Sensory experiences are how children learn about the world around them. This is a great (and super easy!) way to create a sensory activity for your home or the classroom.
Using old medication bottles, a bit of construction paper and small items from around the house or classroom you can create a fun, educational sensory activity. I used a different color of paper and number for each bottle so that the kids could identify and sort their colors and numbers while playing.
What you need:
empty medication bottles or other small containers with lids (medication bottles work really well because the kids can shake them as hard as they want and the lids won’t come opened)
a variety of small objects with different texture, weight and consistency to place inside- marbles, buttons, feathers, beads, screws, keys, corks, shells, pom poms, string, small toys, seeds, jewelry, stones, rubber bands, paper clips, magnets- anything that fits!
1. Gather up some old empty medication bottles:
2.Cut a piece of construction paper the height of the bottle and long enough to wrap all the way around, tape one end to the plastic bottle then wrap around and tape the other end securely.
3. Trace the lid top and the bottom of each bottle onto construction paper and cut out to cover the whole bottle so the hidden treasures inside stay hidden!
4. Number each bottle so the children can easily identify them, as well as practice their numbers.
5. Select a variety of small items with different textures, weight and consistency, shells, buttons, corks, yarn, beads, keys and place one (or a few if it is beads, marbles, seeds) in each bottle. Click the lids tight- kids like to shake the heck out of them in my experience!
6. Have the children sit in a circle where everyone can see and begin a discussion about the 5 senses and what we use them for.
7. Pass around the bottles, one at a time- I start with the number 1 bottle- have each child shake the bottle and describe what they hear.
Ask questions, “What does it sound like? “What do you think is inside?” “Do you think it is something hard or soft? Big or small? One thing or more than one things?” etc to create a discussion
Once each child has had a turn to shake the bottle and describe what they hear open up the bottle in question and pass around the item, or items, inside. Have the kids feel, describe, smell, (maybe not taste!) the items.
8. After all the bottles have been passed, shaken, described and opened you can ask the kids to talk about HOW they used their senses for this activity.
How did we use our sense of smell? How did we use our sense of sight? How did we use our sense of hearing?
Sight- children use sight to identify the color and number of each container, as well as to identify items and describe what colors, textures, patterns, shapes they see on the items once the containers have been passed around and opened.
Sound- when each bottle is shaken the item inside will make a sound (unless it is something sift- like a feather, which opens up a brand new discussion about how sometimes it SOUNDS like the bottle is empty but it really isn’t!) They can describe what it sounds like, compare to other things they have heard and try to figure out what the sound may be.
Touch- by passing the items around after the bottles have been opened the children can feel the texture, weight, consistency of each item and begin to make connections about the feel of an object and what sound it might make. Encourage describing words, hard, soft, bumpy, smooth, rough, fuzzy, cold, hot, and so on
Taste- this activity could be done using edible items like raisins, M&M’s, pretzels, if it is age and culturally appropriate (and sanitary) for the group of kids involved. Have kids taste test items and describe what it tastes like, is it salty? sweet? sour?
Smell- if the activity is done with food items the kids can smell before they taste and make predictions about how it will taste based on smell. They can also use their sense of smell for non-edible items for identification- shells, feathers and other items may have a distinct smell