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Published Apr 8, 2024 ⦁ 15 min read
Easy Experiments for 4 Year Olds: The Five Senses

Easy Experiments for 4 Year Olds: The Five Senses

Exploring the world through the five senses can be a fascinating adventure for 4-year-olds. This guide offers simple, engaging experiments to help young children understand and appreciate their senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. These activities are easy to set up with common household items and are perfect for sparking curiosity and learning in preschoolers.

  • Sight Experiment: Mixing colors to see how new ones are created.
  • Hearing Experiment: Using homemade drums and blindfolded sound localization.
  • Smell Experiment: Guessing different scents in a blindfolded smelling test.
  • Taste Experiment: Observing if food coloring changes the taste of juices and cookies.
  • Touch Experiment: Feeling different textures in mystery boxes.

Each activity is designed to be fun and educational, helping kids to better observe, think, and learn about the world around them through their senses.

Preparing for the Experiments

To get ready for these fun five senses activities, you'll just need some common things from around the house. Here's a quick list of what to gather:

General Supplies

  • Paper and crayons for drawing
  • Blindfolds or scarves to cover eyes
  • Cups, bowls, and spoons for different items
  • Trays to put items on

Safety Tips

  • Always watch the kids during these activities
  • Help them with anything that could break
  • Show them the right way to use everything so no one gets hurt

Items for Each Sense

Sight: Flashlights, colored scarves, fun fabrics

Sound: Pots, wooden spoons, musical toys, anything that makes noise

Smell: Spices, coffee beans, flowers, lemons

Taste: Salt, sugar, honey, lemon juice, various soft foods

Touch: Feathers, cotton balls, sandpaper, rocks, pinecones

Setting Up

Create little areas in the room for each of the five senses. Place the items for each sense on trays or in containers. This makes it easy for the kids to check out everything. Make sure there's enough light and it's not too noisy. Cover any sharp corners on furniture with blankets.

With these easy steps and household items, you're all set to start some amazing five senses experiments for 4-year-olds! Keep a close eye on them, ask lots of questions, and enjoy exploring the senses together!

Experiment 1: Sight

Let's start with a fun activity that helps kids understand how mixing different colors makes new ones. This is a great way for them to see how colors work.


  • Red, blue, and yellow tempera paints
  • Paintbrushes
  • White paper
  • Old shirts or smocks to keep clothes clean (optional)

Step-by-Step Procedure

  1. Put down newspapers or scrap paper on the table to keep it clean.

  2. On a paper plate or palette, put a little bit of red, blue, and yellow paint in separate spots.

  3. Show your child how to dip the brush into the red paint, then the blue paint, to make purple.

  4. Encourage them to mix red and yellow to make orange, or blue and yellow to make green.

  5. Let them have fun mixing the paints to see what new colors they can create.

  6. Give them paper to paint with their new colors.

Observation and Discussion

  • Ask them what they notice when they mix different paints together.

  • "What new color do you get when you mix red and blue?"

  • "Does the new color look different from just red or blue? How?"

  • "What do you think will happen if you mix yellow and blue?"

  • Talk about how the colors change when mixed. Why do they think it looks different?

  • Discuss what colors they made and what they discovered. Were there any surprises?

This painting activity is a simple way for kids to learn about colors. It helps them pay attention to changes and talk about what they see. Mixing paints is not just fun; it's also a good way for them to start learning about science in a way that's easy for them to understand.

Experiment 2: Hearing


  • Different empty containers like plastic cups, boxes, or jars
  • Rubber bands
  • Wooden spoons
  • Something to cover eyes, like a blindfold or scarf
  • Noisy things like bells or shakers

Step-by-Step Procedure

  1. Collect a bunch of empty containers, such as plastic cups, cardboard boxes, or glass jars. The more types you have, the better it is.

  2. Show your child how to put rubber bands around these containers to make them into drums. If they need help, give them a hand with the rubber bands.

  3. Hand them wooden spoons or let them use their hands to tap rhythms on their new drums. Encourage them to explore making different sounds, both loud and quiet ones.

  4. Make noise with a bell on the other side of the room while their eyes are open. Then, ask them to close their eyes or use a blindfold. Ring the bell again and see if they can point to where the sound is coming from.

  5. Let them take turns being blindfolded while the others make noises. Can they figure out where the sounds are coming from using just their ears?

Observation and Discussion

  • Ask them about the sounds their drums make. Were some sounds louder or softer? Why do they think that happened?

  • Was it easy or hard for them to find where sounds were coming from with their eyes closed?

