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Teaching and Learning Science through the Five Senses
By Sophia Espinoza
Our new song, “The Senses/Los Sentidos,” is full of vocabulary and teaches children all about how we use our five senses every day.
To teach preschoolers new science concepts, it’s important to make learning as hands-on as possible! You’ll see that it’s easy to teach the senses through fun observations. Additionally, research shows that sensory play is a very important part of early childhood learning because it helps children remember and understand new information better.
Here are some fun activities you can do at home or at school for each sense:
- – Play a game of I Spy in different indoor and outdoor settings
- – Use a magnifying glass to observe interesting objects, or reexamine everyday objects at home like coins and buttons
- – Create a small frame, from popsicle sticks or other arts and crafts materials, and use it to try to capture live “photos” of the things around you
- – Make a Mystery Box by cutting a hole into the side of a shoebox, and have the child guess what the different mystery objects are that you place inside
- – Play a game of Opposites, where the child holds an object and describes how it feels, then have them search for an object around the house that has the opposite texture
- – To expand children’s palates, have them taste unfamiliar spices or herbs in new dishes, and describe what they are tasting out loud
- – When eating their favorite dishes, have them describe what they love about the taste, and use it as an opportunity to teach them new taste words like “savory.”
- – Use something fragrant to see if the child can identify the ingredients or elements while closing their eyes and only using their sense of smell
- – Infuse scents into other fun arts and crafts activities, such as making scratch-n-sniff stickers or candles
- – Do a mindful listening activity by sitting still and taking in sounds, while listening to music or simply being outside
- – Have children record everyday animal sounds, either as digital audio clips on a device or as written observations in a notebook, to pique their interest in animal behavior
One last tip: to tie in new vocabulary a child is learning in a second language, have them practice saying that word out loud. For example, “I spy a mariposa,” or even better, “yo veo una mariposa.”
You probably noticed that any one of these activities can be used for multiple senses, so the possibilities are endless. Let’s get learning! ¡A aprender!
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