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We had so much fun learning about our senses this month. I was just planning on some light reading and taking the oldest to a class, but as usual he had other plans. It turned into a full unit. Ease up, kid! I’m suffering from teacher burnout with a class of one in September.
Exploring the Five Senses… and a few more A Kindergarten Unit Plan
The few more. I made the mistake of mentioning that we don’t really ONLY have five senses. So we explored a few more – like sense of balance, hunger and thirst, and direction. Every time we saw something that said “5 senses” he’s give me a little wink-wink, nudge-nudge meaning, “Yeah but WE know there are more than five, right mom? Riiiiiiight?” He thinks he’s so smart.
We read and re-read throughout the month, especially My Five Senses. It is a simple book and a great introduction to the senses.
My Five Senses by Aliki
Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? by Eric Carle
Senses on the Farm by Rotner
Magic School Bus Explores the Senses by Cole and Degan
These books were great to get an inside view of how your eyes and ears work. We didn’t read this one page-by-page. That would have been a lot for a 5 year old. He was very interested in the pictures and diagrams. I can see using these as a reference in the future. If your library doesn’t have these specific two, no problem. I saw several others that seemed to have much of the same info.
Ears by Mathers
Eyes by Jedrosz
Exploration and Talking Points
We do a lot of talking, my five year old and I. Mostly it’s knock-knock jokes and requests for snacks, but over the month we did get a lot of chances to talk about our senses as we used them. The activities sparked a good amount of conversation, and as I introduced new material bit-by-bit I could hear him processing and making connections.
Inside and Outside Sounds
We read in the Ears book (listed above) that our brains ignore a lot of sounds that we normally hear as background noise – the refrigerator kicking on or the air intake for the a/c in your house. It was fun pointing these sounds out and noticing what we normally would miss.
These eye and ear models were a gift from my mom. Thanks Mimi! The oldest had a great time exploring what was inside the eye and ear. This was such a good way to start the unit. I could see that when looked at diagrams after this he had a much better understanding of what was going on in there. Amazon non-affiliate links: Eye Model, Ear Model.
Our favorite 5 sense exploration was trying a coconut. If you’ve never tried a whole coconut, I’d highly recommend it. Cracking them open is tough and very LOUD. They are weird looking and hairy. The taste was surprisingly un-coconut-y to me. We broke open two coconuts this month, and it was hilarious both times.
One easy activity I added to our handwriting routine this week was to draw the letters on different materials with his finger. We used small rectangles of felt, foam, and sandpaper. He did not care for the sandpaper one bit!
Sense of Balance
We worked on our yoga moves to explore our sense of balance. Tree, Half Moon, Hand to Toe, Warrior 3, and Seated Angle poses were all great balance poses to work on gross motor as well as feel how our sense of balance helped keep us from falling – er um, helped us know when we were going to fall so our bodies could react.
Senses of Hunger, Thirst, and Pain
How do you know you’re hungry or thirsty of if something hurts? You can sense it in your body. This lead to a lot of – Are you sure you’re sensing hunger? Or do you just want another waffle because they are delicious? Are you sure that boo-boo hurts or is it just an old piece of strawberry and not really blood?
A roughly half-hour playlist on the five senses (and a few extra senses at the end)
Five Senses Kindergarten Playlist
Magic School Bus, Netflix
In the Haunted House, Sound, Season 1, Episode 8
Makes a Stink, Smell, Season 4, Episode 9
Sid the Science Kid, Season 1, Netflix
The Itchy Tag (Sense of Touch, Textures), Episode 11
What’s that Smell, Episode 12
Grandma’s Glasses, Episode 13
Too Much Noise, Episode 14
All My Senses, Episode 15
Brain Games, Netflix
Watch This, Season 1, Episode 1
In Living Color, Season 3, Episode 2
We were lucky (smart?) enough to be able to plan to learn about the five senses in the same month that our local children’s museum was offering classes.
Spin a Sense
The museum had laminated pieces, but we used a live Mr. Potato Head to practice identifying the body parts that go along with the five senses. Here is a printable you can use with this activity. The kids thought it was very funny when Mr. Potato had two sets of eyes and three arms. Great for fine motor practice. Trust me, I even needed help getting those little parts in the holes.
The museum had a cute printable for this – it was like a BINGO card to play in the forest exhibit. At home we played Eye Spy with colors, initial letter sounds, and shapes throughout the month. Now the oldest and the pickle play together on their own. Nice. Anything to help them entertain themselves.
Good or Gross Class
The oldest attended a K-2 museum class about the sense of taste. They tasted salt, sugar, bittersweet chocolate, hot cocoa, lemon juice, and coffee beans and practiced using new vocabulary to describe what they were sensing. Above is the sheet he used to record his findings. Salt was most definitely “Gross!” Coffee beans were “Totally rotten, yuck!”
They took a look at different areas of the tongue and talked about what taste buds are and what they do. He tells me that babies have taste buds all over their mouths, but they disappear as you get older. How interesting. He’s teaching me new stuff everyday.
I used these printables to create a workbook for this unit that we worked on together over the course of the month. He completed some independently – using a word bank to label the senses, drawing what he sensed around him. Other pages we did together – recording our experiments with apples, salt and sugar, and popcorn.
5 Senses (Super Senses)