  • Talk about what it felt like trying to find where sounds were coming from without seeing.

  • Discuss how our ears help us understand the world around us.

This experiment is a fun way for kids to learn about hearing. They get to notice how sounds can be different and try to figure out where sounds come from without seeing them. It's a good start to understanding how our sense of hearing works.

Experiment 3: Smell


  • Small cups or jars
  • Different smelly things:
    • Spices like cinnamon and vanilla
    • Flowers such as roses and lavender
    • Fruits like lemons and oranges
    • Coffee beans
    • Scented lotions or soaps

Step-by-Step Procedure

  1. Put different smelly things into separate cups or jars. Make sure they're closed tight.

  2. Create a "smelling station" by lining up the cups or jars. Have your child either close their eyes or wear a blindfold.

  3. Let your child smell what's inside each container, one by one. They should try to guess what it is just by its smell.

  4. Encourage them to think about the smell. Is it sweet? Maybe it smells like flowers?

  5. Note which smells they recognize easily and which ones are harder. Do any smells remind them of something like a food or a place?

  6. After smelling everything, take off the blindfold and check the answers together.

Observation and Discussion

  • Ask them about each smell:
    • What was your first guess? Why?
    • How would you describe the smell? Sweet, smokey, fresh?
    • Does it remind you of something? Maybe a food or a place?
  • Were some smells easier to figure out than others? Why might that be?
  • Talk about how our noses help us know what things are without seeing them.
  • Discuss how we use our sense of smell every day. It helps us enjoy food, tells us if something might not be good to eat, and can even bring back memories.

This activity is a fun way for kids to learn about the sense of smell. They get to practice figuring out different smells and talk about what they remind them of. It's also a good chance to use new words and learn more about how important our noses are in exploring the world.


Experiment 4: Taste


  • Different juices like apple, orange, grape, and fruit punch
  • Cookies such as plain sugar cookies or chocolate chip cookies
  • Food coloring in different colors
  • Small cups to put the juices in
  • Plates and napkins

Step-by-Step Procedure

  1. Pour a little bit of each juice into separate cups.

  2. Put a drop or two of food coloring in each cup and mix it. Make sure each juice is a different color.

  3. Place 4-5 cookies on a plate.

  4. First, let your child taste a plain cookie. Ask them what it tastes like.

  5. Next, have them dip a cookie into each colored juice and taste it.

  6. After trying all the cookies with juice, ask if the cookies tasted different with the colored juices.

  7. Explain that the food coloring only changes how the juices and cookies look, not their taste.

Observation and Discussion

  • Ask things like:
    • Did the cookies taste different with the colored juice?
    • Or did they taste the same as the plain cookie?
    • Why do you think that happened?
  • Talk about how the look of our food can make us think it will taste different.
  • But really, our eyes and our taste buds give us different information.
  • Discuss how our sense of taste works together with our other senses.

This experiment helps kids see if changing the color of juice changes its taste. It's a simple way to show kids that our senses work together to help us understand the world.

Experiment 5: Touch


  • Shoe boxes or cardboard boxes with lids
  • Different textured items like:
    • Cotton balls
    • Aluminum foil
    • Sandpaper
    • Feathers
    • Pom poms
    • Fuzzy fabric
    • Smooth silk
    • Fake grass mat
    • Anything with an interesting texture
  • Blindfold or scarf
  • Trays or cookie sheets

Step-by-Step Procedure

  1. Use shoe boxes or small cardboard boxes. Make a hole on one side big enough for a hand.

  2. Put different things with different feels in each box, like soft cotton balls or bumpy sandpaper.

  3. Place the boxes on trays or cookie sheets to keep things clean.

  4. Let your child feel inside each box without looking. Use a blindfold for more fun.

  5. Ask them to think about how each thing feels - is it soft, rough, or maybe smooth? Can they guess what it is?

  6. After feeling all the boxes, let them look inside to see the items.

Observation and Discussion

  • Talk about what they felt:
    • Was it smooth or rough? Soft or hard?
    • Does it remind you of something you've touched before?
    • How easy or hard was it to guess by just touching?
  • Discuss why things feel different, like why silk is smooth and sandpaper is rough.
  • Explain how touching helps us learn about the world around us.

This touch test with mystery boxes is a fun way for kids to learn about different textures. It helps them understand how we use our sense of touch to find out about things. The questions help them think and talk about what they learn.

