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Volume 3, Issue 22
December 5, 2005


Our Five Senses and the Holidays

WELCOME! to Education World's Early Childhood Newsletter. Every other week, I'll share some ideas on a familiar teaching theme. Hopefully you will find a new activity idea or two -- or a new twist on one of your old favorites! Since I know you are very busy, I'll be short and sweet -- like most of activities I suggest.

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Holidays are coming, what do we hear?
Songs and bells ringing -- they sound loud and clear.

Holidays are coming, what do we smell?
Latkes that sizzle; sweet figs as well.

Holidays are coming, what do we feel?
Warm woolen mittens; an orange to peel.

Holidays are coming, what do we taste?
Sweet sparkly cookies, not one goes to waste!

Holidays are coming, what do we see?
Bright smiling children just like you and me!

We hope this issue's suggestions and ideas will help make your classroom activities "scent...sational!"

Susan LaBella
Editor, Early Childhood Education Newsletter


Tell your children a story about Nosy Nick the reindeer (or another animal) who loves to smell. Explain that he especially loves holiday smells. Bring in a toy reindeer or other animal to enhance your story. Ask children to bring in something for Nosy Nick to smell such as pine needles in a plastic zip-lock bag or cinnamon placed in a glass jar. Let children and Nosy Nick sniff each item. Then invite students to identify each smell. Finally, create a group story that tells about Nick's (and children's) smelling experience. "First, Nosy Nick smelled _________________. Next, he smelled _____________. Nosy Nick did not like to smell __________________, and so on.

Give each child an orange and invite him or her to poke holes in it with a blunt needlework needle. Invite children to push cloves into the holes of their oranges. Then help children wrap their oranges in a piece of cheesecloth and tie the cheesecloth with a ribbon. Let children smell the wonderful scent!!

Read the book Your Five Senses, by Bobbi Katz. Tell children you will investigate the sense of sight with this game. Place five different holiday ornaments in front of children for them to observe. Discuss with children how each one looks. Next place a towel over the five ornaments and have children close their eyes. Remove one ornament and uncover the rest. Invite children to guess which ornament is missing. Continue by replacing the missing ornament and removing another (while children's eyes are closed) until you have removed each ornament. When finished, help children understand that if they did not have the sense of sight they would be unable to play the game. Ask what other holiday things do our eyes help us see?

At circle time, play a holiday song as children pass around a bell. Stop the music at intervals and ask the child holding the bell to follow your directions. "Ring the bell three times" or "Hold the bell over your head" or... As students become more proficient, try offering some two-step directions such as "Walk to the wall and ring the bell one time." Reinforce with students how important it is to have the sense of hearing.

Let children make texture collages to give as holiday gifts. Provide glue and scraps of fabric, sandpaper, or wallpaper that have been cut into circles, squares, triangles, stars, and so on. Give each child a piece of mat board. To get children started, ask them to find and glue a circle shape onto their mats. Continue until children have glued one of each shape onto their mats. Then let them add other pieces until they have completed their collages. Invite children to run their fingers over the different textures in their creations and to describe what they feel.

Gather cookie cutters that are representative of various holidays (a dreidel, a wreath, a bell, a piñata, and so on). Invite children to choose a cookie cutter and to cut a shape from a piece of bread. Mix together 2 eggs, 1/2-cup milk, a dash of cinnamon, and a dash of salt. Dip each shape into the egg mixture and cook it in a greased frying pan or griddle until golden brown. Serve to children with warm maple syrup. Yum!!


Check out the following Web sites for more background and activities.

Ten Activities for Teaching the Five Senses
A collection of activity ideas -- some of which are great to use with young children.

The Fabulous Five Senses
Children investigate the five senses in this lesson plan that incorporates using the computer.

The Five Senses
Let children take part in a scavenger hunt to learn about the five senses. Activities are differentiated by level of student readiness.

The Senses Working Together
You'll find a variety of hands-on activities to discover how our senses work together.

Teaching Children About the Five Senses
This summary of ways parents can teach their children about the five senses would provide a nice take-home page.