Teaching the Five Senses

Hooray for Hoppy! by Tim Hopgood tells the story of a bunny who is eager for spring to come, leaving his burrow and uses his five senses to determine if spring has truly arrived. My daughters appreciated the cheery, colorful illustrations, while I appreciated the clearly defined five senses presented in a fun way.

At the end of the story there is a clear diagram of the 5 senses paired with an illustration from the book that exemplifies each sense. My daughters and I reviewed that each time we read the story, a helpful educational tool that cemented the topic in their mind without being too repetitive or boring.

For more books and reading activities that incorporate the five senses, see my previous posts Introducing Helen Keller and Helping Children Cultivate Thankful Hearts.

Best Ages: pre-k – 1st grade

For Parents:

  • After reading the book with your child, point to the different parts of your body as you review the five senses (i.e. point to your mouth for tasting and your eyes for seeing). Ask your child to point to those body parts, too, and repeat each of the five senses.
  • Gather together some items from the house and put them in a bag or box. Ask your child to pull one item out at a time, then decide which of the five senses they would use for that item. (For example, apples can be tasted and a soft scarf can be felt.) Explain that sometimes we can use multiple senses at the same time!
  • Play this fun learning song to reinforce the five senses.

For Teachers:

  • Play this fun learning song to introduce the five senses. Then ask students to listen for each of the five senses as you read the book.
  • Hold up some items and ask students which sense they would primarily use to interact with that item. For example, hearing for a CD or tasting for an orange.
  • Create a printable book of the five senses. Review as a class and if desired, assign as reading practice, place in students’ individual work folders or assign to weekly book bins.

Introducing Hellen Keller

As a teacher, I have worked with children of varying ability levels and needs. And I find it very important to make my classroom (and as a parent, my home) a welcoming and safe place for every person who enters. It is a priority for me to teach my children to love and accept people of all backgrounds and I was very pleased to find this beautiful book at our local library to read with my daughters at home: Helen Keller’s Best Friend Belle by Holly M. Barry.

The book describes Helen Keller’s childhood, including information about her teacher Anne Sullivan and the journey to discovering a world while blind and deaf. In a touching manner, Holly M. Barry describes the constant friendship Helen found with her dogs and most especially a dog named Belle.

Helen Keller’s Best Friend Belle is one of the best non-fiction picture books I have read in recent months and an exceptional biography for the primary grades. The book includes information on the American Sign Language alphabet, braille system and further reading on the life of Helen Keller.

I hope that you are able to check out this book for your home or classroom!

Best Ages: kindergarten – 2nd grade

For Parents:

  • Review the 5 senses with your child. Imagine what it would be like to lose one or more senses (like Helen Keller did as a small child). Which senses would you need to rely on?
  • Find things in your home that you can experience with each of your 5 senses. Put them in a large bag and then sort them into small containers or shoe boxes with your child. Remind your child that some things can be experienced by more than one sense!
  • Read this article for more information about hearing loss and your child’s health.

For Teachers:

  • Have a discussion on the differing abilities all people have. Reiterate the need to demonstrate respect for everyone and not be afraid of those differences.
  • Review the 5 senses. Which senses did Helen Keller lose as a young child?
  • Set up learning stations with these wonderful ideas on 5 senses activities or select one activity for the entire class to do together.
  • Check out this funky learning song on the 5 senses.