Five Senses Games for children

Children are bombarded with stimuli. Because of this exposure, kids are often deficit in some or all of their senses. Here is a list of activities you can do to stimulate or reinforce each of the senses. These activities can be adapted to any level and are open-ended so the whole family can play. So get off your couch and get ready to get moving with the senses games!

Touch Games

The sense of lack of touch/tactile is evident in our internet and television-saturated world. Children often do not have the exposure to real things. The tactile sense is the sensory system that receives sensations of touch, pressure, vibration, movement, temperature, and pain, primarily through receptors in the skin. These games help students who suffer from lack of the tactile sense in their world. Tactile Relay
Materials: Two identical set of cat toys, bag

Have a set of cat toys in a bag. Have one person on the team run and get a toy out of the bag. Next, have the second person on that team take that item and feel into the bag for the identical item. If they correctly guess the item, they have scored a point. If they are incorrect, they must try again. The student who can correctly feel the most cat toys wins.

Blindfolded Touch and Say
Materials: One blindfold per team

Have a student be blindfolded and have another student touch a body part. Have them name the part that was touched and find it on the other person.

Balance Walking
Materials: Masking tape for line on floor and beanbag

Balance on a line on the floor and put a beanbag on your head. Try walking with two feet and then see if the person can walk on one foot. Switch feet. Try to on balance a variety of environments such as different textures of carpet samples or sizes and kinds of pillows.

Twist and Shout
Materials: Ball per team

Have each person take a partner and practice passing the ball back and forth. After they have achieved that skill, advance to twisting and passing the ball to their partner behind their back. They can also work on passing the ball overhead or underneath their legs. Set time limits for each of the skills, and see if the students can see an improvement of their skills every time. Emphasize personal improvement and not group performance.

Shuttle Run Relay
Materials: chalkboard eraser, bean bag, or small, soft ball

Relays are a great way to teach matching, skills, or placement of objects. Have students take objects from one line to another. This can be done from a long or short distance. If a child cannot run, have them walk or slide. Always praise them when they make an effort. Walk along side of them and teach them to hold the object by helping them as they go along the area.

Spinning

My students love to spin each other. Have them hold hands and spin each other around in a circle. They can do it in one direction and then change to another. This can be a good lead-in for any pin-the-tail or object game since most of my students do not like to hide their eyes with a bandana or scarf, and it throws them slightly off balance when placing the object. This teaches them not only the tactile sense, but also the importance of balance.

Partner Rocking

They can also rock back and forth on the floor with a partner. You can add questions and answers as you play the game. One person can ask the question and rock, and then the other person can rock and answer the question.

Pull Toy Relay
Materials: Toys with rope around them

Take two items and wrap a rope on them. Have two teams and see which team can pull the item from one place to another the fastest. The team that finishes first is the winner.

Give and Take Game
Materials: Toy or small ball

Take turns tossing a toy or ball from one person to another. For a variation of this game, try to toss low, medium, or high to your partner.

Auditory Games

The auditory sense is often not developed due to problems with ear infections or imbalances. The vesicular and hearing senses include discriminating, interpreting sounds, remembering and comprehending what is heard, and relating; they are all parts of auditory processing. Here are some games to strength the auditory sense.

Parade Fun!

Have the students make a parade with simple bell or stick instruments. Try to get them to march in a circle, line, or another designated space. For a variation of this game, try to get them to hit their instruments at the same time and pretend to be a band.

Blindfolded Touch and Say
Materials: Blindfold

Have a student be blindfolded and have another student touch a body part. Have them name the part that was touched and find it on the other person.

Blindfold Fold Find
Materials: Blindfold

Blindfold someone and set up a safe obstacle course of chairs, cones, and boxes. Have them manipulate their way through the area and back using verbal cues from their teammates.

Musical Chair Pile-On
Materials: Chair per person

Have a group of students walk around a chair, and when the music stops, have them sit on chair together. They can walk, crawl, jump, or skip.

