the children).

For sight, we printed off thaumatropes that the children could cut out and glue together on coffee stirs.

For sight, sound and touch we took pictures of a bunch of different items such as marbles, wooden beads, popcorn kernels, bells, coffee beans and oatmeal, and then we printed out these pictures on card stock.  Then, we placed these items in plastic eggs and balloons.  The children then had to try to match the image with what they believed to be the balloon (by sense of touch) and the egg (by sense of sound).

For taste, we popped served popcorn and lemonade.


We get many of our ideas from Pinterest, so feel free to visit our Pinterest page for additional ideas and instructions.

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