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Touch, Smell, & Taste Lesson in Five Senses Unit

Updated on January 29, 2020
iijuan12 profile image

I am a Christian. I was an 8th-grade American History teacher. I am currently a freelance writer, public speaker, & homeschooling mom of 9.

Expose Your Nose (Olfaction) Activity: Guess what is in the bag simply by smelling it
Expose Your Nose (Olfaction) Activity: Guess what is in the bag simply by smelling it

This is part 4 of a 4 part hands-on unit on the five senses. Feel, smell, and taste mystery items, make a touch and feel book, and more! My lessons are geared toward 3rd-4th grade level children and their siblings. These are lessons created to do with a weekly homeschool co-op. We meet each week for 2 1/2 hours and have 14 children between the ages of 0-13. Use these fun lessons with your classroom, family, after school program, camp, or co-op!

Please DO NOT copy this elsewhere without giving proper credit: .


Introduction and Sense of Touch

1. Stretch and pray. Read and discuss John 20:24-29.

2. Briefly review the 5 senses.

3. Read "Soft And Smooth, Rough And Bumpy: A Book About Touch" by Dana Meachen Rau.

4. Sense of Touch Game: Ahead of time, fill pillowcases or tube socks with an assortment of items (feathers, cotton balls, pine cones, feathers, soap, aluminum foil, block letters, etc. ) Try to have items that vary in texture. At class/co-op, hand each child a filled pillowcase or tube sock. First have children feel the outside and try to guess what is inside. Without peeking, have them put their hands into their pillow cases/socks and try to count how many items are inside. Have them try to guess what the items are, which letter is on the letter block, which type of coin is in the pillowcase, etc. Finally let them pull out the items and see how much their sense of touch could tell them. Have them take out items one at a time, and then group them together (to make clean-up easier).

TEACHER/PARENT 1: YOU WILL NEED: 1 pillow case or tube sock per child, each filled the same items (see above for suggestions)

Soft and Smooth, Rough and Bumpy: A Book About Touch (The Amazing Body: The Five Senses)
Soft and Smooth, Rough and Bumpy: A Book About Touch (The Amazing Body: The Five Senses)
This is the best picture book we read about the sense of touch. It has great factual information told in a picture book format. The illustrations are large enough to use this for group reading and they are enjoyable for both toddlers and older children alike.
Touch and feel book
Touch and feel book

Touch and Feel Books

5. Make a touch and feel book. Let children decorate the cover of their books using markers. Pass out various items for the children to paste into their books. The more variety in surface textures, the better.

TEACHER/PARENT 2: YOU WILL NEED: A sample for each child of the following: Sandpaper, terry cloth, sponge, satin, rough wood, rubber, smooth plastic, etc.; paper to make the book; glue; markers


Sense of Smell

6. Read "Sniff, Sniff: A Book About Smell" by Dana Meachen Rau.

7. Expose Your Nose (Olfaction): Ahead of time place items that have distinctive smells in 10-15 separate bags that have been numbered ahead of time. Some ideas include: perfume soaked cotton, rotten fruit, nail-polish remover, banana, rose petals, sawdust, ginger, peppermint, pine needles, chocolate, coffee, dirt, vanilla, day-old chicken fat, garlic, onion, mint, vinegar, moth balls, pencil shavings, and potato chips. Have children walk around as partners and sniff inside each bag without peeking. They will then mark on a numbered sheet of paper if the bag has a wonderful, good, medium, bad, or horrible smell. After everyone has visited each station, collect the bags. Go through them one by one and ask them to share their "smell rating" for the first bag (by raising their hands). Select one volunteer to smell what's inside the bag and try to guess what it is. Pull it out and show them. Discuss how our sense of smell can protect us - especially with the old chicken fat, moth balls, and nail-polish remover.

TEACHER/PARENT 3: YOU WILL NEED: 10-15 paper bags each with a smelly item inside (see above for ideas), sheets numbered 1-15, and a writing utensil for each child

8. Have children hold their noses and close their eyes and try to tell the flavor of a Skittle. Have them unplug their nose and see if they were right. Talk about how smell and taste are related.