Integrating All Five Senses

Let's mix things up by doing activities that use all five senses at once. This helps kids learn how all their senses work together. Here are some simple and fun ideas:

Backyard Sensory Walk

  • Go for a walk outside and encourage kids to notice things with all their senses.
  • Look for different items like flowers and clouds. Talk about what they look like.
  • Listen for sounds like birds or the wind. Are they loud or soft?
  • Smell things like flowers. Can they tell what it is by its smell?
  • Touch stuff like plants and rocks. How do they feel?
  • If it's safe, taste things like herbs. What do they taste like?

Walking outside and using all senses makes the walk more interesting and helps kids learn.

Popcorn Science

  • Making popcorn is a fun way to see, hear, smell, touch, and taste all at once.
  • Watch the popcorn pop and listen to the sound.
  • Smell the popcorn as it cooks. Does it smell different over time?
  • Feel the popcorn. Is it hot? How does it feel?
  • Taste the popcorn. What does it taste like?

Popcorn making is a simple science lesson that uses all the senses.

Sensory Bottles

  • Create bottles filled with colorful things that make sounds, look pretty, and even smell nice.
  • Use beads, glitter, and small toys. Talk about what you're adding.
  • Shake the bottle to hear it. What sound does it make?
  • Add things that smell nice like soap or herbs.
  • Let kids touch and feel the items. Notice how they feel.
  • You can even add things to taste like small candies.

Sensory bottles are a cool way to explore all the senses in one activity.

Doing activities that use more than one sense at the same time helps kids understand how important all their senses are. They learn more about the world by seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching things together.


When we do simple experiments with young kids about their five senses, we help them learn and grow in so many ways. These activities about seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching are not just fun; they teach kids to notice things, think about what they're learning, and understand new ideas.

Our senses help us learn about the world and remember things. When kids use their senses, they keep wanting to learn more. Doing different kinds of activities means all kids can find something they enjoy and learn from.

The experiments we talked about are perfect for 4-year-olds to explore their senses. You can change them or think of new ones that match what your child likes. It's good to ask them questions and talk about what they find. Show them how to talk about what they see, hear, smell, taste, and touch.

These activities are great for helping kids get better at paying attention, listening, talking, moving, and solving problems. Research says playing with different senses also helps kids manage their feelings better.

In short, playing with the five senses gives kids important skills for life. Starting early with these kinds of activities makes kids ready for school and helps them make friends. Try to make learning about senses part of everyday fun. It will make them curious and excited to learn more every day.

What are the 5 senses that can be used in a science experiment?

The 5 main senses that are fun to explore in science activities for kids are:

  • Sight - looking at colors, shapes, and things that move
  • Hearing - hearing sounds, how loud or soft they are
  • Smell - smelling different things like food or flowers
  • Taste - trying foods that are sweet, salty, sour, or bitter
  • Touch - touching things to feel if they're smooth, rough, or squishy

Science experiments that use these senses help kids see and learn things by doing. They get to mix colors, listen to sounds with their eyes closed, and much more. These activities make learning about science fun and help kids understand the world.

What is an example of observation using 5 senses?

Here's how you can use your 5 senses to learn about a rainy day:

  • Sight: Watching rain fall, clouds get dark, and trees move in the wind.
  • Hearing: Listening to raindrops hit the ground and thunder rumble.
  • Smell: Smelling the fresh scent of rain and wet soil.
  • Taste: Tasting raindrops if you catch them with your tongue.
  • Touch: Feeling the rain on your skin, the cool air, and the wind.

By using all your senses, you notice a lot more about what's happening around you, like during a rainstorm.

How do you explain the 5 senses to preschoolers?

To tell preschoolers about the 5 senses, you can say:

  • We use our eyes to see things like colors and shapes.
  • We use our ears to hear sounds like music or people talking.
  • We use our nose to smell things like flowers or food.
  • We use our tongue to taste things like sweet candy or salty snacks.
  • We use our skin to feel if something is smooth or bumpy.

You can help them understand by showing them things to see, hear, smell, taste, and touch.

What are the 5 sensory play?

The 5 types of play that help kids learn through their senses are:

1. Visual activities - like drawing, using playdough, or sorting colorful beads

2. Auditory activities - like playing listening games, enjoying music, or shaking sound bottles

3. Olfactory activities - like smelling different spices, flowers, or scented oils

4. Gustatory activities - like tasting different safe foods and flavors

5. Tactile activities - like playing with water, sand, or in a sensory bin with lots of textures

These kinds of play are great for kids because they help their brains grow and learn about the world in a hands-on way.

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