Now that I’m homeschooling two boys this year (4th and 1st grades), it’s a challenge to keep three-year-old Owen from being lost in the shuffle.  And when Owen has nothing interesting to do, he does things like color on the carpet and dig the glue out of our gluesticks with his fingers.  Through other kid bloggers, I’ve recently come across a curriculum called Five in a Row.  The idea of Five in a Row is to read the same book each day for five days and to do math, science, language, and history activities to go with the book.  Well, I can’t buy any more curriculum right now, but I figured that it would be easy enough to just choose a “book for the week” and plan a very simple activity or two for each day that I can do with Owen and Gresham (1st grade) together.

This week we read The Magic Schoolbus Explores the Senses.  This book is above three year old level, and so I skipped some of the details.  It was a great book to read, though, because even though much of it went over Owen’s head, Gresham picked up quite a bit about how the sense organs actually work, and Owen really enjoyed having a chance to cut and glue things that he was supposed to cut and glue!

Touch and Feel Book

We made a “Touch and Feel” book with scraps of fabric.  I cut out squares ahead of time for the boys to glue in their books.  We recycled some old clothes – jeans and t-shirt fabric.  We also had some fake leather left over from a project, an athletic sock (we glued the inside side up – it felt so soft), and a square of aluminum foil.

The boys enjoyed spreading on the glue with a Q-tip.

Gresham wrote a sentence on each page describing how that item felt. For younger kids, it could be a single word, or Mom can do the writing.

 When our books were finished, we played a game with them.  I blindfolded the boys one at a time and had the other boy choose pages for the blindfolded boy to feel and guess which material it was.  Isn’t it wonderful that God created our fingers so sensitive that we can pick out jeans from t-shirt fabric just by feel!

Guess the Scent

The next day, we did activities with our sense of smell.  I had the boys close their eyes and identify foods by smell – orange juice, a banana, salsa.

A Scent Collage

Then we made a scent collage:

We used Q-tips to make glue circles on paper, and then shook spices over the glue.  We used chili powder, basil, oregano, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  This is a great activity because you can just use whatever you have on hand.  I was worried that the glue would cover up the smell of the spices, but it didn’t, and I was very happy with the way our collages turned out!

More Ideas for Touch and Smell:

  • Put small items in a bag and have kids reach into the bag and guess what it is by feel.
  • Practice writing letters in sugar – it has a neat feel!
  • If you’re feeling brave, take your kids on a field trip blindfolded.  See if they can guess where they are by the smell (maybe a pet store or a pizza restaurant?).
  • Set up a sensory box – Pinterest has many, many ideas.

You can find Part 2 of this series here.


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  1. Sarahelisabeth Sep 13, 2012

    Thank you for this idea. My three year old would enjoy this too especially the scent collage.

  2. CathyH Sep 13, 2012

    I LOVED using Five In A Row!! The multi-level approach and the details about literature are fantastic. I especially remember the "Literary Devises". Repetition, Onomatopoeia, Alliteration... My kids sometimes remember the funny words like these (and examples of them) instead of the book we were reading!


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