Five Senses Play Across Ages and Stages

Five Senses Play Across Ages and Stages

There are five senses play that parents can do with their children to develop their skills. / Photo by: Pavel Ilyukhin via Shutterstock


Dejan Stojanovic said that “Senses empower limitations, senses expand vision within borders, senses promote understanding through pleasure.” To that note, showing kids the ropes when it comes to the five senses is of paramount importance. Because their minds are like sponges, they deserve activities that can help them absorb more information and discover new things about the world.

The activities we give children vary across ages. Getting all the senses involved in learning at the right time is no doubt difficult when it comes to molding well rounded, intelligent, and clever kids. Thus, every smart parent needs to utilize smart ways to bring forth a smart kid.

Five Senses Play for Infants

According to Care Community, infants need to be introduced to the world of sensory activities, aside from simple day-to-day activities like diaper changing or bath time. It is of substance, because the way in which the world is introduced to infants must be tender besides being fun and educational.

Scarf Play

Drape a colorful scarf around your neck while holding the newborn, then float it through the air to let the baby track the movement back and forth. This is good practice for focusing on objects and proper eye coordination.


During bath time, let the baby hold on to a wash cloth or towel, then gently pull back as the baby grabs the towel, just like playing tug-of-war. In this way, you are taking advantage of their innate grab reflex which sustains a tight grip on anything that touches their palm.

Sensory Bottles

Fill up your spare empty plastic bottle with different colorful objects that produce sound. Let the baby explore the different sounds each bottle makes. This is a very good booster for the baby’s new interest in objects.

Beach Ball Rolling

Hold the baby, tummy down on a beach ball. While holding the baby with both hands firmly, let the baby maneuver the ball underneath. This provides the baby with an experience more interesting than just lying in the stationary position.

Five Senses Play for Toddlers

According to the WeHaveKids website, toddlers spend much of their time following routines. Nevertheless, five senses play can build on their natural curiosity and provide them with the chance to explore, problem-solve, strategize, and think critically.

Traffic Light

Make two cards -- one with a red light or a stop sign and another with a green light. Hold up the card with the green light and have the kids walk around in a circle. They should be watching to see when you hold up the stop light. When you do, they should stop. This is a good way to explain how the eyes send messages to the brain, so they know what to do next.

Pretend Robot

Have the kids pretend to be robots that have to follow directions. Tell the kids the robot code: one beep means move your arm, two beeps mean jump, and so on. Make up directions for the robots to follow. This will enchance the children's listening ability.

Nursery Rhymes and Food

Nursery rhymes can also offer inspiration for lessons about food. Read “Humpty Dumpty” to the kids, and then serve them hard-boiled eggs. Read them “Do You Know the Muffin Man,” and serve them muffins. Recite “Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater,” and let them try pumpkin pie. “Pat a Cake” can go with cake, and “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” can go with porridge.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears

Read the kids “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” and do a water activity to demonstrate what is too hot, too cold, and just right. Then, find a hard chair, a very fluffy pillow to place in the chair, and a normal chair. Through this, the kids will learn about soft and hard textures.


One of the five senses play that can be done with toddlers is pretend robot that can develop their listening ability. / Photo by: Victor Koldunov


Five Senses Play for School-Age Kids

It is essential to talk about the functions of the five senses among kids of this age range to be able to improve their communication skills relative to their environment.

Matching Games

Play a matching game using cards or other objects. These will enhance the children's visual skills.

I Spy

Talk about what a child sees in the different pages of a book, all around the house, or wherever applicable. This may be done while reading a book or carrying out daily activities.

Combining Smells

Have the child smell approximately 10 things that he or she is familiar with.  Together, come up with a list of the items that the child smelled.  Now, mix at least two smells together, and have the child guess which two (or more) are paired together. Can he/she guess the combination correctly? Can he/she pick out each smell? Have fun naming the new combinations of smells!


In this game, the children should be able to distinguish the sequence of sounds in terms of loudness and difficulty. Use your hands or another object, and make clapping patterns together. Take turns having an adult lead, followed by the child leading a pattern, and vice versa. After doing clapping patterns, try the same routine with bells or another noise-making object. Ask the child the following questions afterwards: Which sequence is harder to repeat—the claps or the bells? Which sound do you prefer to listen to? Which sound is louder?

Make a Salad

As you add different vegetables or other ingredients to the salad, ask the child what he or she sees in the bowl. Pick out different ingredients and allow the child to take a bite of each one. Ask the child questions like: What do each of the ingredients taste like? Have you had that ingredient before? Do you like the way it tastes? Does it remind you of something else you’ve eaten?

Feeling with Your Feet

Have the child, barefooted, feel things with his or her feet and think about the way it feels. Let the child feel objects such as paint, playdough, grass, carpet, etc. Ask the child questions about what he or she is feeling: Do you like the way it feels? Is it rough or smooth? Cold or hot? Does it tickle your feet? Do the same activity with your hands!