Driving Miss Daisy

Have everyone find a partner. One person is the driver and the other is Miss Daisy with hands on his shoulders. Tell the driver which way to do such a stop, go, walk, jog, run, or change places.

Sight Games

Sight is another sense that is often lacking in children due to improper distance or time playing video games, spending time on the computer, or watching television. Children often have undiagnosed visual problems. Ocular control is needed for students to attend to classroom and home activities. Children with poor ocular control may have difficulty controlling their eyes to follow moving objects. Here are some games to strengthen the sight sense!

Wall Volleying and Catch
Materials: Ball

Tap a lightweight ball against a wall. It can be done standing up or sitting down. Have the children practice counting the number of times it hits the wall. See if the children can increase the number of times that they can hit the wall. Emphasize personal progress, not group performance. Have them work with a partner.

Advance the skills to catching with a partner low, high, and in the middle of the body. A balloon may be also used for this activity. Catching may be done with a variety of objects including scarves and beanbags.

Light up the Sky
Materials: Flashlight

Toss a battery-operated light into the air. Have the other person follow its path and mimic its movement. Encourage the student to roll, crawl, and walk slowly and fast to teach them ocular control. I have severe and profound students simply hit the wall where they see the light with their hands.

Red Light, Green Light Game
Materials: Sheet of Red and Green Paper

Have a sheet of paper and hold up the green one when you want the children to move and a red one when you want them to stop.

Match Made in Heaven
Materials: Matching Cards and Hula Hoops

Take one set of cards and place them in a hoop. Take the second set of cards and place them in the other hoop. Allow each child to stand in line, walk up to the hoop, and take a turn to find one matching set. The student who finds the most matching pictures wins.

Up and Down Relay
Materials: Hoop and three cartons per group

Place three cartons in a hoop. One player takes a ball and knocks down the cartons. Then that player sets them up again. Play continues until each player has had a turn.

In and Out Relay
Materials: Hoop and three cartons per group

Place three cartons in a hoop. The first player takes the cartons out of the hoop. The second player puts them into the hoop. Play continues until each player has had a turn.

Taste and Smell Games

The olfactory sense is important for all people to use since they smell scents that could prove dangerous—such as poisons or dangerous chemicals. It is also essential for detecting rotten food. Oral motor skills refer to the use of muscles in and around the mouth and cheeks, lips, and tongue. These skills are used for speaking and eating. Oral motor skills play a part in speaking and facial expression. Here are some ideas to develop the taste and smell sense.

Taste and Smell
Materials: Markers, papers, healthy foods and foods with strong scent

Encourage children to make healthy choices by having them cook healthy snacks, meals, and treats. Talk about the difference between healthy sweet, sour, and salty foods. Have the children draw a group poster listing four of each of these foods. The group that correctly draws and identifies the foods first, wins! Blindfold children and have them smell various foods and identify them. The children that identify the most food first get first taste!

Smell Relay
Materials: spices in a bag

Have various spices in a bag. Allow the student to smell the spice and try to identify it as they walk to a designated area. The student that identifies the most scents win. For a variation to the game, try fruits and vegetable smells.

Taste Relay
Materials: Various mashed food or different types of yogurt

Line up the students in equal teams. Have them walk to a designated area. Give each child a taste of the mashed up food. See if they can identify foods that various tastes in them. The child who identifies the most food wins. First, check for food allergies or restrictions in your group. Learning to use the senses prepares students for unfamiliar situation and improves motor skills—and what a wonderful way to strengthen the senses, but to play games!

References

Cheatum, Billye Ann and Allison Hammond. Physical Activities for Improving Children’s Learning and Behavior. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2000

Fit 4 Fun Adaptive Fitness http://worknotes.com/IL/Chicago/Fit4FunKidsFitness/

Morris, Lisa Rapport. Creative play activities for children with disabilities: a resource book for teachers and parents. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 1989.

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