Kiddos have a natural sense of wonder and desire to explore, experiment, and discover. I chose the Five Senses as a part of our first thematic unit of the year, “All About Me” because I knew that this is exactly what we would be doing each day in a super fun way. We explored backyard treasures to take a closer look, experimented with how different things feel, taste and sound, and discovered the wide range of smells our little herb garden had to offer.
This sound tray was super simple to set up. I got all 10 containers in a pack at the Dollar Tree. I spray painted half of them so the girls wouldn’t be able to see inside. Once they were dry, I filled up two containers each with cornmeal, rice, dried black-eyed peas, small rocks, and pennies. I asked B to shake the yellow boxes and try to guess which of the five items were inside. She did so well and got them all right! It was A’s turn next, and she only mixed up the rocks and peas–I was so impressed!
For the smell tray, I filled it with a variety of herbs from the garden. B grabbed one at a time and took a deep whiff. We talked about each one, some she was familiar with and some not. I made sure to tell her what food I season with each herb, too. Some of them were harder to smell than others, so we broke them apart and that did the trick. Once we smelled and identified all of them, she matched them up to Julia Rothman’s gorgeous Farm Anatomy book🍃
Of course I had to do a blind taste test! The girls had to guess what they were eating, and if it tasted sweet, sour, salty, or bitter. My two year old had a hard time keeping the blindfold on, so not all of her tastes were “blind” 😂 but overall they both did a great job! The ice tray worked out perfectly and I put enough in each compartment for both girls. Some of the things I used was brown sugar, crackers, gummies, salt, honey, decalf coffee grounds, chocolate chips, cooked black beans, dried seaweed, marshmallows lemons, and a hard mint candy (which I saved for last).
For sight, we went on a nature hunt where the girls filled an egg carton with treasures they found around the yard. They used their magnifying glasses to look at them up close. Afterwards, we moved inside and went into a dark room. B used a flashlight to see how the water beads changed the color of the light shining through 🔦🔮
I tried to blindfold them again to see if they could describe that they were feeling, but that didn’t last very long at all 😂 They were too excited! I used dried black beans, dyed spaghetti noodles, water beads, sand paper, shaving cream and sand. Lots of fun! I made sure to set this station up outside 😉
Some of our favorite books we utilized this unit were:
Usborne’s Children’s Encyclopedia,
Usborne’s Big Book About My Body
Sniff, Sniff by Dana Reachen Rau
How does the ear hear? And other questions about the five senses by Melissa Stewart