Today’s Earth Day STEAM Activity is getting outdoors to learn about our five senses!
I have posts about each of the five senses in the Five Senses for Babies, Toddlers, and Preschool Series on the blog that are by far my most popular STEAM activities for kids. In today’s activity we’re exploring the five senses in a new way: outside!
Touch sensations we feel include soft, hard, smooth, rough, hot, cold, pressure, pain, tickle, itch, vibration, sticky, slimy, wet, dry, etc… Our brain gets the touch signals and it is able to interpret what to do with what we feel.
For example, when you touch a hot object, the signal will be sent to your brain, and the brain will quickly send a message back to your hand to stop touching the hot object. To learn more about your sense of touch and for more activities see the Sense of Touch post.
For today’s activity find something in your yard that has a unique feel for your kids to touch. This can be something smooth (a garden hose), pointy and rough (like a stick), hot (something that has been sitting in the sun), something soft (a flower petal), and more.
We touched a radish plant picked from our vegetable garden. The leaves were sharp and prickly. I asked the kids to describe what they felt to me. My son’s reaction is in the video below.
Our sense of sight allows us to perceive shapes, distance, movement, color, heat, and depth. To learn more about your sense of sight and for more activities see the Sense of Sight post.
For today’s activity, ask your kids to describe something they see in detail. This is even more fun with a magnifying glass. We observed a small bug up close and my kids described the size, color, and shape to me. You can watch a video of my son observing a small fly in our garden below.
Our ears allow us to hear sounds through vibrations. Vibrations cause sound waves that are funneled deep into our ear and sent to our brain for interpretation. To learn more about your sense of hearing and for more activities see the Sense of Hearing post.
For today’s activity ask your kids to listen to outdoor sounds. What do they think is making the sounds they hear? We heard birds chirping and looked around until we found the bird making the sound, so we combined the sense of hearing with sense of sight! You can see my son listening to and looking for the bird in the video below.
We smell in two ways: by breathing in through our nostrils and also through the back of our nose from our mouth. Our sense of smell helps us detect hazards, food, and pheromones. To learn more about your sense of smell and for more activities see the Sense of Smell post.
For today’s activity, find something in your garden that has a fragrant smell and ask your child to hold it close to their nose and sniff the object. Ask them to describe what they smelled. We smelled flowers, mint, and lemon leaves. They described the flowers as smelling sweet, the mint was spicy, and the fruity lemon leaf was their favorite! You can see a short video of my daughter smelling a flower below.
We taste the food we eat using our tongues. There are five basic tastes that our tongues can recognize. These five tastes are: Sweet, Salty, Sour, Bitter, and Savory (Umami). To learn more about your sense of taste and for more activities see the Sense of Taste post.
Do today’s activity outdoors with caution! If you have an herb or vegetable garden you may have something your kids can taste, otherwise have a picnic outside and ask them to describe their picnic food: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, or savory.
We tasted the mint in our herb garden, my kids said it was spicy and sweet. Then my daughter wanted to taste the radish we picked from our garden. You can see her hilarious reaction to tasting the radish in the video below.
We had a blast exploring our yard with our senses and I hope you and your children do too. This activity was actually part of my kindergartener’s science assignment for this week. I love how his teacher is making learning interesting and fun! Have you had a similar assignment for your kindergartener?