Sunday, September 28, 2014

5 Senses - Models and Activities!

This week in Wonderful Wednesday, we focused on one of my favorite things to explore with children, sensory activities!  We made models for the tongue, ear, nose and eye.  It was a jam packed day and we ran long, but it was lots of fun.  Our dress up was George Washington for this week, with some creative costumes and fun!

  We began the day by lapbooking through our memory work for week 5.
Many of the things we did to explore our senses, are courtesy of my special needs son's therapy closet supplies - having sensory integration disorder, he has so many things that came in handy for this week's activities!  In addition, I used a favorite oldie-goodie reference book entitled  Messengers to the Brain: Our Fantastic Five Senses which is no longer in print -but has some great information and pictures.   Used copies are available on Amazon cheap.

The starting point was to talk about the function of our ears.  We had an ear model that I copied out of my book Science Pocket, which is no longer in print -but it's awesome if you ever see one out at a used bookstore or on e-Bay - grab it!  Amazon has a few used copies available.  I have used this book both times through cycle 3.  It works great for making science based dot to dots and you can read more about that over at my post entitled: How to Create Science Based Dot to Dots.  (Sorry to reference such old books.  I guess that's what happens when you've homeschooled over 10 years.  Aren't homeschooling Moms famous for never throwing away a good book?)

The ear model was printed onto card stock and then the kids cut it out, colored and then glued and folded it so it stood up.  It created a stand up model of the ear with a cross section view of the inner ear.  It had some good information about the ear that we cut out and glued onto the model front as well.
Once the model was complete, the children were given blindfolds and I got out two baskets filled with a variety of objects inside small bottles.  The bottles were labeled in two colors.  Each red bottle had a blue bottle "match" that was filled with the same object, so it would make the same sound.  The kids took turns being blindfolded and shaking the first bottle they grabbed in one basket and then trying to discriminate it's match, by just using their ears and shaking the bottles until they heard the same sound.
We then headed into the gym to try another game that utilized our sense of hearing.  The kids kept their blindfolds and once they gathered in the room, they were blindfolded again, and the lights were turned out so the room was very dark.  There were two of us that had noise makers and we shook them alternating around the room and the kids had to head in the direction they heard the sound.  It was a silly fun using their sense of hearing.
We were off to make yet another model, this time it was the eye!  The kids were given supplies and shown a model of one already completed.  We talked about the function of the eye.  I came up with this while painting something else I was planning to use (but wouldn't have worked as well in my opinion).

I am in the habit of using these small applesauce cups that I recycle for holding paint.  That way I can just throw them away and not have to go through the mess of washing out used paint pallets.  I had painted something else white, I intended to use, and when I went to throw away the used white paint stained applesauce cup, I saw a potential eye when it was upside down heading into the trash!  So I changed gears and ditched what I had.  That's how the eye model was born.  (I get questions sometimes about how come some of the things I do on Wonderful Wednesdays are not in the WW Plan - this is why - when inspiration strikes, I go for it!)

I had the kids stuff the cup with cotton balls to make it white (paint would have been too messy and time consuming), then they were given black circles (for the pupil) to fit inside the cup's circular ledge, a straw for the optic nerve, colored markers to color the iris, red rubber bands to make the muscles, clear wax paper for the cornea and a piece of cardboard to use as their base to glue it down on and label it all.  We hot glued the rubber bands, straw, and cup.  The rest was stick or white glued on.  I pre-made all the labels for the kids to just glue in place.
We were then off to do some fun sensory exploring using our eyes...or NOT!