TEACHER/PARENT 4: YOU WILL NEED: at least 1 Skittle per child

Taste Test
Taste Test

Sense of Taste, Helen Keller, and Review

9. Read "Yum!: A Book about Taste" by Dana Meachen Rau.

10. Taste Tests: Briefly discuss the 5 basic tastes: sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami (savory)*. Ahead of time pour 5 "mystery liquids" into 5 small cups. Give each child 5 Q-tips. Give each teacher/mom a cup and have them allow each child to taste the "mystery liquid" by using a new Q-tip each time to dip into each cup. Ask them if the liquid is salty, sweet, sour, bitter, or savory.

(*Umami is not always included in children's books since is has been classified as a basic taste more recently than the others. You can read more about it at Metallic is also considered to be a sixth basic taste.)

TEACHER/PARENT 1: YOU WILL NEED: Salty water, sugary water, lemon juice (for sour), tonic water (for bitter), soy sauce (for umami), 5 small cups, and 5 q-tips per child

11. Read "Courage in the Dark" by Johanna Hurwitz and then quickly discuss how Helen Keller had to rely on her senses of touch, taste, and smell to live the full life that she did.

12. 5 Minute Review of what we've learned.

Ready for the other lessons?

Cup phone activity to learn about sound waves from the lesson on hearing and sound waves
Cup phone activity to learn about sound waves from the lesson on hearing and sound waves

Build a crawl-through ear as you study hearing, play scales on water glasses as you study music and sound, dissect a cow eyeball as you study sight, try to identify mystery objects simply by their smell, present on various aspects of the five senses, and more during this 4 lesson hands-on unit study of the five senses!

  • Hearing and Sound Waves Lesson - This is part 1 of a 4 part hands-on thematic unit on the five senses. Build and crawl through a model of an ear, watch sound waves at work, make paper cup phones, use a stethoscope and otoscope, and more!
  • Music and Instruments Lesson - This is part 2 of a 4 part hands-on unit study on the five senses. See the inside of a piano and how it works, study pitch while playing water glasses, test out different instruments, and more!
  • Eyes and Seeing Lesson - This is part 3 of a 4 part hands-on unit on the five senses. Make an edible model of an eye, dissect a cow eyeball, visit an eye doctor, and more!
  • Touch, Smell, & Taste Lesson in Five Senses Unit - This is part 4 of a 4 part hands-on unit on the five senses. Feel, smell, and taste mystery items, make a touch and feel book, and more!
  • Five Senses Culminating Project and Field Trip Ideas - This is the culminating project for the 4 part hands-on unit on the five senses. The students created presentations on people and ideas related to the 5 senses and shared 5 Senses-themed snacks and desserts. (Recipes are included.) Also included is where we went for field trips during this unit.

Sense of Taste: Science of Spice

Sense of Smell: How Do We Smell?

Sense of Touch: How Your Brain Registers Pain

Sense of Touch: School House Rock: Nervous System

Konos Volume I
Konos Volume I

Konos Curriculum

Would you like to teach this way every day?

Konos Curriculum

I use Konos Curriculum as a springboard from which to plan my lessons. It's a wonderful curriculum and was created by moms with active boys!

Konos Home School Mentor

If you're new to homeschooling or in need of some fresh guidance, I highly recommend Konos' program! Watch videos on-line of what to do each day and how to teach it in this great hands-on format!

© 2011 Shannon

Which Sense Would Be Hardest to Lose And Why? - Or just let me know you dropped by! I love getting feedback from you!

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    • iijuan12 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Florida

      @l-may: Thank you so much!

    • l-may profile image


      8 years ago

      Looks like a well thought out lesson plan... A fun one to do! The sense of smell is the most surprising sense of them all I think. I submitted your lens in the Polka SquidSearch quest.. hope it brings you some traffic! :) As for the hardest sense to lose... I guess I'd have to say vision because I need it for my independence in this world, but sound would be almost as hard for me. I love music!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Your Konos lenses are amazing so helpful! Thank you!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      This is a very nice lens with so much interesting and helpful information. Have a terrific week!


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