The first thing we did was play this game my special needs son adores, called Alphabet Mystery, sold as the Alphabet Feely Box on Amazon.  The kids were blindfolded (or promised not to peek) and they would reach in, relying on their other sense of touch, only, and try to guess what it was that they had in their hand inside the box before bringing it out.  They discovered that it can be difficult to guess what something is without the use of their eyes.  They also discovered that the sense of feeling is important to understanding the world around us that we interact with every day.
The last eye related game we played, was again...not using their eyes.  They were blindfolded, given a piece of paper and a pencil and then told to draw their face.  It was funny to see what each of them could do without using their eyes while drawing.  Then they were told that they could take off the blindfold (laugh at their drawing) and then flip the paper over and draw their face again, this time using their eyes.  We talked about how much easier it is to draw when you can see with your eyes!  Eyes are very important to help us function in the world each day!
We were off to make another model, this time of the nose!  I got this model from the Science Pocket book I mentioned previously.  We discussed the function of the nose and the kids cut out and colored their model.
Talking about the nose wouldn't have been complete without a game to explore the concepts and deepen the kids understanding about what they just heard.  So we began with the Smell Game.  In this game, the kids were all given a partner and then blindfolded.  Their partner had multiple glass containers (the kind you get for spices at the dollar store) filled with a variety of smells.  Some of the contents of the bottles were: coffee, cinnamon, onion, vinegar, honey, molasses, dill weed etc.  (Any strong smells will work.)  The kids took turns being blindfolded and smelling the contents placed under their noses, as well as being the one providing the contents to be smelled!  The faces were funny and even some Moms got into the action!
The last model we made was the tongue!  To make this, I used dense foam (that came in my son's medication shipping container the day before - another one of those, "when inspiration strikes" moments) and then cut it into tongue shapes.  Next I put some water in the sink and added several drops of red food coloring.  I soaked the foam in the red food coloring water for a few minutes and then squeezed them out and set them on the counter to dry.  They came out a perfect pink!  I printed off labels for the kids and used toothpicks to adhere them to.  This allowed the kids to just stick the labeled toothpicks into the proper places on their tongue models.  To give it a fun effect, I cut out lip shapes for the kids to stick on top of the back of their tongue.  The kids couldn't help but put them in their mouths like they had giant tongues!  We talked about the various areas of the tongue and their taste buds and then we moved into doing another fun game using our sense of taste.
This was the taste game.  They each had a partner, blindfold, spoon and four cups in front of them that contained: unsweetened cocoa, salt, sugar and a lemon.  The blindfolded partner used their bottle of water placed right in front of them, to rinse out their mouth after each taste.  Then one at a time, the partner would give them a taste of each item to see if they thought it was salty, sour, bitter or sweet.
The last sense to explore was that of touch.  So to explore this sense, we ended the day with two fun games.  The first game was what I dubbed, the Sensory Walk.  The kids were each blindfolded and not allowed to see what I had set up down the hall.  They were led by one of the Moms to walk down the hall blindfolded, onto the path of things I had put out for them to feel with their feet.  The things set up also came from my son's medication pack (he gets monthly infusions that are shipped and they have great things for recycling that I've used many times before as well!).  I used a sensory disc, which had pokey rubber spikes sticking up (courtesy of Mason's therapy closet supplies), a long strip of foam (same type used for making tongues), a slippery silver bag, a large bag filled with rocks, and a large bubble wrap strip.  The favorite "surprise" was walking on the bubble wrap and hearing the startling pop pop on the first step!  In the end, all the kids jumped like crazy all over the bubble wrap!
Last, but definitely not least, was the final sensory project.  A kid all time favorite - shaving cream!  I gave the kids paper (as you will see, that didn't last for some of them - LOL) and a tray filled with shaving cream piled high.  They were told to make whatever pictures they wanted with the shaving cream and some foam animal pieces and flowers I had.  This precluded our review time, as they didn't want to stop and were having such a big time together!
To end the day we had some creative snacking.  One of the gracious Moms in our group, came up with an imaginative idea to let the kids build veggie faces.  She brought veggies and pita chips and trays!  So the kids went to work building their veggie faces and being creative, as they snacked their way to a completed Wonderful Wednesday!
All in all, we ended up with four models, lots of messy gooey and chewy fun in our attempt to explore the sensory system!  Here are the four models we ended our day with...
I hope your Wednesday was Wonderful too!
*In order to make it easier to replicate Solagratiamom™ activities featured, 
affiliate links have been placed in this post, to the products or reference materials used* 


  1. Well, no wonder you went over on time! So much fun =)

    1. Yeah, I get a little crazy when sensory activities come into play! LOL :) Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Replies
    1. Janna - Thank you for stopping by! I appreciate your comment. Blessings - Colleen